Stacey Dunbar

Stacey Dunbar

Owner and Director of Education

Stacey Dunbar is a certified elementary educator and English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor. She received her BS in Early Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and taught pre-kindergarten, first and second grade students for five years. During her time as a teacher, she developed a Spanish immersion program in her classroom where all students learned to read, write and speak in both English and Spanish. Her success developing a Spanish immersion program led her to begin an educational consulting business where she trained numerous school districts to develop or improve their Spanish immersion, bilingual or ESL programs. She is now the proud mother of two boys and is thrilled that her sons have been a part of the Aprende con Amigos family.

Through her experiences as a teacher and consultant, Stacey Alonso observed first-hand how children learn differently, have individual interests and excel in different areas. Therefore, she believes the educational approach at Aprende con Amigos should directly reflect, support, and implement a variety of philosophies, methods and strategies to meet the needs, interests and abilities of all students. Applying one philosophy or approach limits the ability to provide a well-balanced learning environment that meets the strengths and needs of all of its children.

Monica Montiel

Monica Montiel

Assistant Director, Overlook

Monica Montiel graduated from Portland State’s program with a 4.0 and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education Curriculum and Instruction. She taught for two years in Lake Oswego and then moved to Arizona to teach in a low-income school in Phoenix. The majority of her students spoke Spanish as their first language and most of their parents did not speak any English. Monica loved her years of teaching there and the opportunity to use the Spanish that she learned from her husband, who is from Mexico, to communicate with the parents. She held conferences and wrote notes home in Spanish, and translated conferences for other teachers.
After becoming a mom, she decided to only work part-time. She taught Spanish classes in an after-school program and taught English as a second language to adults and children. Then, she took a position at a private school in the Scottsdale area teaching Spanish to Early Childhood, Kindergarten, and First Grade students. She loved sharing her love of the Spanish language and culture with the children.
Upon returning to Portland in 2010, Monica and her husband were elated to find Aprende con Amigos. The dual-language preschool was a perfect fit for their bi-cultural, bilingual family both personally and professionally. Her two older sons are now Aprende alumni and Monica continues to work part-time balancing her career with being a mom to her three boys. This is Monica’s seventh year at Aprende. She is the Assistant Director for the Interstate site.

Melissa Mullineaux

Melissa Mullineaux

Director of Operations, Overlook

Melissa was born and raised in Medford, OR. She loves living in Portland with her husband Matt and two children Siena (4) and Leo (2). In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, working on her photography and videography business and exploring new places with her family.

Teaching and education have always been a passion of Melissa’s and she has worked in various settings over the years. She received a Minor in Education from UCLA as an undergraduate. Following college, she moved to Costa Rica and taught English for one year. She then worked as an intern for the Chalkboard Project, a non-profit working to unite Oregonians to make K-12 public schools among the nation’s best. She then continued on to receive her Masters in Teaching and Curriculum from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. Following Graduate School, Melissa taught 6th Grade English in Washington D.C. Always knowing she wanted to return to Oregon, she returned and accepted a position at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) that focused on community relations, communications, outreach and education. Now, after being at OHSU for the past five years, she’s joined Aprende con Amigos as the Director of Operations! She’s excited to work with 3-5 year olds as she believes the early years in education are so important and fun!

Carmen Faria

Carmen Faria

Spanish Pollito Teacher, Overlook

Carmen Faria is originally from Venezuela but is happy to call Portland home! She enjoys exploring the local area with her husband and two daughters. Carmen believes in the value of bilingualism not only for success in education but to maintain communication with older generations. She is raising her children to be bilingual because she knows it’s important for them to be able to communicate with family members in Venezuela. Carmen comes to Aprende with years of experience providing in-home child care services. Thanks to her warm and caring demeanor, we feel like Carmen is the perfect fit to be the Pollito Mama teacher at our preschool! We’re so happy to have her as a member of our preschool family!

Brenda Ferrusca

Brenda Ferrusca

Spanish Osito Teacher, Overlook

Brenda was born in California, but has spent most of her life in Portland, Oregon. She’s been a childcare teacher for three years. She’s excited to join the Aprende family as she believes in the value of bilingual education. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her two daughters, Delyiah (age 7) and Leilani (3) as well as exploring the outdoors and relaxing at home with her family.

 “Tuly” Gertrudis Novoa Garcia

“Tuly” Gertrudis Novoa Garcia

Spanish Caballito Teacher, Overlook

Tuly Novoa is a licensed preschool teacher from Venezuela with extensive experience in early childhood education. She has worked with children in various capacities such as summer camps, in-home child care, tutoring and Spanish immersion programs. As a mother of three, she believes that the most important gift a parent can give to their children is an education. Tuly and her husband have focused on teaching the joy of education and the importance of bilingualism. She is passionate about working with children and enjoys seeing how they progress every day. She is excited to get to know the families of Aprende con Amigos and looks forward to sharing the best of herself with them. We’re happy to have her as our Mamá Teacher for the Caballito group!

Laura Ramirez

Laura Ramirez

Art/Music Teacher, Overlook

Laura Ramirez was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She majored in Spanish with a minor in humanities, and received her bachelor’s degree in 2015 from Western Oregon University. She loves being part of her community and having the tools to make it better. One of those tools was lobbying at the capitol as a multicultural advocate. But overall what she is most passionate about is language. Its important to her that students learn a second language at a early age. She believes that the more people are able to communicate the more communities will succeed.

Laura’s parents are immigrants from El Salvador. She was always sent for a fair amount of time since the age of 4 to stay with her grandparent. Laura built relationship with the people from the same town her parents grew up in and although the country is known to be in a difficult place she loves it and continues to visit.

Laura is excited to be with all the students and faculty from Aprende. They inspire her to further her career in education and has become attached to seeing how much the students learn to communicate in a second language.

Whitney McCool

Whitney McCool

English Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher, Overlook

Whitney McCool was born and raised in sunny California, and moved to Oregon her senior year of high school. She married her husband, Kelly in 2007, and has two boys, Kaleb and Ryan. Whitney obtained her Associates Degree in Child and Family studies with certifications in Early Literacy, and Working with families in 2011. They decided to move to Portland so her husband could attend Culinary school, and he now works as a Chef. Whitney truly loves Portland and all the diversity and activities it has to offer.

Whitney’s true passion is working with children and families, but in her free time she loves having fun with her family. Whitney loves to do fun things and sees herself as a fun person, which carries over to her teaching as well. We are thrilled to have Whitney as part of the team and as well as her son Ryan who is currently in the Caballito group!

Vanesa Quintero-Salgado

Vanesa Quintero-Salgado

Math/Science Teacher, Overlook

Vanesa was born and raised in Portland, Oregon where Spanish was spoken at home and English was spoken at school. She holds an Associate’s Degree in General Studies from Portland Community College. Growing up she didn’t understand why both languages couldn’t be spoken in the household and at school. After receiving her Associate’s Degree, Vanessa realized how important it was for her to be bilingual. Vanesa is enlightened by the idea of children from different cultures and backgrounds learning to speak Spanish. She thinks there is a lot to learn from young children. In her free time she enjoys sketching, trying new restaurants and spending time with her family.

Carolina Sanchez-Martinez

Carolina Sanchez-Martinez

PM Spanish Teacher, Overlook

Juan Ariel Lopez

Juan Ariel Lopez

PM Spanish Teacher, Overlook

Juan completed his Bachelor’s degree in Education at the Interamericana of Puerto Rico and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Education. Juan is from Puerto Rico and was a teacher for seven years before moving to the U.S. He taught for the past two years in Oregon and is happy to be joining the Aprende family.
He’s particularly interested in science, math and working with experiments. His favorite hobby is to visit places with his family.

Henry Belliveau

Henry Belliveau

PM Spanish Teacher, Overlook

Bertha Bueno-Gonzalez

Bertha Bueno-Gonzalez

PM Spanish Teacher, Overlook

As a native Spanish speaker from Colima, Mexico, Bertha feels strongly about teaching her children to be fluent in both English and Spanish. She is proud that her three beautiful children are involved in the Spanish immersion program at Beach Elementary School. From personal experience, she understands that learning a second language is a huge plus and she is happy to be a part of other children’s Spanish language learning. Bertha joins our preschool community with over a hundred volunteer hours from a local Head Start program and is a certified teacher’s assistant. We look forward to a great school year with Bertha as our morning floater and afternoon teacher!

Stacey Dunbar

Stacey Dunbar

Owner and Director of Education

Stacey Dunbar is a certified elementary educator and English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor. She received her BS in Early Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and taught pre-kindergarten, first and second grade students for five years. During her time as a teacher, she developed a Spanish immersion program in her classroom where all students learned to read, write and speak in both English and Spanish. Her success developing a Spanish immersion program led her to begin an educational consulting business where she trained numerous school districts to develop or improve their Spanish immersion, bilingual or ESL programs. She is now the proud mother of two boys and is thrilled that her sons have been a part of the Aprende con Amigos family.

Through her experiences as a teacher and consultant, Stacey Alonso observed first-hand how children learn differently, have individual interests and excel in different areas. Therefore, she believes the educational approach at Aprende con Amigos should directly reflect, support, and implement a variety of philosophies, methods and strategies to meet the needs, interests and abilities of all students. Applying one philosophy or approach limits the ability to provide a well-balanced learning environment that meets the strengths and needs of all of its children.

Teresa Hernandez

Teresa Hernandez

Assistant Director, Irvington

Teresa Hernandez-Claudio is California born, but Oregon raised. Teresa’s parents are from Baja California, Mexico. She’s the oldest of her siblings. She is a native Spanish speaker, Spanish was her first language until she started grade school.
Teresa has worked with kids for about nine years, when she first started working with kids she realized how amazing their little brains work and just how great it is to watch them learn and develop, she also loves to make kids feel loved and happy at school.
Teresa has 2 kids of her own with her high school sweet heart, Alexa 8 and Malik 7. Her household is a Spanish speaking home with some English since sadly there is no immersion programs in their district.

When she first started working at Aprende she started off as Floater supporting the teachers and serving snack to the children, she later became the Pollito Teacher. A year later she decided the floating position was best for her schedule. While she was Floater she supported the teachers the most she could and she was able to work with all the kids, which was what she loved the most. Now she’s assistant director the new location, She continues to support our teachers at Irvington and make our children feel happy and welcome to our school family. Teresa is happy to be part of the Aprende family, She’s grown and have learned so much as a teacher, person, and a parent in the wonderful Aprende community.

Norma Moreno

Norma Moreno

English Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher, Irvington

Norma Moreno was born in Mexico and has fond memories from growing up there. After high school, she entered Bachillerato Pedagogico, where she first started her path towards working in educational services. For five years, she worked as a preschool teacher in Mexico. Years later, Norma moved to the US with her husband Fernando and her eldest son Fernando. She enjoyed spending time as a volunteer in her son’s classroom and wanted to continue studying to work towards a career in education. After having her second son named Yari, Norma enrolled at Mt Hood Community College to take English courses and work towards earning her Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate. She applied at head start where she worked as a part time assistant for five years and then worked five more years as a full time assistant teacher. She enjoyed the 10 years she worked at the Head start program.

In addition to teaching, Norma is very involved in her community. She’s graduated as a parish health promoter in a leadership program and works to help support other Latinos in her community.

She enjoys being part of the Aprende community where she happily teaches in her first language. We’re glad to have Norma join the team and pleased to see the passion she has for working with preschool children!

Sonia Moreno

Sonia Moreno

Pollito Spanish Teacher, Irvington

Lisandra Sota

Lisandra Sota

Osito Spanish Teacher, Irvington

Lydia Ellis-Curry

Lydia Ellis-Curry

Caballito Spanish Teacher, Irvington

Andrea Teske

Andrea Teske

Art/Music Teacher, Irvington

Andrea Teske is excited to be teaching as a part of the Aprende con Amigos team. She is a licensed educator in both Washington and Oregon with specializations in elementary education, Spanish Language, and Music. She received her BA in Spanish Literature and Music from the University of Notre Dame and her Master's in Teaching from the University of Portland. Andrea has been teaching for seven years in elementary Spanish settings. Andrea believes that it takes a village to properly educate students, and loves that there are many supportive staff members here at ACA creating a quality, research-based educational environment.

Last year, Andrea spent the year teaching Kindergarten English immersion in Managua, Nicaragua. She loved living abroad with her now fiance and had the opportunity to travel extensively. Together, they traveled to Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, and all around Nicaragua. Andrea has also spent time in Spain and Argentina, and studied abroad in Santiago, Chile. She has always loved Latino culture and art and loves to incorporate what she has seen in these different places into her teaching. To really know a culture, it is imperative to know the language, and she thinks you are providing your children with a fantastic opportunity by having them learn Spanish at the pre-school age.

Vanessa Herrera

Vanessa Herrera

PM Teacher, Irvington

Luisa Garcia

Luisa Garcia

PM Spanish Teacher, Irvington