about us

Anna Baldwin-Sanders 
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Anna grew up in Portland, Oregon and attended the same schools that she now enjoys teaching at. Teaching is a family profession and a passion for her as she has spent the last 13 years working with children of all ages, backgrounds, and special needs. For 12 years she was a lead teacher for Albina Head Start. It is through these experiences she has immersed herself in a variety of best practice teaching techniques and methods. Of these she has utilized Reggio and R.I.E theory, along with implementing many other teaching strategies in her classrooms. Through these practices Anna provides an individualized, experiential, creative and fun learning environment for all children. 
Anna is excited to merge her passion of teaching and her love of the Spanish language. Similar to her students, her Spanish began at an early age as part of her academic studies as a student at Alameda Elementary School. Anna continued her studies in Spanish at University of Barcelona, Spain and Portland State University, earning a Bachelors of Arts in Early Childhood and Family Studies and a minor in Spanish. Anna lives in NE Portland with her husband and children. Her youngest, Jovani Sanders, is learning Spanish, English and sign language. She looks forward to getting to know her students and their families.

Nina Kelley
Operations & Administrative Assistant
Nina was born and raised in Kansas City. She attended Kansas State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She taught preschool, fourth grade and sixth grade while living in Kansas. After moving to Portland seven years ago she became a volunteer in her children’s schools, organizing programs like Battle of the Books and One School One Book. This was a great fit since she loves to work with kids and she loves to organize big projects. When she isn’t running her kids to soccer, basketball and whatever else they have going on, you can find her working with the middle school youth at church, volunteering at the local food pantry, searching for her new favorite book at the library, or taking the family dogs on walks. 

Edy Gonzales Torres
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) substitute instructor
Edy was born in the Incan city Cusco, Peru and spent his childhood in the sacred valley. He began mentoring at a Catholic orphanage and worked with children ages 2-15 teaching English, Spanish and Quechua. After completing his bachelor’s degree in economics he continued to pursue his passion for helping others. He provided interpretation for medical missions and was active in supporting community members in hospice care. Through his work, Edy developed many strong relationships and started a successful non-profit organization, Desea, Peru that provided water filtration units and corresponding education to many rural communities. After the birth of his son, he realized how many opportunities being multilingual has provided him. Allowing him to connect with various cultures, communities and people in a way that is very difficult to describe but is a priceless gift. Edy is excited to continue teaching and mentoring in order to make our community better.
​Zoraya Henao
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Zoraya was born and raised in a small city near Monterrey, NL, Mexico. She started her teaching career early while still in college, teaching English as a Second Language to children and adults. She majored in Education with a concentration in Educational Psychology. Once she finished college, she went to Australia for a year in a volunteer program. Upon returning, she went on to complete a graduate degree in Gestalt psychotherapy. Zoraya moved to the United States in the 2005. Living in Washington, DC, and Maryland for the past 8 years, she began a MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Zoraya moved to Portland this year, and is in love with the city! She currently works part-time with individuals with disabilities in a community inclusion program. Some of her favorite things include getting out and about around the city and exploring all it has to offer. She also loves cooking Mexican and Colombian food, especially arepas. Her mother made sure she knew how to make arepas because her father is from Colombia.
Ben Citalán
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Ben was born and raised in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, where he received his certificate to teach Spanish at El Portal Spanish School. He has lived in Portland for the past five years, where his daughter was born. His daughter was his inspiration to keep moving forward with his Spanish teaching career. He volunteered in 2012 as an Assistant Spanish Teacher at Atkinson Elementary, where he had the opportunity to continue as an instructor at Hands-On Language. He is currently completing an English and Spanish Teaching Certificate at People * Places * Things. "I'm always happy for the fact that I can facilitate the crossroads of culture, ultimately helping people connect and learn, regardless of age, background or any other barrier.''
Delia Garcia
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) 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 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.

Emory Neer
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Emory grew up in southern Florida and northern Arizona before moving to Portland in 2012. Since 2012, she has worked in early childhood education in a variety of roles, as well as worked as an interpreter in other fields such as tourism and banking. Language and child development are two things she is very passionate about. She started learning Spanish when she was young from family members. Her high school required all students to take 2 years of a foreign language so she chose to pursue Spanish and became fluent. Currently she is finishing her associates at PCC as well as completing a paralegal certificate with plans to transfer to PSU. 
In her free time she enjoys food and playing with her chihuahua-Italian greyhound pup. She also loves the beach, sunny days, family time and traveling. So far she has been to Costa Rica and Panamá but is very excited to go more places. 
HB Barragan
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
Originally from Veracruz, Mexico but having grown up in Southern California, HB has has always loved interacting with children. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UCLA and always felt inclined to focus her studies within Child Psychology. Her growing interest in Autism led her to begin helping children with Autism and other developmental disabilities where she provided one on one therapy, group play sessions as well as provided assessments and parent education. Today, she continues her involvement in education by teaching and tutoring kids in various subjects. She highly enjoys providing a fun, playful, memorable and inviting learning environment and loves seeing children learn and grow. HB’s other passions include fashion design, salsa dancing, swimming, photography, watercolor painting, and cooking.

Gloria Nunez
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) instructor
​Gloria, a Mexican native, moved to the states during her teen years. She has resided in Florida, Georgia and California as a military spouse and now lives in Beaverton. She received her degree in Physical and Earth Science in 2015. Gloria has taught for over 13 years, educating children and young adults in multiple subjects in both English and Spanish in the classroom as well as in-home instruction. Gloria is a committed education professional with extensive knowledge of teaching styles and in classroom management, obtaining excellent results in the public school arena, U.S. Government Installations, as well as the private sector. She enjoys exercising, solving puzzles, and spending time with her husband and three teenage children, during her free time.
Jessica has been involved with PELP in many different roles over the last nine years...as an administrative assistant, a teacher and now co-owner and director of the Spanish Language in Play branch of PELP. Jessica was first exposed to Spanish through language classes in junior high school in the Washington, DC public school system where she grew up. She didn’t become fluent in Spanish, however, until she spent a life-changing college semester in Cuautla, Mexico.

Just a few years out of college Jessica fulfilled her dream by landing a job in Cuernavaca, Mexico where she lived and worked for two years. Since returning to the US, Jessica has earned her M.A. in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University, worked at a binational, non-profit environmental organization in San Diego, and as an elementary substitute teacher in Chula Vista, CA in bilingual and immersion classrooms. 

When Jessica is not busy with PELP or being a mom to her three beautiful children, she may be found playing racquetball, cooking, reading, picking Oregon blackberries, or attending one of the many cultural events that Portland has to offer.  

Christina is one of the PELP founders and has been developing curriculum and teaching our Baby Sign Language in Play classes since PELP's formation in 2006. She has her Master's Degree in Speech Language Pathology and brings extensive knowledge about child language development to all of her classes. It was during her practice as a Speech Therapist that she began using American Sign Language Signs with young children who were having difficulty communicating.  From the first time she saw a child sign, she was hooked!  She continues to be awed by the ability and desire of the youngest of children to communicate and the way signing connects and bonds families.  

Christina has been working with children for as long as she can remember and has been described by parents as having a "profound respect" and "huge heart" for young children. Christina also has a heart for new parents! After becoming a mother herself Christina found a passion for supporting parents during the life changing transition to parenthood. She strives to bring connection and community to all of her work.

In her spare time, Christina enjoys music (she began playing piano at 3!), playing with her children (Nolan, 6, Scarlett, 3), photography and exploring the beautiful pacific NW. 
Christina Schabow
Director/Instructor Sign Language in Play
Jessica Swartz Amezcua
Director/Instructor of Spanish Language in Play Adventures in Spanish
Substitute Teachers
Virginia Miller
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) Instructor
Virginia Miller has been a certified teacher for Pre-K and Kindergarten levels for 14 years within the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education. She was also the Lead Instructor for Truckee Meadows Community College Tahoe Adult ESL classes for 7 years. She holds the ProTELL’s Endorsement in teaching Dual Language Learners K-12, and has been working with the DLL population since 1988. She earned her BA in Spanish at the University of Oregon in 1992, and an A.A.S., in Early Childhood Education at Seattle Central Community College in 1987. Virginia lived abroad in Mexico City for 1 year in 1993-94, and has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, and Central America. She loves the outdoors, traveling, singing karaoke, and constantly learning on how to expand her horizons on all levels. 
Jeanette Nelson
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) Instructor
Jeanette was born and raised in Portland.  She went to school at Portland State University where she studied Psychology and received a Masters in Education and a minor in History. She later earned an endorsement in special education. Jeanette taught in the Portland public schools for 14 years, spending part of that time working with ELL students, and also taught at a Spanish immersion school for 10 years. She was a United States sailing instructor for 15 years and she and her husband have raced sailboats for the last 30 years. Jeanette has two grown children and three grandchildren and loves to read in her spare time.    

Maria Fernanda Filizola
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) Instructor
Maria was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico.   When she was 18 years old she received a Computer associates degree but decided that her true passion didn't lie just in computers but in teaching children, so she decided to take a leap of faith and move to Portland, Oregon to become an au pair. Maria has spent the last 10 years teaching children. In her free time she loves spending time with her beautiful 11 year old daughter, Nevaeh. She enjoys drawing, reading, movies and board games and traveling back to Mexico about once a year to visit family. In her free time she volunteers for Donate Life NW.  She absolutely love teaching and can't wait to start the year working at PELP. 
Karina Morales Rodriguez
Adventures in Spanish (Spanish Language in Play) Instructor
Karina was born in Mexico City, studied to become a bilingual administrative assistant, and received two certificates in family counseling. In Mexico City Karina worked as a credit analyst and later as an administrator in a private school. She spent four years living in Alaska before moving to Portland, where she takes English classes at Mount Hood Community College, babysits, and volunteers teaching Spanish to adults. In addition to her PELP classes, she has also taught Spanish to students at Arleta and Renaissance Elementary Schools. Karina cultivates her faith by volunteering at her church and she loves reading, listening to music, and meditating. Of course, she learns from the best teachers of all, the children.