Sandor Brings World Culture to Nonnewaug

Sandor in Spain

Sandor in Spain

Charlie Stock, General Assignment Reporter

WOODBURY — From a childhood in Spain to teaching English to professional athletes with the Florida Marlins baseball team, Nonnewaug Spanish and World Language teacher Karen Sandor brings a wealth of culture and experience to NHS.  

Sandor was born in California and spent her childhood with her family in Europe. Her first language is Spanish. During her childhood, she attended different schools in Germany, Italy, Spain, and Florida. 

A photo of Sandor as a child feeding pigeons in Europe.
Sandor (far right) with her grandparents in Europe

Sandor originally had no intention of becoming a teacher. In fact, her focus was to be in world relations. “I wanted to work in humanities, work for the Peace Corps, or even a foreign embassy. Having grown up in foreign countries, I was interested in international relations and working opportunities abroad,” Sandor said. 

Sandor graduated high school in Florida and moved on to what is now known as Eastern Florida University for her Associate’s Degree. She later went on to the University of Central Florida for her Bachelor’s Degree.

While in Florida, one of Sandor’s first teaching experiences was teaching English to professional athletes with the Florida Marlins baseball team.

“Many of them came here from South America and the Caribbean with limited English,” she said. “So I taught them how to say things such as ordering food from a restaurant or terminology for shopping. … Some of them went on to the Majors and played for the Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants.”

Sandor’s interest in teaching was strengthened by coursework in college. “I entered the University of Central Florida thinking I wanted to study history, perhaps be a history teacher,” she said. “I took some Spanish anthropology classes that really piqued my interest.” 

Before the pandemic hit last year, Sandor was already well-versed in the world of online learning. “I was in one of the first online colleges in the country, way before zoom and high speed internet, to finish my Master’s Degree in Instruction and Curriculum at the University of Phoenix,” Sandor stated in an interview. 

Sandor, like everyone else, had a tough time at the beginning of the pandemic. Her ways of teaching dramatically changed within a month as a result of the unprecedented and unexpected lockdown. “The pandemic led to quick self-teaching about available programs online and some crazy creative videos I created for my students,” Sandor said.

Photos courtesy of Karen Sandor

Outside of the classroom, Sandor said she enjoys spending time with her three children, her husband, pets, and friends. “I have always enjoyed traveling to historical sites, going to the beach and hiking,” Sandor stated. “You can also find me listening to music or watching a ridiculous reality TV show.” 

Students at NHS are grateful for the expertise Sandor brings to the classroom. Beyond world language education, she is a constant smile and friendly advisor to many of the students.