Ms. Maria » Welcome!


Dear Families,

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year and Seventh Grade! It is an exciting time to be joining the wonderful staff of Key Academy! I have been meeting many new faces, orienting myself to this new place, and preparing for great learning to happen for all students.

About Myself.  My name is Maria Lacebal-Valdez. I am an immigrant, born in the Philippines, and now rooted for most of my entire life here in the East Bay. Although I have traveled to a dozen different states and crossed two oceans, there is no place I would rather be than the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California.

Background / Teaching Experience.  I am the only teacher I know who has worked with all ages, teaching students as young as five to as young as eighteen. My first years teaching were at elementary school, and then a few at high school. The most recent seven years I have been working with middle school. One of my parents from last year made me so happy when she sent this message, “I just wanted to say thank-you for an incredible year of learning experience that you’ve provided for [my son] especially the writing part and it showed on the state test.”

Educational History.  Education has been key in my family: father, aunt, uncle all chose to teach. It took me two careers before I decided to enter the profession. After earning my Bachelor of Fine Arts at a small private college in Oakland, I took continuing education classes in communication, marketing and graphic design, working in graphic design until my spouse launched his own livery business and we grew a family. As our daughters started school, I did too, and as an intern teacher, I earned my credential through the California State University. Last year was a high growth year for me:  I mentored and coached two beginning teachers.

Hobbies / Interests.  As I read and prepare for the subjects I will be teaching my students, I am always curious to discover what Google can serve up, and this has become my hobby: researching topics to find relevant resources to share with students. Students seem genuinely interested when I get enthusiastic about something out in the world that I can connect to learning in the the classroom. A hobby all my own is that I love to explore and enjoy Bay Area neighborhoods, sometimes by driving, walking or boating, and always tasting local cuisine. I have two grown daughters and enjoy getting together with family and friends.


Teacher Email is:     maria number one   not the letter “el” at key academy dot org Together, let’s make it a great year!