Kinder Faculty

Ana Paola Méndez

Lead Teacher

Ana Paola Méndez is from Bogotá, Colombia. She was blessed to be born into a multicultural family with parents from Colombia and Venezuela. She enjoys traveling throughout both countries and experiencing their cultures.

Ana Paola started teaching in 2003 at a private school in Bogotá called Gimnasio Fontana. She earned her BS in Hospitality Management at La Sabana University in Chia, Colombia.  She realized that her real passion was teaching children.  She has attended several education and child development training courses.  She became a “star teacher” and in 2008 she was selected as Preschool Principal.

Ana’s mission in life is to encourage little ones to become active and compassionate learners who understand and respect others and value their differences. She is delighted to work at MIS and have her two daughters attend what her whole family considers to be the “best school they’ve ever known.”

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Ana Paola Méndez

Ana Paola Méndez

Lead Teacher

Andrea Norman

IDL Technology Integrationist/STEM Teacher

Andrea grew up in small towns in Missouri and Kansas, but moved to Austin with her husband, Michael, in 2008. After nursing school she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with an emphasis on Organizational Management and Leadership. While Andrea's initial background is rooted in healthcare, her passion for learning about new technology, paired with her management experience, directly contributed to running a small software company with her husband. From registered nurse and nursing instructor, to nursing home administrator, then learning to write software code and documentation, while supporting, encouraging and corralling employees, Andrea has worn many hats over the years.

In 2012, her “management” of complex LEGO projects with her son, led her to launch her own business – an after-school enrichment and summer camp program for kids that used LEGO bricks to reinforce S.T.E.A.M. concepts. Andrea has since sold her business because she realized that her true passion lies in teaching and creating curriculum, but the day to day operations of running a business left little time for that passion.

Andrea has been part of the Magellan community since 2012, when her son, Isaac, joined PP3. She has served in many volunteer roles, including MISPA President, Room Parent Coordinator, Technology Committee Member, and Robotics Club Coordinator. Most recently Andrea's commitment to Magellan and its students has been seen in her ongoing volunteer efforts to bring hands-on STEM concepts to life in the classrooms.

Andrea sets high expectations for students, and loves to give them new and exciting challenges. She believes that success in learning requires the student to be at the center of the learning experience, and wants to facilitate learning that allows students to apply their knowledge, learn with both their head and their hands, and to accept failure. She strives to empower learners and to create a safe place where they are comfortable taking risks.

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Andrea Norman

Andrea Norman

IDL Technology Integrationist/STEM Teacher

Carmen James

Literacy Specialist

Carmen James is an enthusiastic educator who sees potential for great things and uniqueness in every child. She believes that the more we connect school-based learning to students’ interests, experiences, and curiosity, the better the educational outcomes will be.  She sees freedom within boundaries, exploration, and risk-taking as necessities. Carmen promotes cooperative learning, inquiry, creativity, and play in early learning experiences, while also recognizing the importance of focused and structured learning of early literacy skills. She loves reading, and especially loves sharing reading experiences with children.

Carmen earned a B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Spanish from Columbia College Chicago/Erikson Institute for Child Development. The early emphasis on developmentally appropriate practice, creativity in teaching and learning, and the multiple languages/intelligences of children has greatly influenced her teaching through the years. She has an M.A. in Latin American Studies/Humanities from UT Austin as well as a M.Ed. from UT Austin in Bilingual/Bicultural Studies, which has helped to connect her to the local education community.

Carmen holds several state teaching certificates: IL Early Childhood Education and Bilingual Education, TX EC-6 Generalist, Bilingual Education, and was a candidate for Master Reading Teacher in Fall 2014. She is a member of the National Association for Bilingual Education and the International Reading Association. She has taught in public, charter, and private schools for 12 years in the primary grades. She started out in her home city of Chicago and came to Austin in 2009 to be a part of the Magellan founding team. She taught Kindergarten for five years at M.I.S. before moving into the Literacy Specialist position in 2014. Carmen loves nature, gardening, music, writing, sewing, and traveling, and is kind of obsessed with her dogs. She also loves spending time with her husband and family.

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Carmen James

Carmen James

Literacy Specialist

Cristina Moreno

Teacher Assistant

Cristina Moreno was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Childhood Education with an emphasis on Basic Primary from Francisco José de Caldas University. She specializes in early literacy skills and children's reading. Cristina grew up surrounded by writers, artists, journalists, and other people who influenced her vocation to become an innovative and creative teacher, as well as a critical thinker. She loves to work with children and is excited to see the personal development and potential in all of her students.

In the past four years, Cristina has worked with the Department of Education in the Mayor's Office of Bogotá. She served as a teacher and a librarian in different public schools where she implemented a transdisciplinary literacy program for young children. Cristina has also designed learning material for new readers. In 2013, she founded a literacy club for middle school readers. Cristina is interested in learning about children’s experiences and needs in order to enrich learning content. She considers today’s children to be curious, honest, playful, and outgoing by nature. She believes children show enormous potential if they are offered an education focused on making them autonomous individuals, as well as active members of their communities.

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Cristina Moreno

Cristina Moreno

Teacher Assistant

Dan Kaplan

Art Teacher

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.

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Dan Kaplan

Dan Kaplan

Art Teacher

Deborah Dudney

Athletics Director/PE Teacher

Deborah Dudney graduated from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas with a degree in Health, Recreation, and Sports Management. There, she was a recipient of a softball scholarship and was awarded many athletic honors, including Most Valuable Player, All District and All Conference. After graduating and receiving her Texas Teacher Certification, she got a job at Crosby Middle School in Crosby, Texas, where she taught physical education and coached basketball, track and high school softball.

One year later, she moved back to Austin where she taught physical education and coached various sports at Pearce Middle School in the Austin Independent School District. Deborah has three children: Sydney, Drew, and Dylan. Deborah and her husband, Andy, are very active with their children. All three children participate in various sports throughout the year that both Deborah and her husband have coached. Deborah’s husband, Andy, played collegiate basketball at St. Edward’s University, and is the boy’s Head Basketball Coach at Austin High School. She believes that having an active lifestyle promotes a lifetime of good health and provides a positive example to younger generations.

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Deborah Dudney

Deborah Dudney

Athletics Director/PE Teacher

Fanny González

Teacher Assistant
fanny.gonzalez@magellanschool.org

Elba Shtefany González Padilla (Fanny) was born in Aguascalientes, México.  She moved to Austin to experience a new culture and new professional experiences. She studied Textile Design at the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes, and has a certificate of advanced study in Graphic Design.

Fanny has always been passionate about art and seeks experiences in which she is able to use her creativity. She enjoys creating new things from new and or recycled material. Whether it be creating a lamp from unconventional materials or experimenting with a new fabric, Fanny loves to use her imagination to be inventive.

Fanny discovered her passion for education while working with her younger sister in México. Her sister is a special education teacher and she asked Fanny to make devices to enhance her students mobility and posture. Her sister would explain the needs of a specific student and then Fanny would create something to help them with their specific need. She will never forget the first time she fitted one of her sister's students with a device she invented. The little girl's face lit up when she was able to sit up and stand up with little assistance. Fanny was very grateful to be able to be a part of such a moving and rewarding experience and made a decision to become a teacher.

Fanny arrived in Austin in January 2016 and began working at MIS as an after school care teacher. She then worked as a lead teacher during summer school and received IB PYP training  over the summer. Working with children has truly been a wonderful experience full of marvel and discovery. Fanny is looking forward to a very positive and successful year working with PP3 students and is very excited about her new career.

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Fanny González

Fanny González

Teacher Assistant

Kristen Felter

School Counselor - PP3 to 2nd Grade

Kristen is a native Texan, born and raised in the Dallas area. After high school, she moved to College Station to attend Texas A&M University and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. She then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin and, as many people do, fell in love with the Austin area and never left. During graduate school, she had the opportunity to move to Adelaide, South Australia, where she worked as an intern providing counseling to children and families.  It was an amazing international experience and it helped her to see the world from a more global perspective. Though she’s not fluent in Spanish, this is one of her life-long goals. To this end, she took the opportunity to study in Costa Rica several years ago to complete an intensive Spanish Immersion program for Social Workers.

In her professional career, Kristen has worked in a wide variety of settings, including juvenile probation, residential treatment, street outreach with homeless youth, outpatient therapy with children and families, foster and adoption home studies, and inpatient psychiatric mental health. After obtaining her advanced clinical licensure in social work, Kristen began serving as a School Social Worker in the public school system where she was for almost 10 years, with a focus on supporting homeless/displaced students and families and as well as the district’s elementary campuses.

Kristen is thrilled to be venturing into a new environment at The Magellan International School where she can focus on her passion of providing emotional support and mental health services to children and families to help them thrive throughout every phase of life. Outside of work, she loves spending time with her husband and two little girls. She’s also quite crafty and enjoys doing art projects and incorporating creativity and optimism in every aspect of her work and life.

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Kristen Felter

Kristen Felter

School Counselor - PP3 to 2nd Grade

Liliana Garza

Library Aide

Lily Garza grew up in the mountainous city of Monterrey in Mexico. She used to spend her summers with her cousins in McAllen, TX, where she began speaking English. Since she was little, she was known among her family and friends for her interest in books, which many years later led to her obtaining a BA in Mexican Literature at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. She also earned a BA in Early Childhood Education from the Secretaria de Educación Pública in Mexico.

Wanting to learn more about her country and culture, she moved to Mexico City after graduation, where she also trained in Early Childhood Intervention. In 2014 she completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Education by the University of Buckingham. While studying in Monterrey, Lily worked as an English teacher for Pre-Primary for four years, during which she discovered how fun spending the day with young children is. In Mexico City she worked for The Churchill School, an IB school belonging to a Mexican/British foundation. In her first year she was the Preschool Librarian, reading stories to children ages 2 to 7 in Spanish and English. During the following two years, she was the Lead Teacher of the Year 1 class, taught in an all-English environment.

Lily is very enthusiastic about languages and is fascinated by the process of learning a new way to communicate. She is very eager to make this process a fun adventure for her students. She is very happy about being able to read stories in Spanish to her students again.

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Liliana Garza

Liliana Garza

Library Aide

Mave Martinez

Lead Teacher/Grade Level Leader

Mave Martinez was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the Jose Maria Vargas University in Caracas and her Master’s Degree in Exceptional Students Education from Nova University in Florida. She has also attended ARC Broward Learning Institute, where she completed coursework specialized in behavioral analysis. Mave has been in education for the past 15 years. She has experience teaching preschool and kindergarten. She started working as a teacher assistant at the same school from which she graduated.

She then moved into a lead teacher role and later became the preschool curriculum coordinator. Her experience as a preschool coordinator prompted her to create a team project to encourage values in children including tolerance, collaboration and respect. This was achieved through the use of books and puppets. Mave’s preschool work in Florida involved implementing Visible Thinking Routines (Projects by Howard Garner and David Perkins) from Harvard University. In this project, the students were exposed to different thinking routines that help them increase their cognitive capacities. She worked in the Cambridge School at Weston where she was a lead teacher in a bilingual classroom.

Through these experiences, she gained an understanding of the cognitive development benefits of interdisciplinary education and the second language acquisition process. She also has experience as a lead teacher for special needs students (Autism, Down Syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy). Recently, she has worked as a teacher shadow in a Montessori school. Mave’s hobbies include going to the gym, spending time with her family and friends and getting to know different cultures and people. She is a professional, enthusiastic and caring preschool teacher who has a huge passion for teaching and learning.

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Mave Martinez

Mave Martinez

Lead Teacher/Grade Level Leader

Missy Fleshman

English Teacher

Missy Fleshman grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU), but had the opportunity to attend Oregon State University and the Universidad de Bio in Chillán, Chile as a part of her major. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Arts and Science. Missy had the unique opportunity to design her own major in which she chose to study Spanish, Sociology and Religious Studies. This major allowed her to have many opportunities to gain a global perspective and become more of a global citizen. While studying in Chile, her love for the Spanish language and culture truly blossomed.

Missy believes that all students enter the classroom with a diverse set of skills and knowledge and it is it her job to use those skills to ensure that they are successful learners in the classroom. Missy is truly dedicated to education. She has over a decade of experience. Missy has three years of formal teaching experience. In 2011, she was accepted into a rigorous alternative certification program, Texas Teaching Fellows, which focused on raising student achievement. Missy did her practice teaching at St. Elmo Elementary, here in Austin, Texas. She spent six years working with two tutoring programs that focused on reading and writing targeting low income students. There she increased student achievement by raising students' interest in reading and motivated many students to make the honor roll for multiple consecutive nine-week periods.

While in Louisiana, she worked as the Head Coordinator for the Toddlers at The Learning Center using the High Reach Learning Program. She strongly believes that a global perspective mixed with an inquiry based philosophy is the best way to educate children. Missy is passionate about the community and serving it. She has dedicated her life to making a measurable difference in each of the many communities where she has lived. Most recently, she trained for the Austin Live Strong Half-Marathon while raising financial support for the Austin Children’s Shelter. She helped to raise over $40,000 for the shelter. In 2010, she spent over 40 hours volunteering to rebuild and renovate Lanier Elementary in Louisiana. And during her time at LSU she was the Philanthropy co-chair of her sorority, which raised over $30,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. She also was an LSU football recruiter and she earned the title of Head of Fundraising in 2002. Her desire to make a difference in the lives of children has fueled her passion to build lasting relationships with the community.

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Missy Fleshman

Missy Fleshman

English Teacher

Patrick Benfield

Innovation Director

Patrick is the founding director of the Francis Lo i.lab for Design + Making, a new, creative learning space at Magellan International School in Austin, TX. Besides directing the school's innovation program, he is a lead mentor for the UTeach Maker fellowship program for The University of Texas at Austin, a senior fellow of the Thinkery EdExchange Program, and a frequent presenter at conferences including SXSWedu, Stanford FabLearn, and Maker Faire Austin. 

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Patrick Benfield

Patrick Benfield

Innovation Director

Patty Guerrero

Assistant Teacher

Patty Guerroro was born in Brownsville, Texas, but was raised and received her early education in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Leaving her hometown for college, Patty earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Ciencias de la Educación from the Universidad de Monterrey, a Catholic university in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. After completing her degree, Patty returned to Matamoros where she taught Social Sciences at the secondary level. She also taught courses in Child Development and Learning Differences at the Centro Universitario del Noreste.

Patty came to Austin and participated in grant funded research which led to a full scholarship for a Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Texas at Austin. By enrolling in additional coursework, she also obtained certification in Bilingual Special Education. Patty has been a pre-school teacher at many different non-profit organizations in Austin and has worked most recently as a substitute teacher at AISD. Patty is married and has three daughters. Her eldest daughter recently graduated from UT, and the younger two, who happen to be twins, are currently seniors at Anderson High School.

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Patty Guerrero

Patty Guerrero

Assistant Teacher

Pilar Macías

Lead Teacher

Pilar Macías was raised in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which borders El Paso, TX. She received her bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and specialized in Quality Systems from the Instituto Tecnologico de Ciudad Juarez. She graduated head of her class. She worked as an Industrial Engineer at Philips Televisions and at Davol Surgical Innovations as a Quality Engineer. These opportunities opened her eyes to the importance of knowing more than one language.

After Pliar married, she moved to El Paso, Texas and started working at El Paso Community College as a part of the Toddler Tech Team. With this experience, she identified the importance of technology in education for the 21st century. She also taught with the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program in Texas. She enjoyed her teaching experiences immensely. She will always remember her first teaching experience when she was in high school, where she offered special weekend chemistry classes to her peers who were having trouble grasping concepts. She thoroughly enjoyed this experience. As a mother of two daughters, she believes that 21st century education needs to be global and follow new and higher standards.

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Pilar Macías

Pilar Macías

Lead Teacher