Our History

A Proud Local Business in the Heart of Lakewood

The Cleveland Spanish School & Academy is an Ohio business, which started together with the Cincinnati Spanish School & Academy in 2004. A local entrepreneur was looking for Spanish classes for his daughter but couldn’t find any established academy that could fill this need. So he partnered with the school’s first director from Mexico with the objective of providing Spanish instruction to both children and adults in a small, community setting.

In Cleveland, children’s classes were first offered in the Broadview Heights area in 2011, before expanding and moving to our permanent home in Lakewood in 2013. We are a proud partner of Lakewood Schools, and other area preschools and programs to offer Spanish curriculum. Adult classes soon followed, and we now offer adult classes of all levels each night of the week, along with private and corporate classes.

  • Clasroom at the Cleveland Spanish School & Academy

  • Our Office in Lakewood

  • Adult Class at Lakewood School

Maria Elena Pauer – Our Director

Directorship of the Cleveland Spanish School & Academy took an exciting turn together with our move to Lakewood, when Maria Elena Penzol-Pauer became our leader! This change took our location from rented space in a community center to our current spacious and welcoming “home” on Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. We’ve since expanded to offer translation services, interpretation, ESL, and more!

We’ve undergone expansion and many changes over the years, but one thing has never changed – our commitment to offering quality, IMMERSION instruction to children and adults in a small, conversational setting at reasonable prices with native, experienced teachers. We hope you’ll come see what we’re all about!

Our Values & Methodology

Our Core Values

  • Quality

    For both children and adult classes, we offer a carefully planned curriculum with experienced, native instructors who conduct classes using the immersion methodology.

  • Affordability

    We want Spanish to be accessible to all, and we reflect this in our prices. Group classes are under $15 per hour, and private class fees can be shared with a partner or small group.

  • Comfort

    We offer an informal, welcoming setting with small groups. Our students get to know their instructor and classmates so that the learning process is enjoyable and so that students can learn from each other.

  • Balance

    Learning should be fun and engaging, and that’s exactly what you’ll find with us. Although the immersion style of learning is challenging, we promise you’ll laugh more than you cry!

Our Teaching Methodology

  • Immersion

    Students are taught Spanish in Spanish and are given the tools to help them interpret the language as they experience it. This is the only tried and true method to learn to THINK in Spanish!

  • Conversational

    Although grammar and written work are important, they are a small portion of what it takes to actively learn a language. Our classes are focused on understanding and speaking Spanish.

  • Activity-based

    Students actively participate, discovering the language rather than passively learning by memorization or a grammar book. Age-appropriate activities for either adults or children are a part of every class.

  • Application

    We equip students to do everyday tasks in Spanish, such as going to school, ordering food, shopping, traveling, attending parties, etc. Our dynamic methods help students become part of the language and culture.

Meet Our Team

We are so pleased to have a brilliant and dedicated team consisting of our Director, Maria Elena Penzol-Pauer, and our Instructors for both children and adults.

Meet our friendly, highly professional, and fun group of teachers from all around the globe!!

Do you want to be part of this fantastic team and share your language and culture with your fellow residents in the Cleveland area? Join our team now!!


What Parents Say

“The teachers are absolutely AMAZING! After just one class, my daughter had learned so much. They keep the class so fun and it’s very interactive, keeping the attention of all of the children. I honestly can’t say enough wonderful things about this place! You will NOT be disappointed! ”Veronica Fischer, parent
“My son began the year hating the idea of going to Spanish class. After two weeks of classes, he actually said he couldn’t wait for Monday because he had Spanish. He comes after every class with new words to teach us. It is great to see him excited about it. Thank you – it is making his entire year better!”Jenny Wagner, parent
“My 4-year-old son looks forward to Spanish class every week. At home he runs around speaking Spanish. The instructor relates to the children and makes them feel comfortable to learn. As a result, the children seem to pick up fast and love using what they learn at home. The instructor uses interactive tools like plastic fruit and Spanish work sheets that the kids solve and color to aid in teaching. The price is good and the atmosphere is clean and enjoyable. I recommend this class to anyone looking to get their kids into beginner Spanish.”Roy Aukerman, parent

What Our Adult Students Say

“I love this class! I look forward to class each week, and Edith is an amazing teacher. Yes, there are many times I’m feeling like I will never get this, but Edith reassures our whole class that this is normal and we are doing just fine – and then, it is as if the light bulb goes on and I get it!” Sandy Broerman - Student
“I’ve been with the Cleveland Spanish School for about two years. The conversational based curriculum is very exciting because you actually learn to speak it, understand it, and to read it. It’s very successful. The class size is perfect because there are enough people that it’s fun and it’s interesting, but there’s still plenty of room to participate.”Thomas Coffey - Student
“I think native Spanish instructors is a “must have” for the cultural impact. It generates motivation among the students and makes the course much more authentic.”Ed Faidiga - Student

Our Partners