Clemencia Hernandez (Lead Teacher)
Clemencia was born in Colombia. At the early age of seven, she immigrated to New York City and grew up in Queens. She achieved a Marketing and Management Degree at Berkley College in NYC. An internship with HartMarx Corporation led to a 10 year career in the men's tailored fashion industry, throughout which she regularly traveled internationally.
During her professional years in New York City, she joined Big Brothers/Big Sisters. There she developed a love for working with young children. She volunteered with the Committee for Fundraising, Children's Activity Committee and within a year, began mentoring a young girl, who after 23 years, she still lovingly calls her "my little sister".
Her personal life led her to the Washington DC area. She began volunteering at Children's National Medical Center where she is a board member of the Board of Visitor's. She also has volunteered at Children's with the oncology patients.
All of her above experiences let her to a new career in Early Childhood Education. She worked at Ohr Kodesh Early Childhood Center for three years as a assistant teacher. Her fast learning in the classroom let her to become a co-teacher. Clemencia began in Arco Iris last year as a teacher assistant in the Cielitos class. This summer, she went through a short intense training with Srta. Jackie, Arco Iris Somos' senior teacher in las Luciernagas class (4 & 5). Clemencia obtained an Early Childhood Certification from the State of Maryland in 2016. She has taken many courses and training including Health/Safety & Nutrition, Medication Administration, Health & Safety, ADA (including All Children and the Americans with disabilities Act), Aide's Orientation, and Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED. She is currently the Lead Teacher of "Los Tesoritos" class.
Clemencia lives in Chevy Chase, MD with her husband and four year old son, Gabriel. She is raising her son bilingual and this summer she travelled with her family throughout Colombia. Her hobbies include photography, reading and traveling!
Monica Ivanic (Lead Teacher )
Monica Ivanic has a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from La Escuela Nacional Normal Superior # 11 Dr. Ricardo Levene from her native county of Argentina. She also obtained an Early Childhood Certification from the State of Maryland in 2013. She has taught in both public and private schools for 11 years in the United States and Argentina. While in the United States, Monica has worked at the Creative Arts and Language School in Bethesda, the Foreign Language Elementary School Program (FLES) in Takoma Park, and the Escuela Argentina of Washington. Monica has also taken numerous professional development courses throughout the years. Monica brings with her a wealth of knowledge and her passion for the Spanish Language. This is Monica second year at AIS. We are happy to have her in our team. She is currently the Lead Teacher of "Los Cielitos" class.
Sra. Monica lives with her husband and her two children in Rockville, Maryland.
Carla Armas (Co-teacher)
Carla Armas was born in Guatemala but raised in Maryland. Carla graduated from Northwood High School in 2013. She earned an Early Childhood Certification from the State of Maryland in 2016. She will earned her Associate Degree in Early Childhood in December 2017. She is planning to transferred to Washington State University (on line) to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood. Carla was last year awarded Level 3Three in the Maryland Child Care Credential Program of Maryland. She worked for two years as a teacher's aide in the kindergarten classroom at Woodlin Child Development Center before coming to Arco Iris Somos. She has taken many courses and training including ADA Special Education Needs, Effective Communication with Parents and Professionals, Straight Talk About Bulling, Proactive Ways to Deal with Difficult Behavior, Processing and Acquisition of Reading, Integrated Arts, Medication Administration (MAT) among others. This is Carla's third year at Arco Iris Somos. Because of her inmense professional grow in the classroom, Carla has been promoted as a co-teacher in "Los Tesoritos" class.
Carla daughter's Zoe attends Arco Iris Somos in the Cielitos class..
Anabel Blando (Teacher Assistant)
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 three years. Annabel has taken numerous professional development courses through the years. She is currently working in obtaining her Early Childhood Certification from the State of Maryland. This is her second year working for Arco Iris Somos as a teacher assistant in "Los Cielitos" class. 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 (12), Juan Ignacio (8) and Delfina (6). Al of them are completed bilingual in Spanish and English.
Margaret Jackson (Consultant)
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.
Silvia Totti (Substitute)
Silvia Totti has a degree in Mass Communication from Catholic University in Bolivia. In 2012 Silvia obtained an Early Childhood Certification from the State of Maryland. Silvia brings to Arco Iris Somos more than 10 years of experience working with children ages 6 months to 4 years. She worked at Bobbi’s Family Daycare in Germantown, Maryland for 2 years as a teacher assistant in the infant class. During this period she monitored and supervised infants by ensuring a healthy and safe environment. She also planned and delivered a stimulating and warm environment as well as a language-rich atmosphere. From 2004 to 2006 she worked at Little Dudes Day Care in Germantown, Maryland as a teacher assistant in the toddler’s class. During this period Silvia assisted in the development of age appropriate curriculum that emphasized the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of the children. She worked as a nanny from 2006 to 2013 while raising her own two children. Since September 2013 through June 2014 Sra. Lupe has mentored Sra. Silvia through Arco Iris' popular "Tú y Yo en Español" class. Silvia brings to Arco Iris Somos her dedication to children’s early education, her joy at watching this age group flourish, and her warmth as she relates to the children.