About
Meet our team
  • Marcela Summerville
    Founder and Director
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    Marcela Summerville
    Founder and Director

    Passion and devotion are the two words that articulately sum up the 20+ educational career of Spanish Workshop for Children’s director and founder. For the past two decades, Marcela Summerville has focused that fervor specifically on early language learning. The culmination of such dedicated energy is Spanish Workshop for Children. As founding director, Marcela takes a hands-on approach, assuming a wide range of roles. It is not unusual to see Marcela teaching a full range of parent-child, preschool, and in-school classes one day and then the next day taking her innovative and distinctive Spanish-teaching methodology on the road to share with early childhood educators.

    Marcela’s greatest source of pride and the truest testament to the effectiveness of Spanish Workshop for Children’s teaching methodologies are her two bilingual children. To help bring her innovative educational strategies to an international audience, she has corralled them into three volumes of the Play and Learn series of books/CDs: Play and Learn Spanish, Play and Learn French, and Play and Learn Chinese. In 2005, her co-authorship role in this series won her the Parents’ Choice Award. Presently, Marcela serves as National Networking Coordinator for the National Network for Early Language Learning. She has also been co-chair of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

    A world traveler, Marcela has presented numerous workshops at prestigious conferences across the globe. Her articles on teaching a second language to young people have appeared nationwide in MetroKids and Parents Express magazines as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer. A native of Puerto Madryn, Argentina, Marcela holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Biology. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids.

  • Maria Parker
    Teacher
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    Maria Parker
    Teacher

    Working with young children isn’t just something Maria enjoys; it is a fire that burns deep in her soul. Born and raised in Baja California, Mexico, Maria moved to the United States 28 years ago after marrying a U.S. serviceman. Her early education career spans over two decades and two countries. She has taught in many different pre-school programs in both the United States and Mexico, where she first became a teacher.

    In the fall of 2009, Maria began a stint working for the Children’s Center. Since then, she has become a staple in the yellow (Toddlers) room, where she has been a linchpin from day 1. Visitors to the center will also find her leading the Spanish Immersion Lunch Program during the summer months.

    Maria and her husband are the proud parents of two children, Rebecca and Todd Jr. A recent graduate of San Jose State University, Rebecca is starting her California Credential Student Teaching this fall. Todd Jr. is following in his mother’s footsteps by heeding the call of his three passions: working, writing, and making his own music. A feline Sushi is also a member of the Parker clan. When not at work, Maria enjoys domestic pursuits like gardening, cooking, exercising, and just being a homebody. She also likes to travel, cherishes outdoor activities, and delights in the time she spends with the children, staff, and families of the Children’s Center.

  • Yeiri Brett
    Teacher
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    Yeiri Brett
    Teacher

    Yeiri Brett hails from Holguin, Cuba, where she studied at Jose de la Luz y Caballero University and the Frank Pais Institute in Santiago de Cuba. Armed with that education, she spent four years working as an elementary teacher in Cuba. In December of 2007, after marring her husband Thomas Brett, she relocated to the United States. For the past eight and a half years, she has lived in Phoenixville. She and Tom have since added two beautiful daughters to their family, Lucy (5 years old) and Ellie (2 years old). The couple are presently in the process of moving to Eagleville.

    Once settled in the USA, Yeiri quickly returned to her teaching roots. She has spent the past seven years working as a Spanish teacher at Penn Christian Academy in East Norristown. She also served as a Pre-K teacher’s aide for three years. Yeiri sums up her Spanish Workshop for Children teaching philosophy this way: “I love to work with children. Since I was little, I have always wanted to be a teacher and now here I am.” In her down time, Yeiri enjoys walking, going to the beach and spending time with her family

  • Virginia Culasso
    Teacher
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    Virginia Culasso
    Teacher

    Virginia Culasso obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources from her home country of Argentina. She also holds a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential from the Council for Professional Recognition in early childhood education of infants and toddlers. Virginia is currently working on obtaining an Early Childhood degree.

    For over three years she has been working with kids in a wide range of capacities. She harbors special affection for children and particularly loves to play with them. Virginia is an aunt to three beautiful nephews whom she cared when they were babies and with whom she continues to spend quality time. Virginia, along with her husband Franklin, loves to spend her leisure hours pursuing outdoor activities.

  • Elsa Lesmes
    Teacher
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    Elsa Lesmes
    Teacher

    Elsa LesmesElsa Lesmes was born in Colombia and received her Doctorate in Veterinarian Medicine at La Salle University in Bogota, Colombia. She relocated to Philadelphia, PA seven years ago and received her CAEL certificate in English two years ago. Even though she loves her career in animal science, she is passionate about teaching Spanish. She has spent the past few years helping kids, teenagers, and adults improve their Spanish skills. Elsa takes pride in the fact that her own three kids are bilingual, with the ability to speak, write, and read proper Spanish and English.

    Because of her medical background and the many years she spent in college, Elsa’s Spanish is rich in vocabulary and built upon strong grammar. She is an eager believer that fun and learning go hand in hand. For that reason, she employs an interactive teaching method that allows her students to enjoy and laugh while they learn.

    Elsa sums up her Spanish teaching philosophy this way: “When an individual is in the process of learning a new language, being able to figure out how to understand and follow instructions in a different language from the one that s/he speaks is the primary goal. Encouraging that person by making him or her feel capable in using a foreign language on a regular basis is paramount. I fully immerse my students in Spanish, making them feel more familiar with the romantic language they are learning with every class they complete.”

  • Adiela Mafla
    Teacher
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    Adiela Mafla
    Teacher

    An unwavering passion for her career has been the driving force behind everything Adiela has accomplished. She has devoted more than 15 zealous years to her number one fervor: working with children. Born in Cali, Colombia, a breathtaking city known as the “Capital of Salsa,” Adiela earned a Bachelor’s degree in Preschool Education from the University San Buenaventura in Bogota, Colombia. In the summer of 2002, she moved to the United States with her husband Fredy and daughter Maria Camila. She currently resides in Jenkintown, PA. In her free time, Adiela likes going to the movies and the beach, dancing, and visiting with her family.

  • Maria Victoria Cirilo
    Teacher
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    Maria Victoria Cirilo
    Teacher

    Overflowing with enthusiasm for elementary education, Maria Victoria has spent over a decade honing and expanding her language-teaching skill set. Prior to relocating to the U.S., Maria Victoria spent more than 12 years working as a preschool and elementary school teacher in her Argentinian homeland. There, she also operated her own thriving speech-language practice.

    Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education with additional certification as a speech therapist. This combination of instructional and verbal expertise achieves its perfect culmination in the Spanish Workshop for Children teaching model. Before joining the Spanish Workshop for Children team, Maria Victoria held American positions at a Montessori school and at the local public library. She currently lives in East Windsor with her husband and three lovely children.

  • Zoe Castro
    Teacher
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    Zoe Castro
    Teacher

    A tireless zeal for communication served as the impetus for Zoe’s winding path to her newfound Spanish Workshop for Children home. Born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, Zoe received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Communication from her homeland’s Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. Before joining Spanish Workshop for Children, her diverse career track included stints in a Kindergarten classroom and as a translator of articles about education for teachers, both positions she held in her homeland. That diversity continued once she relocated to the United States, where she has worked as a bilingual interviewer, as a monitor for Mathematica Policy Research and as a test evaluator for the educational publisher CTB/McGraw-Hill. Zoe currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and son.

  • Veronica Diaz-Barreiro
    Teacher
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    Veronica Diaz-Barreiro
    Teacher

    A background in business and English as a second language meld exquisitely together in Spanish Workshop for Children’s Veronica Diaz Barreiro. Born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, Veronica received her Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana. Before relocating to the United States in 2003, she spent eight years working as a business consultant. Her volunteer endeavors include ESL teaching at Princeton Meadow Church, where she also teaches pre-K and Kindergarten Sunday school classes. Veronica currently lives in New Jersey with her husband Cesar Carbajal and her two beautiful daughters, Emilia and Julia.

Spanish Workshop on NBC
Picture This...

Your child being welcomed by an expert bilingual teacher and excited classmates before embarking on a journey of discovery, exploration and adventure … a journey into the Spanish-speaking world that is limited only by the power of the imagination. This imaginary world is the reality of Spanish Workshop for Children, where learning Spanish is pure enjoyment and fun! From the moment your child (as young as 15 months old) steps foot into this world, he or she is surrounded by the sounds of the Spanish language. Our multi-sensory immersion approach stimulates every child’s natural learning style.

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