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2020-2021 MAIN Board of Directors


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


Fatima Lawson
Fatima Lawson
Member Job

Principal

St. Paul Public School

Dr. Fatima Lawson, Ph.D. Fatima Lawson is a strong advocate for children and education, especially the education of women and girls, and is passionate about social justice! Working in both private and public educational settings, she has taught in all levels of schooling: college, secondary, and elementary schools. She was also a research fellow in both Canada and the United States. She joined the Saint Paul Public Schools in 1996. In 2002, she became the pioneer principal of the French Immersion school, L’Etoile du Nord, and served it for 12 years, making it one of the most successful schools in the district. As an immersion professional at the time that many immersion schools were springing up, she served in many capacities, as a mentor and unofficial consultant for many early administrators. She was also involved in the search activities for some immersion administrators. Her passion for learning and immersion education transcend her years as an immersion principal, for she still finds time to serve on the MAIN Board and continue to support immersion education, and professional development activities for teachers and administrators. She is currently the principal of an elementary school in Saint Paul that is also a Language Academy School. She is also an Adjunct Professor in two universities in the Twin-Cities area.

Dr. Lawson is a very active member of various community organizations in Minnesota and beyond, including serving on the board of the Governor’s Council on Minnesotans of African Heritage, and is the recipient of many awards and recognitions, the latest of which is the Mandela-Washington Fellowship from the U.S. State Department in 2020. She is an avid reader, debater, and public speaker, and has presented in several national and international conferences. Dr. Lawson’s leadership qualities, academic preparedness and her global perspectives and approach to education earned her the respect of her peers in education, and she was inducted into the Manchester Who’s Who Registry of executives and professionals in 2006.

Heidi Bernal
Heidi Bernal
Treasurer

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. She also worked in Department of English Language Learning for 10 years, supporting the learning needs of Saint Paul's English Learners and students in Dual Language and Immersion programs. Recently retired from SPPS, Heidi is supervising residents in the SUTR (St. Paul Urban Teaching Residency) program, and chairs the Hamline University Summer Literacy Institute planning committee. She is part of MnEEP's Emerging Multilingual Learners Network, and is enjoying retirement immensely!
Colleen Simmons
Colleen Simmons
Member Job

MAIN Parents

Minneapolis, MN
14 years' experience with immersion schools as a parent leader and MAIN Parent's representative; 7 years as a MAIN Board member. Assisted with MPS' middle school immersion program development, and six years coordinating MAIN Parent's Immersion Festival.
John Osorio
John Osorio
Web Master

Assistant Principal

St. Paul Public School
Member will share some information shortly.
DR. Tara W Fortune
Tara W Fortune
Member Job

Director (CARLA)

University of MN
Dr. Tara Fortune is an immersion researcher and founder of Tara Fortune Consulting, LLC. She specializes in strategic planning and support for dual language and immersion 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 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. Current research examines achievement, language and character literacy acquisition in early total Mandarin immersion programs. As a founding member of MAIN, Tara is happy to return and support state-level advocacy efforts for immersion and dual language education in Minnesota. With additional funding support, MAIN will be able to more effectively serve the needs of administrators and educators in immersion programs. Strong leaders and teachers co-create programs that change the lives of children and families. Immersion and dual language education has a robust research-supported track record nationally. It is time to ensure that Minnesota programs have the support they need to achieve their full potential.
Ximena Rayo
Ximena Rayo
Member Job

Something

Minneapolis, MN
Ximena Rayo was born and raised in Santiago, Chile where she attended an English Immersion school as a student. She received a BA in Physical Education from the Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación and came to the United States to teach PE in Spanish. While in Minnesota she taught for over nine years at Adams Spanish Immersion in Saint Paul Public Schools. She received my Master's Degree in Education, Computer Applications’ License and K-12 Administrative License from Hamline University. She also lucky taught in the Graduate School of Education at Hamline from 1999 until 2005. In 2009 she became the Assistant Director at International Spanish Language Academy (ISLA), where she spent the next ten years. In 2019 moved by a desire to working in an urban setting again, she took an administrative assignment at Emerson Spanish Immersion Language Center my Spanish Immersion. She joined the MAIN Board at the beginning of 2020, where she can continue to work on contribute and advocate for immersion education, because there is no reason for everybody to be bilingual.
Angela Brutus
Angela Brutus
Member Job

Spanish Immersion

South Washington County Schools
It is a privilege to serve on the MAIN Board. I began my career teaching 3rd grade at Lakes International Language Academy where the support and knowledge I received from the MAIN organization contributed to my success. After five years of teaching 3rd grade, my now husband and I moved to Maryland. In Maryland, I taught high school Spanish as a world language class. Staying true to my immersion beginnings, I taught ninety percent of my class in the target language; teaching Spanish 1 through AP Spanish. I enjoyed my time in Maryland and the atmosphere of secondary education. When I moved back to Minnesota I was fortunate to pair the best of both worlds, teaching primary and secondary education in South Washington County School District’s Spanish Immersion program. I split my days between Woodbury High School and Nuevas Fronteras Elementary School. I had the pleasure of teaching the first graduating Spanish Immersion class at WHS and I have effectively collaborated with my K-12 colleagues to continue to develop and align the secondary portion of our program. It is difficult as a secondary immersion teacher to find and create just the right curriculum. This is one of the reasons I am so excited to be a part of the MAIN Board. It is my hope to create more opportunities for secondary immersion educators to collaborate and find collegiality amongst peers that understand what secondary immersion is all about. This is my fifth year in the South Washington County School district and my second year at Woodbury Middle School. And I have to say, teaching middle school is awesome! I look forward to working with you!
Patrick Brown
Patrick Brown
Member Job

Coordinator for Dual Language Immersion Programs

Robbinsdale Area Schools
I have worked in Dual Language Education supporting one and two-way programs for over 12 years as a teacher, curriculum specialist and school administrator K-12 in Minnesota and Washington. I currently serve as the Coordinator for Dual Language Immersion Programs and World Language Programs for Robbinsdale Area Schools.
Karen Terhaar

Karen Terhaar
Member Job

Director of Innovation, Design and Learning

Hopkins School District

Karen Terhaar has worked in immersion education the past 33 years.  Her work began in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico, teaching second graders in English.  That experience led to a position as an elementary immersion teacher in 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 International Spanish Language Academy, (ISLA), a Spanish immersion, International Baccalaureate school where she served as Executive Director until 2015.  She currently works in the Hopkins School District as Director of Innovation, Design and Learning.  


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