Meet Our Teachers and Staff!

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Founder, GoGo Español
Co-Director, Portland Early Learning Project

Jessica Swartz Amezcua, MA
(she/her)

I was born and raised in Washington, DC, and have lived in seven different cities (two of which were in Mexico!).

I spent the most magical, life-changing trimester in Cuautla, Mexico back in college. I made a pact with a friend not to speak a single word of English -- and both of us came out speaking with near-native fluency! It took me five years, but I found a way to make my way back to (my beloved) Mexico by working as a lab tech at the University of Mexico for two years. That single trimester in my second year of college set me on an incredible (albeit circuitous) path to where I am today - an owner of an amazing Spanish program where I get to share my passion for Spanish language and cultures through singing, reading, and playing. 

Carolina
instructor

Carolina Jimenez (she/her)

Carolina was born and raised in Colombia, South America. She moved to Portland, Oregon in her late teens to learn English and to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Theology at Portland Bible College.

Carolina has worked for various nonprofit organizations, including in administrative positions for the American Red Cross, but she has always loved working with kids. She has been a volunteer teacher at her church for the past 13 years, and still counting! She also works as an interpreter. She enjoys meeting new people and being a communication bridge between cultures.

Carolina loves spending time with her husband and two children, Daniel & Olivia, whom she enjoys teaching the most!

Kate
Curriculum Developer

Kate T. English (she/her)

Kate’s post-university experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic was just the beginning of what has become her life-long passion for the Spanish language and Latino cultures. 

Kate has been very involved with Amigos de Las Americas, a youth leadership and cultural immersion program that trains and sends high school students to Latin American countries for summer projects. Over the past 20 years, Kate has traveled extensively throughout Latin America with her husband and two children. After a couple of recent trips to Nicaragua, Kate self-published a bilingual children's book about rescued street dogs to help fundraise for Mariposa, a non-profit community employment and animal rescue organization in rural Nicaragua. Just back from six months in Peru and Spain, Kate currently lives in NE Portland with her family.

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Instructor

Ceci Orozco (she/her)

Ceci is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance Administration. During college, she did an internship with the Education Department at ITESO University, that involved first hand experience in leading the logistics for a week-long immersion in creative education, curriculum development, and in-depth educational conferences. This experience led her to find a passion for teaching.

When she moved to Portland in 2015, she volunteered as a Spanish interpreter with a Montessori School and taught kids yoga for Happy Mindful People. Right after that she met with Jessica and began teaching Spanish for PELP. 

Ceci is also a former athlete, certified yoga teacher and holistic wellness educator. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the great outdoors of the PNW, traveling, gardening and relaxing at home, unplugging from technology (so needed!). She visits her home country of Mexico whenever she can! Ceci has taught with us before and we are so excited to have her back teaching with us. 

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Content Developer, Social Media

Shayna Rose (she/her)

      Shayna was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and has a passion for helping others. She graduated with a master’s degree in curriculum and teaching from The University of Oregon, and worked in Portland Public Schools as an Art Teacher. Shayna recently moved back to Oregon from California where she was a photographer at Disneyland. She has produced social media content for travel companies and museums.

      When not at her home office, you can find Shayna at the farmer’s market, a dog park, or baking cinnamon rolls. 

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Design & Media Specialist, Social Media

Andrew Wach (He/Him)

    Andrew is a graphic designer from the Bay Area. He studied design at the University of California, Davis and has worked as a graphic designer for design agencies and nonprofit organizations around the world. He is passionate about education and is honored to be a part of a program that helps young people to learn Spanish. 

    Recently, Andrew has been going on lots of hikes and cooking up new recipes he found on TikTok! He also loves watching new movies, as well as some of his old favorites. (His favorite movie is The Incredibles!)

marcela
Instructor

Marcela Rodas Bautista (she/her)

Marcela is originally from Guatemala City. She moved to Portland, Oregon in 2016.

She started teaching Spanish as a second language in Turin, Italy where she obtained her Bachelor's in International Relations.

When she returned to Guatemala she continued to teach Spanish to children and adults. She is also a circus performer and a movement arts coach for people of all ages.

Delia
instructor

Delia Garcia (she/her)

Delia was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. She received her degree in Education in 2000 and also obtained a diploma in Special Education Studies. She gained experience working in an elementary school for six years, and has worked with various groups of teachers performing social services in rural areas in Mexico.

Teaching is one of Delia's passions, as she enjoys being a part of the learning process with young children. Delia lives in Beaverton with her ​husband, Abraham, and their three children Alejandro, Zulianny, and Sebastian.

She loves spending time with family, traveling, and going to the theater.

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instructor
SR. Video Editor

Pablo Usunoff (he/him)

Pablo Usunoff was born in Arizona, and was raised and lived most of his life in Argentina. He took a break from teaching Spanish for us so he could bike across Mexico (from Cancun to Tijuana), and then From San Diego to Rhode island. We're so happy to have him back! He's been instrumental in our big pivot to going virtual. He has put his film studies and musical talents to use by editing and creating videos for GoGo Español. His passion for music and cinematography really shines through in our videos! He also worked as an audiovisual translator for many years, as well as taught English classes to children.
When he's not working or riding his bicycle, Pablo loves to play with his pelota!

Seanya
Instructor

Seanya Pastrana Mondragon
(she/her)

Seanya was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. She came to Portland with her family and completed her diploma at Cleveland High School in 2010. She was involved in Milagro Theater as an actress where she developed her artistic skills and found passion in teaching young students and coordinating events. She is very involved with being an after school teacher and learned to gain trust with parents who came from different cultures and backgrounds.

She obtained her Associates and also received the Global Studies Focus award at PCC and was an active member in MECHa, International Club, Spanish Club and Muslim Student Association. She is currently at Portland State University finishing her double major in International Studies for Community Development and a B.A. in Spanish as well as being the official Dream PSU event Coordinator for DACA students. Her main goal is to teach young children how to love, respect and appreciate diversity in the United States by her knowledge of international studies as well as her Hispanic heritage.

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Registration & Administrative Assistant

Kathi Kister (she/her)

      Kathi has lived in Portland for the last 20 years after making a home in Pennsylvania (twice), Illinois (twice) and Southern California. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a business minor from the University of Southern California and a Master’s in Educational Counseling from The Pennsylvania State University.
      After working in admissions and financial for several years, Kathi became a stay at home mom to her two children. She has volunteered extensively in her children’s schools, music competitions, and soccer
teams. She is finishing her 7 th year at Westview High School as an ASPIRE mentor, which helps juniors and seniors navigate the post high school process.
       Kathi lives in the Bethany area with her husband and trying to get used to her empty nest although the children seem to like to test that quite a bit! She loves reading, volunteering, and traveling with her family.

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JR. Video Editor

Raquel Aurelia Amezcua (she/her)

   Raquel Aurelia Amezcua has been involved with PELP since she was three! First as a student in our preschool classes, then as a camper, and later as a volunteer counselor. If she didn’t have school and other obligations – she could almost teach our classes! (She certainly knows all the songs!) 

Raquel's current role at PELP is to create promotional videos for our Spanish programs, and help our teachers with their GoGo Espanol videos.