Linda Fabel Duque, the director and founder of Escuelita
de Lita, has dedicated more than 3 decades to mastering
the art of teaching foreign language to elementary-aged
children. Her professional trajectory spans from teaching
English as a foreign language in a full immersion
International School in Cali, Colombia from 1984 to 2006 to
teaching K-3 Spanish at Winnona Park in City Schools of
Decatur until her retirement in 2015. You can't keep Lita out
of the classroom! She currently teaches Pre-K Spanish at
College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in the City Schools of Decatur.
She resided in Costa Rica and Colombia for 30 years where she not only
perfected her Spanish but absorbed all the nuances of Latin culture. There
she and her Colombian spouse raised 3 awesome, multicultural, bilingual
children. Escuelita de Lita embodies her passion for teaching Spanish to young
learners in a fun, nurturing and natural setting.
Lita is the Spanish term of endearment for Grandma
and Linda is equally Lita to her students and her own
Linda holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, a
Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Master
of Arts in Language, Reading and Culture from the
University of Arizona. She is a member of ACTFL
(American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) and presented at
the National ACTFL conference in San Antonio in November 2014. She is also
a member of NNELL (The National Network for Early Language Learning) and
FLAG (Foreign Language Association of Georgia). She prides herself as a dedicated and accomplished educator-in-the field. Her wealth of educational experiences include developing Spanish connections to Expeditionary Learning expeditions in grades K-3, individualizing instruction, and mentoring and training teachers. Currently she is a Field Supervisor of World Languages practicum teachers at GSU.
She serves as a member of The Board of Directors of A Través, a non-profit company that presents Flamenco arts through performance and education.
Meet Tío, David De Lima
David De Lima hails from São Paulo, Brazil and lived in México before
coming to the Atlanta area in 2011. During the academic year he works as
a preschool teacher at The Language Garden, a Spanish immersion
Preschool. He celebrates his 20th anniversary this year as a master
Capoeira dancer and instructor. He is the founder/director of
Capoeira Passo al Frente, in East Atlanta Village, where he teaches
classes for all ages. Capoeira is a unique Brazilian art form that
combines elements of martial arts, dance, music and acrobatics. David
captivates and challenges Escuelita kids as they learn the movements
with passion, develop rhythm, physical expression, and the power of self-control. David earned his degree from Universidade
Nove de Julho in Sao Paulo, Brazil. For more information about David and Capoeira as well as videos and photos, visit CapoPAF.com.
Meet Lita, Linda Duque
Meet Tía, Kristin Mejia
Kristin Mejia is an experienced preschool teacher who currently teaches at The Language Garden Preschool and
formerly worked at the International Preschool in Virginia Highlands. Kristin lived in Spain for a year and a half and taught business English there. She speaks both Spanish and Italian. She worked for the Italian Trade Commission for eleven years. She holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Georgia in Marketing with a specialization in Internatonal Business. Kristin is married to a Colombian and she and Julian are raising their two Decatur kids to be bilingual. For fun, she loves to dance Salsa!
Aldanie Martinez’s first connection to children came from growing up as part of a big Venezuelan family. With several cousins who were at least 6 years or younger he was always tasked to keep them entertained at parties, which later evolved into mentoring and being an example for them as they grew up. He later volunteered with The Boys and Girls Club for two and a half years during his college years working with children and teenagers. He also took several courses in developmental psychology, which helped to immensely understand how aspects of communication and behavior can help kids thrive.
In 2012 Aldanie started practicing capoeira and, shortly after, he began to assist and substitute teach in classes for kids. He has taught at after school programs as well. He truly enjoys the impact that capoeira has on children as it develops motor-skills, self-defense, communication, musical and leadership skills in a unique way.
Language has also been an interest of his since he was young. Aldanie tells how he used to dream about being able to communicate with someone else in secret languages unknown to most. Back in Venezuela it seemed like a far-off dream. When he moved with his family to Florida in 1998, he remembers admiring his ESOL teacher who spoke four languages. In his eyes she was a super hero. Aldanie now speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and is working on French. He feels like he is living his dream! Now he sees language as a portal to distinctive and rich cultures. He also grew up interpreting for his parents while they learned English. He later honed this skill while volunteering to do live interpreting at parent/teacher conferences and was able to apply it when he worked as a freelance conference and medical interpreter for several years.
Meet Tía, Yessenia Mullenix
Yessenia is proud of her Ecuadorian culture and loves to share it with the people around her. She has always had a love for children and when she arrived in America she discovered her talent and passion for teaching. Yessenia graduated with a law degree from National University of Chimborazo in Ecuador, and here in the U.S. she earned her childhood Developmental Association Certification in Preschool Education. She believes children learn best when they are given the opportunity to actively engage and discover the world around them. This constructivism approach permits the development of humanitarianism and environmental awareness which we need in our society. Children grow to enjoy learning in collaboration with their friends in contact with nature. Yessenia has always loved spending time outdoors, hiking, tubing in the river and bike riding.
Loren Larraga is a student at Georgia State University majoring in early childhood education with a certification in ESOL and a concentration in dual language immersion. She has always been passionate about children and as she navigates further into her career she becomes more and more fascinated with how they experience the world.
Loren is proud to have a wonderful Mexican family who made it their goal to privilege her with the Spanish language. Spanish is as much a part of her life as English. She feels it defines her and roots her to her family and hispanic culture.
Meet Tía, María Alejandra Torres
María Alejandra Torres is originally from Venezuela where she graduated with a law degree from Universidad Santa María. She moved to the United States in 2014 and taught Spanish at Lango Kids for a year. Currently she works at Primavera Preschool as lead Teacher of the multi–age class. María loves children, nature, outside activities, singing, and arts and crafts. She believes children learn best when given the opportunity to actively engage and discover the world around them.
Jessell Salgado is from Atlanta and prides herself in her Mexican culture. She studied at New York University for a year and plans to attend Georgia State University this Fall. Jessell plans to study law and hopes to one day be a teacher. She loves kids and some of her favorite hobbies are reading, being outdoors, and cooking!
Sophie Mueller is graduating from the Westminster School and loves languages. She studied in Mar del Plata, Argentina and Valencia, Spain, and has completed two years of college level Spanish classes. She plans to study Spanish and International Studies in college. She loves kids and has been a camp counselor, youth tennis coach, and middle school Spanish tutor. She loves playing outside and sports and is looking forward to working with Lita again this summer!