Anabel Blando (Teacher)
Anabel Blando was born in Rosario, Argentina. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from La Escuela Nacional Normal en Lenguas Vivas #1 Dr. Nicolas Avellaneda in Rosario, Santa Fe State, Argentina. She has taught both in public and private schools for six years in Argentina. She has been working as a Spanish teacher at La Escuela Argentina for four years. Annabel has taken numerous professional development courses through the years. She obtained her Early Childhood Certification from the State of Maryland in 2017. This is her third year working for Arco Iris Somos. She brings with her her wealth of knowledge in early childhood education and her passion for the Spanish Language. We are delighted to have her as part of our team!
Sra. Anabel lives in Clarksburg with her husband and three children Agustin (13), Juan Ignacio (9) and Delfina (7). Al of them are bilingual in Spanish and English.
Diana Portela (Teacher Assistant)
Sra. Diana Portela has a degree in Business Administration from her native country Colombia and worked for an airline for 7 years. Her love for children and Early Childhood began while working as an Au Pair for two years. Her interest in bilingual education began when her daughters were born 6 years ago. She taught Spanish in Summer Camps in VA for three years. Diana has also worked for Language Starts and Communikids as a Spanish teacher for one year. Diana obtained her Early Childhood certification over this summer.This is her second year working at AIS. We welcome her in our team!
Alba Zelaya (Teacher Assistant)
Sra. Alba was born in La Unión, El Salvador It was in El Salvador that she studied Nursing at the University of Jose Andres Bello. When she moved to the United States in 2012 she made a career change.She decided that she wanted to follow her heart and passion. It was here in Montgomery County that Alba began focus on working with children. She went to Montgomery Community College where she received her Early Childhood certifications. This is Alba first year at Arco Iris Somos Preschool and is looking forward to the opportunity to share her love of children, her love of the Spanish language and her love of education with the AIS community.
Claudia Sainz (Substitute Teacher)
Sra. Claudia obtained a Bachelor in Early Childhood from her native country Argentina. She worked for 35 years with children in private schools and public schools before moving to USA with husband and three children. Even though she is a school teacher retired, her love for children and teaching did not stop when she arrived to the Washington D.C. area. She has been working for La Escuela Argentina for three years on Saturdays mornings. This is her second year at Arco Iris Somos (AIS). Sra. Claudia brings her inmense experience, dedication for early education and love for children to AIS. Welcome bac
Clara Sparks (Substitute Teacher)
Sra. Clara earned a Bachelor degree in Social Communication and Journalism in Colombia, her native country. After working in public relations at a well known bilingual school in Bogota, Colombia, she moved to United States 20 years ago. In Maryland, Clara has worked with Upstream Multimedia, LLC, helping produce public service educational videos for Spanish speakers in Montgomery County.
Her passion in Child Development began when her daughter (15 years) was born. Her interest in teaching began 8 years ago when she saw Sra. Lupe’s Mommy and Me program ( Spanish) at the Takoma Park Library in Takoma Park. She began her teaching experience at Arco Iris Somos (AIS) helping with spring and summer camps 7 years ago. Since then, she has been teaching Spanish to young children and tutoring Spanish to middle school children around Montgomery County. On Saturdays, she often substitutes at La Escuela Argentina. This is her first year working as a long term Aid at AIS. Clara’s warm, lively and extroverted personality comes through in the creative and fun ways she engages children.
Brenda Flores (Office Administrator/Bookkeeper)
Brenda Flores was born in Virginia, USA. Coming from a Honduran household, she is fluent in both Spanish and English. Her love for the Spanish language and culture led her to tutor English to Spanish speaking students and Spanish to English speaking students while she attended Jeb Stuart High School in Virginia. Her career as a bookkeeper started as a receptionist at the BJ Carpet LLC three years ago. Her strong customer and fast learner skills, attention to details paid off rapidly in the company. She was awarded a bookkeeper training which aimed to a booking position which she delivered in a professional way.
Brenda’s love for children has motivated her to pursue a degree in Pediatric Nursing at Montgomery Community College. While she is not working or studying, Brenda is engaged in leisure activities such as mountain climbing and/or biking.
We welcome Brenda in our AIS family!
Margaret has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Dartmouth College and a Master's Degree in Education and Counseling from American University. In addition, she has various childcare certifications including a Preschool Director certification from Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). She has worked in education administration and counseling for over 20 years and has worked with students from college to preschool. Her work has included serving as Head of a School, Directing various programs and managing preschools.
In addition to working with children, Margaret spends a lot of her time speaking and conducting workshops throughout the area. Much of her workshop focus is geared towards supporting and working with parents. Topics have varied and range from health and nutrition, to helping children increase their self-confidence, to understanding why a balanced life may not be possible... or necessary.
Margaret is an avid traveler and has visited and lived in numerous countries throughout the world. Her favorite countries to date are Spain, Tanzania and Colombia. She is excited to be able to share her passion for education and world, with Arco Iris Somos community.
Jackie Carvajal (Curriculum Consultant)
Jackie Carvajal has a degree in Education/English from her native Chile where she taught English in public and private schools for 4 years. In December of 2013, Jackie obtained an Early Childhood Certification from the State of Maryland. She has taken several workshops such as Multiple Intelligence Theory, Faculty/Staff Leadership Development, Self Discovery and Impact, MindUP Teacher, Personality Type, Temperament, and Learning Styles among others. She has been teaching Spanish for almost 15 years in various schools in Montgomery County, Maryland. Jackie is currently the Head of the Foreign Language Department at Oneness Family School in Chevy Chase, Maryland where she teaches Spanish to grades pre-K to middle school. She managed the Spanish Enrichment Program at The Highland View Elementary School in Silver Spring for two years. She taught Spanish at The Goddard School in Rockville for 5 years.
Jackie also taught Spanish for 8 years at The Spark Matsunaga Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland as part of the Foreign Language in Elementary School program (FLES). This is Jackie's tenth year teaching at Arco Iris Somos Spanish Immersion Summer Camp, and her second year as the head of Arco Iris Somos Afterschool Enrichment Program. Jackie, Elizabeth Melchor (see below), and Sra. Lupe have been the authors of the interdisciplinary thematic curriculum for the Arco Iris Somos Pre-School. She is currently overseing the funtionality of the curriculum with the staff. Jackie brings with her a wealth of knowledge on how to teach Spanish as a second language to children of various ages. Jackie has the gift of building a deep and lasting rapport with her students.
Elizabeth Melchor (Librarian Consultant)
Elizabeth Melchor has a Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude) in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s in Elementary Education from American University. In December of 2012, Eli obtained a Master’s of Library Science from the University of Maryland College Park. She began her teaching career as a Teach for America Corp member. Eli completed a 7-week intensive summer program at the Teach For America Summer Institute in New York in 2004. At Ruth K. Webb Elementary School in DC, Srta. Eli taught second grade for 2 years. She then taught for 3 years at William B. Powell as a dual language teacher. After 5 wonderful years of classroom teaching, Srta. Eli transitioned into school librarianship, and for the last 6 years, has been working as a School Library Media Specialist at Bancroft Elementary School in Washington D.C. She is helping teachers integrate technology, reading, and cross curriculum subjects into daily lessons. She is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, School Library Advisory Committee, and School Chapter Advisory Committee with the District of Columbia Public School System.
Elizabeth began working at Arco Iris Somos Spanish Immersion Summer Camp as a teacher assistant six years ago. "I like it so much, I don't feel I am working". Elizabeth decided to return as a teacher the following seasons. Elizabeth is a great listener. She communicates and builds relationships with children of all ages. Eli's training and experience as a librarian has been a huge asset in the development of Arco Iris Somos Interdisciplinary thematic curriculum. In addition to curriculum development, Eli selects and purchases age-appropriate books for the Arco Iris staff to read to the children.