Ana Paola Méndez
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.”
Ana Paola Méndez
Betty Garza is originally from Monterrey, Mexico and received her BA in Pedagogy at the Universidad Centro de Estudios Universitarios (C.E.U.). She also received a diploma as a Instructor of English Language in the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey (I.T.E.S.M.). She has worked in several bilingual private schools where her children also attended in Monterrey, Mexico. Most recently, she was a teacher at the Sierra Madre Institute in Nuevo León, Mexico where she worked for eight years.
Betty loved seeing her students be critical thinkers and problem solvers as they acquired the ability to learn a new language in their safe, nurturing environment. As a mother and teacher, she strongly believes that being bilingual leads people to more opportunities in this competitive world we live in. After work, she enjoys being with her family and doing outdoor activities with her children. She also likes to travel, read and garden. Betty is looking forward to working at MIS and being a part of such a great community.
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.
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 Language) 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 Hendrickson 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 sixteen 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.
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.
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.
Athletics Director/PE Teacher
Francisco Salvador was born in Albacete (Spain) He spent his childhood in the Dominican Republic, where his father was working for a company in charge of several civil engineering projects.
After obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in law at University of Castilla-La-Mancha and encouraged by his father, he worked in the civil engineering field with different projects, such as the High Speed Train (AVE) in Madrid.
Afterwards, he decided to go back to his field of study and worked for ten years as a lawyer in a public office as a specialist in family law. During this time he got married and had his first child.
Francisco has been in the field of education for the past two years. In 2014 he came to Austin from Spain with his wife, who was recruited to teach in the Austin public school system through an international cooperation program supported by the Ministry of Education of Spain and school districts across Canada and the US. Since his arrival, Francisco became a classroom volunteer at Becker Elementary, and last year he worked as a substitute teacher for Austin ISD. He substituted for both lead teachers and teacher assistants and he really enjoyed working with a variety of teachers and grade levels. Additionally, last February 14th, Francisco was blessed with a cute baby boy.
Francisco’s hobbies include new technologies, basketball, soccer, traveling and spending time with his wife and his two little boys. He also loves working on wood projects and he is very handy.
He is a dynamic and passionate about his new found profession, and he is very excited about joining the Magellan International School Community.
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.
School Counselor - PP3 to 2nd Grade
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.
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.
Lead Teacher/Grade Level Leader
Mayra Vázquez was born in the state of Tamaulipas, México, but was raised in the city of Brownsville, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Brownsville, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Throughout her college years, she joined the business world and worked seven years in the banking industry. However, Mayra was always passionate about teaching and helping others succeed academically. Therefore, in 2014, Mayra decided to move to Austin, TX, in hopes of pursuing her desire to teach. She worked for two years at a charter school as a co-teacher and lead teacher, and she is now thrilled to begin a new experience at The Magellan International School.
Mayra speaks English and Spanish and is proficient in French. In 2011, she was very fortunate to study abroad in Paris, France, where she was able to experience a full French language immersion. This opportunity broadened her perspective about learning and the differences between cultures. Mayra became aware of the importance of acquiring not only a second language; but even a third one.
Additionally to learning languages, Mayra also enjoys reading, cooking, and going to the pool. Mayra is excited to make a meaningful difference in the life of her students. She strongly believes that our most powerful investment for the future is our children, and she feels committed to prepare our children to become better global citizens.
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.
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.
Sandra Noack was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She comes from a multicultural family, half Colombian and half German. She was also influenced by British and American cultures as she studied at a bilingual school. At age 12, she realized she was meant to be a teacher when she started teaching her little sister how to read and write. Later on, she continued this practice when she decided to home-school her own kids. She is proud of her three children, who decided to become teachers, thus prolonging the legacy of educators in her family.
Upon graduation, Sandra completed her education as a preschool teacher at the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional from Bogotá. Her experience as a PYP teacher for more than 7 years has reinforced her beliefs and values regarding education. Her main purpose is to engage her students and help them become internationally minded, caring, inquisitive, and knowledgeable. She believes education is a never-ending process and teaching gives her the opportunity to learn new things everyday.
She enjoys connecting with her students and learning from them in many ways. Sandra also enjoys art, which has always been part of her life. As a self-taught painter, she believes that persistence and discipline can be more powerful than talent. She enjoys exploring different media and shares her creativity with her students. Sandra is proud to belong to a group of lifelong learners at MIS and will strive to build strong bonds within the community she cares deeply about.