By JULIE FULLAM
Professor Linda Lleres has made a significant impact on the way the Spanish language is spoken at Cumberland County College, not only in the students, but faculty and staff as well.
Lleres grew up in Burlington Township, NJ with her parents Mary Jane and Kenneth Edward Phillips. Growing up in a small town, Lleres attended Burlington High where her parents, grandparents, and great- grandparents attended; and ironically had some of the same teachers.
During her sophomore year in high school, Lleres “fell in love” with the Spanish language. Initially, Lleres went to college to major in French, but wound up changing it to Spanish after her freshman year. She received her bachelor’s from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa, and went on to get her master’s at Glassboro State College . Not only did Lleres get both degrees, but she also pursued her education farther by attending the University of Madrid in Spain, and completing Graduate courses at Brown University, California State University at LA, Jersey City State College, and Rutgers University.
Lleres didn’t start out teaching Spanish at Cumberland County College. It took ten years after her career began in the fall semester of ‘78 as a Bilingual Coordinator for the Special Services Program.
After that, she took on responsibilities such as the ESL program, grant funding programs, and taught ESL and Bilingual Orientation Courses. Because of her knowledge of Spanish, Lleres was offered to teach the Spanish classes at Cumberland County. She teaches four levels of Spanish, which includes seven courses every semester ( five traditional, one telecourse and one online).
Little did Lleres know that knowing Spanish would change her career and her personal life forever. While meeting up with a friend down in Atlantic City she was introduced to a gentleman and asked him “Hablas espanol?” He looked at her surprised and said “Si, y tu?” She has been with her loving husband Wilfrido William Lleres for 26 years. Lleres says that her favorite song is “ Linda Mujer” which is a song her husband wrote and sang to her while they were dating.
In her spare time, Lleres loves to cook, spend time with her family, read, and travel. Lleres has been to Puerto Rico many times, as well as Spain, Mexico and Madrid. Lleres has one son by the name of Juan Francisco Arocho who is 33, two stepsons, and five step-grandchildren. Lleres said that “ Spanish has affected my life in so many incredible ways! My husband and I speak Spanish and English to each other every day, we listen to all kinds of Spanish music as well as T.V. programs. We subscribed to several Spanish magazines, we look up Spanish information on the web, and we cook rice and beans at least once a week!” Lleres plans on retiring in the near future, traveling to see family and friends in Puerto Rico and Spain. “ When I began working at CCC I never imagined that I would spend the next thirty years here! When I started teaching Spanish 20 years ago, I realized this is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Lleres said.