Staff

Angie Garcia

Angie Garcia

Executive Director & Owner

Since July 2004

I am the owner and director of Escuela Viva. I started Escuela Viva July 2004. Being a part of so many small peoples lives brings me a tremendous amount of joy and I can’t believe that I get to be with so many wonderful children on a daily basis. When I am not at Escuela Viva, you can find me baking, riding my bike, reading, traveling or just hanging out at home with my family, which includes my partner Brad, our four children (Owen, Mayah, Ruby, and Eddie), our two dogs (Sophia and Maisy), our cat (Douglas) and Lizzy the lizard. Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with our school community!
Laralei Vander Putten-Kane

Laralei Vander Putten-Kane

Pine Street Site Director

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

Kathleen Nani Nauta

Pre-K Teacher - Pumas

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.

Susana Montano

Susana Montano

Pumas Teacher

I started in the early educational world 18 years ago, working as a registered and certified home childcare provider for migrant families. After that, I studied English as a second language and got into college classes in early childhood and education. I graduated in June 2018 with an Associate Applied Science Degree. I am currently a student at Mt. Hood Community College working on my transfer degree and I plan on finishing my degree at Eastern Oregon University. I am passionate about learning, and I believe that being a professional teacher is a life long learning process. For this reason, I will continue my studies and earn a bachelor degree in elementary education. I love teaching, I enjoy sharing learning spaces. I understand the education as a shared system of learning between students, professors, and families.

My favorite hobbies include learning, reading, and sharing moments with my family. I love creativity, and creating things with my hands. I love spending time in nature, and learning to play an instrument is one of my dreams.

Eloisa Julian-Ramirez

Eloisa Julian-Ramirez

Angelitos Teacher

Since June 2014

I was born in Mexico City and when I was 15 years old, my parents decided to move to Oregon. I have lived in Oregon most of my life. I love working with young children. My children have inspired me to be an educator in early childhood. I have three children; Ivan (18), Adriana (16), and Stephanie (11).

Working with young children has been very rewarding for me. Knowing that my job is to help children achieve their full potential and to help them feel happier and better about themselves encourages me to be more passionate and build the endurance to handle whatever challenges come with sensitivity, love, patience, and a lot of understanding.

When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. We like to spend time together and enjoy nature. We go out for walks with our dog, Snowball, or just stay home and cook together while we watch a good movie.

I began working at Escuela Viva in June 2014 and it feels like it was just yesterday. I hope to continue working in this community school and keep learning to be a better teacher each day.

Marisol Pichardo Barrales

Marisol Pichardo Barrales

Estrellitas Teacher

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

I’m a pastry chef at heart! Thanks to this skill, I was invited to share pastry classes with parents and children from Albina Early Head Start schools.
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.
Martha San Juan

Martha San Juan

Early Preschool Teacher - Estrellitas

Since 2013

I am from Oaxaca, Mexico. I have worked at Escuela Viva since 2013, and I have worked with every age group. I am currently working in the early preschool classroom, the Estrellitas. I love to support children’s learning through play and art. In fact, it is interesting to hear from children’s curiosity about what they discover every day. I enjoy what they share, and observing their interactions with classmates and adults. I enjoy adding vocabulary words, comments, and questions to extend their interests. By doing this, I know that they are learning the most important areas of development. When I am not working at Escuela Viva, I love to explore nature while hiking with my family and friends.

Patricia Gutierrez

Patricia Gutierrez

Infant/Toddler Teaching Assistant - Tortuguitas

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”

Glenna Reyes

Glenna Reyes

Lead Infant/Toddler Teacher - Cachorros

Since 2009

I grew up in Chicago, IL as a heritage Spanish speaker. I began working at Escuela Viva as a sub while pursuing my undergraduate degree in 2009 and I have been a part of the EV community as a teacher, sub, assistant and volunteer on and off for about 10 years. I have a passion and love for early childhood education and the Escuela Viva philosophy. Here, I am able to empower and teach children to be in control of their own learning. I love to use a variety of expressive arts like music, dance, dramatic play and creative arts and crafts to give the children a variety of tools to explore and learn about their friends and the world around them. My hobbies include beach fun, painting, drawing, singing, cooking, dancing and reusing recycled materials.  I’m ecstatic to share my joy, laughter, creativity, kindness, and youthful spirit with children, families and my co-workers.

Mirian Carrera Ventura

Mirian Carrera Ventura

Cachorros Teacher

Since March 2018

I am from Puebla Mexico, but I grew up in the State of Mexico. The State of Mexico is close to Mexico City.  The name of my town is Santa Rosa Chicoloapan.  I have been working at Escuela Viva since March 2018 in the Infant and Toddler program (Cachorros and Sapitos). 

I love to teach the importance of being friendly and kind, and most importantly, I love being able to show them how to love and to respect others at this stage of life. I also love the opportunity to teach them my native languageSpanish. 

In my free time, I love to watch my kids playing soccer, and as a family, we love to camp, hike and to discover new natural places. 

Carmen Padron

Carmen Padron

Cachorros Teacher

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.

Sarah Scherling

Sarah Scherling

Cachorros/Sapitos Teaching Assistant

Since April 2019

Hello Families!

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.

Virginia “Vicky” Velarde

Virginia “Vicky” Velarde

Floater Teacher

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.

Maria Gloria Luna

Maria Gloria Luna

Floater Teacher

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.

Maria Ramirez

Maria Ramirez

Substitute Teacher

I am 23 years old and a native Spanish speaker. I am the oldest of 6. I also have a daughter named Naydyn who will be 8 in December. I’ve been a sub for Escuela Viva since March of 2019. I’ve also subbed at In A Child’s Path and Wild Lilac. I’m really excited to be a part of such a close community. When I’m not at Escuela Viva, you’ll find me at home with Naydyn helping her with homework or watching a film. Naydyn and I often travel to Mexico. Most of our family lives in a state called Puebla. We also enjoy camping. (Fun Fact: Both Naydyn and I were born at the OHSU hospital in Portland). We love the rain, so going for walks in the rain is our thing. Overall I can be very silly when it comes to hanging out with children. I really do enjoy being around them. I always leave Escuela Viva with the biggest smile on my face!

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