Providing Adults a Streamlined Approach to Earning Your High School Equivalency or GED



Jesse Figueroa, M.Ed., CMPI

Interim Director

 Jesse Figueroa is Interim Director, Lead Mathematics Instructor, and Curriculum Coordinator at Adult Literacy Plus of Southwest Arizona (ALPS). He completed his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education (B.S., 2002) and his master’s degree in Human Relations (M.Ed., 2012) at Northern Arizona University. He plans to pursue a doctorate in Psychology and Adult Education in the near future. Through the Arizona Department of Education Adult Education Services, Jesse completed the Leadership Excellence Academy earning a Certified Manager of Program Improvement (CMPI) certificate, completed the Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA 1 ) and Algebra (ALG 2 ) Institutes to become an expert teacher in the subject areas, and completed the College and Career Ready (CCR 3 ) Institute to assist in program operations and school curriculum. He is currently an ad hoc AALL Board Member (Arizona Association of Lifelong Learning) where he is currently helping the association’s
committee to organize and to prepare for the 2019 AALL Conference in Phoenix, AZ. Before coming to ALPS, Jesse taught 8 years of adult education content for Yuma School District One, Crane School District, and Somerton School District; he has been teaching at ALPS for 10 years, and considers it his home. His
passion is adult education and constantly improves his professional development through research, conferences, institutes, and colleagues. He holds 18 years of professional teaching experience in the field of adult education. He also teaches an Adult Basic Education course for Arizona Western College.
In addition to professional self-improvement, Jesse enjoys hiking Telegraph Pass on the weekends, attending music concerts, and spending quality time with his close knit family and friends. He recently turned vegan and is an advocate for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Mercy for Animals; he believes that animals suffer intensely on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry and strives for an end to their inhumane treatment. Jesse also has a green thumb and likes to enhance his working environment with various desert and house plants. Jesse resides in Yuma, Arizona. You can reach him at 


Maria Duarte, M.Ed.

Lead RLA and IET Instructor

Maria Duarte has been with Adult Literacy Plus of Southwest Arizona (ALPS)
for twelve years. When she first came to ALPS, she began teaching Spanish
to Yuma’s winter visitors and English to workers at various agencies and job
sites in the community. Later, she started teaching basic Mathematics and
Reading and Writing courses. Over time, she addressed the needs of
students who were unable to read. Today, she is Lead Instructor for
Reasoning through Language Arts and helps students prepare to get their
High School Equivalency (HSE/GED).
Maria says one of her most challenging but most rewarding initiative at ALPS
was to help a blind student obtain his GED.

Anna Estrada

Administrative Assistant I

Anna Estrada is currently the administrative assistant and data entry clerk at Adult Literacy Plus of Southwest Arizona (ALPS).
She has been with ALPS for eight years and is a previous graduate from the program. She obtained her GED diploma back in February 2009 and a year later worked for ALPS as a volunteer. She was hired as an official member of the staff in the spring of April 2010 and has been responsible for managing the workflow in and out of the ALPS office ever since.
Anna is the point-of-contact for information regarding all of ALPS’ services, programs, and class schedules, as well as enrollment information, eligibility verification, and placement assessments.
She is always eager to assist new and returning clients and encourages them to always contact her with any of their questions.

Blanca Garcia, M.Ed.

ELAA Instructor

Blanca Garcia was born in Mexico and came to the United States when she was 18 years old. At that time, she had left high school in Mexico and graduated from a private school as a Private Accountant. 

When she came to the United States, she started taking ESL classes in a program just like Adult Literacy Plus of Southwest Arizona (ALPS). After that, she went to the University of the Pacific in California where she graduated from a High School Equivalence Program with honors. Then she went to Delta College where she began taking Business courses.

Maria Johnson,


Lead ELAA Instructor

Maria Adelaida Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona
University in Arts and Sciences and her master’s degree from the University of
Phoenix in Elementary Education. She began working with Adult Literacy Plus
of Southwest Arizona (ALPS) in 2000 when it was called “Yuma Reading
Council.” During that time frame, she taught GED preparation, English as a
Second Language, Spanish for Careers, Citizenship Preparation, and
Distance Learning. In 2006, she decided to return to the public school system
and taught Middle School Language Arts for 5 years , then came back to
work at ALPS in 2011.
At the present time Maria teaches all levels of ESL (ELAA) at ALPS. Maria
loves teaching adults and says some of the gratifying aspects of teaching
adults are that they are back at school with a purpose. She loves to see
students flourish as they gain confidence of their communication skills in a
second language. She says she loves to teach students to set goals in order
to fulfill their dreams in a new country, and for them to see, they can make
their dreams a reality.

Shondra Dyer,  

B.S. in Elementary Education

ABE & Distance Learning Instructor

Shondra Dyer is an Adult Based Education (ABE) / Distance Learning (DL)
Instructor at Adult Literacy Plus of Southwest Arizona (ALPS). Shondra
earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2010 from Northern Arizona University. Shondra Spent most of her past 8 years working as a general education teacher in the elementary setting, but most recently taught at the middle school level as an English Language Arts and
Mathematics instructor; she also works part-time as a DL instructor for
Arizona Western College’s (AWC) WIOA youth program. Shondra has a passion for education and finds success in helping students of all ages
meet their educational goals.



Why should you earn your diploma?
Getting Started is EASY: