Language Acquisition


Meet Your Teachers!

   Justin Ahmad Justin Ahmad: Spanish 2, IB
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Having grown up in Baltimore County and having attended BCPS as a student myself, I'm pumped for my second year at New Town. After graduating from the IB program at Kenwood High School, I went on to study Spanish at Elizabethtown College, where I received my B.A. During my time at Etown, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad for a year in Mexico, where I met my wonderful (other) family, with whom I stay each year when I return to visit, as well as some lifelong friends--one of the many perks of knowing another language & traveling.

After graduating from college, I spent time working at The Rosedale Center and a few other schools in BCPS as a long-term sub, before moving to Brazil for 9 months to teach at a university through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program. In Brazil, I was reminded what it's like to be a language learner, as I spoke no Portuguese when I arrived. It's all about being willing to make mistakes!

Upon my return to the US, I began working at Church Farm School, an all-boys boarding school in Pennsylvania. Imagine living with your teachers and having them drive you to the doctor/mall/movies! That was my life for three years, before I decided to leave and pursue an M.A.T. at Goucher College. Sharing my passions for language and learning is why I became a teacher, and I'm so lucky to be here with you all. 

  Maria ALegre 
Arantxa Alegre: Spanish 1, 3 

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I was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. As a child, I always felt intrigued by what the rest of the world would look like influenced by all World Literature books I was constantly reading. I started traveling internationally very young (during my high school years). I studied Foreign Languages in college (Spanish and Arabic) and that took me to the best experiences of my life. I completed the Master Degree and eventually I got my Ph.D. in Spain, also in Foreign Languages. I had the wonderful opportunity to live in Egypt and Morocco for many years thanks to that. I decided to become an educator to teach languages and instill the love of learning about other cultures to my students. My teaching experience started in Spain when I was still a graduate student, but it continued in Egypt and Morocco as well.

Later on, in my life, I decided to try my luck in the United States. And here I am. It’s been almost 20 years for me already in this country, that accepted me as a citizen in 2013. Around 2012, I took a break and went to live in France for a year. Yes, that would be the fifth country I have lived in, including my own. I have taught in many states in the U.S., in college (private and public), in schools (private and public). I am a certified court interpreter for the State of Maryland and I also work as a consultant for ACTFL. So, I think it would safe to say that that learning about other cultures and teaching and using languages is in my blood. I am very aware of what it takes to learn another language!!!

I still enjoy traveling, especially internationally. Among other interests, I love cooking, photography, dancing tango, scuba diving, sky diving, running and swimming, films, family, friends… I hope you can enjoy the experience of learning another language and culture the same way I did!! It’s priceless!!!

   Susana Bukowski
Susana Bukowski: Spanish 1, 2 

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I’ve been a Spanish teacher in the BCPS system for 15 years. Prior to coming to New Town, I taught at Ridgely Middle School for 4 years and before that Western Tech for 9 years. I am a naturalized citizen, originally from Argentina. I grew up in a small resort town called San Carlos de Bariloche (Bariloche) in northern Patagonia on the border with Chile. Bariloche is a well-known ski resort and I used to be a ski instructor there while in high school. It’s a beautiful region that many compare to Switzerland. Here are some photos of Bariloche and the surrounding area: Bariloche 1 Bariloche 2 Bariloche 3 Bariloche 4


I came to the U.S as an exchange student for one year on my senior year in High School. My family is mostly Italian and Spanish in Argentina. I have two daughters. I am truly bilingual in Spanish and English. I am very active, I ski well and enjoy cycling and swimming. I love teaching and learning and I am very excited to teach at New Town HS this year. I am also working on National Board Certification, and I earned a master’s degree from Notre Dame of Maryland.

  Ajla Foco
Ajla Foco: Spanish 1, 2 

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Originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, I was born during the genocide war. After the war, the Bosnian economy was completely destroyed and many families including mine emigrated to the USA. My parents no longer saw a future for us in Bosnia and so in 2001 we moved to Maryland. In school, I took ESL classes where I learned English within 2 years. When I would come home from school, my sister and I had a ritual where we would watch Spanish soap operas until midnight and would even record episodes on our DVR that we either missed or really loved. That is how I learned Spanish and when my love for the language and different cultures started.

I wanted to share my unique passion for the language with others so that they also have a meaningful experience with it, so I decided to get my B.A. in Spanish Secondary Education at Towson University and am currently getting my masters in Educational Leadership there as well. This is my sixth year at New Town High and I hope to instill the same love and enthusiasm that I had for Spanish in my students.

   Scott Maddox
Scott Maddox: Spanish 1, 3, 4 

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Originally from Lancaster, PA, I went to Millersville University and received a B.A. in Geography and minored in Spanish. In my senior year, I applied to the Peace Corps and did my senior thesis in Brazil. This was my first experience where I needed to speak another language in order to survive and communicate. I went on to serve three years in Honduras as a Peace Corps volunteer and a bilingual teacher. In this time, I fell in love with teaching others and learning new skills.  I have been at New Town for 14 years now and building relationships with wonderful students and staff. I hope that this year is filled joy and excitement as we continue our journey for the love of language.

   Megan Wrede
Megan Wrede, Department Chair: French 2, 3, 4, IB

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Born and raised in Baltimore County, I didn’t really start to understand the value of a foreign language until I went to the Dominican Republic the summer before my senior year. I worked with a camp of about 500 kids and that’s when I realized I loved languages and teaching because of all of the wonderful families I met.

I went on to get my B.A. in Spanish, French, and Communication Studies from Towson University, returning to study education a few years later. I then received my M.A. in Spanish Literature in 2017 and am currently studying Educational Administration as well as an M.A. in French. As you can see, I love learning and teaching! This is my tenth year in BCPS and I am proud to say my ninth at New Town High School.

C’est un plaisir de pouvoir être un membre de cette équipe géniale and I look forward to working with our students this year and fostering a lifelong love of learning.


Questions? Contact Megan Wrede, Department Chair ([email protected])