Karina Elze

M.Ed. University of Minnesota B.A.S in Early childhood studies at Metropolitan
State University

A.S in Early Childhood Education at Minneapolis
Community and Technical College

Kindergarten Teacher

I use culturally relevant pedagogy, bilingual
instruction, and am an expert in early childhood
development. My teaching philosophy has been acquired by my diverse background as a Latina and immigrant. I grew up in Colombia in a low income community. My work as an immigrant teacher made me emphasize the importance of the experience and cultural heritage of children's lives for their early education.

I believe that children need an environment where they value and appreciate their cultural heritage. This way, they can learn and grow happily and safely. Each child has their own way of learning, so I adapt my methods individually.

Teaching at public and private schools, visiting various schools in Latin America, the United States and Europe, and learning about the gap for Latino students entering Kindergarten inspired me to create the ELZE Academy. I realized that empathy and respect for the rights of others must be learned. My experience also helps me understand the needs of my students as well as my own privileges. I want our families to learn from each other, from different cultures and to feel included and proud to be part of the academy.

I will continue to educate myself and hope to continue traveling to learn other methods of teaching and learning. Within the work, I love to encourage the creative side of each student. I enjoy leading artistic activities such as dancing.

Outside of work, I enjoy music, theater and dance, exploring local restaurants and traveling.

Nandi Solórzano O’Brien

B.A in Global Studies
Metropolitan State University

A.S Communications 
Universidad de San Carlos De Guatemala

Graduate Level Coursework in Education 
Saint Mary’s University

10 Years’ Experience in Immersion Education

I understand that the impact of early learning goes beyond the future academic success of a child. The foundation of their emotional, social and physical development is built during their first years and will contribute to the continued development of these skills throughout their lifetime.

I believe that childhood is the best time to gain an appreciation and understanding of diverse cultures, peoples, and perspectives in the world. I aim to extend the educational experience to the development of true connections inside and outside of the classroom.
I bring a bilingual bi-cultural perspective and am committed to continue to encourage the celebration of diversity and cultural competence in our community.

My enthusiasm and passion for Immersion Education comes from experiencing the benefits first hand as a student of immersion schools. Bilingualism has been a huge asset in my life and I am excited to help others access a quality program that will focus on social emotional learning, academic achievement and language acquisition.

I have worked in education for over 10 years, most of which in immersion programs. I have a degree in Journalism and Communications from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and Bachelors in Global Studies from Metropolitan State University.