GALA Faculty & Staff
Meran Rogers – Founder, Executive Director
Credentials: Master of Business Administration, Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University | Master of Nonprofit Management, Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University
Ms. Rogers has twelve years of experience in the nonprofit and education sectors and received her K-12 Principal License in 2016 after completing the BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools fellowship. She established Global Ambassadors Language Academy (GALA) in 2012 and the school opened in August 2016. Prior to GALA, she spent several years working in Cleveland public schools during her tenure as an Executive Fellow of the Cleveland Leadership Center, City Year Cleveland, and Director of the Cleveland Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Additionally, Rogers worked as a third grade teacher in Taipei, Taiwan at an international English immersion school. Most recently, Rogers was a founding staff member of Global Cleveland, serving as Director of Community Affairs; leading services for volunteers, international newcomers and the Asian Initiative. In November 2014, Rogers was recognized as “One to Watch in Education” by Crain’s Cleveland Business Magazine. In 2010, she received the Cleveland 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers Award, and in 2009 was featured as ONE2WATCH in Cleveland Inside Business Magazine. Rogers is a lifelong Cleveland resident, proud graduate of Cleveland and East Cleveland public schools, a first generation American and college graduate, and resides in Cleveland Heights with her family. Her son and daughter both attend GALA.
Dr. Michael Salwiesz – Principal
Credentials: Doctor of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University | Master of Business Administration, The Ohio State University | Master of Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas | Master of Social Work, University of Michigan
Mr. Salwiesz brings extensive experience in research and evaluation, social services, and education. He began his education career as a Teach For America Corps Member and teacher in Las Vegas and also worked as a Junior Cluster Teacher (Grades 3-5) at The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, where his students achieved a greater than 90 percent passage rate on the state assessment across grade levels. Mr. Salwiesz also spent considerable time conducting evaluations of the Michigan Department of Education’s Even Start Family Literacy Program and cooperative learning curricula throughout the country. His doctoral research focused on parent and community involvement and the achievement gap. Mr. Salwiesz spent the past two academic years working as an administrator in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District at Warner Girls Leadership Academy and Denison Elementary School.
Mark DeWine – Curriculum Specialist
Credentials : Master of Business Administration, The Ohio State University | Bachelor of Arts, The College of Wooster
Mark DeWine is a career educator who brings his passion for public education to GALA. He started his teaching journey as a social studies teacher in Memphis, Tennessee with Teach For America. Mr. DeWine then taught immersion English at an International Baccalaureate school in Ambato, Ecuador. Upon returning to the United States, he taught in Columbus and, most recently, in Cleveland at Entrepreneurship Prep Woodland Hills, where he worked as a teacher and a teacher coach. Mr. DeWine is a proud husband and a father of two boys, a runner, and advocate for social equity.
Jeanette Garcia – Office Manager
Credentials: Bachelor of Arts, Business Management, Cleveland State University – expected Spring 2019 | Associates Degree, Cuyahoga Community College
Ms. Garcia is a lifelong resident of Cleveland, Ohio. She has more than eight years of administrative experience. Prior to GALA, Ms. Garcia served as Program Staff for Horizon Education Center, West Preparatory Academy, and the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce / Hispanic Business Center. Ms. Garcia resides in Cleveland with her family, and also serves as President and Treasurer of the GALA Parent & Family Association.
Email: JGarcia@GALACleveland.org Phone: (216) 315-7942
Yuting Huang – Teacher, Mandarin Immersion Program
Credentials: M.Ed., Secondary Education, University of Missouri-St Louis | M.Ed., Elementary Education, University of Missouri-St Louis
Ms. Huang is the Mandarin teacher in K/1 at GALA. She is a native Mandarin speaker from Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, China. She earned her bachelor degree in English from Fujian Medical University (China), and her master degrees in Secondary Education-TESOL specified (2014) and Elementary Education (2016) from University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). Previously, she worked in St. Louis Language Immersion school as a language teacher and part-time in UMSL Child Development Center.
Jing Votruba – Teacher, Mandarin Immersion Program
Credentials: Master of International Trade at China Agricultural University | Bachelor of Bio-engineering at China Agricultural University
Ms. Votruba grew up in the beautiful city Yangzhou, China. After she graduated from the China Agricultural University (CAU) in Beijing she worked as a college student counselor for two years at CAU. In 2009, she received her Master’s Degree and moved to the United States. Since then, Ms. Votruba has worked as a teacher in both Alaska and Colorado. She taught at the Colorado Springs Chinese Language School for four years, and worked as a Mandarin Immersion Language Teacher at Global Village Academy in Colorado Springs for one year. Ms. Votruba loves teaching and loves to use her language and teaching skills to nurture the students at GALA.
Laura Pope – Teacher, Spanish Immersion Program
Credentials: Master of Arts, Spanish, Cleveland State University | B.A., Spanish and Communication, Hiram College
Ms. Pope is a longtime resident of Northeast Ohio, but spent the early part of her childhood in New Mexico, where she first became interested in learning the Spanish language. Ms. Pope earned a dual bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Communication from Hiram College and studied abroad in Segovia, Spain. She was selected to the Ohio Core Teacher Education Program at the University of Akron and holds a license to teach Spanish in the State of Ohio. Ms. Pope later graduated from Cleveland State University with a Master of Arts in Spanish, concentrating her studies in Latin American literature and the expression of Afro-Latino identity. Prior to becoming a teacher, she served for 13 years as a deputy clerk for a local municipal court and also worked in the area of performance and quality improvement at OhioGuidestone. Ms. Pope is honored to share her passion for education and language learning as a member of GALA’s inaugural staff.
Christian Duran – Teacher, Spanish Immersion Program
Credentials: Bachelor of Arts,Psychology University of California, San Diego
Ms. Duran is from Los Angeles, CA and is a Corps Member from the non-profit organization, Teach for America. She grew up in a bilingual (English/Spanish) home in California. Ms. Duran attended UC San Diego, where she studied Psychology as a major. After graduating, she decided to pursue her interest in education by joining Teach for America. She hopes to learn more about the educational system by being at the front lines and working with her students to grow more individually and develop academically! Ms. Duran is excited to join the GALA staff and share her passion for higher education and diversity with her students!
Errin Wischhusen – Teacher – Integrated Arts
Credentials: Master of Early Childhood Education, The Ohio State University | Bachelor of Art, Painting and Drawing, Pennsylvania State University
Mrs. Wischhusen is delighted to lead GALA’s student-centered art studio. Mrs. Wischhusen spent her childhood in the rural Pennsylvania Wilds area, where she then pursued her art degree in painting and drawing at Penn State. She moved to Columbus, OH after graduation and soon after attended Ohio State Marion and Lima campuses for her master’s of Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Wischhusen was a first grade classroom teacher for a number of years in Ostrander, OH before moving to her husband’s hometown of Cleveland. She was a stay-home mom and active community volunteer until her two children were both school age. Now she is absolutely delighted to be able to combine her two passions of child development and art at GALA. She believes that providing children a choice-based art education honors and nurtures each child’s individuality and innate creativity as well as fostering self-regulation and feelings of autonomy. Mrs. Wischhusen regards students as artists and offers them real choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through the making of art.
Natasha Healy – Intervention Specialist
Credentials: Bachelor of Arts, Special Education, Ohio University
Ms. Healy is from Brighton, Michigan and is the Intervention Specialist at GALA. After high school Ms. Healy attended Ohio University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education for students with moderate to intensive needs. After graduating Ms. Healy moved to Toledo to teach at a school designed specifically for students with Autism. Ms. Healy has experience working with a diverse group of students throughout her student teaching at Ohio University. She has traveled extensively within the United States and abroad.
YanPing Yang – Mandarin Immersion Program, First Grade, Penguin Class
Credentials: Master of Early Childhood Education, Cleveland State University | Bachelor of English at Changsha University
Ms. Yang is the Mandarin teacher in 1/2 at GALA and has lived in Cleveland for 8 years. As a native Mandarin speaker, Ms. Yang always longed to teach in an immersion school since high school. After she received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Changsha University, Ms. Yang moved on to obtain her Master’s degree plus teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education from Cleveland State University. Previously, she worked as a part-time ELL tutor at Elyria City Schools for two years, Mandarin teacher for summer camps at Lorain County Community College, and substituted at different school districts, including CMSD, Euclid, Parma, and Olmsted Falls City Schools. As a proud and enthusiastic educator, Ms. Yang believes that “A great teacher is someone who can learn from her students, who can learn with them, and learns for them”.
Bethany Wilson-Araujo – English Language Arts, Kindergarten
Credentials-Master’s degree in Education- Elementary Reading and Mathematics Specialization from Walden University & Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, Elon University
Bethany has been an educator since 2004 after graduating from Elon University in North Carolina. There she taught general education in grades 3-5. She taught 8 years in a town called Haw River, then 2 years in Durham, NC. In 2014 she moved back to the Cleveland area with her husband and daughter and taught 4th and 1st grade at Village Prep School Woodland Hills. She has served as a mentor to new teachers and held leadership positions at each school she has been apart of. Mrs. Wilson-Araujo is extremely excited to be part of GALA and looks forward to sharing her love of learning with our kids and community.
Email: Coming Soon Mobile: (216) 315-7942
Wynter Pitts – English Language Arts, TBD
Sara Treviño – Spanish Immersion Program, Kindergarten, (TBD class)
Credentials: Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Kent State University
Ms. Treviño is from Mesa Arizona and has been living in the northeast Ohio region for the last three years. She is a current Greater Cleveland Corps Member with the non-profit organization, Teach for America. Ms. Treviño grew up in a bilingual home and has a passion for the Spanish language. She has traveled extensively and lived abroad in both Guatemala and Chile. She studied Political Science and International Relations at Kent State University. She decided to join Teach for America after graduation because she believes that all students should have equal education opportunities. She is very excited to be joining the GALA staff to advocate for language immersion learning and share her love of diversity and inclusion.
Email: Coming Soon Mobile: (216) 315-7942
Daniel Gutiérrez Brasero – Spanish Immersion Program, First Grade, (TBD class)
Credentials: Bachelor of Elementary Education – Physical Education, University of Seville (Spain) | Bachelor of Elementary Education – English Language, University of Seville (Spain)
Daniel is from Spain and he has lived in Seville since he was born. He studied as a teacher in Elementary Education in Seville too and is specialized in Physical Education and Second Language Learning (English). Since 2010, Daniel has worked as teacher in different schools including Colegio Lope de Vega (Seville), SAFA Nuestra Señora de lo Reyes (Seville) and Salesianos Manuel Lora Tamayo (Jerez de la Frontera). He has taught subjects in second language (science and english language art) as part of a bilingual program in the last years so that he has experience in teaching subjects to students in a different language of mother’s tongue. His philosophy is his students learn in an amusing way because creativity and spontaneity grows up and the input will be better. Daniel is sporty and he likes practicing any sport.
Email: Coming Soon Mobile: (216) 315-7942
Katherine Thomas – Spanish Immersion Program, Second Grade (TBD class)
Ms. Thomas is originally from West Hartford, Connecticut and is excited to be moving to Cleveland to teach with the non-profit organization, Teach for America. She has always had a passion for traveling, so she was motivated to learn Spanish after her involvement in a Spanish Exchange program in Madrid in high school. Ms. Thomas graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, where she double-majored in Spanish and Psychology, both of which fueled her interest in teaching. She hopes to contribute to the cause for educational equity and foster a love of learning for her students. Ms. Thomas is overjoyed to join the GALA staff and be able to incorporate her loves for travel, creativity, and a lifelong growth mindset in the classroom!
Email: Coming Soon Mobile: (216) 315-7942