Preschool teachers at The Magellan International School provide a warm, consistent and supportive educational environment to our students. Each classroom has a lead and assistant teacher, and students in Preschool also enjoy learning from specialist teachers throughout the week in Art, Music, Library, Physical Education and English. Our Preschool families are also supported by our Campus Manager and Counselor, and health needs are attended to by our School Nurse. Meet them below!
Head of Preschool
Julieta Carrillo is a bilingual teacher and administrator who came to Magellan in 2014 as the PYP Coordinator. She is also an Apple Certified Teacher and an IB Educator. She has a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education specialized in Bilingual Education and Curriculum Design. Julieta has been in Education for 25 years in many private bilingual IB schools in Mexico City, such as Instituto Educativo Olinca, The Churchill School, Colegio Williams and Colegio Internacional de México.
After teaching 8 years, recognizing the value of the IB programmes and living by the philosophy of the PYP, she became a PYP Coordinator in 2005 and since then, she has led different schools through the process of IB verification and evaluation visits in a very successful way. She proudly guided all the self-study process for The Magellan International first evaluation visit.
IB Educators perform three different roles: as a workshop leader, Julieta has been training teachers and administrators in regional and on-site workshops throughout IB Americas. As a site visitor, she takes part in visiting teams that authorize and evaluate schools and as a consultant for interested schools through their feasibility study and early implementation of the PYP. These experiences enable her to enrich her role at MIS because she has plenty of opportunities to discover the power of different realities and perspectives in our globalized world.
Julieta describes herself as an inquirer by nature and a creative open-minded life long learner.
Giannina Zignago was born and raised in Lima, Perú. She has over twenty-four years of hands on experience in the field of Education, all which started at the Private Catholic University, the Universidad Femenina del Sagrado Corazon. Giannina earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education with a major in Learning Disabilities.
She worked as a 2nd grade lead teacher for over nine years at the Lima Villa College and has had the opportunity to teach a wide variety of students, including those challenged by attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, language disorders, emotional disturbances, and learning disabilities. Her passion for teaching contributed to her willingness to participate in representing the school as a presenter at the first “Ibero-American Congress of Educational Psycology” and at the “Fourth National Conference on Learning Disabilities” in Lima, Perú.
Giannina moved to Florida on December 2003 with her family, where she gave birth to their beautiful son. Having a young child caused her to want to explore a new chapter in her teaching profession and it led her to start a new chapter in her career working in Early Childhood Education. She realized how important the first educational experiences for a child are in their development. Giannina worked for six years at Education First Incorporated Schools in Weston, Florida. While there, she implemented the “ Visible Thinking Routines” and the “Thinking Keys” proposed by “Project Zero” at Harvard University. These teaching strategies proved to be a great success with her students.
In January 2015, Giannina and her family moved to the beautiful city of Austin. It didn’t take long for them to realize that they had made the right decision by relocating to this family friendly city. Once settled, Giannina started working at a privately owned preschool located in Cedar Park. There, she worked as not only a Lead Preschool teacher and a Spanish Teacher.
Giannina’s ultimate goal for each of her students is they have a deep confidence in themselves. That they know there is no limitation to what they can achieve if they discover what their strengths are and how to apply them not only now, but down the road in life.
Giannina really looks forward to meeting the parents and children who are part of the MIS community!
Lead Teacher & PP4 Grade Level Leader
Mariluz Arveláiz is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. In 1998, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and Learning Disabilities from José María Vargas University. With 19 years of experience in the field of education, she has worked in Venezuela and Florida. In Venezuela, she worked as a kindergarten teacher at the Colegio Teresiano and Moral y Luces Herzl “Hebraica” (Hebrew) school.
At Hebraica she also participated in the Villas (Arts) summer camp for children with special needs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sofia Imber. There she learned sign language and braille. She also worked in a program for the inclusion of children with special needs in regular classrooms. The program encouraged fundamental values such as tolerance, collaboration, and respect, through various educative and recreational activities.
She continued as a kindergarten teacher working on the reading and writing processes in English and Spanish. She implemented the PYP as well as the “Visible Thinking” methodology (from Project Zero) through the use of Thinking Routines. The students managed to highlight and increase their capacity for analysis, observation and processing information and language. She also worked as an advisor for the Education First Group to train school principals, teachers and teaching assistants in Thinking Routines and their implementation in the classroom. Mariluz says, “As a mother of a young child, I truly believe in the importance of preparing our children with the necessary tools to meet the everyday challenges of a fast changing, multicultural world.”
Anna Bean was born and raised in Mexicali, Baja California Mexico. After high school, she attended the Center of Technological Studies to prepare her for a career as a phlebotomist. Upon completing her certification in phlebotomy, she moved to Aguascalientes in Central Mexico. She continued her education at the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes, where she studied Biochemical Engineering. In addition, she completed certifications in Parental Education, Special Needs Education, and served as a mentor and tutor.
Anna moved with her husband to Austin, TX in 2001. She has four beautiful children, who were all born and raised in Aguascalientes. Anna is a very creative person. She enjoys painting, drawing, and crocheting. She also loves color and interior design. One of Anna’s favorite things to do is cook for her family and friends. An interesting fact about her is that she is trilingual in Spanish, English and American Sign Language. Anna continues to take classes at Austin Community College and is delighted to be a part of the Magellan Team. In the classroom, she is highly inspired by the children and their discovery of new things around them.
English Teacher, Preschool & Kinder
Whitney Winchester was born in Houston, Texas. Whitney graduated cum laude with her Bachelor of Arts in Politics and her Masters degree in International Relations from Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. After moving to Austin in 2008, she attended an alternative certification program for teaching elementary school. Whitney worked in Austin Independent School District as the Director of Child Care at Lee Elementary school before accepting a position at Gorgeous Millie, a preschool in Austin. While there, Whitney taught children ages 1-4. Additionally, she served as the manager of the school and business.
Prior to Magellan, Whitney spent 2 years teaching English at Austin International School. While there, she taught both the 3- and 4-year old classes. Whitney also served as a coordinator for the Preschool and Kindergarten teams. Whitney joined The Magellan International School Faculty in 2017. She is honored to have the opportunity to work at Magellan. Her goal is to create an environment for each of the students where they can feel safe and nurtured as they develop both as students and members of a global community.
Art Teacher, PP3 - 2nd Grade
Dan Kaplan received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. After working for several years as a visual artist, he returned to school and obtained his K-12 art teacher certification at Carlow University. He has spent his professional life working as an educator, artist, and musician.
Dan believes that art is a great way for students to express and nourish their ideas. Every student, from the most literal-minded to the most abstract thinker, can find their place in the art room. The elementary years are a great time to explore these possibilities. For the past several years, Dan has been working in Austin as a visual artist and musician, and enjoys being a teacher at Magellan International School.
Rozette holds a Master’s Degree in counseling from the University of North Texas and has been a counselor for more than 6 years. She has experience in counseling children, teens, and adults, and is excited to work with our PP3-PP4 students. Rozette is originally from Dallas, but recently moved to Austin from Anchorage, Alaska.
Preschool Teaching Assistant
Silva is a Colombian teacher and musician. She graduated from Universidad Juan N. Corpas as a professional clarinetist and has a certificate in Education from Universidad Unipanamericana, both in Bogotá.
As a music teacher, she has worked with children around the ages of 4 to 8 guiding them to express themselves through art. While in Colombia, she worked for ten years at the Santa María School located in Bogotá. In 2021 she moved to Austin and is very happy to be a part of the MIS community. Aside from teaching, she’s a happy baker who likes to make all types of desserts and give them out to family and friends. As part of leading a healthy and artistic lifestyle, Silvana loves to work out and play soccer with friends.
Preschool Teaching Assistant
Preschool Teaching Assistant
Carolina is a native Spanish speaker, originally from Bogota, Colombia and received her high school diploma with the highest honors from Liceo Naval Quito with a focus in Biology and Chemistry. In addition to her academic success, Carolina was a highly decorated cross-country runner and still loves to run and participate in sports. After graduating, Carolina studied international business 3 years at the Equator Technological University (in Quito) before meeting her husband, Brian in 2003, and getting married in 2004.
Carolina’s interest in the field of education began in 2004, when she hired as the official school secretary for Holy Cross Academy in Quito, Ecuador, a position she held for five years. In that time, she served as the first point of contact for the school, greeting students and parents providing them with information and assistance. Carolina’s joyful presence and genuine desire to assist all were a wonderful asset for all at the school.
Since leaving Ecuador in 2010, Carolina has lived in California and Florida prior to coming to Texas in 2020. Carolina is the proud and loving mother of six children, two girls and four boys. Carolina loves being a homemaker and spending time at the beach with her family. Her husband Brian is a long-time educator with experience as teacher and as a school administrator in Ecuador, California, Florida, and is currently serving as the principal at St. Theresa Catholic School here in Austin. As a family that greatly values education, Carolina has a great love for working with young learners and is pursuing a Child Development Associate Degree.
Orfa Garcia is originally from Colombia and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Spanish from the Monserrate University Foundation in Bogotá. For the last twelve years, she has been a classroom teacher and an administrator in different schools in her country.
Orfa has extensive experience working with the Primary Years Programme (PYP). For twelve years, she has collaborated in different schools such as the Colegio Americano de Bogotá, Fontán Capital School, and Gimnasio Campestre los Cerezos. Orfa has attended different Primary Years Programme (PYP) workshops and is very passionate about education.
Orfa’s husband Rolando Ibañez (Rolo) is also part of the Magellan family, as a music teacher. Together with their two children, they embark on this beautiful experience in Austin, Texas and at The Magellan International School.
Marion Rocco earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education & Child Study from Smith College in Northampton, MA. Her first job after college was working for the acclaimed author and illustrator Eric Carle. It was through this work in his studio that she discovered the magic and power of picture books. Marion returned to school and completed the Master of Science in Information Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. Since graduating, she has worked in school and public libraries and as an Austin ISD Program Specialist focusing on teacher and librarian professional development. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Austin where she teaches an undergraduate course in Children’s Literature.
Marion’s interest in global and international literature keeps her active in professional organizations including the American Library Association and the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). She served on the Batchelder Award Committee for best international children’s book in 2014 and co-chaired the USBBY conference that took place in Austin in 2019. Marion has presented on international and bilingual books at the International Board on Books for Young People, International Literacy Association, and Texas Library Association conferences. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas.
Campus Manager, Chimney Corners
Alma was born on the enchanting island of Puerto Rico, in the westernmost city of Mayaguez. My childhood, though, was spent in Denver, CO. After a seven-year return to San Juan, PR, she relocated to New Jersey just in time for her high school years. Rutgers University provided her with an exquisite academic experience and she then journeyed to Manhattan, where, in the dead of winter, she hurried along 5th Avenue to translate cartoons for Scripps Howard. Back in NJ, Alma became an Administrative Assistant to Corporate Tax Attorneys, and moved on to marketing life insurance as a Special Agent and Registered Representative. In time and, as a Contract Analyst, she reviewed, revised and negotiated technology agreements for five years.
Alma has been in Austin for 18 years, and has worked as a Claims Examiner and Spanish Translator for a life and disability insurance company catering to Latin American clients, and for several years later, as Spanish Translator for the State of Texas.
She started at Magellan International School on August 26, 2017 as an After School Care Guide and quickly became a Substitute Teacher for pre-school to middle school grades and a Front Desk administrator for our after school care program. She is currently Campus Manager at Chimney Corners and enjoys every moment she spend at Magellan.
If she’s not working, she enjoys visiting museums, good restaurants, or dancing. Alma also enjoys her family, friends, and my doggie, Milo. She cooks Puerto Rican, Cuban and Italian food every chance she gets. Her favorite person is her young adult daughter, Noelia.
Maria Cristina Yañez was born in Mexico City and moved to Saltillo, Coahuila in 1985. There she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Accounting from the Universidad Autonoma del Noreste in 1992. She attended Escuela Nacional de Musica (National School of Music) for three years, where she studied transversal flute. Afterwards, Cristina attended the Escuela de Idiomas (School of Languages) for four years and received a diploma in the English language. She then lived in San Diego, CA, for a year and attended conversational classes at Berlitz for ELL. Cristina worked as an auditor at the Contraloria del Estado (Accounting of State) in Saltillo in 1991. She started working as a Supervisor in the Payable Accounts Department with foreign suppliers accounts at Vitromex, S.A. de C.V. from 1993-1999.
When her second child was born, she decided to stop working at Vitromex to spend more time as a mother. A few months later, she was invited to be part of the Programa de Ingles en Primarias (Primary School English Program) as one of the founders. She spent 10 years teaching English as a Second Language at the Profesor Jose Garcia Rodriguez primary school. Cristina received a certification as an English teacher from Cambridge University in 2003, and had the honor of being recognized by the English Department in Primary Schools of Coahuila Mexico (SEPC) as one of the top English teachers. She also had the opportunity to be part of the “Hablame Project” between Nottingham, UK and Saltillo, Coahuila Mexico, for three years, which gave her the chance to learn about education on a global scale.
At the end of the project, she traveled to Nottingham, UK and shared a Spanish class for two weeks at the Sir John Sherbrook elementary school. In 2009, Cristina and her family moved to Blackfoot, Idaho. There she worked as a para-educator at Ridge Crest Elementary School, focusing on migrant and LEP children. In 2011, she worked as a Graduation Specialist for migrant, LEP students and as a Spanish translator for IEP meetings at Blackfoot High School. Cristina and her family moved to Austin in 2012 and fell in love with the city. She started working for Sylvan Learning as a Bilingual Reading/Math tutor at two Title I AISD schools. There she participated in the creation and improvement of learning material in Spanish and English in order to prepare students for the STAAR tests.
Cristina later worked for Pflugerville ISD at Copperfield Elementary as a Bilingual Teacher Assistant for the Pegasus PPCD Program for two years, giving her the opportunity to work with students with special needs. At the same time, she had the opportunity to work for Tutor Doctor, tutoring Spanish as a second language and using her own curriculum. She is currently working to obtain her Teacher’s Certification in the state of Texas and would like to pursue a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Cristina is a wife and a mother of three kids, who are her purpose in life.
She considers herself a lifetime learner and a very positive person who loves nature and life. In her almost twenty years of experience working with children, she’s learned that they can learn in different styles, ways and paces. She believes kids need a caring, safe, and stimulating atmosphere in order to grow physically, emotionally, and educationally. They are born with nurturing brains that learn by playing, questioning, taking risks, thinking critically and respecting others. Cristina has a passion for teaching her own language and culture. She likes to think she’s planting little seeds in her students’ lives to prepare them for the future, making them excellent global citizens.
Preschool PE Teacher
Tommy is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin studying sociology with the intention of moving on to graduate school where his focus will be youth sports and gender. He is a firm believer that participating in sports has a positive impact on students of all ages and he is excited to share in the athletic growth of Magellan students.
Kristen was raised in central Texas and began her career in health technology, collaborating with providers to build software that improves the patient experience and clinical outcomes. After completing her nursing degree, she worked at the South Texas Medical Center at University Children’s Health, the only level one pediatric trauma center in south Texas where she cared for many uninsured and immigrant families. Most recently, Kristen focused on family-centered care at Pediatric Associates of Austin.
During her free time you can find Kristen at the YMCA enjoying fitness dance classes, meal prepping vegetarian-inspired dishes, and spending time with her family, fiancé, and their cat “Dennis”.
Kristen holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Texas A&M Health Science Center.