Meet Our Team
Our team is knowledgeable in a wide variety of subjects ranging from cognitive to behavioral to help our kids' learn to their utmost ability. Each member has been trained in a manner to uphold the core values of Motivating Minds.
Christine Ortega was born and raised on Key Biscayne. Both of her grandparents settled on the key in the late 50's, early 60's, where her parents met in Key Biscayne Elementary school, and then raised their own family on this beautiful island. Ms. Ortega grew up babysitting and coaching soccer for many kids on Key Biscayne.
Ms. Ortega graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Psychology, and a minor in child development. She started her career teaching pre-k 3 & 4 at Beth David ECC, and then went into a private practice working alongside a behavioral therapist for kids on the autism spectrum and other developmental disorders for about eight years. She became the assistant director and worked in numerous school settings, shadowing, creating and modifying many behavior plans. She has had the opportunity to observe many different classroom settings and teaching styles; thus, giving her the advantage to see what works best.
She then decided to continue school and earn her Master’s Degree in Special Education, while opening the company Motivating Minds. She has worked all around south Florida including the Miami Shores area, Weston, Davie, Coral Gables, and Key Biscayne where she ultimately decided to open a location to help serve the community that she holds very close to her heart.
Ms. Ortega recently furthered her education and earned her certificate of achievement for Orton-Gillingham training She has about18 years experience working with children and their families, as well as teachers and administration. She has developed excellent rapport throughout her career in South Florida.
Monica Pernas grew up on Key Biscayne and attended St. Agnes Academy. She furthered her education by studying Art in both Philadelphia and Boston. She moved back to Miami and had the experience of working in different art galleries around Miami. Monica continues her services on Key Biscayne through means of directing the Key Biscayne Yacht Club Summer Fun Camp, and teaching Art at St. Christopher Montessori School.
Monica is most passionate about art and children, and the ability to work with both is her dream.
Isabel Romanach graduated raduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education and a Minor in Math and Science. She is certified in Math and Science 5 – 9 grades!
She has worked at several Dade-County schools, private and public, in both math and science for 28 + years. She was also the director of admission for 5 years at St. Stephens Episcopal School.
Currently working as a STEM teacher. Teaching and challenging students to use their creativity on 3D printing, Robotics, Coding, Movie making, etc. She enjoys helping children overcome the obstacles of math that they struggle with and provides them with the tools to make math enjoyable!
TECY ST. LOUIS
Tecy is a Florida-certified professional educator of eight years who holds a degree in Elementary Education from Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
Tecy has a diversified background in education and student learning as he has worked as an educator in South Florida for several years. Moreover, his teaching experiences extend beyond the classroom to working as a Clinician, Mentor, and Consultant at Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes and as a Tutor for the Miami-Dade Public Library System and Classical Conversations, a Classical Christian Community for homeschooling families. Tecy also has experience teaching English for Students of Other Languages (ESOL) through VIPKid, an online teaching platform for students residing in China.
Aside from teaching and tutoring, there is nothing Tecy looks forward to more than spending time with his darling wife and their two lovely children.
Natalia Ocampo graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Clinical Psychology and a Minor in Child Development. While living in Boston, she worked as a Paraprofessional at the SEEK Program in the Somerville School District. SEEK (Socio-Emotional Education at the Kennedy) is a special needs program focused on students with emotional, behavioral, and other developmental disorders. Working in a special needs program taught her the importance of formulating an academic curriculum based on improving basic life skills such as problem-solving, patience, control, and safety in everyday life.
During her professional and educational pursuits, she sought out programs and volunteering opportunities that have broadened her knowledge of psychological behaviors and development as related to diverse community settings. It is with this passion for educating both children and families that she then decided to get a M.E.D. in Community and Social Change in the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies at The University of Miami.
Currently, she teaches Middle School Mathematics at St. Rose of Lima Catholic school, where she creates hands-on learning environments to guide each child to become self-reliant, independent problem solvers. Her hope is to teach more than 1 + 1= 2. She wants to influence her students through kindness, love and respect how to impact our world.
Antonia Ferré graduated from Boston University, receiving a bachelor's degree in special education. Furthermore, Antonia is state-certified in special education, with experience in mild to severe disabilities. She is a local, growing up on Key Biscayne and attended Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart.
After graduating from Boston University, Antonia began working as a head homeschool teacher at Motivating Minds - working one-on-one with students and catering individualized lesson plans to fit the student’s needs. Moreover, Antonia is a tutor at Motivating Minds. She believes that every child can succeed given the right environment. Antonia’s life experiences fostered a keen passion for teaching children who need a more individualized educational approach, rather than a “cookie-cut” lesson plan.
She has experience working with a diverse age range. Antonia volunteered at the Debbie School, working with toddlers - a center for early intervention research, training and service. In Boston, Antonia worked in a classroom of students with autism ages 3-5. Antonia’s responsibilities included: planning and executing lessons, ensuring student safety, and working one-on-one with individual students. She also worked in an inclusion classroom of children ages 8-11.
Antonia is well-skilled in working with a range of diagnoses including, but not limited to: autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, intellectual and physical disabilities, communication challenges, and behavioral challenges. She has experience in conducting functional behavioral analyses, individualizing behavior support plans, data collection systems, and evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention for a child. Furthermore, Antonia has experience in instructional plans for increasing/decreasing/ maintaining, and generalizing functional and academic skills and behaviors in inclusive contexts.
Antonia is a strong believer in positive reinforcement and the importance of a supportive learning environment. Antonia will challenge students, building self confidence. She will motivate her students to do their best in a stress-free environment. Antonia has witnessed first hand the relationship between student achievement and teachers who emphasize the importance of a student-centered approach that adapts to individual needs, fostering a strong and healthy student-teacher relationship. Optimal student growth is a team effort.
Antonia highlights the important role parents play in child development. She approaches student learning as a team effort, recognizing that a child’s learning development extends beyond the classroom. Antonia works hard to make learning fun and engaging for all students, rewiring negative associations with school into positive ones. “When a student is motivated and wants to learn, the opportunities for any child are infinite.”
Antonia plans to pursue a master in special education. She is eager to expand her knowledge in the latest, cutting edge research on learning development.
NICOLE HARRIS, M.S. E.S.E
Special Education Coordinator