Marta Janer Villanueva, ELL Teacher

Hello McDonald Elementary,

My name is Marta Janer Villanueva and I am very excited to be part of the McDonald International school staff. I grew up in Barcelona (Spain) and I speak three languages fluently: Spanish, Catalan and English. My interest in biology took me initially to England and later to Seattle. In 1993, I came to Seattle to pursue Post-Doctoral training at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. After that, I worked at the University of Washington and at the Institute for Systems Biology both in Seattle. All along the way, I enjoyed working with children and volunteered in various programs when I had the opportunity. When my daughter started elementary school, I decided to transition from a career in Science to a tutoring part-time position at the Seattle Public Schools. I took a position as a tutor and playground supervisor at Wedgwood Elementary. When my daughter started Middle school, I realized I was ready for something more. The new ELL program at Wedgwood Elementary made me realize that becoming part of the ELL program would bring together my passion for working with children, my culture and the opportunity to help others.

Although much of my professional experience reflects my scientific career I love working with children. In my youth in Spain I volunteered as camp counselor in summer and weekend programs. During my Doctorate at Oxford, I volunteered at camps for diabetic children. After joining the University of Washington in 1998, I volunteered with the Molecular Biotechnology Science Outreach Programs to bring inquiry-based science to elementary schools. These programs were designed to engage families, especially those from minority backgrounds; I also participated in teacher training sessions and other events.

Although I am currently an American Citizen I was born in Spain. Growing up in a different country gives me an understanding and respect for other cultures and the diversity represented within the Seattle Public Schools’ community. I was very excited to be assigned to the McDonald International School for its richness and diversity of cultures. I truly enjoy seeing students grow academically and emotionally. My goal is to be an advocate to all the ELL students to help them thrive and reach their full academic potential.

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