Meet Our Teachers and Staff!

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Jessica Swartz Amezcua, MA

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

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. 

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Carolina Jimenez

Adventures in Spanish instructor

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
Kate T. English

Adventures in Spanish Instructor

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.

Ceci
Ceci

Adventures in Spanish Instructor

Ceci is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance Administration but has always been involved in education projects.

When she moved to Portland in 2013 she volunteered with a Montessori School and for Happy Mindful People. Working with kids has been very inspiring and she looks forward to sharing a piece of her home country with her students. 

She's also a professional racquetball player and a certified yoga teacher. She plays tournaments in the United States and Mexico. When she's not playing racquetball, you can find her practicing lots of yoga, hiking the Gorge, cooking vegan meals with her husband, reading, and enjoying time with family and friends. Ceci has taught with us before and we are so excited to have her back teaching with us. 

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"My daughter absolutely adores Maestra Jessica! She is fantastic. My daughter enjoys telling me what she learned in class & practices speaking Spanish around the house. She's quite proud of all she knows & has learned."

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Marcela Rodas Bautista

Adventures in Spanish Instructor

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.

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Delia Garcia

Adventures in Spanish instructor

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.

Seanya
Seanya Pastrana Mondragon

Adventures in Spanish instructor

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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Marie-Eve

Adventures in Spanish Instructor

Marie-Eve is originally from Québec, Canada. When she was 9, she moved to Morocco, and since then she has been passionate about learning about other cultures and sharing about hers. In high school, this led her to start taking Spanish classes. It wasn’t enough for her though.
She didn’t want to just learn; she also wanted to teach! That’s why her high school classes turned into a B.A. in Hispanic Studies, and eventually a Ph.D. In Latin American Cinema. During her 15 years as a teacher, she has worked on foreign language acquisition with professional adults, university students, and children. Although she only taught with the Portland Early Learning Project for a very short time, she is happy to contribute a few videos here and there to keep supporting the work its team.

Marie-Eve loves reading, watching movies, going on hikes with her husband Josh and their two dogs, Loki and Bru, and building new projects with friends, family and the several communities to which she belongs. With her, there’s always a new idea brewing and waiting to see the light! 

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Shayna Rose

Social Media & Marketing

      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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Kathi Kister

Registration & Administrative Assistant

      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.