English & Library Specialists

TIS students study English with specialist teachers one hour per day starting in first grade. As research shows, there is a natural skills transference between languages that helps students develop literacy in English and in their target language. Learn more about the TIS English program at intlschool.org/english.


English Specialists

Allegra Ruggles
English Specialist

  • From Brooklyn, NY
  • Bachelor of Arts in English and American Literature, Brandeis University
  • Master of Arts in Elementary Education, Teachers College at Columbia University
  • Oregon Professional Teaching License
  • Teaching since 1999; teaching at TIS since 2015

Before coming to TIS, I was a classroom teacher for sixteen years, teaching second, third and fourth grades. I have a long background in inquiry education and love the process of posing and answering questions with my students. Watching them wonder about the world and puzzle their way towards understanding is the highlight of my job. At TIS I cherish my role in helping not only shape students’ thinking skills but in helping them embody the IB Learner Profile. Part of being a global citizen is being compassionate, and the social/emotional education of our students is an integral part of my teaching. I love being part of the TIS community!

Deanna Sundberg
English Specialist

  • From Clayton, California
  • Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from University of Montana
  • Teaching since 1998; teaching full-time at TIS since 2014

Prior to moving to Portland in 2013, I lived in Barcelona, Spain for ten years where I worked as an elementary English Language teacher. After living abroad for so long, I feel right at home in the international community of TIS and truly value our diversity and uniqueness.

While I feel like I have learned so much in the past 18 years of teaching, the learning continues each year with my new students as I strive to connect with each child and really work on building their confidence with reading and writing. I want to nurture their individuality and creativity and help them feel successful.

Some of my hobbies include traveling, photography, being creative in the kitchen, swimming, sewing, and especially being a mama to my 5-year-old and 10-month-old daughters and spending time with my husband. I became a TIS parent last year, which has been fun and has connected me even more to the school community!

Lauren Miller
English Specialist

  • From Akron, Ohio
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Miami University of Ohio
  • Master of Arts in Teaching from Lewis & Clark University
  • Teaching at TIS since 2016

I am very excited to be a part the English Department! I grew up in Akron, Ohio and have lived abroad teaching in South Korea and China. I moved to Portland last year to attend Lewis and Clark’s Master of Arts in Teaching program and have fallen in love with this city. I am looking forward to an exciting year ahead and cannot wait to get to know you and your student!

Meghan Robertson
English Specialist

  • From South Dakota
  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of South Dakota
  • Master’s in Education from the University of South Dakota
  • Teaching since 2011; teaching at TIS since 2014

Meghan comes to us from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she taught for three years. Most recently, she was a first grade teacher in the Parker School District, where she established a uniform reading framework at the elementary level and helped to organize elementary-level reading assessments and progress monitoring that promoted constant progress and review of current practices. She has also worked on integrating technology into literacy instruction, which led to increased student engagement.

Some of Meghan’s hobbies include: cooking, music, reading, and anything outdoors. Meghan is most excited about working in a diverse community where the staff and students have unique backgrounds and experiences in travel and language.

Rose Mehlhaff
English Specialist

  • From Big Arm, Montana
  • National Board Certified Teacher
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon
  • Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Southwester College of Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Master of Science in Waldorf Elementary Education from Sunbridge College of Spring Valley, New York
  • Teaching since 2009; teaching at TIS since 2017

After assisting in a kindergarten and substituting in the elementary grades for nearly two years at a Waldorf school, teaching English and art in public school middle and high school for nine years, and completing my work for National Board Teacher Certification over the last three years, I was looking for a place in the world where my creativity and expertise could be truly put to use in a healthy, conscious environment. I have found it at The International School. The worthy objectives of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program bring me a surge of joy each time I consider the way in which they will inform and enrich the learning of children.

Along with a passion for education, literacy and the arts in general I relish: baking, dining, reading, walking, water skiing, drawing, painting, meditation, yoga, nutrition, being at the lake in Montana, and most of all playing with and reading to our son in the good company of my husband.

Shelley Arnold
English Specialist

  • From Palm Beach, Florida
  • Bachelor of Education, University of Florida
  • Master of Education, University of Florida
  • Teaching since 2008, at TIS since 2017

It’s been great to come back to the states after teaching overseas for most of my career. Although I started teaching in Atlanta, Georgia, I have taught internationally in Dubai, Hong Kong, and most recently, Austria as well. The experience of educating students from around the world has been priceless and the appreciation for different cultures, languages, beliefs, and values from across the globe is something I hold dearly. I have been an IBPYP educator for many years and I am a huge advocate of facilitating an inquiry-based approach towards learning. I want to foster a class filled with rich opportunities for exploration, discussions, conversations, collaborations, connections, debates, ponderings, questions, epiphanies, and more!

When I’m not teaching, I love to bake, cook, sing, dance, play the ukelele, and travel the world!


Lora Worden

  • Bachelor of Arts, English and Foreign Languages (Spanish and German), Lewis & Clark College
  • Graduate Certificate in Children’s and YA Literature, Portland State University
  • Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Portland State University
  • Masters in Library Science, Emporia State University (Specialization: Librarianship for children & young adults.)

Tomoyo Wells
Library Specialist

  • From Japan
  • B.A. in History from Portland State University
  • At TIS since 2010

I am originally from Japan and have been living in the US for 9 years. I graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor’s degree in History. During my school year, I spent most of my time researching and writing in the library, because I loved being there. Whether it is the school or my small neighborhood library, there is something about the atmosphere, smell, and sound of a library that I love.

After I graduated from college, I volunteered at the Oregon Historical Society Museum. Afterward, I started working at TIS as a library assistant and I am happy to be part of TIS community.

My goal is to help students find their potential emotionally, intellectually and socially by delivering good stories and providing an environment where they can share their ideas and have access to information to find the answer to their questions.