Administrator Bios - The International School

Education Leadership Team

Robert Woods_WEB.jpg

Robert Woods
Head of School
RobertW@intlschool.org

  • Started career as elementary teacher in California: moved to international education administration working six years in Saudi Arabia, nine in Brazil, four in Egypt,  six in Finland, and three in Tanzania
  • Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Speech for Chapman University
  • Master of Education from University of California, Riverside
  • Certified Elementary Teacher, State of California
  • Certified Administrator, University of California, Fullerton
  • At TIS since 2012

Click here for an article about Robert.

 

Bodo Heiliger
Principal, K-5                                                        BodoH@intlschool.org

  • From: Radolfzell, Germany; and Allendale, New Jersey
  • Bachelor of Arts from Colby College
  • Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • In education since 2002; at TIS since 2016

The International School is a truly unique and inspiring place of teaching and learning. It embraces the ideals I hold dear to my heart of global citizenship; the beauty and diversity of language learning; as well as the power and possibilities of the IB Primary Years Program. 

Over my time in education, I have taught in nearly all elementary grade levels in various schools across the United States and in Germany. I have been fortunate to have trained as an IB PYP Workshop Leader and a Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction Trainer, which allows me to lead workshops for TIS and schools across the world on how to teach and implement the PYP and concept-based teaching and learning. 

Every day I become even more excited to be a part of this dedicated and diverse group of educators, students and parents. I love working collaboratively with the entire community and appreciate the great responsibility I have of helping support TIS's continued growth and success.

 
Maria Abad_WEB.jpg

Maria Abad
Head of Early Childhood Program
MariaA@intlschool.org

  • From Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Bachelor's in Education from Pontificia University of Cuenca
  • Teaching Certificate from Pontificia University of Cuenca
  • Teaching since 1987; at TIS since 1993

I love working with young children. They are so eager to learn and so open to the world and to new experiences. My interactions with the kids are always the highlight of my day, whether it’s when I visit their classrooms, in the waiting rooms, or when they run into my office in the middle of a meeting to give me a hug.

I originally became a teacher simply because I wanted to work with people, but after just my first year of teaching I knew this was the job for me. Now I can’t imagine being in any other field. It fills me with such joy to get to be a part of our students’ lives, watching them grow, develop and acquire life long skills, and to be a part of this school. Our mission and community are really what I love most about TIS. We all come from different places and parents choose this school for their children because they recognize the value in that diversity as well as our strong academic program.

My hope for all the students in The International School is that they continue what they start here, that they gain the skills needed to function well in society, and go out in pursuit of their dreams. I love hearing from alumni students. As they become young adults, they realize the importance of their time at The International School. They realize that they’ve walked away with so many life-long skills, not only the ability to speak two languages. It’s great to see where those skills have taken them in life.

Click here for an article about Maria.

TIS celebrates 20 years with Maria & Jossie

 
Spanish Fac 4.jpg

Abelid (Abby) Verri
Director of International Baccalaureate Curriculum & Instructional Coach
AbbyV@intlschool.org

  • From Hidalgo, Mexico; and Portland, OR
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Portland State University
  • Master of Education from Marylhurst University (in progress)
  • Teaching since 2008; at TIS since 2008

As part of the TIS community, I enjoy working in such a rich multicultural environment, and enjoy listening to the multiple languages being spoken around me as I walk through the hallways. I feel honored to be part of a thriving community of learners- both teachers and students; TIS is a place where I can learn from everyone around me.  I see education as a journey, not a destination; this belief leads me to be continually learning about education, approaches to learning, and approaches to teaching. 

Working in an IB World School is a privilege, and I am humbled to be able to work and collaborate with the TIS faculty in the development of a rigorous program that can empower, educate and challenge our students to become global citizens, and inspire them to reach their full potential.

 

Ariana Levi
Student Support Services Coordinator
ArianaL@intlschool.org

  • From Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Bachelor's of Education and Teaching Certificate in Special Education from ORANIM, Academic College of Education in Israel
  • Teaching since 2001; teaching at TIS since 2013 

Throughout my life, from a very early age, I have been part of groups and institutions with the goal to educate children, either formally or informally. I’m a people person, so when I had to decide what career I wanted to pursue I knew I would like to study something that involved having a positive impact in my community. Particularly, I wanted to work with children and most importantly, I wanted to make a difference in their lives. That’s when I decided to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Special Education.

Today, after more of 10 years of professional experience, working in three languages and in three different countries, I feel so happy to have earned my degree as a teacher. I have grown to be a committed educator that develops long-lasting relationships with students and their families.

My goal as a teacher is to foster a love of learning, providing children with the right skills and tools to explore and thrive in a fast developing world where knowledge is very accessible. I hope that one day I see my students looking back and remembering me as a teacher who cared for them and who somehow contributed to the fulfillment of their dreams.

Please click here for an article about Ariana.

 

Senior Administrative Team

Meredith-2013-web.jpg

Meredith Fleming
Summer Camp Director; Capstone & Transportation Coordinator
MeredithF@intlschool.org

  • From Eugene, Oregon
  • BA in Journalism and Spanish
  • MA in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • At TIS since 2013

Although born and raised in Oregon, I have spent many years living, working and traveling abroad. As a high school junior, I studied abroad for the first time as an AFS-USA cultural exchange student in Chile. The opportunity to experience another culture and language broadened my worldview and taught me that second language fluency is truly invaluable. Since then, I have found numerous opportunities to continue to explore Latin America and use my Spanish fluency. I have studied abroad three times (Chile, Mexico, Ecuador); worked for nonprofit organizations in Argentina, Ecuador, and Mexico; spent two years in Panama establishing and managing a backpacker hostel; and built friendships with people throughout more than fifteen countries.

The opportunity to join TIS allows me to support intercultural education, language immersion, and student success – all things that I love! 

 
Marguerite-1.jpg

Marguerite McAleer
HR, People, & Culture
MMcaleer@intlschool.org

  • From all over the world!
  • Bachelors of Science in Business and Hospitality Management, Florida International University
  • At TIS since 2016

Marguerite joins the TIS Team with over ten years of HR and general management experience focused on meeting strategic and operational objectives for various industries such as Hospitality service, Manufacturing, and Technology.  Marguerite has been responsible for a variety of HR activities including staffing, training, coaching, employee development, and employee relations. Her attentive, hands-on approach and focus on teamwork aligns well with her new role at TIS. Marguerite's competencies include performance management, employee relations training, and strategic approach to employee engagement. She believes that success involves team collaboration and ideas, especially fun ones!

Marguerite's service orientation combined with her proven ability to equip leaders and contribute to operational excellence directly contributes to the needs of TIS's objectives. It is important that our team members are committed to furthering to the success of our international community, and Marguerite isn't afraid to roll up her sleeves and work alongside the team to make it happen.

When Marguerite is not at work, you may find her at one of Portland's many parks swinging on the monkey bars with her son Grayson who is 7 years old.  If she is not on the playground, she may be assisting with a charity, or simply planning a trip. She has lived in Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Egypt, and Sudan. Feel free to stop by her office anytime with a big smile to say hi. She will be doing the same. 

 
Lauren-2013-web.jpg

Lauren Riegelnegg
Development Director
LaurenR@intlschool.org

  • From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Bachelor's in Spanish Language and Literacy with a concentration in Latin American studies, The University of Pittsburgh
  • At TIS since 2008

I moved to Portland in 2008 and was fortunate to find a place with The International School community. TIS could not be a better fit for me. I have been involved in the field of language education since 2002. I’ve taught adult ESL and Spanish to children, including at a Spanish immersion preschool in Pittsburgh where I also ran the summer camp program.I love being a part of a school that fosters language education and multicultural understanding, while also getting to work with children and people from all over the world.

Giving your child the gift of a second language is invaluable. It opens so many doors. But students at TIS gain much more than a second language. They become world citizens- open-minded, knowledgeable, confident, and and bilingual. What a head start!

 
Kat Simons_WEB.jpg

Katherine Simons
Marketing & Communications Director
Kats@intlschool.org

  • From Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; and Greenwich, CT
  • Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Georgetown University
  • Master's (MBA) in Marketing and Strategy, Yale University, School of Management
  • TIS parent since 2012; On staff since 2014

I am very proud to be a member of The International School community, both as a staff member and as a parent.

I have over 15 years’ worth of both online and offline marketing experience, and have held a variety of roles at both Fortune 500 corporations and small start-ups. Most recently, I was a consultant for a variety of firms in the technology, entertainment, real estate, and philanthropic industries. I am so happy to be able to now apply my skills to TIS.

My work and love of travel has allowed me to engage with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. My prior employment enabled me to spend significant time in India, Australia, and the Middle East, and my family spent a number of years living in Hong Kong while I was younger. I enjoy meeting - and collaborating with - a variety of people, and I hope that you find me to be a supportive ear and an approachable source of information and guidance on campus.

The International School is a wonderful place for children to learn and grow. It provides invaluable gifts of culture, community, and immersive language. I send my own children here, and it is a true pleasure to watch them become confident, caring, and thoughtful world citizens.  I only wish that I had had this opportunity as a child!

 
RobT--2013.jpg

Robert Timmons
Director of Finance & Operations
RobT@intlschool.org

  • From Columbia, Missouri
  • Bachelor's in International Studies, University of Missouri
  • MBA from William Woods University
  • At TIS since 2002

Rob came to TIS with prior experience as Director of Finance for SakéOne Corporation and Branch Manager at First National Bank & Trust. Rob has also served on the Boards of the Beaverton Sister City Foundation and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO). Rob is actively involved in the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS), having served on the Business Officers Conference Planning Committee, as a host in breakout sessions on various topics relevant to independent schools, and as a member of four school accreditation teams. Rob enjoys travel and multi-cultural activities. He is a firm believer in immersion education, and proud to be a part of this quality, ground-breaking institution.

 
Jan-Williams-web.jpg

Jan Williams
Admissions Director
JanW@intlschool.org

  • From London, England
  • Bachelor's in Comparative American Studies, University of Warwick, England
  • Master's in History from The College of William and Mary
  • At TIS since 2003

I moved to the United States after undergraduate work, and, after several years on the east coast, I moved to Portland in 1991. Before becoming the Director of Admissions at the International School, I worked in admission offices at Lewis & Clark College and Reed College.

 

Administrative & Support Team

Sonya Alexander_web.jpg

Sonya Alexander
Health and Safety Coordinator
sonyaa@intlschool.org

  • From Baltimore, Maryland
  • B.A. in Psychology, Washington College
  • At TIS since 2014

I love travel, education and nursing which fit perfectly into the role of Health and Safety Coordinator at TIS.  This school is so unique; when I first heard about TIS I was intrigued by its language diversity and wanted to know more.

I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Washington College with a B.A. in psychology.  Afterwards, I joined Peace Corps, where I served as a teacher and community development worker in a rural village of Rwanda, going without running water for 2 years.  I loved the living abroad experience so much I moved to Asia and taught Kindergarten in Eastern Thailand.  In addition I have spent time living in Australia and South Africa.  After meeting a great guy we decided to move back to America and Portland was our city of choice.

Since arriving in Portland I obtained my EMT license and worked as a medication aide at a senior retirement facility before finding TIS.  At TIS I help deal with any and all illnesses or injuries, emergencies, parent notification about health and safety concerns, and proactively working with children and staff on health and safety issues.

 

Chelsea Bock
Marketing & Admissions Assistant
ChelseaB@intlschool.org

  • From Riegelsville, Pennslyvania
  • B.A. Mass Communications and Photography, York College
  • At TIS since 2017

I am thrilled to be a part of The International School community! The diversity and culture of TIS is exciting and inspiring and is what really drew me to this organization. Before becoming the Marketing & Admissions Assistant at TIS I spent time working in marketing and communications for a fine art printer/publisher and a creative agency. I moved to Portland in 2015 to experience a new culture and community and couldn’t be happier living in the PNW. 

In her free time, you can find Chelsea hiking, biking, crafting, thrifting or just exploring somewhere in Oregon.

Bryna-1.jpg

Bryna Cortes
Development Administrative Assistant
dev.admin@intlschool.org

  • From Southern California and Newport, OR
  • At TIS since 2015

I moved to Portland in 2014 and have been pursuing a BA in Sociology. Growing up in a very diverse part of California, it has been very exciting to experience TIS; a community within Portland that celebrates cultures and embraces traditions from all over the world. 

In my position I work on various projects from database work to fundraiser promotions. You can find me putting up posters around campus or managing the Community Service Days for TIS.

During my free time I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee, adventuring in nature, or volunteering around the city. 

 

Vitaliy Gabor
Facilities Assistant Technician
VitaliyG@intschool.org

  • From Chernivtsi, Ukraine and Portland, Oregon.
  • Associate’s Degree in Facilities Maintenance Technology from Portland Community College
  • Certification from HVAC/R Installation from Portland Community College
  • Manufacturing Technology back ground from Clackamas Community College
  • At TIS since 2016

I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a part of an organization like TIS. I grew up in a bilingual home and therefore experienced firsthand the priceless gift of knowing a second language. I'm excited to contribute to this school in the facilities department. I worked in the manufacturing field for seven years after which I changed my career focus to HVAC. I completed the HVAC program at Portland Community College and worked as an HVAC technician prior to coming to TIS.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my wife and our two daughters. Growing up in Oregon, I truly enjoy the diversity and culture here. We often explore the local parks and attractions. I am also very heavily involved in my local church where I work as the youth leader. I work with young people (teens to early twenties) and coordinate events, camp, fund raisers, etc. I am a people person and look forward to getting to know the staff and kids here at TIS.

 

Nurys Herrera

Administrative Assistant to the Head of Early Childhood, Summer Camp Registrar
nurysh@intlschool.org

  • From Lima, Peru
  • Certificate in Foreign Language for Elementary Students from Pacific University
  • Certificate in Acting from Catholic University of Lima

Nurys has been with TIS on and off for over 20 years! She first came to TIS in 1993, when she was a Teaching Assistant. She worked for PPS for 7 years and had been combining all her teaching years with another passion: acting! Nurys returned to TIS as a Low-K teacher in 2014 and became and Administrative Assistant to the Head of the Early Childhood in 2015.

I feel more than happy to be part of this community! TIS has been my home since I moved from Lima, Peru. Coming to work knowing that I will be surrounded by lovely kids and an amazing Staff that has become friends over the years, it fills my heart with joy and I am grateful for that!

 
Eros2.jpg

Eros Minera
Facilities & Maintenance Specialist
ErosM@intlschool.org

  • From Guatemala
  • At TIS since 2011

I enjoy every day here. I came here with a vast array of experience in the construction and maintenance sector- everything from carpentry and painting to plumbing and electrical work- but also with seven years experience working for a large communications company in Guatemala. At TIS I’m happy to be able to utilize all my varied skills. I get to work with my hands and to solve problems, and I also get the opportunity to interact with many different types of people.

My interactions with the kids, parents and staff are my favorite parts of the day. The TIS community is very friendly and open-minded. I also enjoy working here because my wife is a Spanish teacher at TIS and our daughter is enrolled in the Japanese Track. Working with my family close by is like a dream come true.

 

Lisa Olivares
Alumni & Engagement Manager
LisaO@intlschool.org

  • From Chicago, Illinois
  • BS in Natural Resources and Environmental Science
  • Master’s in Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • At TIS since 2015

Lisa has an extensive background in non-profit fundraising and event planning. She's worked on and off for nearly 20 years in event planning and membership programs with environmental organizations in Illinois, Utah and Oregon; Lisa has also worked as a planner focusing on environmental planning and land use in Utah.  Most recently, she was Executive Director of the Straub Environmental Center in Salem before taking a few years off with her three young kids.  As Alumni and Community Engagement Manager, Lisa manages the Global Citizen Fund (TIS annual fund campaign) and Alumni Program, as well as provides significant support for TIS fundraising events such as the Auction Gala and Run For the Arts.  

Outside of TIS - which is rare given that all three of her kids are also enrolled in the Spanish track! - Lisa enjoys running, watching sports and being outdoors with her Native Oregonian and rain-compatible husband. Together, they enjoy the challenges of teaching their small kids to hike, bike, climb, skate and (kind of) ski. They also enjoy rewarding themselves with happy hour after a day of enduring those challenges.

 
Lisa San Gabriel.jpg

Lisa San Gabriel
Executive Administrative Assistant
LisaS@intlschool.org

  • From San Rafael, California
  • BA in Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
  • At TIS since 2016

The International School recognizes the importance of teaching language with culture, for language and culture are intertwined; you cannot have one without the other. The enthusiasm and commitment of the staff to inspire children to be global citizens further convinced me that this community was one I wanted to be a part of, and I look forward to contributing to such a comprehensive, enriching learning environment.

I live in Portland with my partner and two cats and am having fun exploring all the wonderful hiking trails, parks, museums and restaurants that are plentiful here. I enjoy arts and crafts to explore my creativity and am trying my hand at a vegetable and herb garden in my backyard.

 

Lora Worden
Librarian
LoraW@intlschool.org

  • 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.)
 

Candy Trujillo
Administrative Assistant to the Principal                                                     candyt@intlschool.org

  • From Southern California
  • Bachelor of Science in Education from Auburn University, Alabama
  • Master of Education from Concordia University, Portland
  • At TIS since 2016

Throughout the years, Candy has been an elementary school teacher, education specialist at a local art museum, English language teacher from elementary school to university - both internationally and locally, and in administration. She's excited to bring her experience to TIS and be a part of such a culturally diverse community. 

In addition to her work at TIS, Candy is thrilled to have her child attending our Japanese language track while learning to be a globally minded citizen.

 

Mark-Usher.jpg

Mark Usher
Technology Coordinator
MarkU@intlschool.org

  • At TIS since 2012