La administración

Angie Garcia
Escuela Viva Executive Director & Owner

As Executive Director, Angie functions as a mentor, guide, resource and trainer for the Escuela Viva teaching team. Angie and Amelia (the program director) work together closely in the development of the school community and have great ambitions for the advocacy and development of quality early childhood education.  Although not a part of the daily operations, Angie is actively involved.

Angie Garcia, the founder of Escuela Viva, first and foremost is a mom to two beautiful children. Escuela Viva began when Angie could not find the type of preschool experience that she wanted for her daughter. Angie, having had many years experience in both early childhood programs like Head Start as well as experience in child care settings, felt she had a good grasp of what makes a solid nurturing preschool. July 2004, Escuela Viva opened its’ doors for the first time in her remodeled basement. Before her first child was born (2002), Angie graduated from PSU with a Bachelor of Arts in 1995 and in 1997 graduated from PSU’s Master’s of Social Work program. Angie has many years experience working with families on a number of levels from child abuse prevention, domestic violence and child welfare. Now with Escuela Viva strong and vibrant, Angie can devote her time to the school and being a mom to her daughter, Mayah and her son, Eddie.


Amelia Jane Regalado
Escuela Viva Program Director

Amelia is the onsite director involved in the oversight of the daily operations as well as program quality. 

Amelia Bio PicA native Montanan, Amelia Regalado was drawn to Oregon in 1998 when applying to schools. After five years at Southern Oregon University she received a Bachelors of Science in the Environmental Sciences and a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish Language and Culture. Her third year at SOU, she spent studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador and was certified as fluent in the Spanish language. Throughout her experience at SOU and during the time she spent living abroad in Latin America, Amelia has enjoyed a variety of experiences working with the Spanish language. She enjoyed tutoring at the high school level, teaching English to small children in Guatemala, working as a bilingual museum aid and guide in Ecuador and teaching outdoor education in Ashland, OR.

Amelia was initially drawn to Escuela Viva in June of 2005 by the opportunity to use the Spanish Language in a professional environment. Over time, a passion for the schools philosophies grew and her tie to the school’s practices became much stronger. Over the course of the years she has dedicated herself to the constant process of learning and growing along side children. She has had the opportunity to participate in a study tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy and an intensive training in the Education for Life philosophy. She believes that each and every child is a unique learner and strives to provide diverse opportunities for children in and out of the classroom.  In June of 2014, Amelia completed and received a Masters in Early Childhood Education.

Amelia’s love of the Spanish language shines through in her work with the children and her drive to keep Latin culture an integrated part of her studies in and outside of the classroom. She strives to highlight the importance of diversity and tradition in her life. With the teachers and children of Escuela Viva, she works to provide endless opportunities for them to experience and learn from the world about us. Outside of the classroom Amelia enjoys biking, gardening, working on her home and spending time with her family.


Laralei Vander Putten
Administrative Assistant

laralei-bio-photoBelieves children enrich our lives.
Believes in enriching the lives of our children.

Over 14 years of experience working with young children.
Continuous education and trainings with the following:

     Mother of two (Oliver 15 and Logan 12 as of 2015
     Portland Community College
     Mount Hood Community College (MCC&R)
     Professional Development Escuela Viva

Laralei grew up in Colorado. Wanting a little more exploration of the country, she also ended up living in Hawaii, California, Florida, and Georgia. She eventually landed in Oregon in 1993 and knew she had found her “forever” home. She had long been working in the hospitality industry, but after having her two children, she realized that creating more quality time in their world would not only benefit them, but her as well.

Laralei has been with the Escuela Viva family almost since its inception. First as a parent, then a volunteer, and finally as a teacher.  Her experience in all aspects of the school has given her a great opportunity to experience all the ins and outs of being a creative part of a loving community. Both her children, son Oliver and daughter Logan, began their preschool experience back in 2004 with Escuela Viva and have both graduated into outside grade school programs. Laralei continues to educate herself, her family and the community with the great team at Escuela Viva. She now enjoys her current role as the administrative assistant, and as an auxiliary support to the teachers, and children. She lives in the North Portland Cathedral Park area (almost 16 years) where she shares a home with husband Kevin, her children and their many small creatures. She likes to adventure around town, visit family and friends, dance, eat, and play. She enjoys every minute..rain or shine.


Maestras de los Pumas

Kathleen Nani Nauta
Pre-K Teacher

Nani  excited to be joining the Escuel Viva family.  She has an A.A degree in Early Childhood Education and has been a preschool teacher for over 23 years. In 2007, she left Mentor Graphic Child Development Center after 13 years to return to school. In 2008, she received my B.S. in Social Science. Her emphasis was on ECE and Environment studies with young children. Nani has been involved with OAEYC (Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children) for over 20 years.

Nani is also a mom and a widow.  Her daughter Kelsey is 23 and is currently in China teaching English to kindergarteners.  Her son Ryan is 32 and has provided Nani with 2 lovely grandchildren. Currently she lives in Lake Oswego with a big dog and two cats. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, gardening, photography, reading and watching movies.Some of the things she loves teaching children include, respect for the environment, diversity, music appreciation and sign language.

Nani look forward to being a part of your child and family’s journey. She believes that together we can plant powerful seeds of wisdom, knowledge and compassion in children’s minds.


Pre-K Teacher 

Currently Hiring for this position.


Maria Gloria Luna
Pre-K Teacher’s Assistant

gloriaGloria Luna was born in Mexico. She graduated from college in Mexico with a degree in business. She came to Oregon in 2002 and moved to Portland in 2003. She is the mom of two daughters: Ivette, 14, and Emily, 6 years old.

She ran an in-home childcare for 7 years and taught Spanish and arts and crafts. She loves when children feel happy and enjoy life. She loves being with children because they are full of energy and their imaginations are huge. She has volunteered in different elementary schools like Rosa Parks and M L C.

She worked at the Clarendon Early Learning Center where she helped organize kindergarten readiness activities for caregivers in North Portland. Her goal is to return to college and get a Master’s in Teaching. She is very passionate in her work and she doesn’t like to leave things half way done.

She loves to play and explore the new possibilities of happiness with her daughters. She enjoys exercise, music, dance, exploring and the beach. She started to work at Escuela Viva because she knows she can give a lot and it’s her next step to success and she knows she can make it happen.


Maestras de los Angelitos

Preschool Teacher
Sabrina Perez

Sabrina lived in the beautiful city of Durango, Mexico for 11 years where she grew up while going to school. At 12 years of age her and her family moved to Riverside, California where she attended middle school, high school, and college. Sabrina graduated from California Baptist University in December 2014 with a bachelors degree in psychology. One year before finishing up her studies, Sabrina began teaching preschool in a program that belonged to the City of Rancho Cucamonga. The program covered classes from 2 years of age to 5 years of age. Upon graduating college,     Sabrina began to also focus on the Applied Behavior Analysis theory, where she was able to practice one-on-one therapy with children ages 3-7 within the Autism spectrum. She is very passionate about behavior and child development.

Sabrina enjoys using her bilingual skills to teach children. In her free time she enjoys making meals, practicing yoga and taking time to relax.

Alejandra Enriquez
Preschool Teacher

 Alejandra Enriquez was born in California, but raised in Oregon, and has always gone back and forth between the two wonderfully unique states. After attending Saint Mary’s College of California to obtain her degree in Archaeology/Anthropology, the Great Norhwest was calling to Alejandra once again. Since 2010 she has been happy to call Portland her home.
Alejandra has been working with children for almost ten years now, and hopes to continue growing as a teacher along with the children she teaches. Prior to Escuela Viva, Alejandra worked in a small in-home care center, a center for migrant worker’s children, and as a sub for Providence Wee Care.
During her time at Saint Mary’s, Alejandra became involved with a program called Jumpstart, a program that provides preschoolers who come from low-income households the skills to succeed in kindergarden. She was able to expand on her Spanish speaking skills in a predominantly Latino community and loved the challenge of having to speak in a another language. When moving to Portland from the Bay Area, Alejandra had hoped she could find something as challenging and rewarding as teaching in a Spanish speaking school. To her excitment, she was able to find that in Escuela Viva, where she hopes to learn even more Spanish from her students and co-teachers.
In her free time, Alejandra loves exploring Portland by walking whenever she can, hiking around the Gorge where she grew up, crafting many items she’s used to furnish her apartment, and collecting vintage antiques from her Abuelita (great-grandmother) and grandmother. Alejandra hopes to furthur her education by going to back to school for a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and is so excited to have the community at Escuela Viva help her grow!

Virginia “Vicky” Velarde
Preschool Program TA

IMG_1687Virginia born and raised in Mexico. She graduated from High School and went two years to Community College in Texas. Her goal is to go back to school and get her Child Development Associate (CDA). She arrived in Portland two years ago with her daughter Gloria and husband John.

Virginia was first turned on to child care when she volunteered at her daughter’ s daycare. She found that she loved to spend time with children. She has now been working with children for the last eight years in different classrooms and at different centers.

Virginia likes to cook Mexican food, read books for professional development purposes (how best to support children) and exercise. She enjoys Zumba, Yoga and hikes. She is excited to be working at Escuela Viva because she feels at home here.


Las maestras de los Tortuguitas

Eloisa Julian-Ramirez
Early Preschool Teacher

Eloisa was born and raised in Mexico, City. She has lived in Oregon since she arrived from her country in 1993 and feels happy that she has learned the English language and has learned to be part of a bicultural environment and is eager to transmit the value of cultural diversity to young children.

Eloisa has three children, her oldest son Ivan and two lovely girls named Adriana and Stephanie. She realized that she wanted to work in the field of Early Childhood when she was volunteering at her son’s preschool.  She then decided to take ECE classes to acquire the knowledge that would allow her to better support the learning and development of children.

In the past, Eloisa has worked with preschool age children in programs at Head Start and she recently started to work for Escuela Viva after earning her (AAS) in Early Childhood Education from Mt. Hood Community College. She believes that each child grows at their own developmental level and each child comes from a family that has their own beliefs and values. That is why she respects the unique qualities of each child in the context of their family and culture.

In the future, Eloisa plans to continue with her education and her next goal is to obtain a BA in Early childhood Education. She enjoys being a mother, she dedicates her free time to her children and together they enjoy hiking, reading and exploring new places among other fun activities, her goal is to enjoy life and spend quality time with her family.

Martha San Juan
Early Preschool Teacher

Martha Sanjuan is currently taking classes at Mount Hood community college, and is eager to finish her early childhood career. She is fluent In Spanish and in her native language Mixteco, and is working very hard to perfect her English. She is most importantly a beautiful mother of two terrific children. Martha and her son Jorge were first attracted to Oregon in 2000, where she gave Birth to her second lovely child Janet. She enjoys taking hikes in the beautiful gorge and soaking up the wonderful sights of the waterfalls with her family. She was born and raised in a little village in Oaxaca, Mexico. Martha is a volunteer for the Nature Conservancy and is now a mentor for a program named Transiciones. She is a very kind, caring and loving person, not to mention very nurturing. She wants to impact the lives of children and loves spending quality time with her family no matter what the weather is outside.

Early Preschool Teacher

sara-crippen-bio-photoSara has followed a unique path to arrive at Escuela Viva. She came to Oregon with her partner this past January in search of new adventures, good community, and more challenges for her professional life.  She initially got the Spanish language ‘bug’ while traveling during her summer breaks in high school.  She decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Political Science in order to better understand the context and history of language and life as we know it. She started teaching Spanish and ESL to fellow classmates in college and to refugees in Des Moines, IA while attending school. Well-established study abroad programs in Merida, Mexico and Granada, Spain led to a grand improvement in her Spanish fluency. Since then she has traveled extensively through Mexico, Central America, Europe, and Africa – utilizing her Spanish and ability to quickly absorb languages!
Then she spent several months in a community called Jubilee Partners teaching Burmese refugees intensive ESL classes in order to prepare them for the jungle of Atlanta.  While there her love of plant knowledge and small-scale farming grew deeper and became a prominent thread in her life.  She felt led to study permaculture and intentional community life and ended up being a part of an electricity-free farm that offered free workshops on homesteading, natural building, and non-violent communication for the young and old in Northeastern Missouri. It was in Missouri that she started pushing boundaries, diving into the uncomfortable, and expanding her consciousness of all beings on Earth.  The passion developed during that time now permeates her teaching style, the gardens she loves creating in every place she lives, the songs she sings, and the way she moves through the world.
Although an Iowa farm girl at heart, Portland has brought so many rich experiences already, including working for Transition Projects as the Lead Host of a men´s homeless shelter, as well as an outdoor & primitive skills instructor for Trackers Earth.  Inspiring children to respect, love, and interact with beautiful Cascadia solidified her desire to combine her passions for teaching Spanish AND showing young ones how to be deeply connected with the natural world.  She is so excited to be a member of the Escuela Viva community and looks forward to meeting all the creative little people of Portland!



Las maestras de los Sapitos

Stephanie Guzman
Toddler Teacher

stephanie-bio-photoStephanie Guzman has lived in the state of Washington since she was only a year old. Then moved to Portland for a year but her family decided to settle in Vancouver Washington.

Stephanie was raised in a family of 5 with parents from Oaxaca, Mexico. She is proud of her family roots and has visited Mexico a few times to learn about the culture and family origin. Her parents raised her bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish, which made her fluent in both languages. Her first word was “agua” or  “water” in English. From an early age Stephanie has taken an intrest in helping others, especially working with childern. In the summer of her Freshman year in High School she joined the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington and their Keystone program which is a High School leadership program. Stephanie attended on a regular basis and volunteered with children in elementary school grades 1st through 5th. Each year national conferences are held, in which 100 hours of community service were required, in total she attended 3. Throughout this experience she grew a lot as an individual. Previously very shy, she was even abel to run for Youth of the Year twice which included professional speaking workshops and judges who decide the winner. Stephanie’s passion for working with children continued with her first job with IRCO (Immigrant Resource Community Organizations) and SUN school in the Reynolds District. Now coming to Escuela Viva she continues growing and learning with children of a younger age. Stephanie loves being able to communicate and grow along with the children’s learning. She understand that these early years are very important in children’s lives. Stephaie has worked at Escuela Viva before and loves the community. Now Stephanie is returning to Escuela Viva and is fully dedicated to receive her CDA (Child Development Associates). She is very excited to become part of the Infant/Toddler Teaching Team and is looking forward to building strong relationships with her team members, the children and the parents.

Overall Stephanie is very thankful for Escuela Viva opening and re-opening their doors and giving her the opportunity to work and develop a career working with children which she is strongly passionate about. In her free time she enjoys drawing, writting, and volunteering in her community.

Yaquelin Garcia Hernandez
Toddler Teacher

yaquelin-bio-photoYaqueline Garcia was born and raised in Cuba.  She began her studies at the “Inti Peredo” elementary. Years later Yaquelin followed in the footsteps of his mother who had taught her respect for life and care of children and all people of different ages. She began her studies in the Middle Superios Institute of Medical Sciences reaching Certified Nursing Assistant. After graduation she found work at the “Mario Muñoz Monroy” Hospital in Cuba. Yaquelin remained working for five years in the best way possible while maintaining a positive attitude to the tasks assigned in the day to day and good treatment to their patients, which is essential in the field of health.

In 2012 Yaquelin came to live in the USA where she started in various jobs until she moved to Oregon and began working as an aide at Escuela Viva. A good friend helped her to explore the field of education and childcare.

Thanks to this and other friends she has inspired to continue learning and exploring every day to give her best  to those children who have to be in her care. She is inspired to learn, to have a healthy and beautiful life as she has grows in the field of education.

Yaquelin has experiencing caring for children in her home country as a babysitter, a mother of two and in the health care field. She works to apply her experience and knowledge of children at Escuela Viva as she grows and learns about what it is to be an educator. In her extra time, she spends time with her family and friends.



Las maestras de los Cachorros

Yarisell Feria
Infant/Woddler Teacher

IMG_1093Yarisell was born on February 18, 1982 in the city of Holquin, Cuba. Since childhood she excelled in sports and cultural activities at school, as well as in the neighborhood and community, meanwhile maintaining a satisfactory level of work within her studies, too. Art and culture were also a mark on her childhood development.

In 2002, Yarisell went to school to study Elementary Education with a specializing in computer education. She was proud to be attending because it was her dream come true to work with children. In the year 2007 Yarisell graduated with a Bachelors of Education with a specializing in computing. At this time she went to work at a school for children between the ages of 2-12 years.

Yarisell began her work life with children of different ages, personalities and character. It was necessary to draw up an action plan aimed at the formation of ethical and moral values ​​in her students’ work. She also worked to develop teaching methods that made the learning accessible to every student. During this time she participated in seminars, events and practices for the education of children.

In 2012, Yarisell left Cuba to join her husband who lived in the city of Portland, Oregon. She made the move with the idea of ​​continuing her studies and finding a job that is equal to or very similar to that which she had in Cuba. In July, 2015, she  started working as a volunteer teacher at Escuela Viva.  She has developed a great love and interest for her work here at EV and is doing what she really likes to do, working with children.

Elicia Miller
Infant/Wobbler Teacher

elicia-bio-photoElicia Miller is super excited to be doing the Escuela Viva team here in SE Portland. She is excited to watch the school; children and families grow into an even greater community than it already is. Elicia has an affinity towards RIE and Reggio styles of teachings and is looking forward to learning more about how Escuela Viva incorporates such practices.. What seems to resign in RIE, Reggio and even in Waldorf teachings is they all allow children to grow, learn and make decisions on their own with positive guidance and scaffolding. These philosophies are particularly profound for Elicia because they teach the teacher how to respect the child verbally, physically and emotionally. Then inadvertently, the child is taught respect and kindness. In many ways, Elicia believe these teachings will help children learn how to respect themselves and others. It is important to her that children are treated with respect as it plays a huge role in their development and growth. She strongly believe everyone deserves to be treated equally.

Before Escuela Viva, Elicia attended college to receive an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. While attending school, she had her own daycare that consisted of her two nieces from her sisters growing family. After these children left her daycare, her bothers’ children came into her care and she cared for them for about nine months. Things change and the children’s mother decided she wanted her children home with her, so she is home schooling them now.

Alicia worked at Sally’s Beauty Supply toward the end of her time managing her own daycare. She stayed at Sally’s for four years and left to finish her last year of college to complete her associates degree. Upon finish school, she then volunteered at Volunteers of America for about eight months, where she worked with drug and alcohol abused children. She left this position as a volunteer to find a paying job. She starting working at Growing Seeds where she stayed for a year and a half until she had to leave her position due to illness. At Growing Seeds, she worked with age groups from 6weeks-5 years old. She found during this time, that infants and toddlers are who she loves to work with the most. Now here at Escuela Viva, she ready for a new chapter in her life. She excited to see where the road takes her from here.

Carmen Figuera
Infant/Toddler TA

carmen bio photo 2Carmen Figueroa was born on April 18th, 1990 in the city of Camaguey, Cuba. Since her earlier years of life she reflected an aptitude towards excellence and responsibility which was evident by her determination to follow her dreams despite the restrictions of her countries. She learned about her passion at an early age when she had to take care of her younger twin brothers because her parents were working professionals. In other words, she became the babysitter of the family.

In 2014 Carmen successfully graduated with an accounting degree from Candido Gonzalez Vocational School in her hometown. While she was simultaneously finishing her degree and completing her accounting internship at Villa Azucar, Carmen explored her dream of becoming a teacher by seeking an opportunity to work at Manuel Sabalo Child Day Care Center. Right after being accepted she completed 2 years of working experience in this school.

After several months of striving to arrive to the dreamed land of United States going through difficulties, she enrolled in Mount Hood Community College to pursue a Child Care Teaching certificate. Now she is grateful to be part of Escuela Viva where every children individuality is celebrated.




Cocinero y coordinador del programa del jardín/Kitchen & Garden Coordinator

Create PlentyAlexis has been an environmental educator since 2003, working with students ages 1-21. She holds a BS in Environmental Science and Community Development from Portland State University. At PSU, she was a chef at a student run cafe and fell in love with garden education. Then, she traveled the world shadowing gardening teachers, guest teaching, and work trading with urban farmers. For Alexis, traveling opened a wide world of best practices regarding cooking, cleaning, shopping, gardening, and passing time. She took these practices to her previous work as a preschool kitchen and garden manager, and started a business called Young Abundance. Alexis is ecstatic to share her passion for Spanish, permaculture, and all things food, with our precious little folks.




Maestros Substitutes:

Amber Lindstrom

Amber has been working in Early Childhood Education for 6.5 years, having experience with all preschool ages, though she has primarily worked with younger toddlers and two year olds. She received her Child Development Associate Credential in infant/toddler development in January of 2009. In August of 2013 she completed her AA in Arts and Sciences, with an additional focus on Foreign Languages (French and Spanish). Her native language is English, though she speaks Spanish well and has a long term goal of completing a BA in Spanish and becoming a Spanish teacher. She is really excited about this opportunity at Escuela Viva to combine her love of supporting toddler development with speaking Spanish and promoting bilingual environments.

The Pacific Northwest is Amber’s home: she has lived most of her life in Seattle and is relatively new to the Portland area – she is already really enjoying how much better our public transit is than Seattle’s. She grew up around many children, as her parents had a foster home operating out of the home. She has one sister and three nieces. Outside of working with children, Amber loves to cook, read, watch movies and explore Portland.

Ilantha Ingerson:

A Portland native, Ilantha Ingerson graduated with honors from Franklin High school and attended Portland Community College, where she studied Spanish and Social Studies, earning recognition on the President’s List for academic excellence every quarter.  She then studied abroad in Costa Rica, in a full Spanish immersion program.  This experience advanced her skills and cemented her love for Latin American cultures.

After returning from Costa Rica, Ilantha met a wonderful man from Michoacán, Mexico, who would become her best friend and husband.  Getting to discover Mexican culture and traditions through him and his family has been a source of great joy for Ilantha (as well as endless opportunities to practice Spanish!).

Ilantha discovered her love for teaching ten years ago, and has enjoyed working at preschool summer camps, as a babysitter, and as a Spanish tutor.  She adores children and enjoys nurturing their learning and discovery with patience and encouragement.

In Ilantha’s free time you’ll find her salsa dancing, reading, or going on outdoor adventures with her husband.  Her other passions include traveling, learning about other cultures, and making a difference through volunteer work.

Emily Blanche:

FullSizeRender-2-2Emily was born and raised just four blocks up the street from Escuela Viva. Her mother ran a home childcare facility for the majority of Emily’s childhood, so she has always been exposed to younger children. She also has a younger brother, Henry (age 7), whom she is extremely close to.

After graduating from Cleveland High School she moved to Corvallis, Oregon, where she studied Biology at Oregon State University, was a full time nanny, and tutored children of all ages in many different subjects. Half way into her second year at OSU, Emily realized she had so much love and admiration for young children, and that she wanted to utilize that and foster that everyday. This is when she decided to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is very kind, understanding, and nurturing. She loves spending time with children because they can match her high energy levels. She enjoys being silly and loves to hear children laughing, whether it’s with her, or at her! She also loves learning new things and is very excited to improve her Spanish speaking skills here at Escuela Viva.

When Emily is not in the classroom she is spending of her time with her three sisters and her brother. She loves exercising and playing sports. She coaches all her younger brothers sports teams, and loves working with SE Portland Little League. She also loves baking, cooking, and doing lots of art projects. Emily is extremely thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of Escuela Viva Community!

Emily Erbin:

Emily Bio PhotoBorn and raised in Portland, Oregon, Emily Erbin shares a love for outdoor activities, spending time with her family and friends and enjoying the food scene Portland has to offer. Emily traveled in Europe and spent a semester abroad in Costa Rica, all of which fostered a love and passion of the Spanish Language and the desire to learn new cultures. She just graduated from Linfield College with a major in psychology and minor in spanish. She will be pursuing Graduate school in the near future in either School Psychology or School Counseling. Emily has enjoyed her last two summers at Escuela Viva serving as a classroom substitute and is looking forward to be back in the beautiful community that Escuela Viva is.

Alyssa Crick:

Alyssa Bio PhotoAlyssa was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and lived there up until August 2014, when she decided to make Portland, Oregon her new home. She received a BA in English with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Arizona State University. She loves being in Portland surrounded by more social forward people and trees, although she does sometimes miss cacti. She has worked in childcare since a young age and plans to pursue a MA in secondary education and to one day teach high school and college courses.

In her free time she likes to read, write, be social and enjoy live music and friends.

Jerri Broadbeck:

Jerri was born near Corvallis, Or. but grew up in Bend.  She graduated from Bend Senior High School and went on to graduate from Southern Oregon State University with a degree in elementary education. She earned  an Oregon Teaching Certificate and taught children with visual impairments and other disabilities in Eastern Oregon until the birth of her first son.  At that time her family included several foster children with special needs, so she became a stay at home mom.  After the birth of her second son, and after the foster children moved into adult services, she opened a daycare/preschool in her home.  Seven years later she returned to classroom teaching working with children with special needs for the next ten years at Serendipity Center in Portland.  Four and a half years ago she was hired by Escuela Viva and  co-taught  the elementary class with Amelia for one year.  The next year they co-taught a kinder pre-K mix.  The next fall she opened a business with her sons which ultimately failed.  She returned to Escuela Viva in the summer 2012 where she worked with the Pumas class and most recently is working as a substitute.  In addition to her sons she has two Grandsons, Malakai and Marsyas.’

Julie Luna:

julielunaJulie is a native Oregonian who grew up in The Dalles. During her college years she received a minor in music, but her love for languages redirected her to study Ancient Greek and French and pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Linguistics. After college she married and left for an English teaching job in Japan for a year before returning to Oregon to start a family. Julie has three grown children whom she homeschooled part time in a blended home and school program. She spent several years developing and teaching a Latin program for the school for grades 4-9. This jumpstarted her back into pursuing her passion for language acquisition and literacy for early learners. Currently she is studying Spanish and has a plan to pursue her Master’s degree in teaching. Outside of the classroom, Julie enjoys running up on Mt. Tabor with her dog, hiking, yoga, cooking, reading, studying Spanish, playing the piano and spending time with her family. She is thrilled to be a part of Escuela Viva where she can impart her love for children and her passion for education to the students and her teammates.

Susan Solati:

susanaHaving a natural interest in art, after high school I pursued a degree in textiles in which I was able to learn about design, texture, dyeing, materials, chemistry and other aspects. My husband and I met while I worked in an office, as an administrative assistant. My first time in the United States occurred during the years when my husband was studying for his PhD at Cornell University. Our first son, Ehsan, was born while we lived in Ithaca, New York, over 35 years ago.

In 2008, I returned to the United States to join my oldest son to further my education. Because I had previous English language classes and experience with speaking, I started out in ENL classes until I completed them and then chose a curriculum to pursue. Raising my own three boys, Ehsan, Amin, and Erfan, was a highlight of my life. Now that my sons are well into adulthood, I still enjoy young children and want to spend time with them. For this reason, I chose early childhood education as my major. During that time, I participated in a Head Start program with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. I worked hard in my studies and persevered to graduate this spring with my AAS degree in ECE from Mt. Hood Community College.

I am bilingual as I speak both English and Persian and understand the challenges of learning a second language. Because of my background, my interests include the Persian culture. Persian food is my specialty and I will happily share culinary dishes with friends and family who care to join us for a meal.

In my spare time, I enjoy working on sewing projects, nursing houseplants, creating a garden, taking Zumba lessons, yoga exercises, dancing, developing new recipes, singing, reading, hiking, and bicycling. Staying active and interactive is a part of my very being. I truly enjoy new experiences and meeting new people. I value people who come from different cultures and know there is so much we can learn from each other.

Finally, I would like to express how much I appreciate working with young children who are constantly learning and expressing curiosity about their environment. Children need to be given the opportunity to explore the world around them by using all five senses. Each child is unique and will grow at his or her own pace. An age is not always a precise measure of the child’s abilities. Children will express their uniqueness in different ways. They are the foundation for each and every culture. Nurturing them is my delight. I look forward to many years of spending time with them and learning from them, too.

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