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2020-2021 MAIN Board of Directors

To contact us, please send an email to mnimmersion@gmail.com.

Heidi Bernal

Retired Principal
St. Paul Public Schools

Heidi worked for over 30 years in Saint Paul Public Schools, as a Spanish immersion teacher, curriculum specialist and principal at Adams Spanish Immersion School. She also worked in the Department of English Language Learning for 10 years, supporting Saint Paul's English Learners and students in Dual Language and Immersion programs. She started her career as a teacher and principal in Durango, Mexico at the Colegio Americano de Durango, where she worked for five years prior to moving to SPPS. Now retired, Heidi is supervising residents in the SUTR (Saint Paul Urban Teaching Residency) program.

Heidi earned a BA in Sociology and MAEd from Hamline University, and holds a K-6 teaching license and a K-12 principal license.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
I am excited to see the many ways that MAIN is growing and changing to adapt to the current reality and preparing for a new future. As a former DLI teacher and administrator, I bring to MAIN the knowledge and skills I have acquired over the span of my professional career working with language learners. As an anti-racist educator, I am passionate about working to provide quality language learning opportunities to all children, and to utilize both language and culture to build bridges of understanding to create a more peaceful world.

Patrick Brown

Coordinator for Dual Language Immersion Programs
Robbinsdale Area Schools
Patrick has been a dual language educator for 15 years as teacher, school administrator and district program specialist in both the states of Washington and Minnesota.  In Minnesota, Patrick supported the development of the secondary Spanish Immersion pathway in South Washington County Schools at Cottage Grove Middle and Woodbury High as well as in Minnetonka before returning home to Washington.  In Washington he served as the Coordinator for Additive Bilingual Programs in the Bellevue School District overseeing the development of K-12 dual language programming before becoming assistant principal of McDonald International School in Seattle Public Schools.  Patrick returned to Minnesota where he currently serves as Coordinator for Multilingual Programs in Robbinsdale Area Schools working with teams to strengthen and grow the district's dual language and world language programs.      

Patrick holds a BA in Spanish and Political Science from Western Washington University as well as an MA in European Studies from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.  He holds licenses in K-12 Spanish, 5-12 Social Studies as well as K-12 Principal.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
I am excited to rejoin MAIN using my experiences from across the country to put Minnesota back on the map as a leader in DLI education.  As a region we have shown a commitment to dual language education and have realized the benefits of it.  I look forward to continuing this advocacy at the state and local levels supporting schools and districts in the implementation of high quality, effective programs through research and evidence-based practices that seek to serve all students.

Angela Brutus

Spanish Immersion
South Washington County Schools

Angela began her career teaching 3rd grade at Lakes International Language Academy, and the support and knowledge from the MAIN organization contributed to her success. After 5 years teaching 3rd grade, Angela and her husband moved to Maryland. In Maryland, she taught Spanish as a world language class, and stayed true to her immersion beginnings. She taught 90% of her class in the target language from Spanish 1 all the way to AP Spanish. Angela enjoyed her time in Maryland, and the atmosphere of secondary education. When she moved back to Minnesota she was fortunate to have the best of both worlds, primary and secondary, and teach in South Washington County in the Spanish Immersion program. Angela spent half of her day at Woodbury High School and the other half at Nuevas Fronteras Elementary School. She had the pleasure of teaching the first graduating Spanish Immersion class at WHS, and continues to collaborate with her colleagues K-12 to continue to develop and align the secondary portion of the program.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
It is a privilege to serve on the board for MAIN. As a secondary immersion teacher it can be difficult to find and create just the right curriculum. This is one of the many reasons I am so excited to be a part of the MAIN Board. It is my hope to create more opportunities specifically for secondary immersion educators to collaborate and find collegiality amongst peers that understand what secondary immersion is about. This is my 6th year in the South Washington County district and my 3nd year at Woodbury Middle School. And I have to say, middle school is awesome!

Tara w. fortune

Director (CARLA)
University of MN

Tara is a teacher educator, researcher and founder of Tara Fortune Consulting, LLC, who specializes in strategic planning and support for dual language and immersion (DLI) education. For over twenty years she served as Director of the Immersion Research and Professional Development Project at the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), University of Minnesota. In this role she partnered with veteran practitioners and leading immersion researchers to offer professional learning experiences that bridge research and practice. Her work has involved a wide range of DLI program models and languages in schools, districts, state agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad. Fortune's publications include two co-edited research volumes on immersion education, a research-to-practice handbook on struggling immersion learners, and articles in journals such as Foreign Language Annals, Modern Language Journal, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, and the Journal of Content-Based and Immersion Education (JICB). In 2016, she received the U.S. Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education. 

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
As a founding member of MAIN, I am happy to return and support state-level advocacy efforts for DLI education in Minnesota. I am excited to increase the visibility of DLI education and seek funding support to ensure that all DLI educators have access to professional learning and resource support. With strong support, I believe DLI programs can achieve their full potential and contribute high-achieving, multilingual, globally-competent individuals to the Minnesota community.


St. Paul Public School

Fatima has been an educator for over 30 years. She has a deep concern for the poor and strong penchant for social justice! Raised in a predominantly Muslim community in Kano, Northern Nigeria, she beat all odds to pursue western education which resulted in her career choice as an educator. This also explains her passion for advocacy, especially for the education of girls and women. Working in both private and public educational settings, she has taught in all levels of schooling: college/university, secondary, and elementary schools. She often says that one of the highlights of her career as an educator is helping to start one of the most successful language immersion schools in Saint Paul, where she served as its principal for 12 years, and discovered MAIN, an organization in which she has been involved for more than 18 years. She is especially interested in making sure that every child, rich or poor, is at least bilingual in this day and age. She is currently a principal in Saint Paul Public Schools where most of her students are learning English not as a first language. She is also a very active member of various community organizations in Minnesota and beyond, and the recipient of many academic and community awards. 

Fatima holds a Bachelor’s Degree in French and Portuguese from the University of Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria; A Master’s Degree in Linguistics from the same University; another Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Minnesota, Twin-C the community and the world of (bilingual) education. These would only serve to enrich cities, U.S.A. and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota. She also holds licenses in Elementary Education, K-12 Principal Administration, and a Superintendent’s License.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?

As a former Immersion school principal, and one privileged to start one, the first thing that I bring to MAIN is my immersion experience, passion and dedication to ensuring that MAIN continues to support dual language schools and programs in order to keep the fires burning. My resilience, even in the face of adversary and advocacy, has helped me to remain on the board of MAIN. Dual Language programs may be growing, but their mere existence seems to fall into the hands of policy makers or funders  who may not readily see the value or benefit of a bilingual citizenry. So you need people who are not only very dedicated, but understand the program and the benefits that such programs bring to especially students who may otherwise not have a change or the means for bilingual education. Finally, another contribution to MAIN is the diversity that I bring to the table, and my unique  experience as an immigrant with a different perspective that goes beyond just current realities of bilingual education as well as my connection with an organization such as this one.


St. Paul Public School

Cynthia has worked in education for more than 30 years. 29 of those years have been in bilingual education! She is originally from Minnesota, but she began her teaching career in Southern CA in Coachella Valley at a bilingual school teaching 1st grade. She and her husband moved back to Minnesota after a few years, to Willmar where she taught ESL remedial reading to 7th and 8th-grade students and Title 1 for Kindergarten. An opportunity arose for her to teach at Park Spanish Immersion in St. Louis Park. She took the 2nd-grade teaching position as part of the first 2nd-grade cohort at the school and stayed at PSI for 15 years. Ms. Maldonado taught mainly 2nd and 3rd grade while there but was also a teacher coach and a teacher leader in the school.

After earning her Educational Leadership Degree in K-12 Administration, she worked as a Teacher Leader at La Academia in Eastern Carver Schools for a year before moving out east to Gettysburg PA to work as the Director at Vida Dual Language Immersion School. Her roots were strong and pulled her back to Minnesota and the opportunity arose to work at Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion school in South Washington County Public schools. She is loving leading such a vibrant school community and is thrilled to be back home doing what she loves.

Cynthia earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education K-6 with a concentration in Latin American Studies from the University of Morris. She holds a Masters degree in Education from Hamline University and she continued to get her K-12 Principal license at Hamline as well.  Ms. Maldonado is currently completing a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership with Bethel University.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
I love to be surrounded by colleagues from whom I can learn and to whom I can contribute. I get as much or more out of our MAIN meetings than I give. I am hoping as we “reimagine” MAIN, that we can make MAIN a place where Immersion Educators feel they can turn when they are looking for information and/or support. My involvement in MAIN will hopefully be helpful to making MAIN the best it can be!


Corey Maslowski became interested in immersion programming as a teenager while working at Concordia Language Villages. He has a BA in elementary education and Spanish from Concordia College, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction and an Ed.D. from the University of St. Thomas.  He also holds Principal and School District Superintendent licenses.  

Maslowski student taught at Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School in Minnesota, and his first teaching job was in a third grade Spanish Immersion classroom in Fairfax County, Virginia. Corey returned to Minnesota and began working at Park Spanish Immersion School in St. Louis Park, MN. He taught the inaugural fourth grade class, and he transitioned with the students to the middle school level teaching the immersion social studies classes. Dr. Maslowski worked with K-12 language teachers in St. Louis Park before becoming a school administrator in 2007. Since 2010, he has been the principal of Park Spanish Immersion Elementary School. Corey has also taught the world language methods course at the University of St. Thomas since 2008 and worked as a DLI consultant/mentor with Boston College’s Roche Center from 2014 to 2020.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
I have had the privilege of working with MAIN in a variety of capacities for two decades. I hope to continue to learn from and with our amazing colleagues, and I will contribute experiences from my roles as an elementary and immersion teacher and administrator.


Web Master
Assistant Principal
St. Paul Public School
John is originally from Colombia S.A where he earned his BA in Education, his Computer Programming Diploma, and several certifications in technology and education.  He was also the head of the Languages Department at Gymnasio Horizontes, where he also taught math in English, English as a second language, Spanish, and French.  John also taught at the Colombo American Center, for 4 years, where he taught English as a second language to all ages.

In the United States, John started teaching ESL, Spanish, Math, and technology at Phalen Lake Elementary School. John earned his Master in Teaching and Learning and his Admin License from Saint Mary’s University. John taught ESL for adults at Hubbs Center, in Saint Paul.  John worked for the Technology Department, on a special assignment, for two years.  John was the AP intern and EXPO elementary, the AP at Paul and Sheela Wellstone, the Principal of the Spanish Immersion in Robbinsdale, and the AP at the French Immersion.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
Serving and learning are my main objectives when it comes to working with multiple professionals in the educational field. It has been my goal to support and provide the tools for the new generations of teachers in the bilingual and immersion world to get the professional development they need to apply in a changing world. Learning is constant. There is no time to stop. I see myself learning, changing and adapting to challenging times.

Ximena Rayo

Ximena’s affiliation with immersion began in elementary school as she attended a K-12 immersion school in Santiago, Chile. She has been an educator for over 30 years and more than 20 in immersion settings. Ximena taught Physical Education in Santiago, Chile before moving to Minnesota in 1993. She has taught Physical Education and Technology at Adams Spanish Immersion in St. Paul Public Schools for over nine years. In 2009 she became Assistant Director at International Spanish Language Academy (ISLA). In 2019 she moved to Emerson Spanish Immersion Language Center in Minneapolis Public Schools. Currently Ximena is Assistant Principal at Andersen United Community School. 

She holds a BA in Physical Education from the Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, Master's Degree in Education, Computer Applications' License and K-12 Administrative License from Hamline University.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
I feel lucky to be able to serve in MAIN. I have benefited over the years from the great professional development opportunities by the organization. Now I get to give back by sharing my technology integration expertise. DLI has evolved, developed and grown immensely over the last twenty-five years in Minnesota. MAIN is here to support and provide new generations of educators with the best practices, and professional development for successful teaching experiences.


MAIN Parents
Minneapolis, MN
Colleen has served on the MAIN Board for over 12 years as Parent Liaison including two years as Board Chair. In addition, Colleen has been a member of MAIN Parents (a sub-group for parents, currently existing online) since 2006 and Co-Chair from 2007. With children who attended Minneapolis Public Schools’ two-way immersion programs and advocacy and leadership experience for these programs, Colleen has been a strong advocate for immersion education in Minnesota. For the past five years, she coordinated and hosted an Immersion Language Festival celebrating language immersion programs. The Parent Liaison position exists to include the parent’s voice within the Immersion Education circle. Colleen’s past experience in management, leadership and conference planning allows her to be an asset in planning the yearly Professional Development Workshops for MAIN members as well as facilitating discussions within workshop sessions.

Colleen holds a BA from Hamline University in Communication Arts and MBA-Marketing from the University of St. Thomas in addition to training and work in racial and social justice.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
With ongoing passion for immersion education and knowing firsthand the value a second language offers, I hope to continue advocating at the State Level for financial and leadership support for DLI learning.

KAREN terhaar

Director of Innovation, Design and Learning
Hopkins School District
Karen has worked in immersion education for more than 3 decades, beginning in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico as an English immersion teacher to Mexican second graders. That experience led to a position as an elementary Spanish immersion teacher in the Robbinsdale School District where she also worked as a curriculum coordinator and Teacher on Special Assignment in an administrative capacity. After 17 years in Robbinsdale, she founded a charter school - International Spanish Language Academy (ISLA), a Spanish immersion, International Baccalaureate World School and  National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.  She served as Executive Director of ISLA until 2015. Karen led the Teaching and Learning team in Hopkins Public Schools for five years, during which time a Spanish elementary pathway was added to the immersion opportunities in the district.

Karen earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and a Masters in Second Languages and Cultures Education from the University of Minnesota. She holds an elementary teaching license, and K-12 Principal and Superintendent licenses. She is currently completing a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership with Bethel University.

How do you see yourself contributing to MAIN?
I am passionate about second language acquisition and hope to utilize my experience running a nonprofit organization to assist in reimagining MAIN, both with advocacy at the state level, as well as in growing the organization and its support of immersion schools. While we know there are numerous advantages to learning more than one language, I see it as a first step in improving cross-cultural understanding - an important foundation to an anti-racist education.

Minnesota has been a national leader in immersion, and the dedication of educators around the state has contributed to the improvement of the profession. I hope to build on this, and help take MAIN and immersion education in our state to a whole new level.

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