Middle School Team
Engaged Students, Inspiring Teachers, Committed Parents
At Magellan our inspiring international faculty encourage our students to believe in their own talents and to take ownership of their own unique paths of learning. We strive to give each of our students numerous opportunities to develop their individual interests and to cultivate their interests through a curriculum of inquiry and engagement.
Deputy Head of School and Head of Middle School
Nicolás is a passionate and multi-cultural professional with over 19 years of leadership and teaching experiences at schools in South America, Europe and Southeast Asia. He holds a B.A. in International Studies from Virginia Wesleyan College and a Masters in Education Psychology from Champagnat University in Lima, Peru.Nicolás is fully bilingual in Spanish and English and has a deep understanding of the International Baccalaureate program.
Nicolás most recently served as the Senior-Secondary Principal at Global Jaya School outside of Jakarta, Indonesia. He forged his teaching career at two IB schools in Peru, Davy College and San Silvestre School, where he taught in both the Primary and Secondary divisions. He was recruited into leadership by the International School of Neustadt in Germany where he helped implement the IB Diploma as its Coordinator and Head of Secondary.
As an IB World School leader for the past nine years,Nicolás’ work has been focused on ensuring educational coherence across the PYP, MYP and DP curricula. He has specialized in the development of 21st Century skills and experiential learning, and is committed to help children discover and nurture their passions and strengths.
Nicolás is as passionate about scientific research into human learning as he is about our philosophical understanding of each person’s meaningful place in this world. He is an active member of diverse organizations supporting street children, university students and wildlife sanctuaries.
Science Teacher & Assistant MYP Coordinator
Jennifer Barnett, a native Texan from the Houston area, received her degrees at the University of Texas at Austin. She is married with two grown sons: Evan, a technical writer at Electronic Arts, and Alec, a graduate student at St. Edward’s University. Her husband, Doug, is Chief of Staff to the Vice Provost of the University of Texas at Austin Library System.
Jennifer has over thirty years of teaching experience ranging from first grade to adults. She has degrees and certifications for Vocal Music, Elementary Classroom, Generalist, and Technology Applications. These give her a unique perspective from which to draw cross-curricular connections for units of work for her students.
Jennifer is passionate about 21st century learning and inspiring students. She is truly a life-long learner and risk-taker. She enjoys setting goals to accomplish new things. Being interested in technology, she has built a number of high-end gaming computers from scratch for each of her sons, co-authored several science textbooks for international MYP students and attended the IB Academy, becoming an IB workshop leader, consultant and site visitor for North America. Jennifer feels that strong positive relationships with students, parents and colleagues are vital to a dynamic learning experience.
Jennifer enjoys collaborating with colleagues to create meaningful experiences and nurturing the next generation of educators. She calls teaching at Magellan her ‘dream job’.
MYP Design Teacher & Information Technology Coordinator
Laura Escudero was born in the beautiful town of Mérida, Spain, where she pursued basic studies of elementary and high school. She received her Bachelor´s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Extremadura. After completing her BA, she decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Information and Knowledge Society from Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.
Having worked within the technology industry for many years, she has a solid background in software and web development. As a Software Engineer, she has extensive experience working with international and national customers, including Spanish and British banks, international telecommunication companies, state and local governments, and universities, among others.
Laura teaches Design to the Middle School students at MIS and also Information Digital Literacy to Upper Elementary students. In addition, she serves as Innovation Team Lead for the Middle School.
Carol is a native Austinite who has taught in both public and private schools in Central Texas for many years, including the Liberal Arts Academy of Austin ISD (now LASA) and St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, where she served as the Director of Middle School Theatre. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Plan II Honors Program and a Master of Science in Social Work, both from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to teaching, she was a clinical social worker serving children and families in a variety of settings, including school-based and outdoor-adventure programs.
As a lifetime learner, Carol has returned to school herself on a regular basis. Her education includes graduate work in secondary education and costume design at Texas State University, studies in creative drama and theatre for youth at UT, and actor’s training with the American Academy of Dramatic Art. A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities allowed her to attend the Theatre-in-Education Institute with Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts. As a specialist in theatre for youth and Shakespearian performance, Carol has juggled teaching, directing, acting, and designing for numerous productions over the years in educational, professional, and community theatre.
Most recently, Carol has focused on teaching language arts, combining her passion for children, communication, and learning. She earned a certificate for teaching English as a second language, which led to a rewarding semester in Beijing, teaching English through theatre. It is a natural evolution to bring her experience and skills to Magellan where language skills are an integral piece of the search for knowledge, the development of critical thinking, and the use of creativity and analysis by students to explore their place in the world.
Humanities & Spanish Teacher
Claudia Enriquez was born in Pasto in the south of Colombia, where she graduated from Nariño¢s University as a Geographer. During her undergrad years, she also attended the Mariana University, where she became proficient in the English language. She also attended the Cooperativa University of Colombia, where she completed an associate’s degree in advanced teaching. Once she graduated, Claudia worked in her hometown at the Mayor’s office developing environmental and disaster education projects for the municipality of Pasto. During this time, she realized that education was her true passion and she had a desire to impact people’s lives, especially young people.
Right after that experience, she finished her English course and went to work as an outdoor educator in different camps in the USA, Brazil, and Costa Rica. After several years living abroad, Claudia returned to Colombia and continued working as an educator in environmental organizations. After her different experiences with children and young people, she started to work as a social studies, ethics, and citizenship teacher at two private schools in Bogotá, Gimnasio Fontana and Los Nogales.
The different teaching experiences Claudia has had in different countries, organizations and schools have given her a valuable approach to other cultures. She understands the unique value of a well-rounded international education because she has experienced it herself. She enjoys working in a place where her experiences and values can help students unlock their full potential, regardless of their background.
Spanish, Language & Literature Teacher
Victor Solís has been teaching various subjects for more than eleven years. He taught in different cities throughout Spain, in both public and private school systems. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Physical Education and Elementary Education. After that, he pursued advanced degrees in language and literature, receiving both his Masters Degree and PhD. He worked in north Spain as an Elementary teacher. There, he had the opportunity to carry out several projects with a large focus on literacy in Elementary grades. Victor has experience teaching PYP and MYP and has a broad understanding of the transition students go through between the two programs. Victor enjoys working at MIS because he shares a passion for a global world where different cultures live together. He believes that our students need new ways to learn and new skills to be able to succeed in the future. Traveling and taking pictures of wild landscapes are his passions, which are shared with his wife.
Cynthia Marcotte was born in Providence RI and grew up in Mexico City. She has been a lifelong teacher, having started tutoring in Mathematics when she was in 7th grade.
Cynthia studied high school at the Bicultural Program of the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey campus in the State of Mexico. When she was 17 years old she competed for and won a scholarship to represent Mexico at the Lester B Pearson College of the Pacific (Pearson College), an international high school in British Columbia, Canada, which is part of the United World Colleges and which is a full-scholarship program for students from all over the world. There she obtained an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. During that time her family moved to Italy and her mother became an IB Biology teacher at the United World College of the Adriatic (Adriatic College) in Duino, Italy.
After graduating from Pearson College Cynthia attended Brown University in Rhode Island, taking a year abroad at the University of Nice (where she became fluent in French in part by studying math and comparative literature in French) and thereafter obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. She then moved to Italy with her family, where she worked as staff at Adriatic College, became fluent in Italian, obtained a Cambridge Certificate for Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults, taught Spanish and English and tutored mathematics. In her second year in Italy, Cynthia audited the Mathematics Diploma Programme at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste along with students from Venezuela, Peru, Somalia, Iran, Zaire and Vietnam. She subsequently was accepted to the doctoral program in Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). As a graduate student at UT she worked as a Teaching Assistant for Differential Equations and Vector Calculus classes and as an Instructor in Precalculus. She also ran the UT Math Department’s Saturday Morning Math Group program which introduces interesting and hands-on mathematics to High School and Middle School students through a monthly program open to all Austin students.
Cynthia continued to work on her research on Knot Theory and 3-dimensional manifolds under the direction of Prof. Cameron Gordon of UT while living in Los Angeles. In August of 2000 Cynthia defended her PhD Thesis at UT and earned her PhD in Mathematics. She became an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at St. Edward’s University and led the development of a new interdisciplinary program, Bioinformatics, in the School of Natural Sciences. She also published papers on the application of her field (Topology) to molecular biology (in particular, on enzymes that act on DNA) in collaboration with Dorothy Buck, currently at Imperial College, London.
In 2005 Cynthia took a leave of absence from St. Edward’s University and she and Edward welcomed their twins, Elinor and Nicolás to the world in 2006. In 2013 she returned to St. Edward’s as an adjunct professor of Mathematics. She recently published two papers on Knot Theory in collaboration with her father, Alberto Verjovsky, an expert in the field of Dynamical Systems, and a former PhD student of his, Gabriela Hinojosa.
Last year Cynthia started teaching part-time in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at Magellan, in particular teaching high-school math (Algebra I). As someone who benefited tremendously from the International Baccalaureate, she was thrilled to have found Magellan and has been amazed at the growth and learning exhibited by Elinor and Nicolás, with the support and love of their teachers. They will be starting the Middle Years Program this year!
Cynthia is very honored to continue to work with the MYP faculty in enriching and differentiating the mathematics curriculum and in deepening interdisciplinary connections between Mathematics and the other MYP subjects. Her passion is to show students (and everyone) the beauty and power of mathematics while ensuring deep numeracy and problem-solving skills with a focus on applications.
Physical Education Teacher & Athletic Director
Darrell was born in San Antonio, TX. He has lived primarily in central Texas his whole life, except for a few years in New Jersey. Currently, Darrell is in the process of obtaining his Bachelor of Science of Kinesiology and Physical Education. He will be the PYP and MYP Physical and Health Education teacher. He will also be working as the Athletic Coordinator at MIS.
While working outside of the education field, he has continued to hold positions working with youth throughout the Austin area, including Cedar Park and Round Rock. He has coordinated and helped develop several youth programs including soccer camps, after school programs, and basketball academies. Darrell also owns a small business for youth athletic development where he has trained athletes from the ages of 5-18 in a wide range of sports such as track & field, basketball, football and soccer.
Darrell is married and a father of 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls). When he is not working, he is usually outside reading a good book or inside playing the latest video game. His latest hobby is to go hiking in the Austin greenbelt. Darrell enjoys attending Austin Spurs and Texas Longhorn basketball games here in Austin or traveling to San Antonio to walk the River Walk and attend a San Antonio Stars WNBA game.
Pearl ChaoHsu graduated from Texas State University in Education earned the degree of Bachelor of Science with the major in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2013. After graduation, she obtained three teaching certificates, and is certified in Texas in ESL Generalist EC-6, Mandarin Chinese EC-12, and Mathematic 4-8.
She was born and raised in Taiwan, a native Mandarin Chinese speaker, and got an International Business associate degree there. Later on, her family immigrated to Canada in 2002, and lived there for five years. While living there, she was certified as an early childhood educator in British Columbia, Canada.
Her family has settled down in Texas, USA since 2008. She was married, but her husband passed away in 2018. She lives with her son named Benson. She enjoys reading, gardening work and teaching Mandarin Chinese all the time. In particular, she enjoys guiding children on the adventure of learning and exploration!
Li Ting Liu
Li Ting Liu has been in the teaching field for four years as an English teacher in Taiwan and a Mandarin teacher in the USA. She earned her post-graduate diploma in teaching with an emphasis in English and her Master of Business Administration at HsinChu City in Taiwan in 2006. In Taiwan she taught Mandarin to immigrants at the Women’s Community College and English to children at the Guanhuwa Junior High School.
Li Ting moved to the United States to further her education and received her Master of Arts Degree in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2010. While extending her educational knowledge and skills, she has had the opportunity to teach Mandarin to the children at the Austin Taiwanese Presbyterian Church and the Hsiang Yun Temple in Austin.
In addition to becoming the Mandarin teacher at MIS, Li Ting further expanded her experience by also teaching at St. Edward’s University starting in Fall 2010. Li Ting very much enjoys teaching her native language, Mandarin, to new Mandarin language learners and sharing Chinese culture with her students. The ultimate goal is for her students to be able to speak, read, listen and write fluently in Mandarin and leverage these abilities throughout their personal and professional lives.
Drama & Spanish Language Acquisition Teacher
Luis “Lucho” Aya graduated from the Higer Arts Academy Asab Bogota in 1996. As a theater director, he has staged over 25 productions successfully in the most prestigious theaters of Colombia. Luis has repeatedly been invited to represent his country at the Iberoamerican Theater Festival (considered the most important theater festival in the world today). He has taught theater and art at the University ASAB and at Francisco José de Caldas in Bogotá and the University of Valle del Cauca, Colombia.
Luis has also worked as a middle and high school theater teacher at The Gimnasio Fontana in Bogotá, where he worked for five years. He served as a professor of a theater arts workshop for children and youth for over seven years at National Theatre Foundation. Luis has specialized in children’s theater primary to enrich the lives of children and their families through this art form. Luis is dedicated to the inspiration of this new generation of theater lovers.
Although he began college as a Classical guitarist and music major, he switched to Music Education with a focus on IB programs in order to learn more about how young students promote their natural talents based on the IB philosophy.
Since graduating from college, Carlos’ love for performing and studying music have led him to a variety of positions within his professional career. He has played classic guitar in a duet with a violinist, as well as, electric guitar for different rock and jazz bands. Carlos has served as consultant on musical projects in Colombia with his Professor, Victor Taboada. It was during his work with Professor Taboada that Carlos learned a deep appreciation for the power of music to develop social skills, memory, coordination in young learners, and to open communication between people of different cultures.
Carlos returned to Saint Thomas University in Bogotá, Colombia, to pursue a Bachelors in English as a foreign Language. There, he was one of ten music teachers chosen to participate in a project connecting the university and high schools offering the IB Music Diploma Program.
Carlos has taught in private schools, music academies, and at the National University of Colombia as part of the extended music program. In addition to his work at Magellan International School, Carlos serves as an examiner of Music for the IB MYP program.
Carlos is passionate about his family (two boys and his wife). They spend time doing different activities such as biking, swimming and exploring Austin.
Paula Trejos was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Upon graduation from high school, she attended the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, where she received a degree in Fine Arts. While at university in Colombia, Paula was fortunate to play volleyball at the highest level. Not only did Paula play for her university, but also for the Colombian National team four times. She had the privilege of traveling throughout South America, the Caribbean and Central America. In 2008, she received an offer to play volleyball at Pratt Community College and to attend school in the United States.
After two first team All-American years at Pratt, where she set the school record in aces, she received a full scholarship to play volleyball at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas. Before leaving Pratt, she was inducted into their Athletic Hall of Fame. In her two years at Wayland, she set numerous records while being named first team All-Conference twice and receiving Team MVP her senior season. Paula also excelled in art, her area of study. She finished 20 original pieces and was published in the local newspaper. In addition, she won the Plains Art Association Scholarship award, which judged two original art pieces from their gallery.
In 2012 she received her degree in Graphic Design from Wayland Baptist University. At Wayland, Paula participated in youth coaching and assistant coaching at Plainview Christian Academy High School. She began to coach the 14’s and under team with the Max High Performance volleyball club in Austin, while substituting for AISD. After five successful years as a preschool PYP Lead Teacher, Paula Trejos (Lacey) will move to the art department this year. She is excited to share her passion for art with both PYP and MYP students. Paula has a BA in Fine Arts from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Colombia and a BA in Graphic Design from Wayland Baptist University. She holds teaching certifications in art, bilingual education and Spanish.
Carolina Gavilanes is a Bilingual Learning Specialist. She believes that maintaining a sense of inquiry and constant curiosity drives a lifelong learning approach. She believes in guiding learners to develop a habit of self-inquiry and metacognitive behavior to achieve greater academic success.
During her 20 years in the Education field, Carolina has experienced the area from many perspectives: as a teacher in Early Childhood, as an education specialist in Special Education, as a university faculty member and as a teacher trainer is her Learning Support Center in Quito. She has also worked as an Educational Consultant and Instructional Designer in different educational settings. All these life experiences have given her the capacity to embrace new experiences and differences.
Carolina was born in a small town in Louisiana but was raised in Quito, Ecuador. She grew up in a bilingual, bicultural home, with friends and family from all over the world. She has lived, studied and worked in cold places like Michigan, and hot places, like Tampa; big noisy cities like Mexico City and small quiet towns like the valley of Cumbaya, Ecuador; flat swamplands like in New Orleans, and hilly rises like in San Francisco. She moved to Austin in 2020 from the Bay Area.
Carolina holds a M.Ed. in Special Education, with a specialization in Educational Diagnostician from the University of New Orleans, and a Master of Elementary Education degree from the University of Alabama. She earned her B.A. in Education with a concentration in Psychology from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
Carolina loves to practice yoga, read and travel; and, most of all, to spend time with her husband and daughter.