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.
Kim Schmidt Office Manager
Señora Kim joined BIS with a passion for working with diverse families and students. Kim went to school out of high school in Switzerland and has always had a passion for travel and learning about different cultures. She is Native American, and is an enrolled member of the Modoc tribe. She has lived in Central Oregon for 24 years. She has worked in education for the past 14 years and is currently working on her teaching degree in Special Education. Kim enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She enjoys outdoor activities, as well as watching her favorite major league sports teams.
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!
Tere Pelàez 1st Grade Teacher
Maestra Tere grew up bilingual in Santiago, Chile where she attended the International School Nido de Aguilas. She received a BA in Early Childhood Education from Educares University and a Masters Degree in Early Literacy from Delaware University. Maestra Tere’s career has taken her from Santiago, Chile, where she taught kindergarten at a bilingual school, to Arizona, where she taught kindergarten and first grade in the Navaho Nation. She also co-founded an Expeditionary Learning middle school in Tucson, Arizona where she taught humanities for five years. For much of the last decade, she has worked as a primary teacher and instructional guide in an Expeditionary Learning school in Salt Lake City, Utah. Maestra Tere is passionate about connecting learning to real-world issues and needs and teaching immersed in discovery, inquiry, critical thinking and collaboration. In her free time she enjoys hiking, cooking, skate skiing, spending time with her nieces, and live music. Tere and her husband Dirk, a school leader in Bend, have a 23-year-old daughter who lives in Utah. Maestra Tere is thrilled to join BIS and looks forward to engaging in the meaningful work that happens here!
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 Wright 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.
Jamie Ruiz Kindergarten Kindergarten Teacher's Assistant
Maestra Jamie was born and raised in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico in a bicultural home. She grew up attending an American School until 9th grade where she spent her days learning in both English and Spanish. Jamie discovered her passion for teaching while volunteering at an outdoor school called Camp Tamarack. After spending a week in the woods leading field studies and singing camp songs, she fell in love with working with kids. Since then, she has returned for three years of summer camp where she teaches a weekly class, leads rotational activities, mentors high schoolers and supports campers. Currently, Jamie is attending COCC with a major in Elementary Education. She is excited to begin her teaching journey at Bend International School and emphasize the importance of learning about the world.
Elizabeth Colvin ELL Teacher /Librarian/ MS Math Teacher's Assistant
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.
Ashlen Franco 3rd Grade Teacher's Assistant
Maestra Ashlen Franco was born in Bend and is studying online to complete her degree in Elementary Education. After high school, she spent a year living abroad and studying in northern England, which is also where she met her Argentinian husband. The following year, she studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, while having the opportunity to live with a Spanish family and teach private English lessons. Through this experience, she was able to learn Spanish as a second language. She is now settled in Bend with her husband, where they enjoy hiking, kayaking, reading, art, and spending time with family and friends. Her joy comes from being able to inspire students to believe in their abilities and encouraging them to persevere through challenges. Ashlen is very excited to be working alongside the BIS staff and assisting in the third grade class this year!
Matilde Limón 5th Grade Educational Assistant
Señora Matilde “Mattie” was born in a small agricultural town near Guadalajara, Mexico. She immigrated as a small child to the U.S. and grew up in Portland, OR with four siblings. In 1996 Mattie made her home in Bend where she joyfully raised her three children, Amanda 27, Christian 25, and Chloe 20.
When Amanda was studying at the University of Oregon she inspired her to go back to school, saying “Mom, you have a college right in your own back yard. You should take that opportunity.” Mattie earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology at OSU Cascades in 2014.
Mattie has volunteered in the classroom at Mountain Star relief nursery, assisted with the Feed the Hungry program at Bend Community Center and has helped out at Deschutes County Health as a Spanish interpreter/translator. She has worked as a bilingual Educational Assistant in California and in elementary schools in Bend. Mattie is thrilled to be back in the classroom with the students of BIS. She believes in that old proverb that states “it takes a village to raise a child” which means that if a community collectively works together a child has the best potential to become a healthy adult.
Mattie loves to cook, garden and quilt, as well as traveling. Her favorite destinations, so far, are Isla Mujeres, off the coast of Cancun and Punta Uva, Costa Rica.
Yenny Aliaga 2nd grade Teacher's Assistant/Before Care Coordinator
Señora Yenny Aliaga graduated with a degree in Primary Education, and also completed studies of a Masters in Education degree. She has extensive professional experience in the field of education, she has been Directorate of Educational Institutions, and teacher trainer of the Ministry of Education of Peru. She is happy to be a part of the BIS work family, working as a teacher assistant. Her main objective is to facilitate a positive environment that facilitates the learning of all students. She is a responsible, patient, positive professional, with great teaching, and punctual and committed to BIS. And she is certainly fluent in Spanish!
Cammie Huston Administrative Assistant
Señora Cammie received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Oregon. She worked as a customer account rep at both Nike, Inc. in Portland and the American Licorice Co. here in Bend before leaving the workforce temporarily to start a family. She is married and has spent the last 15 years raising her children (Carson 15 & Griffin 11) along with volunteering in their classrooms and working part-time. She was the subscription manager at 1859 Magazine for 3 years and spent the past 4 years as a classified substitute in the office at Jewell Elementary. Cammie enjoys hiking, walking the family dog (a Boston Terrier named Wesley), reading, cooking, watching her kids play soccer, spending time with family & friends, and traveling. Her travels have included trips to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico. Her favorite travel destination so far has been Queenstown, NZ. Cammie is excited to join the team at BIS!
Hannah Geason 4th Grade Teaching Assistant/Global Arts Coordinator
Maestra Hannah Geason is an Oregon native, spending most of her life in Portland Oregon. Between high school and her freshman year of college, she traveled to Nicaragua for several weeks to work on clean water projects. It was a catalyst that sparked her love of travel and community education projects, making it a priority to work those elements into her career and undergraduate education. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art history and Anthropology from The Evergreen State College and began her undergraduate work in education and equity as a Peer advisor for the college’s multicultural advising center.