Meera Dayal Rupp Director/Teacher
Maestra/Directora Meera is a bilingual certified teacher and administrator in the state of Oregon. She has 10 years of teaching experience, in the U.S. and abroad, and 3 years of administrative experience. Growing up in India from a bicultural family, Meera has learned the true gift of diversity. She comes from a multicultural family with her father being from India, her mother Irish American, and close siblings living in Mexico. She has lived in India, Spain, and the Dominican Republic and has travelled all over the world. These experiences have led her to have a global perspective on life and learning. She believes that it is critical that students have an international education in which they are engaged as active learners. They need to see themselves as part of the world.
Rupp has completed her B.A. in Education with a minor in Spanish. She was awarded a graduate teaching fellowship at Northern Arizona University where she taught university level Spanish and studied to receive her bilingual teaching credential. After her Peace Corps service, she went on to get her Masters in Educational Leadership at Sonoma State University. She is married with 3 children, and enjoys being active in the beautiful outdoors of Bend.
Alejandra Cerda Kindergarten Teacher
Maestra Ale began teaching in her hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, then taught in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, then in Istanbul, Turkey, and is now excited to start another adventure at BIS in Bend. She has lived here for a year caring for her two toddlers. In April of 2017, she started at BIS teaching Spanish to middle school children, and now she is thrilled to become the homeroom teacher to kindergarteners. She earned her Masters degree from Universidad de Jaen in Spain, and her teaching degree from Universidad Regiomontana in Monterrey. Her classroom is warm, welcoming, and student centered; She begins the year establishing goals with students one-on-one, giving the children something to work towards, and herself some idea of their needs and interests. Her students feel safe to take risks and explore not only as individuals, but also as members of the classroom community. She loves to expand her students’ world. That may come in the form of studying a foreign culture or in burying their hands in a garden and making things grow. Nos vemos pronto, saludos!
Susie Wittwer First Grade Teacher
Maestra Susie grew up in Bend, Oregon and received a BA in Spanish from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. She received her elementary teaching degree from the University of Montana in Missoula, where she student-taught on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Susie began her teaching career at Jefferson County Middle School in Madras, Oregon, where she taught in special education for two years, beginning in 1998. She then moved to Brazil where she taught at the American School of São Paulo for three years. Upon her return to the U.S., she took a position at Highland Elementary Magnet School in Bend, teaching in a 4th/5th blend classroom for the next six years. Susie has traveled extensively throughout South America, Mexico, and Europe and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. She is married and has three children. She loves to spend time in the outdoors hiking, camping, and skiing and enjoys playing her guitar and spending time with her family. Susie believes in teaching students to view themselves as important citizens in our community, to empathize with others, and to acknowledge the existence of myriad points of view. She is thrilled to be the 1st grade teacher at Bend International School!
Gretchen Dierking 2nd Grade Teacher
Maestra Gretchen earned her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) from Western Washington University and a Master’s degree in teaching from the University of Portland. At sixteen, Maestra Gretchen had her first experience being immersed in the Spanish language when she lived in Chile.¡Fue una experiencia increible! From then on being immersed in different cultures and learning languages would continue to be a part of her life. After her undergraduate degree, she spent two years teaching English abroad in Spain and then glacier guided in Alaska and New Zealand, so she loves the outdoors. She is originally from Juneau, Alaska, which usually doesn’t get much sun. Spending time in Bend has been wonderful and a lot sunnier than Juneau, Alaska! Most recently, Maestra Gretchen worked in Portland as a second grade Spanish Dual Language teacher. She is passionate about the importance of Bilingual education in her student’s lives and the doors that language opens when students are empowered to communicate with people from a diverse range of countries and cultures. Ella está muy emocionada por el aprendizaje que tendremos en este año escolar y no puede esperar para conocerles a todos. She can’t wait to meet everyone!
Beth Bengston 3rd Grade Teacher
Maestra Beth received her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Oregon and her Master’s in Teacher Education from Eastern Oregon University. Beth lived in Santiago, Chile for a year and has traveled extensively throughout South America. She is passionate about traveling, learning and exploring new places. She has traveled to Mexico, Thailand, and throughout Europe. Beth has lived in Bend for 19 years. She is married and has three children. Her hobbies include reading, camping, hiking, and trail running with her golden retriever, Callie. Beth has eight years of experience teaching and working with children. Her first teaching position was at Vern Patrick Elementary in Redmond, Oregon where she taught Spanish to students in grades first-fifth. She then taught fourth grade at the same school. Beth joined the BIS staff for it’s inaugural year where she was the librarian and an electives teacher. She is very excited to be teaching third grade at BIS this year. Beth loves teaching and enjoys providing many different types of educational experiences for her students including hands-on, meaningful activities that enable her students to be active participants in their learning. Beth believes strongly in establishing a caring, positive classroom environment where children feel comfortable and are excited and motivated to learn!
Drew Branstrom 4th Grade Teacher
Maestro Drew comes to Bend all the way from Lawrence, Kansas, and is excited to be apart of our team! He considers himself a lifelong learner with a passion to explore the world and its’ people. Drew graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in PreK-12 Bilingual Education, with minors in Anthropology and Spanish. During his early college years, Drew lived in Spain and attended la Universidad de Málaga, where he studied Spanish phonetics and culture. In Spain he taught elementary English classes and truly fell in love with teaching. His international experience continued after he moved to Argentina, where he finished up the remainder of his undergraduate coursework. Last year Drew worked in Topeka, Kansas, where he was a Spanish kindergarten teacher at a dual-language elementary. Though he taught primary, he has experience as a summer camp counselor with intermediate-aged students and is thrilled to be teaching fourth grade! Drew is excited to help us fulfill our mission to increase the academic achievement of each student, and also looks to create lifelong learners through hands-on and investigative activities. He will fit right in with the Bend community, as he grew up backpacking, skiing, and mountain biking in his home state of California. ¡Vamos a tener un año genial en la clase de Maestro Drew!
Amanda Bumbar 4th/5th Grade Teacher
Maestra Amanda is a passionate teacher and world-traveler. Having grown up with a strong sense of curiosity and passion for learning, Amanda excitedly dove head first in many facets of education. She graduated summa cum laude from Western Oregon University in 2009, having completed studies in both Psychology and Health. After graduation, she felt a strong pull towards helping children through vibrant, welcoming learning opportunities, as well as developing their own personal goals and passions. Amanda used this motivation to travel to China to help a publishing company write curriculum materials, and to come home and complete her Masters of Teaching at Willamette University in 2012, with additional endorsements in Mathematics, Health Education, and as a Reading Specialist. Additionally, Amanda volunteers for a non-profit as their Education Coordinator serving an orphanage in Haiti, and was recently added to board of directors for Nerds Abroad. As an educator, her teaching style is defined by both her enthusiasm towards learning and the strong relationships she fosters with all students in her class, allowing her to focus on differentiated instruction, reaching all students, and making learning fun. Those who know Amanda are often struck by her magnetism and deep commitment to her work of making the world more loving and equitable for everyone.
Vidal Cid Middle School Science Teacher
Maestro Vidal was born and raised in a border town in south Texas. His parents were migrant workers originally from Zacatecas, Mexico. Growing up, his family visited ‘El Rancho’ in Zacatecas annually, during the summers they would work in Michigan, Indiana, and Nebraska. Vidal earned two degrees from The University of Texas at Austin—a Bachelor of Science in physics and a Master of Arts in science education. His teaching philosophy is built around the idea that experience is the best teacher. His goal is to cultivate rich and transformative experiences within the classroom and in the field. He does this through unique and exciting projects, hands-on lessons, and memorable field trips. He likes to challenge students so they can reach their maximum potential as learners. Cid taught middle school science for 12 years in Austin, Texas, then he and his family moved to Central Oregon 2 years ago. He is excited by the opportunity to build a powerful culture of learning at Bend International School.
Margy Hoffman Middle School Math Teacher
Maestra Margy is excited to be at Bend International School this year as a middle school math teacher. She received her BA from Miami University (in Ohio) and her Master of Teacher Education degree from Eastern Oregon University. She has over seven years of teaching experience in the Bend-La Pine Schools. After starting her career as a science educator at Marshall High School, she started teaching math, as well, and realized that was what she truly loved. She eventually moved on to teach math at High Desert Middle School before joining the team at BIS. Math is her passion, and she loves solving problems and puzzles of all types. She is thrilled to be teaching at this innovative school and working with this dedicated staff and enthusiastic families! She has two young children of her own, the oldest of whom is starting Kindergarten at BIS this fall. She loves living in Bend and having access to all of the adventures that Central Oregon has to offer. She is delighted at the addition of BIS to this community, as it will bring a bit of the rest of the world into our lives, right here in Oregon!
Josh Colvin Middle School Language Arts & Social Studies Teacher
Maestro Josh has been actively exploring the world since his childhood growing up in the high desert of Central Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon with his Master’s degree in Teaching and Learning. He went to pursue his passion for teaching and international travel in Thailand. After stints teaching around the world in Bangkok, Switzerland, and Beirut, Lebanon, Josh returned to the United States to teach Social Studies, English, and Outdoor Sports for 4 years at an international boarding school near Lake Tahoe. He has always taken a passionate interest in the humanities and international affairs and looks forward to sharing his knowledge and expertise with the students of BIS.
Mateo Wells Physical Education Teacher
Maestro Mateo grew up surfing at the beaches of Southern California and playing every sport known to kids. He helped his high school win a CIF soccer title in his sophomore year and reach the semi-finals during his junior year. His soccer playing career continued into the semi-professional ranks where he even played two games against former Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsman and many other professional players. Following his passion for soccer, Mateo became the youngest head soccer coach in the state of California for Golden West College where he led the program to multiple playoff appearances in his 10 plus years at the helm. While serving as the college’s soccer coach, Mateo earned his Master’s Equivalency in Physical Education going on to teach P.E. at the college level. Mateo is zealous for the outdoors and has hiked to numerous peaks in many different mountain ranges throughout the world. He has traveled to over 30 countries exploring his love for diverse cultures. Mateo reached bilingualism in Spanish while traveling through South America. Mateo pursued his heart’s goal of teaching Physical Education once again and finished a teaching credential. He is a family man with two boys and is an avid runner, bicyclist, and hiker. Mateo’s vast teaching experiences, including teaching English as a Second Language, Adaptive P.E., Skiing (Colorado), Junior Lifeguards (Huntington Beach), High School P.E., youth soccer camps, and coaching at all levels will help him bring much experience to BIS. Mateo is extremely excited to join the BIS staff and help the students learn about all that Physical Education has to offer.
Rosi Garcia Kindergarten Educational Assistant
Senorita Rosi was born in Mexico but moved to USA when she was eight years old. She lived in Los Angeles California, but grew up for most of her life in Central Oregon. Her teaching experience started back in 2001 when she started working with young children in a Head Start School as a bus assistant and then as a teacher assistant. In 2003 she started working in a migrant head start program as a infant/toddler Teacher and then in 2009 as a preschool teacher. This program had a dual language system which was incorporated in every class. She received my Early Childhood Education AA Degree in 2012 from Blue Mountain Community College, this was a big accomplishment for her as she is the only college graduate in her family.During her free time she loves to spend time with my family, listen to music, travel and help out in the community. She loves working with young children, and being able to share her culture with them, this way they can embrace other people around them. She is very excited to be part of Bend International School and work with the variety of age groups.
Elizabeth Colvin ELL Teacher /Librarian
Maestra Elizabeth received her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Colorado and her Master’s in English Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University. Elizabeth has lived and taught in Italy, Switzerland and Lebanon. Elizabeth has ten years of experience teaching and working with students from all over the world. She has over 5 years of experience teaching ELL student how to improve their English skills. She is very excited to be working in the library and teaching English Language Learners. Elizabeth loves sharing her passion for reading and literature with students and helping them discover the magical world of fiction.
Mayra Stearns Global Lunch Coordinator
Señora Mayra is from Jalisco, Mexico and every summer she was in her grandmother’s eatery. She watched her carefully assemble regional dishes from very local sources. For example, she picked herbs from the garden, went to the butcher to order special cuts and carried freshly made tortillas from my aunts hearth. Her 94 year old Abuela Rosa taught her that delicious food was something more than just a compilation of ingredients, it was the love and appreciation of its source.
Fortunate to have graduated from the Culinary Academy, she worked alongside world renown chefs. As she travelled 3 continents, she can appreciate that food is the most unique cultural identity we each have. It is her pleasure and honor to introduce new flavors and combinations to our students. She invites them to be brave as we take a round the world trip with our palates!