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About us

About us

Catherine Wallace & Luis MartinezCatherine Wallace & Luis Martinez
School Founders

Catherine Wallace, a long-time educator from Dallas and husband, Luis Martinez, a teacher and actor from Oaxaca, Mexico, started Spanish House in the spare bedroom of their East Dallas home in 2008, providing Spanish and English-as-a-Second-Language classes for adult students. Prior to starting the school, Catherine worked as an ESL elementary teacher in the Dallas ISD, and Luis taught Spanish immersion classes at a language institute in Oaxaca.

In 2009, they opened the adult Spanish program at the Prospect location, and in 2010, they started the preschool with one classroom and a group of 20 students. Enrollment quickly grew over the next two years, which precipitated the purchase of the building at 4411 Skillman. Nearly 200 students started the 2013 – 2014 school year at the renovated building. The first kindergarten class started in August 2013, first grade was added in 2014 and second grade in 2015. Another grade level will be added each subsequent year until reaching fifth grade. Catherine and Luis are proud to have opened the newest Spanish House location at 7159 E. Grand Avenue, which serves elementary students, in August of 2016. They worked diligently to design and build a spacious, innovative school that allows students to grow and learn according to Spanish House’s mission and vision.

Catherine & Luis are firm believers in the “all-Spanish” immersion approach and strive to provide a safe, academically-rigorous and culturally-rich environment for Spanish House students. Catherine serves as the Executive Director of the school, and Luis leads the adult Spanish program. Their son Oliver is in the third grade at Spanish House Elementary, and their daughter Isabel enjoys her time immensely at Spanish House Preschool.

Alexandra SabaterAlexandra Sabater
Elementary Director

Alexandra and her family have been a part of Spanish House since 2011. Her belief in the school’s mission and vision led her to assume the position of Elementary Director in July of 2016.

Alexandra began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where she taught for three years. She later worked as a university teaching assistant, high school instructor, and college admissions administrator before returning to the primary classroom in the Dallas ISD. She taught at Mt. Auburn Elementary in East Dallas for ten years, serving as team leader, faculty mentor, STEAM trainer, Project Lead the Way lead teacher, bilingual advisor, and parent liaison. Outside the classroom, she has been a Teaching Trust Education Policy Fellow and a Dallas Morning News Editorial Teacher Voice.

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Orlando, Alexandra earned a B.A. in English from Tulane University and a Master’s in Bilingual Education from SMU. She lived in Oakland and New York City before moving to Lakewood. Her children, Ruby and Eli Eckian, are in the second grade and kindergarten at SH Elementary.

Tony PattersonTony Patterson
Preschool Director

Tony joined Spanish House in 2011 as an ESL instructor and soon transitioned into administration for the preschool. After coordinating the Children’s Programs, Summer Camps, and all extracurricular activities, he is excited about his role as Preschool Director. As an instructor, he recognizes the importance and opportunity immersion-style language learning provides, and is dedicated to sharing this with SH families and students. Born in Dallas, Tony graduated from the University of Texas Arlington and met his lovely wife while performing local theater. After spending a year and a half in Madrid, Spain, Tony and Caitlin returned to the Dallas area, bringing with them a love of fútbol (¡Hala Madrid!) and a French bulldog named Torito. Tony serves as Children’s Pastor at his church and collects vinyl records. You’ll frequently find Tony & Caitlin (and sometimes Torito and his little sister Bonnie) getting a popsicle or visiting restaurants on Lowest Greenville!

Chrystina CarreónChrystina Carreón
All-School Administrator

Chrystina originally worked at Spanish House in 2010 in one of the first preschool classrooms. She returned in 2013 as the Office Administrator. She was raised in Guanajuato, México, and holds a degree in Information Systems from the University of Texas at Arlington. Chrystina is a true believer in the Spanish House philosophy, as she learned English in an immersion environment when she moved to the US as a teenager.

For Chrystina, SH is a family affair. Not only is her 4 year-old daughter a SH preschool student, but her mother, Victoria Soto, works alongside her as the school’s bookkeeping assistant.Victoria grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico, and worked as a school administrator for many years. Chrystina’s brother, Carlos, works as a Spanish instructor for the adult program.

Eva CalvarioEva Calvario
Elementary Administrator

Eva Calvario is native to Dallas, Texas with Mexican roots. She earned her Associates in Science from Richland College and her ultimate goal is to pursue a degree in education. Eva joined the SH Administrative team in August 2016. She loves to travel and has visited South America and Europe and wants to keep exploring the world. In her free time, Eva enjoys trying new foods, photography, reading, watching films and spending time with her family.

Manuela OrtegaManuela Ortega
Preschool Administrator

Manuela Ortega was born in Queens, New York, but when she was 14 months old her parents moved to Medellín, Colombia, where she grew up. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Pontificia Bolivariana University. In February 2014, Manuela moved to Dallas to learn English. While working as a babysitter, she completed a course in Human Resources. After spending a year in Dallas, she fell in love with the city, and decided to stay. She joined the SH team in November 2015.



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