Education Leadership Team

Bodo Heiliger
Head of School

  • 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 ISP since 2016

International School of Portland 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 ISP 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 ISP’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 ISP 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 ISP. 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 at 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 ISP. 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.

Jason Johnston
Head of Elementary (Grades 1-5)

  • From Rome, Georgia
  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from State University of West Georgia
  • Master of Education with a focus in International Leadership from Wilkes University
  • In education since 1999

From the moment I began working and teaching in the classroom, I have had a passion for supporting students through the learning process and supporting teachers in providing the best education possible for young learners. My favorite place to be is in the classroom. I can’t wait to meet all of the wonderful students and see their learning in action. I am learning very quickly that the International School of Portland is a special place dedicated to its community and its students. I am happy to be a member of the ISP family.

As for me, I have experience working with children of all ages but have direct classroom experience in grades 2-5 mainly in the state of Georgia. I have worked abroad in Mexico City, Mexico where I served as a principal and dean of students for two international schools. I am also a member of the International Baccalaureate Education Network (IBEN) which has provided me experience leading workshops and site visits in the United States and abroad for the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Being a member of IBEN also supports me in keeping up to date with best practices that support an international education.

Again, I am excited to be a member of the ISP community. I look forward to working together with all members of the school community to continue the amazing work that is happening.

Paula Cano
PYP Coordinator

  • From Colombia
  • MA in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • BA in Literature (Cum Laude), Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
  • Certificate in Early Childhood Education, Portland State University
  • Primary Years Program, Middle Years Program, and Diploma Program Workshops, International Baccalaureate Organization

Erin Porter
Head of Student Services

  • From Washington, DC
  • Master in Elementary Education from the University of Virginia
  • Master in International & Intercultural Communication, Royal Roads University
  • Doctoral Candidate in Neuroeducation, University of Portland

As a lifelong learner myself, I love helping children nurture their inherent love of learning and to celebrate their strengths and successes within a learning community and beyond. International School of Portland of Portland’s student-centred mission aligns with my vision for an inclusive, process-oriented, and nurturing school environment.

Throughout my career as an educator I have been drawn to the students who struggle in some way in the classroom as I challenge myself to figure out how best I can guide and boost them as learners. Learning about the brain and how we learn neurobiologically has helped build my toolbox which I bring to ISP to support all learners. I am inspired by the school’s PYP program’s focus on inquiry as it connects to the sense of curiosity and connection I see as essential to learning.

When not at school, I am happy cooking healthy meals with my family, exploring beaches and forests with my dogs, and kayaking wherever possible.

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 ISP since 2017

Beth Katona
Development Director

  • Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University: Master of Nonprofit Organizations- Valedictorian
  • Princeton University, Bachelor of Arts: Obtained NJ Teacher Certification
  • International School of Portland Trustee and Chair of the External Affairs Committee, May 2019 to May 2022
  • ISP Alumni parent

Marguerite McAleer
HR Guru, People, & Culture

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

Katharine Applegarth 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
  • At ISP since 2014

Ryan Scheel
Extended Programs Director & Capstone Coordinator

  • From Los Angeles, CA
  • BFA in Art, UCLA and University of Oregon
  • At ISP since 2021

Robert Timmons
Director of Finance & Operations

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

Jan Williams
Director of Enrollment Management

  • 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 ISP since 2003

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 ISP since 2017

Jaynie Frost
Assistant to the Head of Elementary

  • From Los Angeles county, California
  • BA in Psychology from University of Southern California
  • At ISP since 2023

Allegra Lopez
Development Coordinator/Administrative Assistant

  • From Portland, Oregon
  • BA in English from Portland State University
  • At ISP since 2023

Jenna McCracken
Assistant to the Head of Early Childhood

  • From Portland, OR
  • Over 30 years experience working in Social Service and education
  • At ISP since 2021 — connected to ISP over 25 years!

Candy Trujillo
Executive Assistant to the Head of School/Project Manager

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

Mark Usher
Technology Coordinator

  • From Omaha, Nebraska
  • At ISP since 2012

Spear Center for Excellence in Teaching at International School of Portland

Kelly Rogers
Head of Professional Learning

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

Learn more about the Deloris A. Spear Center for Excellence in Teaching here!