I am originally from Kenosha, Wi, and taught there many years before moving to Chicago around 16 years ago. My wife is a professional bassist, and it was better for her to be in the "big city”!
Most of my friends tell me that I have always been a teacher; that it is just in my nature to pass along the things that I learn and get enthused about to others. I was "Teacher of the Year" at Wilmot High School and am still proud of that!
I truly love working with children because they are generally eager learners and they definitely respond to kindness and personal interest. I have three children myself, although one is now also a schoolteacher and I am very happy about that!
The thing I like about teaching is that it is such a two-way street; there are always new things to learn from my students. I like working with Little Linguists staff, because somehow, in this turbulent world, they have created a sense of family, caring, and belonging.
My main outside interest is playing guitar and singing with my wife in our jazz/blues band called, "Frank Falduto and his Patio Daddi-o's”!
¡Hola! My name is Lorena Tapia, I was born in Mexico City. For me, teaching has been a dream since I was a kid. I remember those teachers that made learning fun and I wanted to be like them and despite being a very demanding job, it is one of the most rewarding, since children are honest and good beings who thank you with a glance for the dedication you have.
For me, it is amazing coming to work in the mornings and hearing screams of happy children greeting you, receiving letters saying they love you, just receiving a "thank you" with a sincere smile and of course, realizing how much your students learn.
This is going to be my third year at Little Linguists Arts Academy, and I really love working here because it is a place where they trust people, the treatment is human and there is always someone to help you. People who have administrative functions, from our CEO, are always open to listen to your ideas.
Besides teaching, I try to learn and apply as much as I can of the Zero Waste lifestyle. I also like walking and jogging to discover new places and I love preparing spicy sauces and guacamole and of course, enjoying them with my family.
My name is Andrea Ojeda and I am from México City, México, from a beautiful neighborhood called Coyoacán, which means “Place of Coyotes”. The baby picture of me is our backyard in Coyoacán. I am the youngest of three. I chose to teach because I love learning! My mother was a teacher and worked with young children all her life. I saw firsthand how important it is for the development of young minds to have good, passionate teachers, which is why I think teaching children is the most important job there is. Most rewarding thing about being a teacher is catching that spark on a student’s eye when they learn something new. I like working with Little Linguists because of their flexibility and their support. I am also an actor/musician and a writer. I love words, puzzles, and dogs.
Hello! My name is Roxana and I’m originally from the Southside of this great big windy city. I’ve lived in Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, and recently Florida. My latest new hobby is crocheting, mostly scarves. Watching the sunset is also one of my favorite things to do. I like taking long walks, listening to music, and scrapbooking. While I was away from Chicago, I realized I wasn’t speaking my native language. I would speak Spanish very little when I visited family but rarely at home. This led me to go back to school and get a Bachelor’s in this beautiful foreign language. Soon after my graduation, as a mom of three and wife, immediately I began to work as a Spanish Teacher. Teaching has been a great and rewarding benefit in my life. Students and different situations have helped me grow as a person and an educator. So many students have touched my heart! I cherish all the fun, silly, and challenging moments in each classroom. Little Linguists Arts Academy was a true blessing in my life when I relocated back to my Chicago area home. Angel and the rest of the administrative staff are the sweetest and most supportive people. The flexibility is awesome. I’m grateful to be part of a terrific team of Language Educators at LLAA.
My name is Gloria Otárola and I am from Chile. I have been living in the United States since 2014. I am not a former teacher, but I liked to help my classmates at the University, so I began to work as a teacher assistant in the Chemistry Class and Chemistry Laboratory. I have children who I have the challenge to help with their homework in two different languages including not letting them forget their own language of Spanish. I also love to bake and decorate cookies, cakes, and more.
Hi, my name is Ying He. I grew up in Wuhan, China and came to the U.S. in 2014. I have been teaching Chinese to children in local Chinese schools. I enjoy cooking and gardening during the days and playing badminton with friends once a week at the local badminton club. I enjoy working for Little Linguists because of the flexible time schedule, as well as the resources and training, provided by the company.
I was born in Detroit, Michigan. I feel that the most rewarding part of teaching is having the opportunity to assist my student’s in exceeding their goals. I love seeing them feel a sense of accomplishment in their creative work. My favorite part about working with LLAA is how supportive they are of their instructors and the excellent schools we work with. My hobbies are painting, chess, collecting records, and sewing.
Susan Schwab Shelton
I was born and raised in Mexico City, where I lived for 25 years. That is also where I started my teaching career.
I chose to teach because my Kindergarten teacher inspired me. I had such a wonderful time in her classroom, that I decided I wanted to be like her. I knew right then that I wanted to work with children.
The most rewarding thing about being a teacher, is seeing my students apply what they learn in my class. Just knowing that I contributed to empower them with more knowledge is extremely satisfying.
What I like the best about working for Little Linguists Arts Academy is the fact that I have the freedom to be as creative as I want. I also feel highly respected and appreciated by colleagues and supervisors.
In my downtime, I love playing the piano and dancing!
Hello! My name is Maria E. Pacheco and I am from Venezuela. This will be my second academic year with LLAA. I have been a teacher for more than 20 years. I have taught different subjects (English, Spanish, Computer Sciences, Math, Religious Education) in English and Spanish at the different levels: College, High School and Elementary School.
I am a passionate teacher. I want my students to be successful not only in the subject that I teach by most importantly in life! Besides the class subject I try to give my students good moral values and values of life. The all-round development (academic, spiritual, and physical) of the student is especially important. I really enjoy teaching at the Elementary School level because the students are full of positive energy: they are honest and hungry for learning.
I like to read, exercise, and go for long walks. I am looking for an exciting and rewarding academic year!
Hello, my name is Daniel Certain. I am from Caracas, Venezuela, where I was born, and then moved to Chicago, Illinois. I started working with Little Linguists Arts Academy in 2014 while doing my Optional Professional Training after completing a Master's degree in the University of Illinois at Chicago.
I worked as a teacher for 7 years at high school and college level prior to working for LLAA. I kept doing it because I find teaching to be the highest profession of all. Transmitting knowledge to a student who is later going to use it and make it their own knowledge is a process I love to watch. On the other hand, I had never worked with younger children before, and after doing so, I learned children are the utmost of teachers.
Many years later, moving back to Chicago, I wanted to work again for LLAA because the experience made me grow better as a person. I also decided to return to LLAA because working with Ms. Angel Li and her team of professionals is also a very fulfilling activity due to the support and help everybody at LLAA is willing to provide.
In my spare time, I like to write scripts and stories. I am also a cryptocurrency enthusiast and I am currently creating a YouTube channel with friends in Spain and Venezuela.
My name is Adriana, I was born and raised in the beautiful northwest side of Chicago. Although I was an art major in school, I always said that my life purpose was to teach. For a while, I volunteered at a non-profit organization where we provided homework help/tutoring, spiritual guidance, emotional support, and of course fun. Being that Spanish is my parents first language, I always found it appealing to learn it fluently and teach it.
When I’m not at school, I am spending time with my family and furry son (doggy). I also enjoy reading, jogging, traveling, shopping, eating sushi, and photography.
I am thankful to be part of the St. Linus and LLAA community. Really looking forward to see what the future holds!
Hello! My name is Gabriela and I am from Caracas, Venezuela. I enjoy teaching because education is the base for a better society. I like to incorporate playing, dancing, and singing with illusion and interest to help children learn. The most rewarding aspect about being a teacher is the satisfaction of seeing how the children have improved their Spanish language and how they show their gratitude. Little Linguists Arts Academy is a multicultural company where I feel extremely comfortable counting on all the time with the resources and support that I have needed to develop my classes as best as possible. In my free time, I like to travel and discover/learn about new cultures. I’m always enthusiastic to accept new challenges and I love to spend quality time with my kids and watch movies.
I was born in a small country in central America called El Salvador. I lived there with my grandparents and my two older brothers because my parents came to the United States for better opportunities. When I turned 11 years old, my parents decided to bring us to the United States with them.
When I first came here, I really enjoyed my art classes and always tried my best to succeed in art. Art always made my days better and my teachers always pushed me to try my hardest. I really wanted to follow their footsteps and do the same with my students.
I love seeing the improvement that a child can have when they break out of their own self-doubt, gain more confidence in their own art skills, and seeing how much more they enjoy art. The growth that I see in my students inspires me to improve my art skills even further.
In my free time, I like to try out new art forms, such as 3D modeling or 3D sculpting, learning new programs, or simply different ways of practicing art.
My name is Jessica Loyaga and I am from Peru. I like being a teacher in youth education because children are the future of the world and I want to contribute to their social and emotional needs as well as to their values. Working with children is so grateful for me because I like to see the happiness when the students learn a new subject/topic. In my free time, I like to do Peruvian folk dance.
Hello, my name is Zhaybel. My birth country is Venezuela. When I was in college, almost 30 years ago, I realized that teaching was the most meaningful way to share knowledge and experience and at the same time, to learn. I then chose and had the privilege to teach :) Children are the best teachers themselves so teaching them is like blooming as a learner every day. The most rewarding thing about being a teacher is witnessing a student’s development as well as their intellectual growth. The best of human nature is displayed in children’s ability to be amazed by new knowledge. Working for Little Linguists Arts Academy has been great because they encourage creativity, promote excellence, and encourages the employees to be part of its goals and achievements. In my free time, I enjoy reading literature, writing poetry, bike-riding, and following global affairs since after I earned my bachelor degree in Spanish Literature I spent many years of my career in the international relations field.
I’m originally from Fort Worth, Texas. After highschool I went to school at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (HBCU). I've lived in Chicago since 2000, which makes me a Chicagoan for about 19 years.
I didn’t choose to teach, teaching chose me. I have been a teacher my whole life. First of all, I’m a big brother. I’m the oldest son and grandson (on my mother’s side). It seems that I’ve always had to look out for or take care of someone that was younger or smaller than me. When I was a teenager, I was the music director of my church choir. I was responsible for teaching and preparing the music for every Sunday, which was great practice for me. This taught me how to be an authority figure in a nice way.
After a long time of playing on the Chicago music scene, I started working with After School Matters and Family Focus. I worked with high school kids at Dusable highschool on the southside of Chicago. There is no greater satisfaction than when one of your students from the past seeks you out to tell you how something you said or did impacted their life. This is why I teach. It’s the nobility that I feel when my students reach their goals. Music has a lot of life lessons within it: perseverance, problem solving, critical thinking, being in the moment (improvisation), listening skills, how to focus, etc. I feel like teachers help to change the world.
Little Linguist Arts Academy has always believed in me. I’m entering my sixth year with LLAA and I’ve had the same job site. I love music and I’m dedicated to all of my students and I empathize with the parents because I am a parent as well.
I am interested in a lot of things: music, movies, film scoring, recording, performing improvisational and writing all types of music, I like traveling, and I love to do research on vast topics.
My name is Sándor Menéndez. I was born in Pinar del Río, a town in the west of the island of Cuba. I grew up in the countryside with my parents who are both teachers. At 18, I went to study theater at the University of the Arts in Havana. I graduated in 2005 and worked as an actor in a dramatic company. In 2010, I traveled to Chicago with my company to participate at Latino Theater Festival at The Goodman Theater and so I decided to try other adventures and discover the city. Since then, I have been working for Aguijón Theater company as an actor, director and instructor.
I have been a Spanish teacher for almost 10 years at Little Linguists Arts Academy where I feel at home. I love to work with children and share my language and culture.