Pilar O’Leary, Co-Founder & Director Pilar is an honors graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Languages and Linguistics and Georgetown University Law Center. She is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian and English and has extensive experience working with and in Spanish and Latin American cultures. A former lawyer and not-for-profit director, Pilar has worked at the United Nations, Goldman Sachs & Co, JP Morgan, Fannie Mae and the Smithsonian Institution, where she was director of the Smithsonian Latino Center. Pilar co-produced the award-winning documentary, “The Accordion Kings: The Story of Colombian Vallenato Music” which features Grammy-award winning artist Carlos Vives and aired on the Smithsonian Channel of Showtime Television (CBS) in August 2010. Pilar is currently the Founder and President of PFO Advisory Group, a consulting practice which advises organizations on their government affairs, partnership and business needs in Latin America, the U.S. and other countries. A dual US/Colombian citizen and a native Washingtonian, Pilar is a member of the Georgetown University Entertainment and Media Alliance and the National French Honor Society. Pilar has been a speaker at many national forums on Latino culture, education and entertainment and a commencement speaker for the New World School of the Arts at Miami-Dade College.
About The Founders
For Alexandra Migoya and Pilar O’Leary, creating Isabella & Ferdinand Spanish Language Adventures™ grew out of a desire to have high-quality Spanish classes for their children, whom they are raising bilingually. “We desperately wanted our children to be in an environment where they were engaged learning in Spanish—proper Spanish—as well as learning about Spanish and Latin American culture, every single week. We didn’t feel like they would truly master the language otherwise, even with speaking it at home.” For them, Isabella & Ferdinand is very much a labor of love.
Alexandra Migoya, Co-Founder & Director Alexandra received her BA in Spanish and English Literature from Cornell University, magna cum laude, and is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. Previously, Alexandra worked for over 10 years as a corporate lawyer with firms in New York and Washington, D.C. as well as various in-house counsel roles for several Fortune 500 companies. Alexandra is currently in-house counsel to a health tech company in Washington, D.C. Alexandra is a prize-winning author of short-fiction related to Latin American culture and included in her publication credits is a contributing article to “Women, Feminism, and Femininity in the 21st Century: American and French Perspectives” published by Palgrave McMillan. Her poetry translations from Spanish to English have been published in Twentieth Century Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology. Alexandra previously taught English Literature as an adjunct professor at Montgomery College in Takoma Park, Maryland. She is on the Board of Advisors of the Intentional Life lab at the University of Maryland.
Maira Abasto Vega, Executive Director, Lead Teacher/DELE Specialist
A native of La Paz, Bolivia, Maira comes to Isabella & Ferdinand with a passion for children, education and Spanish language culture. Maira began her career as a French and English teacher and later became a lawyer in Bolivia. She received a diploma from the Nancy University and a DEUG from Stendhal (Grenoble, France) in Foreign Language Studies (French, English and Portuguese), a Bachelor's in French, as well as Primary and Secondary Studies from the Colegio Franco Boliviano "Alcyde D orbigny" in La Paz, Bolivia, and then later on, after teaching French to children for several years, she went back to school and received a law degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Boliviana in La Paz. Her passion for teaching and education never waned and she decided in 2011 to update her language teaching to include her mother tongue: Spanish, and get back to what she loves most - language teaching and children! In 2015 Maira received a Masters in Education from Strayer University, summa cum laude, and in 2014 she became certified in the DELE exam by the Instituto Cervantes. She has taught Spanish at the French Academy in Virginia and joins Isabella & Ferdinand to devote herself full time to teaching Spanish to children in the Washington, DC area
Natalia Terry, Art/Photography Teacher/Musical Accompanist (Summer)
Natalia has spent many summers with Isabella & Ferdinand teaching Spanish, art and music, and most recently has collaborated with I&F on an illustration project as part of I&F's curriculum. Natalia is from La Plata, Argentina and is a talented photographer, artist, singer and musician. She is a graduate from the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, where she graduated with a degree in psychology. She has a certificate in photography from the Escuela Superior de Formación Fotográfica and has worked in the arts, marketing, graphic design and in event planning in Argentina since 2007. Natalia brings not only her superb social, organizational and planning skills to Isabella & Ferdinand, but also her passion for sharing music and culture of the Americas with young children. She has a natural way with young children and a gift for teaching them to sing and create art in Spanish.
Francisco Revert, Advisor
Hailing from Andalucía, Spain, educator, composer, pianist and guitarist Francisco (Fran) Revert brings a wonderful set of musical talents to Isabella and Ferdinand –quite literally the Pied Piper of Spanish! Fran has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Language and Theory from the Professional Conservatory of Music in Jaen, Spain. He also has done significant coursework in Piano Interpretation, studying with some of the best master teachers in Spain. For the last 10 years Fran has been being teaching music in private and classroom settings both abroad and in the U.S. including piano, vocals, composition and arrangement, production, mixing and recording instruction. He has taught at iMUTE (Music and Technology Institute) and at the ECAM School of Cinema in Spain. Fran is a gifted music producer and has created music for a number of films, TV programs and well-known artists in the U.S. and Europe. He is a winner of the Joan Baptista Cabrera award in Spain for Best Music Composition (1992, 1996) and published “Music Resources for the Classroom” (Volumes 1 and 2, Ed. MAD, 1997, Spain). Aside from his many activities and accomplishments, teaching children remains Fran’s primary passion.
Sara Arranz Ramiro, Curriculum Consultant
A native of Asturias, Spain, Sara Arranz Ramiro comes to Isabella & Ferdinand with a wealth of teaching experience. Sara received her Bachelors Degree in Foreign Language Education from the University of Valladolid, Spain and received an Erasmus Scholarship at the Katholieke Vlaamse Hogeschool in Antwerp, Belgium. She has worked as a teacher at Henry Green School in London, Cleveland Junior School in London, England, Infiesto High School in Asturias, Spain, Ventanielles Bilingual School in Asturias, Spain and as a Spanish teacher at Bancroft Elementary In Washington, D.C. She has worked extensively in developing bilingual curricula and in training other language teachers, including acting as the coordinator for the “European Portfolio of Languges” CPR, “Bilingual Support Teaching”, “CLIL: Content and Language Intergration”, and “Activities Design for the Development of Linguistic Skills in English using CLIL Filology and “Bilingual Sections in Primary Education at the Teachers Centre in Oviedo Spain, leading the course “Language and Professional Development for Teachers” for the European Union. She has trained bilingual education teachers in Europe and in the United States and was named a Master Teacher for D.C. Public Schools. She worked on an innovative bilingual program which was a joint initiative of the British Council- Spanish Education Department. Sara is a member of the European Socrates Society.
Carla Molina, Creative Arts Master
Carla Molina, a native of Colombia, is a bilingual professional with extensive administrative, analytical and clerical experience as well as significant childcare experience. She is a graduate of Los Libertadores University in Bogota where she earned a BA in Economics and International Business. Most recently, Carla was a teaching assistant/coordinator at Sugar Plums Daycare Center in Rockville, Maryland. Previously, Carla was a senior event manager at the University of Maryland. In Colombia, Carla worked for Comcel S.A., the country’s largest cellular company, as a marketing representative, customer service supervisor and billing analyst. She was also a manager in the Human Resources division of Vincomer Ltda. Among her professional certifications she has a certificate in Early Childhood Education from the Childhood Education Institute in Maryland and a certificate in Adult/Pediatric CPR and Universal First Aid from the American Safety & Health Institute. Carla is also a talented artist, having studied with Omar Rayos in Colombia and her magical displays make our teaching space come alive.