I’m very excited to be starting my sixth year as principal at Adams Spanish Immersion school! I am looking forward to seeing all of our returning students and their families in the coming weeks, and to take part in the many special events that make Adams such a wonderful school community.
I started my teaching career in Saint Paul Public Schools here in 1988 as a first grade teacher. In addition to first grade, my first thirteen years at Adams included teaching Kindergarten and working as curriculum specialist. I left Adams in 2001 to go to the district’s English Language Learner (ELL) Department, where I worked as resource teacher, program manager, assistant director, and director. As ELL director, part of my job was to coordinate all of the district’s dual language/immersion programs, so I was never very far away from Adams… and returning as principal felt as if I were coming home!
My very first teaching job was in the Colegio Americano de Durango, AC, in Durango, Mexico. I taught Pre-Primero, which was a grade between kindergarten and first grade. After four years of teaching, I became the director of the primary school. When I first went to Durango, I didn’t know any Spanish. I lived with a family and learned the language and culture by being immersed in the life of the community and the school.
After 5 years in Mexico, I returned to Saint Paul (where I was born), and was hired by Howard Hathaway to teach first grade in a small Spanish immersion program. The program consisted of just six classes at the time, and they were just moving to the Adams building…
I know from my own experience of being immersed in Spanish that it's the best way to learn a language. I also understand what it's like to have your children in an immersion school, as both my sons went to Adams and continued in the Highland Junior and Senior High Spanish Immersion programs. Being bilingual is one of the most wonderful gifts that we can give our children--and it's one that lasts a lifetime.
I’m looking forward to another exciting year at Adams!
Heidi Bernal, Principal