Our Board

Ana Soler - Chairperson

Ana has been a curriculum developer, interpreter, translator, and trainer for over 25 years. She has authored curricula nationally including the Intercultural Parent and Youth Leadership Program, the Interpretation Academy for Bilingual High School Students, the Arkansas Interpreter Credential in Education course, a 40-hour certification preparation course for medical interpreters, and various online courses for the University of Georgia, including the Professional Interpreter in Education Certificate, the Professional Interpreter in Special Education Certificate, and the Professional Translator in Education Certificate, which she has been teaching for over 10 years. She completed her degree in Social Work at Georgia State University, her Master’s Degree in Public Health at Emory University, and is a Ph.D. in Special Education student at the University of Georgia. Her Ph.D. research interests include the intersection of ableism and linguicism, and the impact of untrained interpreters on family engagement in the fulfillment of inclusive education. She remains an active medical and educational interpreter and translator.

John Botero - Vice-Chair

John's unwavering dedication to language access and equitable justice has propelled him across various regions of the country, notably during his tenure as the Program Manager at the Office of Court Professionals for the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts of Georgia. In this role, John assumed responsibility for overseeing the administrative and policymaking procedures of the Judicial Council Standing Committee on Court Interpreters, along with other cohorts of court professionals. Driven by his primary objective of ensuring equal access, John proactively sought to augment the pool of licensed interpreters within the State of Georgia. This endeavor involved a comprehensive enhancement of training protocols, meticulous expansion of testing procedures, and an extensive overhaul of the court interpreting program throughout the state. Moreover, John leveraged his expertise within the Judicial Branch of the State of Connecticut, where he initially served as an Interpreter and subsequently as a Court Clerk. Additionally, he successfully spearheaded the development and management of the interpreting program for the King County Superior Court in Seattle, Washington. John's educational background includes a Master's in Public Administration from Pace University's Dyson College of Arts and Science, complemented by a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology obtained from the City University of New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2006. Presently, John fulfills the role of City Clerk in Duvall, Washington State—an abode cherished by him and his family.

Dr. Rita Brusca-Vega 

Rita is a Professor Emeritus at Purdue University Northwest, and began her teaching career serving students with mild and intense special education needs. She has worked as an inclusion consultant in addition to having over 30 years in higher education. Rita is a frequent presenter on special education issues, a successful grant writer, and past director of multiple federally-funded projects that have ranged from preparing bilingual and ESL teachers and paraprofessionals to become special educators, to serving students with intense needs and co-teaching in science classrooms. She is past chair and active member of the Illinois State Board of Education’s Joint Subcommittee on Bilingual Special Education. Rita has recently written about universal design for learning in the text, Universal Access Through Inclusive Instructional Design: International Perspectives on UDL. She is currently co-founder and consultant at EdPractices, a teacher support organization.

Jessica Sanchez - Treasurer

Jessica is an Arkansas Bilingual Interpreter Credentialed in Education. Living in Arkansas has definitely brought many communication challenges to parents as LEP’s. Seeing their struggle has opened her eyes to the great need for qualified interpreters, as well as being a parent and having to navigate through therapists, psychologists and early intervention teams. Jessica has worked in her local school district for the last 3 years, as a Special Education Interpreter and Translator. Previous to interpretation in the educational field, she worked as a medical assistant and Interpreter, focusing in pediatrics for the first 3 years, followed by 3 years in pediatric mental health. Her goal is to provide parents, guardians, community members with the information and tools they need to aid their children to success, through clear and concise interpretation and translation.

Flor Castellanos - Secretary

Flor is the Founder & Director of Speakworthy - an interpreter training organization. Prior to Speakworthy, Flor earned a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from UT Austin & ran an interpreter training program for a non-profit. She has worked with asylum-seekers in detention centers in the US & with refugees in camps and schools abroad. These experiences gave her a passion for the international community, and led her to working as an interpreter & interpreter trainer. Her interpreting work has specialized in the field of victim services with survivors of torture. She is an advocate of language justice and passionate about training others to leverage their language skills.

Maria Leyva 

Maria is an experienced interpreter and translator in education settings. She completed her Bachelor's degree in Mexico. She has been a Davis, CA resident for the last 20 years and has worked for 10 years in Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Davis, CA as a paraeducator (bilingual). She is also a Library Technician at Harper Jr. High and Interpreter for Davis School District. Maria has a passion for family empowerment and has participated in the creation of English Learner Parent Councils in her state.

Jeannette Houchens

Jeannette has been an interpreter and translator for over 20 years starting her career in her native country of Colombia. After moving to the US, she continued her professional development achieving accreditations as a Certified Medical Interpreter (CMI-Spanish), State Certified Court Interpreter and ATA Certified Translator. She is the founder and president of HIT Services, an organization that provides interpretation, translation, and training services aimed to create awareness of the role that meaningful language access and cultural competency play in our community, and to support interpreters in improving their qualifications and skills. Throughout her career she has had the opportunity to work in different fields such as health care, human services, and court, specializing for many years in women and children sexual abuse cases. In recent years, Jeannette has focused her work on the area of education, creating training materials both for interpreters and school districts and leading an experienced team of interpreters and translators in helping school districts create and maintain diverse and inclusive environments.

Juanita Halepas

Juanita has been a State Certified Court Interpreter for over 12 years. She worked full time for the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch from 2009 until 2019. During her time with the state, she also acted as a mentor to upcoming court interpreters in the Interpreter and Translator Services Unit Mentoring Program, the purpose of which was to guide prospect court interpreters to successful certification. Additionally she contributed in the translation of legal documents and participated in organizing the state yearly workshops for court interpreter training for the CT Judicial Branch. She was involved as the editor of Intraconnect, the interpreter’s department newsletter of the Judicial Branch. She holds a certification from the National Center for State Courts, NCSC, in Court Interpretation, a certificate in Medical Interpretation from Central Connecticut State University as well as a certification from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI), and a certificate from the Southern California School of Interpretation for Interpretation in Immigration Court. Her objective is to guide bilingual individuals interested in working as interpreters in navigating the steps needed to achieve court, medical and/or educational interpreting certification as well as creating awareness on the importance of the interpreting profession.

Stephanie MacIntosh

Stephanie is the co-founder of NTC Language Services and has 15 years of experience supervising Translation and Multilingual Outreach activities in the educational field. Her roles have included recruiting quality personnel, training staff, and providing direct services to speakers of over forty different languages. Stephanie's passion is connecting with her community and empowering the clientele that she serves.

Our Team

Claudia Enciso Kuraica - Membership Coordinator

Claudia has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in organizational development. She has been a translator and interpreter for the Corvallis School District in Oregon since 2016. She has been an educational assistant and is currently an administrative assistant for the communications department. During her time as an educational assistant, she was an interpreter for IEP and 504 meetings. She also provided simultaneous interpretation for some meetings at the DLI schools. Before moving to the United States, Claudia worked for the Universidad del Valle de México. She was part of the team working on getting the university the FIMPES accreditation. She was also the coordinator for the communications major. In that position, she oversaw the organization of two international conferences. Claudia enjoys learning new things and making things happen!

Laura B. Price, M.Ed., M.A. - Coordinator of Stakeholder Engagement

Laura B. Price was born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay. She holds a master’s degree in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in Spanish/Translating and Translation Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She also holds graduate certificate degrees in Language & Culture Studies and Antiracial Teaching from UNC Charlotte, graduate certificate degrees in Autism, TESOL & Teaching English in the 2-year-college from East Carolina University as well as a Medical Spanish Teaching diploma from the University of Cantabria, Spain. She is a passionate and caring advocate for the education of future interpreters and translators that will be able to work professionally and successfully in the field. She is the CATI (Carolina Association of Translators & Interpreters) NC director at large, and she is thrilled to join NAETISL in her Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator role!

Sarah Attalla - Coordinator
of  Professional Development 

Sarah originally hails from St. Albans, VT, just minutes from the Canadian border. At the age of 16, she moved with her family to Honduras, where she became fluent in Spanish. Upon returning to the US several years later, she obtained a dual bachelor’s degree in both Spanish and Biochemistry and has spent a decade working as a professional Spanish medical interpreter and translator in Level 1 trauma hospitals such as Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Sarah has also held state and national leadership positions with TAPIT and NBCMI, respectively, and has worked extensively in both freelance and W-2 employee capacities. She obtained NBCMI Certification in 2016, CCHI Certification in 2023 and will graduate with her M.A. in Interpretation and Translation from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May. Sarah has spent these past 5 years also pursuing her passion for education by training both new and experienced interpreters and is very excited to be joining NAETISL in their Professional Development department!

Hector Ontiveros - Coordinator of Communication

Hector Ontiveros is the Technology and Innovation Department Coordinator at Barrington 220, a prominent northwest suburban public school district in Illinois, where he oversees the school district’s interpretation and translation team. Previously, Hector worked as a professional interpreter at Barrington 220 where he developed a close relationship with the school district’s Spanish-speaking community. Hector enjoys traveling and creating meaningful moments with his wife, Miryam, and their two sons, Gianlucca and Leonardo. Language and communication has always played an important role in Hector’s life and he hopes to continue developing and supporting NAETISL's mission of providing quality content and providing support to the expanding opportunities for educational translators and interpreters through the bridge of communication.

Grecia Cruz

Grecia has been an educational interpreter since she graduated in 2013 and has an avid interest in anything related to language. She is a graduate of the Arkansas Bilingual Interpreter Credential in Education and has collaborated with teachers, parents, and ESOL coordinators in Northeast Arkansas. Grecia has lived in Northeast Arkansas most of her life, except for a few years when her family lived in Mexico. There, during her teenage years, she built a strong background in the Spanish language competing in grammar and orthography contests. Ever since returning to the U.S., she has been involved in supporting language access in her community. Currently, Grecia supports NAETISL in the role of Resource Development Coordinator producing resources for translators, interpreters, school staff, and emergent bilingual families including informational and training videos. 

Sebastian Soler

Sebastian provides technical and marketing support to NAETISL. He has developed and edited various educational videos for NAETISL members to practice interpretation skills and informational videos for stakeholders to highlight the impact of interpreters. Sebastian maintains our NAETISL’s YouTube Channel and has created and expanded our social media reach through Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.