English Specialist Faculty - The International School

English & Library Specialists

TIS students study English with specialist teachers one hour per day starting in first grade. As research shows, there is a natural skills transference between languages that helps students develop literacy in English and in their target language. Learn more about the TIS English program at intlschool.org/english.


English Specialists

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Allegra Ruggles
English Specialist

  • From Hollywood, FL and Brooklyn, NY
  • Bachelor of Arts in English and American Literature, Brandeis University
  • Master of Arts in Elementary Education, Teachers College at Columbia University
  • Teaching since 1999; teaching at TIS since 2015

I have been a classroom teacher for sixteen years, teaching second, third and fourth grades. In my free time I enjoy baking, dancing, going for walks around my neighborhood and collecting quotations. I am looking forward to working at TIS because it is a world class teaching institution whose values mirror my own values as an educator. I have always been fascinated by other cultures, and I look forward to learning more about the cultures represented at TIS. Diversity is important to me, and I firmly believe in the value of learning about other cultures through immersion. I look forward to teaching English at TIS and being part of such a rich community!


Britt Prince
English Specialist

  • From Salem and Bend, Oregon
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from University of Oregon
  • Master of Arts in Teaching in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from George Fox University
  • Teaching since 2004; teaching at TIS since 2008

After spending many rewarding years working in social services, I decided to pursue teaching. Teaching allows me to guide and support my students in their discoveries of life and learning. The best part of my day is when a student has a “light bulb moment” and the understanding spreads across their face with a big grin. As a writer at heart, I truly look forward to the stories each child has to tell as they become budding authors in their own right.

Having studied abroad in Japan in my own youth, I love the cultural exchange of ideas and languages. It is exciting to be a part of a school like TIS so rich in diversity and creativity. As a parent and a teacher, I am constantly reminded of how wonderfully genuine and imaginative kids are, especially when given unique opportunities to experience the world at their fingertips.


Deanna Sundberg
English Specialist

  • From Clayton, California
  • Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from University of Montana
  • Teaching since 1998; teaching full-time at TIS since 2014

Prior to moving to Portland in 2013, Deanna was in Barcelona, Spain for ten years. While there, she was an elementary English Language teacher at the Escola Frederic Mistral Tècnic Eulàlia and an Art Teacher at Collage, a multidisciplinary art, language, and dance space.  Deanna worked with Cartus Intercultural and Language Solutions here in Portland, where she provided language support for young children ages 4-7.  

Deanna was the Co-founder and lead Teacher of the Missoula Community School in Missoula, Montana, a progressive, early childhood school. She developed the curriculum, organized the board of directors, and facilitated community meetings. Deanna received her BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Montana. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Deanna’s hobbies include traveling, dancing, swimming in rivers, and learning to play the guitar. She treasures spending time with her 2.5 year old daughter and Italian husband.


Janet Olson
English Specialist

  • From the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Bachelor's Degree, University of California, Berkeley
  • Masters in Teaching, Pacific University, Forest Grove
  • Teaching since 1983, teaching at TIS since 2013

I am delighted to officially be part of the English Department at TIS after volunteering (while my daughter attended the Chinese track) and then substituting. As a parent of a TIS alumnus, I have a personal and deep commitment to immersion education. My Oregon teaching license includes an ESL endorsement. I have enjoyed other careers besides teaching but have returned since there is no better experience than sharing “aha” momenta with children and teaching them the joy of learning.


Lauren Miller
English Specialist

  • From Akron, Ohio
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Miami University of Ohio
  • Master of Arts in Teaching from Lewis & Clark University
  • Teaching at TIS since 2016

I am very excited to join the English Department! I grew up in Akron, Ohio and have lived abroad teaching in South Korea and China. I moved to Portland last year to attend Lewis and Clark’s Master of Arts in Teaching program and have fallen in love with this city. I am looking forward to an exciting year ahead and cannot wait to get to know you and your student!


Meghan Robertson
English Specialist

  • From South Dakota
  • Master's in Education from the University of South Dakota
  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of South Dakota
  • Teaching since 2011; teaching at TIS since 2014

Meghan comes to us from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she taught for three years. Most recently, she was a first grade teacher in the Parker School District, where established a uniform reading framework at the elementary level and helped to organize elementary-level reading assessments and progress monitoring that promoted constant progress and review of current practices. She has also worked on integrating technology into literacy instruction, which led to increased student engagement.

Some of Meghan’s hobbies include: cooking, music, reading, and anything outdoors. Meghan is most excited about working in a diverse community where the staff and students have unique backgrounds and experiences in travel and language.



Lora Warden

  • Bachelor of Arts, English and Foreign Languages (Spanish and German), Lewis & Clark College
  • Graduate Certificate in Children’s and YA Literature, Portland State University
  • Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Portland State University
  • Masters in Library Science, Emporia State University (Specialization: Librarianship for children & young adults.)
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Tomoyo Wells
Library Specialist

  • From Japan
  • B.A. in History from Portland State University
  • At TIS since 2010

I am originally from Japan and have been living in the US for 9 years. I graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor's degree in History. During my school year, I spent most of my time researching and writing in the library, because I loved being there. Whether it is the school or my small neighborhood library, there is something about the atmosphere, smell, and sound of a library that I love.

After I graduated from college, I volunteered at the Oregon Historical Society Museum. Afterward, I started working at TIS as a library assistant and I am happy to be part of TIS community.

My goal is to help students find their potential emotionally, intellectually and socially by delivering good stories and providing an environment where they can share their ideas and have access to information to find the answer to their questions.