Angie GarciaExecutive Director & Owner
Laralei Vander Putten-KanePine Street Site Director
Kathleen Nani NautaPre-K Teacher - Pumas
Maria Gloria LunaPre-K Spanish Teacher - Pumas
Carmen PadronPreschool Teacher - Angelitos
Virginia “Vicky” VelardePreschool Spanish Teacher - Angelitos
Eloisa Julian-RamirezToddler Teacher - Tortuguitas
Ailin MartinezToddler Teacher - Tortuguitas
Martha San JuanEarly Preschool Teacher - Estrellitas
Ana PossoEarly Preschool Teacher - Estrellitas
Glenna ReyesLead Infant/Toddler Teacher - Cachorros
Mirian Carrera VenturaCachorros Teacher
Patricia GutierrezInfant/Toddler Teaching Assistant - Sapitos
Sarah ScherlingCachorros/Sapitos Teaching Assistant
Marisol Pichardo BarralesCachorros/Sapitos Teaching Assistant
Alexis ThompsonKitchen & Garden Coordinator
Laralei Vander Putten-Kane
Since December 2005
Believes 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 18 and Logan 15 as of 2019)
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 20 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.
Kathleen Nani Nauta
Since August 2014
Nani is excited to be joining the Escuela 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 her 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 looks 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.
Maria Gloria Luna
Since June 2016
Gloria 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.
Since August 2016
Carmen 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.
Virginia “Vicky” Velarde
Since April 2016
Virginia was born and raised in Mexico. he arrived in Portland two years ago with her daughter Gloria and husband John. 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). Read Less
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.
Since April 2014
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.
Since November 2017
Ailin Martinez was born in Cuba, finished high school and began preuniversity. In 2009 she obtained her accounting diploma, she moved to the United States in 2014, she is the mother of three children, two boys with 15 and 16 years old and a girl of 8.
Martha San Juan
Since November 2012
Martha San Juan 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. Read Less
Since November 2017
Glenna Reyes grew up in Chicago, IL as a heritage Spanish speaker. She transferred from Loyola University to Portland State University in 2009, after studying abroad in Beijing, China. She began working at Escuela Viva as a sub while pursuing her undergraduate degree and has been a part of the EV community as a teacher, sub, assistant and volunteer on and off for about 10 years.
Mirian Carrera Ventura
Hello, my name is Mirian M. Carrera Ventura. I am from Mexico City, but both my parents are from the state of Puebla, Mexico. I consider myself from Puebla as well. I immigrated to the U.S. in 2003. I lived in New York City for almost three years. There I met my husband and my oldest son was born there.
We moved to Oregon in 2007, at first, I did not like it, though in time I fell in love with all the nature we are surrounded by. In 2011 my second child was born. During those years I enrolled in English classes at Mt. Hood Community College because it is not my first language. In 2013 I completed my GED and from there I started my journey through college. Thankfully, I enrolled in the Transitions Program which helps me explore careers and also to identify my personal skills. I am still in college trying to complete my General Studies degree and after that I think I am going to transfer to a university. Even though it is hard, I will continue to pursue my education because I believe it is important to teach my kids the value of education. My family is the precious gift that life has given me. We love to play soccer and to be outdoors together.
I started working at Escuela Viva a few months ago. I love to be around these amazing kids and babies. Being around them has inspired me to think about possibly studying in the field of early childhood education. Working at Escuela Viva has been an amazing experience for me. The atmosphere is filled with a lot of love, which I have never experienced in my other jobs because this is my first job working with little kids.
Since March 2017
Nombre completo PATICIA KAROLINA GUTIERREZ BRACHO, nací el 22 de octubre de 1992 en Venezuela, Maracaibo-Edo Zulia, soy graduada de la Universidad del Zulia (LUZ) como Licenciada en Administración. Nací rodeada de una familia que me enseñó los valores más importantes de la vida, el respeto, la humildad, responsabilidad y honestidad.
A lo largo de mi adolescencia tuve la oportunidad de trabajar en una agrupación de eventos infantiles que por medio de mi actuación transmitía felicidad a los niños y a su ve ellos a mí, esto me impulso a tomar la decisión de buscar un trabajo el cual este en contacto siempre con ello. Gracias a la empresa “AMIGUITOS” (VENEZUELA) pude cumplir mi objetivo.En noviembre de 2016 tome la decisión de emigrar a los Estados Unidos junto a mi esposo, en mis tiempos libres me gusta ir de compras y compartir con mi esposo. “La sonrisa de un niño es la pureza de DIOS”
Patricia Karolina Gutierrez Bracho, born October 22, 1992 in Venezuela, Maracaibo-Edo Zulia. I am a graduate of the University of Zulia (LUZ) with a credential in Administration. I grew up surrounded by a family which taught me the most important values in life, respect, humility, responsibility and honesty. Throughout my adolescence, I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of child-based settings which always allowed me to soak in the happiness they exude as well as return that happiness to them when they see me. This was the impulse behind my decision to look for a job in which I am always surrounded by them. Thanks to “Amiguitos” in Venezuela I was able to accomplish my goal.
In November, I made the decision to immigrate to the United States along with my husband. In my free time, I like to go shopping and share time with my husband. “The smile of a child is the purity of God”
Since April 2019
My name is Sarah and I am excited to be joining the Sapitos classroom here at Escuela Viva! A Portland native myself, I grew up in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest, getting muddy and growing with the seasons just like your little ones do! I have obtained a BS in Psychology and over ten years of experience working with children in various settings. English is my native language, so I have been learning a lot from fellow teachers and students! In fact, I believe that if we’re open, our greatest teachers in life can be the youngest among us.
Beyond ensuring a safe, caring, and stimulating environment, I am committed to developing each child’s independence and self-esteem. I believe that children learn best when they are encouraged to communicate their feelings and needs. I have fostered that type of environment by implementing age- and developmentally-appropriate activities, encouraging exploration, and providing positive behavioral feedback in a consistent, warm, and affectionate manner. I am passionate about integrating holistic activities such as meditative movement and live music activities into my teaching and care of children. I feel very honored to be apart of a team that helps guide your children through their discovery of self and the world around them.
Marisol Pichardo Barrales
I’m Marisol Pichardo Barrales. I was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. My family is the greatest gift that God has given me. In 2014, I participated as a volunteer in Sacajawea Head Start. At that time, my interest in working with children began. Read Less
In April 2016 I had the opportunity to work at Escuela Viva as an assistant in the class of Angelitos and Estrellitas. At the moment, I am supporting the Cachorros and Sapitos classes. I currently attend Maywood Campus, with the aim of continuing to learn and, in the not too distant future, to be able to fulfill my goals.
Soy Marisol Pichardo Barrales. Nací en Oaxaca México. Mi familia son el regalo más grande que Dios me han dado. En el año 2014 participé como voluntaria en Sacajawea Head Start. En ese momento inició mi interés de trabajar con niños. !Soy repostera de Corazon! Gracias a esta habilidad fui invitada a compartir clases de reposteria a padres y niños de las escuelas Albina Early Head Start.
En Abril de 2016 tuve la oportunidad de trabajar en Escuela Viva como asistente en la clase de Angelitos y Estrellitas. Por el momento estoy apoyando a las clases de Cachorros y Sapitos. Actualmente asisto a Maywood Campus, con la finalidad de seguir aprendiendo y en un futuro no muy lejano poder cumplir mis metas.
Since May 2016
Alexis 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.