Staff

Angie Garcia

Angie Garcia

Executive Director & Owner
Bio
As Executive Director, Angie functions as a mentor, guide, resource and trainer for the Escuela Viva teaching team. 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.
Laralei Vander Putten-Kane

Laralei Vander Putten-Kane

Pine Street Site Director

Bio

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.

Maria Gloria Luna

Maria Gloria Luna

Pre-K Spanish Teacher - Pumas

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.

Carmen Padron

Carmen Padron

Preschool Teacher - Angelitos

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

Virginia “Vicky” Velarde

Preschool Spanish Teacher - Angelitos

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.

Eloisa Julian-Ramirez

Eloisa Julian-Ramirez

Toddler Teacher - Tortuguitas

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.

Ailin Martinez

Ailin Martinez

Toddler Teacher - Tortuguitas

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.

She is a great mother, full of values which is reflected in the education she has given to her children, her greatest desire is to excel in this country and her first step is to study English in Mount Hood community college, where she is studying level D ESL, in addition to participating in the transitions program at the same school, my greatest wishes are to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother who has the most beautiful memories, and for her is a great example to follow, she was a great teacher of primary, always taught me the love of children and how to teach them with love, for her it was very easy because with her sweetness and dedication she managed to obtain different awards as a teacher. I am very happy to be an assistant and substitute teacher at Escuela Viva, this is where I really want to work, because I work in teams and with great professionalism. Working with these beautiful children means a lot to me. Each child has a unique set of strengths, talents and interests. The child’s first years of life are the most extraordinary stage of growth and development. Each child and family have unique gifts and abilities that must be celebrated and nurtured. Your main goal will be to complete your English studies to obtain your (AAS) in Early Childhood Education from Mt. Hood Community College in order to provide high quality learning experiences and values such as responsibility, kindness, kindness, obedience, love of nature , tolerance, perseverance among other important values for the formation of a child so that they are excellent citizens willing to collaborate to improve the development of their community.
Martha San Juan

Martha San Juan

Early Preschool Teacher - Estrellitas

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

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.
Ana Posso

Ana Posso

Early Preschool Teacher - Estrellitas

Since November 2017

I was born on December 29, 1985 in Maracaibo, Venezuela, I finished my university studies in 2009 with a good academic standing. I am a graduate of the Dr. José Gregorio Hernández University, as a graduate in Human Resources. From a humble family I learned the value of the most important things in Life; sincerity, work and Love for others, which I apply daily to my life. I did my professional career in Venezuela, however when I arrived in the United States I decided to work with children, since it is something that always caught my attention and here I have had the opportunity to do so.
My early work as a childcare provider has given me the necessary experience in the care of children, especially with the experience I have had during the years in my own family. Since I have treated with special attention all the children of the house. In addition, the work of Auxiliar de Aula has allowed me to obtain daily knowledge in the guide and teaching.
Giving thanks to God for the opportunity I have had to offer my Language as a way of learning to children who in the future will be Bilingual.
Nací el 29 de diciembre 1.985 en Maracaibo, Venezuela, mis estudios universitarios los termine en el año 2009 con un buen rendimiento académico, soy graduada en la Universidad      Dr. José Gregorio Hernández, como Licenciada en Recursos Humanos, proveniente de una familia humilde aprendí el valor de las cosas mas importantes de la Vida; la Sinceridad, el trabajo y el Amor por los demás, los cuales aplico a diario como mi razón de ser. Ejercí mi carrera profesional en Venezuela sin embargo cuando llegue a los Estados Unidos decidí trabajar con niños, ya que es algo que siempre me llamó la atención y aquí he tenido la oportunidad de hacerlo.
Mi trabajo como Baby Sitter me ha dado la experiencia necesaria en el cuidado de niños, sobre todo con la vivencia que he tenido durante los años a nivel familiar ya que he tratado con especial atención a todos los pequeños de la casa. Además, la labor de Auxiliar de Aula me ha permitido día a día obtener conocimientos en la guía y enseñanza.
Dando gracias a Dios por la oportunidad que he tenido de ofrecer mi Idioma como manera de aprendizaje a niños que en un futuro serán Bilingües.
Glenna Reyes

Glenna Reyes

Lead Infant/Toddler Teacher - Cachorros

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.

She quickly discovered a passion and love for early childhood education and the Escuela Viva philosophy. She began in the Infant Toddler classrooms, then worked as a Tortuguitas, Angelitos and Expressive Arts teacher. After 5 years she left to expand her experience and finish her degree. She received her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Qualified Mental Health Associate in 2014. Then she worked for Portland Public Schools Head Start as a bilingual educational assistant for two years. During that time she was a leader on the Equity Committee and a member of the pilot team for a new curriculum called Tools of the Mind, which shares many similarities to this schools philosophy. She has continued her studies since she graduated from PSU at Portland Community College, taking coursework related to Elementary Education and Special Ed. This past year she worked as a one-on-one instructional aid at Serendipity center in the elementary communications classroom where she learned more about behavior management, trauma informed care, individualized instruction for children with learning disabilities, and non-violent crisis intervention.Her approach with children is to empower and teach them to be in control of their own learning. She uses a variety of expressive arts tools 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. She is very happy to be back at Escuela Viva because she gets to share her joy, laughter, creativity, kindness, and youthful spirit with children, families and her co workers.

Mirian Carrera Ventura

Mirian Carrera Ventura

Cachorros Teacher

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.

Patricia Gutierrez

Patricia Gutierrez

Infant/Toddler Teaching Assistant - Sapitos

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”

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.

Marisol Pichardo Barrales

Marisol Pichardo Barrales

Cachorros/Sapitos Teaching Assistant

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.
Alexis Thompson

Alexis Thompson

Kitchen & Garden Coordinator

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.

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.
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