Maria has a doctorate in Early Childhood Education from Florida State University. Her professional experience includes tutoring in an AmeriCorps program, teaching in a Pre-K multi-ethnic classroom for 6 years, advocating on behalf of child welfare issues for the Florida Legislature, supervising and mentoring student teachers at FSU, and working in the Florida Department of Education monitoring the implementation of State Migrant Education programs for the children of migrant workers. After moving to Chattanooga, María worked as an advisor in the boarding program and as a Leadership Instructor at the Baylor School. She was also one of the founders of the Spanish Immersion program at St. Peter's Episcopal School and currently oversees the school's Organic Gardening program. Maria and her husband have two bilingual children who are doing very well in school.
Claire grew up and went to school in Great Britain. She has lived, studied and worked in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. She has a B.A. in Modern Languages and a Masters in Education (School Leadership). Claire moved to the US in 1993 and has lived in Chattanooga since 2000. She speaks French and German fluently and, because she loves learning new languages, she has also studied Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. Claire was the lead teacher of the K-8 French, German and Spanish language immersion program in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. She also has served as a K-12 French, German and ESL teacher.
Laurie is the owner of the Chattanooga School of Language. Laurie has more than eight years of experience in the Spanish language and culture through teaching, studying, working and living abroad. She holds a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Spanish from Berry College and spent a summer in college attending the Universidad de Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain. After graduation, she moved to Costa Rica to attend a language school and immerse herself fully in the language and culture. It was this experience that inspired her to create the Chattanooga School of Language. To her, it’s a result of a belief and first hand experiences of the life-changing effects of language learning and cultural immersion.
Brigitta is the founder and owner of the Montessori International School of Cleveland, the first Montessori School in the greater Cleveland/Bradley County area. Mrs. Hoeferle started her school in Munich, Germany in 2002, before relocating Montessori International School to Cleveland, TN in 2004. Brigitta has dual citizenship of both, the United States and her native Germany, and is fluent in both languages, so are her children and her husband. Mrs. Hoeferle holds professional degrees in Domestic Economy and Social Pedagogy (Nutrition & Behavior), in the Montessori Methodology, in Business and Marketing. Mrs. Hoeferle has over 23 000 hours of experience with language education, Montessori education and coaching parents, children and adolescents.
Nicholas Siler studied Social Justice in Intercultural Relations with a focus on Intercultural Training at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. He lead global leadership curriculum development at the Seattle-based non-profit One World Now (OWN!),the first organization in the U.S focused on developing global citizenship, language acquisition (Arabic and Chinese) and study abroad opportunities for marginalized public high school youth. Siler has presented on topics of leadership, intercultural training, diversity, and language learning, among others. He has been the plenary speaker at a variety of venues including a National Association of Fellowship Advisors (NAFA) annual conference, a Schools’ Out Washington BRIDGE after-school conference, and the Global Washington conference. Siler has worked with both small non-profits and large non-profits, from the one he co-founded in his hometown of Pineville, Kentucky, to the Civilian Research and Development Foundation, a large international non-profit. Currently Siler is an Independent Social Justice and Intercultural Education Consultant, having worked on projects with local organizations such as the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and the Chattanooga School of Language, national organizations such as Starting Bloc, as well as international organizations such as the Qatar Foundation International. Siler has worked, traveled, or volunteered in more than 20 countries. He is a proud and active father of two wonderful children.