Spanish Language Immersion Faculty - The International School

Spanish Track Faculty


Vicky Meneses
PreK (3 year olds) Teacher

  • From Cancun and Monterrey, México
  • Bachelor's in Education and Psychology from Universidad de Montemorelos
  • Master's in Family Therapy - Candidate
  • Teaching since 1992; teaching at TIS 1996-2008 and 2009-present

It has been a wonderful experience to see children learning another language and culture. I really enjoy the family environment at TIS, and I love watching my little ones becoming independent little people and talking my language.Like many parents, I think TIS offers a wonderful gift we can give our children. It gives them another door to our world.

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Lorena Espina
LowK (4 year olds) Teacher

  • From Michoacan, México
  • Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education from Northeastern Illinois University
  • Teaching since 2007; teaching at TIS since 2015

Lorena is looking forward to working at TIS because she loves to teach young children, especially in her native language. When not at school, Lorena enjoys spending time with her family, going to the park and library, shopping, and watching movies.


Jossie Torres-Jurado
LowK (4 year olds) Teacher

  • From Puerto Rico
  • Bachelor's in Math and Computers from Universidad de Puerto Rico
  • Teaching since 1988; teaching at TIS since 1994

I am a Puerto Rican girl who loves to be around children. I enjoy my work a lot. For me, working with children is not just about teaching them. It is also about learning with them and appreciating who they are. As a teacher, I see myself as a facilitator for my children. My job is to help them or guide them to discover how wonderful they are, and how great it is to learn new things. Also, I want them to realize that they are little teachers for one another, exchanging their knowledge and skills.

Click here for an article about Jossie.

TIS celebrates 20 years with Jossie & Maria! 

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Adela Pedrosa-Correa
Kindergarten Teacher

  • From Velez Benaudalla, Spain
  • Bachelor's in Education with majors in Kindergarten, Spanish Language, History & Geography from University of Granada in Spain
  • Master's in Psychology
  • Teaching since 1985; teaching at TIS since 1999

I entered the world of education with the full conviction that I was going to "teach" certain things to the kids, and guide them through their first years of school. After so many experiences, I feel passionate about being there "with them" day by day as I try to get to know them, understand them and enjoy them.

They arrive to me every year in September full of anticipation, fears and excitement for the big step: "Kindergarten". As time goes by, we get to know each other and we form relationships. We learn to negotiate, to work hard, to discuss passionately and to enjoy our little community. But we also try to find our own voices. It is in this complex and unique process that I learn to love the children for who they are, that I try to guide them through academic and emotional success and, most importantly, that I appreciate and celebrate the interactions that we have every day.

I consider myself very lucky! Teaching in The International School allows me to be part of an immersion program in my mother tongue. This is a complex process since it involves the teaching of academic contents, emotional abilities, and daily negotiations in a language that is foreign to the children. To be part of this sophisticated educational environment is an enriching and challenging professional task for me. It is always amazing to "see" the way each child will develop his/her academic abilities through a new language. It is in this stimulating environment that children will surprise me year after year.

Click here for an article about Adela.


Lorena Perellon
Kindergarten Teacher

  • From Spain
  • BA in Italian Philology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Master’s in Spanish as a Second Language at UNED
  • Teaching since 2006; teaching at TIS since 2015

I'm very lucky to have the opportunity to work in an intercultural environment like TIS. It's awe-inspiring to see kids communicate in different languages with each other at very a young age. I love teaching kids; they share vitality! I want to be part of their education, as they help and grow together. The best thing of this job is to see how the students grow as independent persons at the end of the school year.”

She is fluent in Spanish, English, and Italian.  When not teaching, Lorena enjoys yoga, spending time with her friends and of course, traveling. She has also developed a passion for American brunch culture!


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Ivonne Tellez
1st Grade Teacher

  • From México City, Mexico
  • Bachelor's in Pedagogy from Universidad Nacional Autónomo de México
  • Teaching since 1989; teaching at TIS since 2000


I feel very honored to be a teacher at TIS. The school offers rich experiences and diversity of culture where everybody learns. This environment makes me excited and proud to be part of TIS.

Each year I am eager to meet the smiling faces and hear the enthusiastic voices of my new students. This is a new beginning for them and a new opportunity for me to maintain their enthusiasm through the year and help them to be academically successful. Everyday I provide meaningful learning experiences for my students by promoting discussion, presentations, experimentation and hands on activities. Little by little with patience, passion and guidance the children become independent learners and they actively take responsibility for their own learning. 

It is a great privilege and responsibility to inspire my student’s love for learning and tolerance to diversity in the world.


Paula Cano
1st Grade Teacher

  • From Bogota, Colombia
  • Masters in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • BA in Literature (Cum Laude), Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
  • Primary Years Program and Middle Years Program Workshops Categories 1-3, International Baccalaureate Organization.
  • Teaching at TIS since 2016

Throughout my career in education, I have found great joy in listening to my students’ ideas and guiding them as they discover the world by engaging in hands on projects. A firm believer in the IBO’s Primary Years Program, I am excited to meet the families who enroll their children at TIS as we will work together in fostering International Mindedness. As a Spanish teacher, I gladly take on the responsibility of teaching a language that will open children’s’ minds to new cultures and perspectives. I look forward to creating a caring community of learners where we will read lots of books, make experiments, create, inquire, debate, and have tons of fun!


Patricia Saldarriaga

2nd Grade Teacher

  • From Peru
  • Master's in Education from Lesley University (Massachusetts)
  • B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru
  • Teaching since 2007; At TIS since 2017

Patricia has taught in Peru, Massachusetts and California with students ranging from pre-school to 8th Grade. She is an expert in technology integration, as well as supporting students who struggle or excel in mathematics and language. 

"I am originally from Peru, but I have lived in Boston, San Diego, and now in Portland. I have fallen in love with this city, and I am looking forward to make many memories here. I truly enjoy hiking, camping, and just be outside enjoying nature. I am excited about joining the TIS family. I love my job; to see children be curious and show excitement for learning are some of the many rewarding aspects of being a teacher. Those are the things that motivate me to create an engaging environment. Moreover, it makes me feel very fortunate to teach in Spanish, my native language. I consider it a unique opportunity to have the chance to show the students the beauty of cultural diversity.


Celina Gutierrez
Second Grade Teacher

  • From Mexico City, Mexico
  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Berta Von Glummer
  • Teaching since 1996; teaching at TIS since 2011 

I began teaching at the American School Foundation in Mexico, which like The International School is an IB World School.  The IB’s Primary Years Programme really appeals to me because it teaches kids to be open-minded and think for themselves.  With the PYP, students are more engaged in their learning than they would be in a traditional classroom.

I became a teacher because it was the first job that I really enjoyed.  My work makes me smile every day and I learn so much from the children. As a preschool Spanish teacher, I of course want to help my students become bilingual and acquire new knowledge, but I also want to teach them to be open-minded and responsible.I started at TIS in the summer camp program and then became a full-time part of the school as a PreK teacher.

I love being a part of The International School because it is a tight knit community made up of so many cultures. The exposure to different cultures on a daily basis is such a great experience- both for the students and for me!


Adriana Burrola
3rd Grade Teacher

  • From Toluca, Mexico.
  • Bachelor's in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico (UAEM)
  • Master's in Education: Curriculum and Instruction program at Portland State University
  • Teaching since 1992; teaching at TIS 2006-07 and since 2008

Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions. It is a delight to be involved in the development of younger children, especially because you get to see them grow and become independent. I am aware of the big responsibility that being a teacher implies, since children spend most of their time at school with us.

I really enjoy teaching at TIS because of the multicultural environment it promotes. It is amazing to see little children who are indeed speaking the target language. But it is not only the target language or the culture that they acquire at TIS, they are also getting ready to be successful citizens of the world.


Norma Torres Alonso
3rd Grade Teacher  

  • From Santa Clara, Cuba.
  • Bachelor’s in Exceptional Education, Specialty Defectology, Major Field: Oligophrenia Pedagogy and Speech Language Pathology, from Instituto Superior Pedagógico, Cuba.
  • Teaching since 1992; teaching at TIS since 2010

I have always known that I would be a teacher. Teaching is my passion and I have enjoyed it tremendously all these years. The best feeling in the world is to see a child's smile after having done something for him or herself or after having learned something new. Anyone who hasn't felt that is really missing something special. I consider myself so fortunate!

Teaching at TIS allows me to be part of an immersion program in my native language. Language is our most beautiful and surprising ability. I am very proud to be involved our students' development; I love watching them become independent, contributing people, well-prepared for success with their second language. Being immersed in another language will have a positive effect on their lives, allowing them to understand other cultures in addition to their own. Children's ability to absorb and learn is infinite; it is our work to help them establish a strong foundation onto which they can build a successful future with an international conscience.

Click here for an article about Norma.


Paola Gagliardo
4th Grade Teacher

  • From Quito, Ecuador
  • Bachelor's Degree in Chemical and Industrial Engineering, Minor in Psychology
  • Education from Universidad San Francisco de Quito
  • Teaching since 2004; Teaching at TIS since 2012

I developed my passion for teaching when my oldest child was born. I have a strong conviction that a good education of the children as a whole is the key to their success, so I helped co-found a Spanish Immersion School in Vancouver, WA. My mission and vision was to provide not just language but cultural immersion, achieving academic excellence while enabling the child to develop as a whole individual.

I believe that each person has unique ways to gain knowledge and understanding of the world, this is the reason I use the theory of multiple intelligences in my classroom to make sure every student achieves a deep understanding and mastery of the topic. I will get to know your child and nurture his strengths while working on his weaknesses, in a loving and engaging environment.

After I got pregnant with my second child, three years ago, I decided to stay home and enjoy motherhood for a while. During this time, I taught K-8 Spanish in various Catholic Schools and I was the Fluent Spanish Teacher at Northwest Academy last year. I am excited to be a part of The International School and to be working with your child!


Gilberto Rios
4th Grade Teacher

  • From Guatemala
  • Elementary teaching degree, La Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala
  • Teaching since 1988; teaching at TIS since 2010

Ever since I was small, I loved doing theater, writing and reciting poems, and participating in reading and writing competitions. Through those efforts I realized that I have the ability to teach and that I really enjoy language - so I decided to study to be a teacher.

I love teaching children and working with families. I have now taught all grades from preschool through sixth, working in the classroom, teaching after school programs, and working in administration as a school director. I also have training and experience teaching special needs children which broadens the perspective that I bring to the classroom. I love teaching and working with children and am excited to be teaching kindergarten at TIS.


Constanza Wilkes
Spanish Track 5th Grade Teacher

  • From Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
  • Bachelor's in Elementary Education from St. Buenaventura University
  • Two years of business education including accounting
  • Teaching since 1983; teaching at TIS since 1999

After volunteering on weekends at an elementary school at the age of thirteen, I decided to become a teacher. I taught at Salesian Catholic School and at Rufina Cuervo Public School in Bogotá before moving to the USA. Teaching continues to be a very satisfying career for me. My preference has always been teaching children in elementary school.

A great responsibility is put into our hands to educate today the citizen of tomorrow. I believe it is very important to prepare meaningful lessons to give our students a solid foundation so they can participate sensibly in today's society. It gives me enormous satisfaction to see my students' academic and social growth.

Teachers at TIS distribute ideas, materials, experience, and methodology among the different tracks to enhance students' educational experiences. It is wonderful to be able to contribute and also receive the benefits from the vision brought to TIS by teachers from different countries. The administration is open and supportive of new ideas and methods that provide the best education for our children.


Mercedes (Mercy) Martinez
Spanish Track 5th Grade Teacher

  • From San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • University of Puerto Rico, School of Pedagogy
  • Bachelor's from Marylhurst University in Education and English as a Second Language

After 13 years teaching at a private, catholic school in Puerto Rico, my dream of moving my family to Portland finally came true. Having spent summers visiting relatives in Oregon since I was a child, I always had strong feelings of living in Portland. In June 1991, with the purpose of being close to my sister and niece, it finally happened, we moved to Portland!

That same summer I was hired by TIS in its second year of operation. I was the first grade teacher, and I worked for the school until 1996. Those five years truly convinced me of the beauty of immersing students in a target language and culture, and eventually made me feel the need to come back to The International School.

As a native Spanish speaker, it has been my passion to share my language and culture. Teaching has provided me the opportunity to reach students’ lives and to enrich their learning experience with cultural knowledge and awareness through second language acquisition.

I believe in students as the creators of new knowledge, students in charge of what and how they learn, students becoming owners of their learning. I believe in collaborative work, peer coaching and assessment, role playing and paired up activities. I am convinced that students, when positively motivated and engaged, will feel the urge to acquire more knowledge and will become life-long learners. As a long-life learner myself, it is my passion and commitment to inspire others.

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Luzmila Aixa Solari
Spanish Track Assistant Teacher

  • From Lima, Peru
  • Bachelor's in Business Administration and Education - Candidate
  • Taught 1992-1994 in Peru; teaching at TIS since 2006

I enjoy the children's learning process and seeing their success. I am excited about all the different cultures and languages with students and teachers at The International School. There is a lot to learn!

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Judith Masjuan
Spanish Track Assistant Teacher

  • From Santiago, Chile.
  • Pharmacy Technician Certificate from West Metropolitan Health Department of Santiago, Chile.
  • Additional training in early childhood education and the IB PYP through professional development programs
  • Teaching at TIS since 2002

I love to teach at a language immersion school not only because I can teach Spanish, but also because it gives me the opportunity to share my own culture. I also enjoy being a part of The International School because of the diversity here as well as the tremendous parent involvement that it is demonstrated every day.

What I would like to see from the children, in addition to learning the Spanish language, is that through my guidance their weaknesses will become their strengths which helps them improve their own self-esteem. Working with children and seeing them grow in these areas throughout the school year is such a rewarding experience.

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Isabel Arroyo
Spanish Track Assistant Teacher

  • From Barcelona, Spain
  • Teaching at TIS since 2006

Carmen Vega-Martinez
 Spanish Track Assistant Teacher

  • From Mexico City, Mexico
  • At TIS since 2016

Carmen has been a preschool teacher for the past 20 years. All three of her children are bilingual and she has seen the benefits of knowing more than one language. Carmen likes to dance, swim, and walk her Siberian Husky.