Education Leadership Team

Robert Woods
Head of School

  • 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 from 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
Head of Elementary (1st-5th grade)

  • 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
Head of Early Childhood (PreK-Kindergarten)

  • 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

Kelly Rogers
PYP Coordinator

  • From Alexandria, VA
  • Bachelor of Arts from University of Virginia
  • Master of Teaching from University of Virginia
  • In education since 2009; at TIS since 2018

From a young age I knew that I wanted to work with children, and through my experiences in various schools and roles both in the US and abroad I also discovered a passion for working with teacher teams to build and develop the students’ experience. I am an enthusiastic supporter of the opportunities that TIS offers its students. To learn in an international and multi-lingual environment helps children develop an understanding of the beauties and complexities of our world, and the PYP provides a solid framework for deep understanding.

I am joining TIS from Washington, DC, where I was most recently math curriculum coordinator. I am very happy to be in Portland and to take advantage of what the area has to offer. If I am not at work you might find me kayaking, cooking, traveling, or reading.

Heather Lenon
Student Support Services Coordinator

  • Bachelor of Arts; Religious Studies and Global Studies from UC Santa Barbara
  • Master of Teaching from Seattle University
  • In education since 2011; at TIS since 2020

After teaching abroad, my family and I wanted to repatriate to be closer to our family, but still maintain the international mindedness and cultural immersion we had experienced overseas.  I couldn’t believe when I found The International School – a truly “I can have it all!” moment.  I have felt so supported and encouraged as a new team member – the kindness and patience that the TIS community has shown has been greatly appreciated.  When I am not at work I love spending time outside, hiking, camping, and kayaking.  I love to cook with my husband, Aly, and read books with my son, August.  We are so grateful we found our way to Portland.

Senior Administrative Team

Steven Borcherding
Facilities Manager

  • From Washington
  • Studied at Olympic College in Bellingham, WA and Northwest Indian College in Bremerton, WA
  • Affiliations and Certification with APPA, IFMA, MPI, BSI, BOC, and CSI
  • At TIS since 2017

I am very excited to be a part of the International School. Having lived and worked extensively overseas and being part of a community of people from all over the globe I am a strong supporter of multicultural and international education as a tool to bridge world issues that are too large and complex for any one nation or people to resolve.

I have a passion for ensuring that the built environment and facilities work to support education and the mission of the school.

When not mucking about in buildings I am most likely off somewhere in our family boat. I love outdoor activities such as hiking, sailing, fly fishing and hunting wild mushrooms.

Allie Olvera
Extended Programs Director and Capstone Coordinator

  • From Durham, New Hampshire
  • Bachelor’s in Linguistics from the University of New Hampshire
  • Master’s in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

In my career as an international educator, I have facilitated over 40 immersive study abroads across 5 continents. Having lived in Guatemala, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand, South Korea, and India, I am my happiest when trying something I’ve never done before. It’s a pleasure to bring my commitment to transformative youth education home and find a like-minded community at The International School.

When not at work, I enjoy reading, cooking, sewing, and scheming my next trip abroad.

Marguerite McAleer
HR Guru, People, & Culture

  • 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.  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 Riegelnegg
Development Director

  • 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 have been with The International School since 2008, and in our Development Office since 2012. Prior to joining TIS, I was a teacher. I taught Spanish at an immersion preschool in Pittsburgh, and adult ESL classes in Pittsburgh, Washington DC and Spain. Seeing what language learning looks like in such diverse environments gave me an incredible appreciation for immersion education. It is the best way to become truly fluent in another language, and what an invaluable gift that is to a child!

I love working to promote philanthropy at The International School. This is a wonderful and dedicated community, and it warms my heart to see people come together to make change and do good.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy cooking and spending time outdoors with my family.

Katharine Simons
Marketing & Communications Director

  • 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!

Robert Timmons
Director of Finance & Operations

  • 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
Admissions Director

  • 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

Brandy Ascough
Health and Safety Coordinator

  • From Los Angeles, California
  • BS in Science from Portland State University
  • Former Emergency Medical Technician and Emergency Room Technician
  • At TIS since 2017

Aside from my many years in emergency medicine/clinical work, I am an avid world traveler and rescue/rehabilitate animals in my free time. I enjoy playing classical guitar, learning new languages and am an avid reader. You will frequently catch me reading anything from peer-reviewed science journals, electrical code manuals, news, language books, to theater skits. I have a non-stop craving for knowledge and love to teach. I also taught CPR for many years in southern California and love to live an active lifestyle either running, camping, or out on the water on my boat.

The International School is an amazing school as it combines an inspiring mission and all encompassing way of learning. I am very excited to work with such a well cultured society coupled with a teaching environment. The sound of teachers and students speaking different languages throughout the day is music to my ears! I am proud to be the newest member of the TIS team!

Nurys Herrera

Administrative Assistant to the Head of Early Childhood, Summer Camp Registrar

  • 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!

Candy Trujillo
Head of Elementary Administrative Assistant

  • 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.

Sharon Kim
Executive Administrative Assistant

  • From Paraguay, Spain, China, Korea, Mexico, and now the U.S.
  • Bachelor of Arts from Seoul National University
  • Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education

I am excited to become a part of the TIS community. What drew me to TIS was the school’s vision: preparing students to become global leaders by equipping them with linguistic and cultural tools that are crucial in tomorrow’s world. I have lived and worked in various countries as a teacher, entrepreneur, and nonprofit leader. With my brown leather journal in hand, I like to travel around the world and invite strangers for coffee to listen to their stories. When I’m not traveling, I enjoy playing board games, going hiking, and watching movies with family and friends.

Kate Cooper
Global Kids Extended-Day Program Manager

  • From upstate New York; Vancouver, Canada; and the San Francisco Bay Area
  • BA Community Studies, University of California Santa Cruz – Field Study in Nicaragua

I am so excited to be a part of a multi-lingual and multi-cultural school community that reflects the diversity within my own family! When I’m not at school I love hiking with my family, cooking nutritious meals, and breaking bread together.

Rebecca Roberts
Event Coordinator/Development Assistant

  • From Portland, Oregon
  • BA in Advertising from Marquette University
  • At TIS since 2017

I spent the first 23 years of my career working in the advertising industry, completing that phase in 2011 after serving as Broadcast Director at a large global agency. I then jumped into chairing fundraising events for several large nonprofits, including the Oregon Episcopal School, where my children attended K-12. I love sharing my passion, knowledge, and experience with The International School to help further its mission and to further strengthen its foundation. As a parent who endeavored to raise upstanding adults, I admire TIS’s focus on creating global citizens, something so important in our local community as well as today’s world.

In my free time, you will find me on the tennis court prepping for an upcoming match or whipping up the latest baking recipe that my husband and I saw on the Great British Baking Show. In the winter, you will find me on the mountain skiing with my family. I have two children in undergrad and one pursuing grad school.

Lisa Olivares
Alumni & Engagement Manager

  • 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

I have a background in non-profit fundraising and event planning, having worked on and off for nearly 20 years in event planning and membership programs with environmental organizations in Illinois, Utah and Oregon. As Alumni and Community Engagement Manager, I manage the Global Citizens Annual Fund and Alumni Program.

I am also a parent at The International School, and am incredibly grateful that my family and I are part of this amazing community!

Mark Usher
Technology Coordinator

  • From Omaha, Nebraska
  • At TIS since 2012

In addition to working on computers, Mark is also a cooking extraordinaire. You’ll see him donned in a Hawaiian shirt every Friday.

Sarah Loepp
Marketing & Admissions Assistant

  • From Oregon
  • BA in History and German Studies from University of Richmond
  • MA in Publishing Studies from Portland State University
  • At TIS since 2019

I am honored to be a part of a community that values international-mindedness and global citizenship. I love working in an environment where I hear four languages throughout the day! In my free time, you’re likely to find me hiking, reading, watching a Blazer game, or planning future travels.

James Smith
Maintenance- Custodial

Bio coming soon!