Patricia Maruca, Ed.D.

Associate Professor of Education

Dr. Patricia Maruca received her teaching and administrative credentials as well as her M.A. from PLNU. In 2002, she received her doctoral degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. She feels very privileged to return to PLNU to share her experience and knowledge with future educators in the undergraduate and graduate programs. Maruca strongly believes every student should have access to a rigorous curriculum and high quality education regardless of their socioeconomic status, language and culture, or academic abilities. She believes teachers make a difference in the lives of their students, and she strives to instill that passion and belief in her own students. Maruca uses her 30 years of K-12 teaching and administrative experience to prepare future educators for a long and happy career in teaching, which she considers the greatest profession of all! Prior to coming to PLNU, she served in numerous teaching and administrative positions in various school districts in the Imperial Valley and Chula Vista Elementary School District. Maruca began her teaching career as an English as a Second Language teacher, working with children and adults. Several years later, she taught in bilingual/bicultural and dual immersion classrooms, and most recently spent several more years teaching in a traditional mainstream Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) classroom, where she continued to work with high numbers of English learners and students of poverty. In her tenure in K-12 education, she was privileged to have served as superintendent of the Holtville Unified School District. She also served as assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, coordinator of bilingual and migrant education programs, and principal of several schools in the El Centro Elementary School District. In the Chula Vista School District, Maruca served as the executive director of Language Acquisition Programs, executive director of Curriculum and Instruction, and executive director of a STEM/dual immersion charter school. Her research interests include pedagogy for social justice, strategies for second language learning, literacy and STEM education, and the use of neuroscience to ameliorate reading disabilities. Maruca has co-authored a chapter in Linking Literacy and Science in the K-8 classroom and has presented at numerous conferences across the country on science and literacy strategies to support English learners. She is active in her church and is an active volunteer in schools in Imperial and San Diego counties.


  • Principle of Language Acquisition – EDU 306
  •  Classroom Assessment and Research Practices – EDU 603
  •  Language Acquisition and Diverse Cultures – EDU 601
  • Foundations of Education and Learning Theories – EDU 600

Awards and Honors

  • California Distinguished School, 2015
  • Title I High Performing School, 1999
  • Governor's Academic Achievement  Award, 2000

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • The Impact of The Parent Institute for Quality Education on Limited English, Hispanic Students and their Families, 2002
  •  The Administrator's Role in Supporting Science in the Classroom in Linking Science and Literacy in the K-8 Classroom (co-author),1999