Alejandra Newell, Spanish K/1st Grade Teacher & Student Support Services Coordinator
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alejandra holds her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Special Education. She has worked extensively with both children and adults with disabilities. She moved to Charlottesville in 2003, and joined the teaching faculty of the ISC in 2007. Alejandra continues to take coursework in education, and in her free time enjoys yoga, crafting, and spending time with her family.
Denise DeMaio, Spanish K Teacher
Originally from Costa Rica, Denise has been a member of the ISC faculty since 2010. During those years she has had the opportunity to work with students from 2 to 5 years old. She holds a BA in Business Administration from UMCA University in Costa Rica and an Early Childhood Education Career Certificate from Piedmont Virginia Community College. She has also attended training courses in ADD/ADHD, Autism, and Learning Disabilities. In her free time, Ms. Denise enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter. She enjoys dancing, playing volleyball, hiking and drinking good coffee.
Monica Lawson, Spanish JK Teacher and JK/K Art Teacher
Monica has worked with kids her whole life and counts this as her biggest passion. She was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, where she earned her Bachelor's Degree before leaving home to live in Switzerland for seven years, followed by 2 years in London. Monica's time in Europe helped her pursue her interests and talents in education, language, and photography. Her time in London cemented her career choice as a teacher and photographer, careers that have allowed her to travel all over the world - from Europe, to Asia, and back to South America. Monica has moved to USA in 2007, and worked with the Autistic Program in Greene County Public school for 3 years. Monica is also the JK and K art teacher. Her knowledge of languages and her Interior Designer Bachelor's Degree, allows her to give the Art Classes in both, French and Spanish languages. In her free time, Monica loves to spend time with her 2 children, and her husband. She loves bicycling, swimming and painting.
Paz Villalobos-Johnson, Spanish JK Teacher
Paz was originally inspired to teach through her work with children in outdoor education programs as a Scout Leader, and interacting with teens in international summer camps. Paz received her degree in elementary education in her native Chile from Universidad Católica de Chile, and was then credentialed as a professional teacher in the Chilean education system. When working in California, she held a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. As a child she received a bilingual education at an American International school, and is currently raising her own child to be bilingual. She loves to share her passion of the Spanish language and culture with her students, helping them learn through singing and performing. Besides teaching in a bilingual international school in Chile for eight years, Paz also has a great deal of experience teaching in the United States. In her free time, Paz loves spending time with her husband and daughter, traveling, going to the beach, and practicing yoga.
Lourdes Pineda, Spanish JK Teacher
Originally from Honduras, Lourdes started her path as an educational professional at age 15 in the Escuela Normal de Occidente, where she graduated at age eighteen as an Elementary School Teacher. She worked for many years in the public school system of Honduras, and after a few years continued her higher education at the Francisco Morazan National Pedagogical University, where she earned higher degrees in Education and in Administration of Education Centers. She has worked with children for over 22 years, and for the last 10 years did so as the principal of a school in rural Honduras, reaffirming her passion and devotion to education in every area. Lourdes and her family moved to Charlottesville in 2013, and they love it here. They enjoy spending time together and going camping, visiting historical places, and trips to the beach. They greatly enjoy every changing season and trying foods of different countries, but overall just being together.
Sulay Garay, Spanish Preschool Teacher
Sulay was born in Honduras. She started her educational profession in the Escuela Normal Mixta del Litoral Atlantico, where she obtained her degree as an Elementary School Teacher. Afterwards, she finished her university studies by obtaining a Bachelor degree in pedagogy. Later on, Sulay continued her studies with a Master degree in educational management at the Francisco Morazan National Pedagogical University. She has worked with children for over 30 years, and for 15 of those years, she served as a principal in both elementary and high school environments. Sulay, along with her family, moved to Charlottesville in 2015 and have traveled around the United States to explore its beauty and the kindness of its people.
Maria Salazar, Spanish Preschool Teacher
Maria (or Mafer as she is also known) is in her second year of working in our program. She is currently enrolled at PVCC and pursuing her degree in Education. Through working with her mother who is an Early Childhood Education teacher, she has developed a passion for working with children and using her native Spanish.
Karina Aguilar, Spanish Toddler Teacher
Karina is excited about embarking on her fourth year at the ISC, having been part of the ISC Aftercare Program for two years. Karina and her husband are parents of a third grader! Karina arrived in the US in 2007 from Honduras. She has spent the last 10 years working with childcare in a variety of home, group and church settings. She especially enjoys drama activities with the children and loves utilizing her native Spanish at the ISC.
Cibeles Ramos, Spanish Toddler Teacher
Cibeles was born in Venezuela and came to the US in 2016. She obtained her Bachelor Degree in Tourist Business Administration from Instituto Universitario de Tecnologia “Antonio Joes de Sucre” in Venezuela. She has served in the past as a substitute teacher in Venezuela and is excited to join the ISC team in the Spanish Toddler class. This is Cibeles second year at the ISC.