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 course and the Professional Interpreter in Special Education Certificate course, which she has been teaching for over 8 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 passion for language access and equal access to justice has led him through different parts of the country, most notably when he was the Program Manager of the Office of Court Professionals for the Judicial Council / Administrative Office of the Courts of Georgia. There, John oversaw the administrative and policymaking processes of the Judicial Council Standing Committee on Court Interpreters and other groups of Court professionals. John’s primary goal of equal access led him to want to increase the number of licensed interpreters in the State of Georgia, which he met by improving and increasing training, testing, and overhauling the court interpreting program in the State of Georgia. In addition, John worked with the Judicial Branch of the State of Connecticut first as an Interpreter and then as a Court Clerk, and also oversaw the interpreting program for King County Superior Court in Seattle, Washington. John graduated from Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Science with a Master’s in Public Administration. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2006. John is the City Clerk of Duvall, in Washington State, which John and his family call home.

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.

Marifer Sager 

Marifer leads the Language Access Services Department at Portland Public Schools. She believes that language access and language justice are key components to racial equity and that the strategic use of language can reshape the narratives of traditionally marginalized groups and ultimately transform systems. Her expertise includes the implementation of multilingual communications, outreach and engagement practices aimed at developing trust and fostering dialogue/cooperation among linguistically diverse communities and institutions. Marifer holds a law degree and a post-graduate certificate from Mexico. She is the recipient of the 2021 Language Access Visionary Award, a national recognition to outstanding dedication, profound work, and impact in the area of language access in a school district issued by the National Association of Educational Translators and Interpreters of Spoken Languages.

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.

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.

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.

Our Team

Claudia Enciso Kuraica NAETISL Administrative Assistant

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!

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 designed our website and logo and has provided technical support to NAETISL since its onset. He is responsible for editing 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.