Header Image

Our Team

Administrative Team

  • Joëlle Mayo

    Head of School j.mayo@letoilefrenchschool.com

    Joëlle brings her deep experience as both an educator and administrator to her new role.  With an undergraduate degree from Stanford and a master’s degree in education from PSU, Joëlle spent nearly a decade teaching elementary aged children, first in Portland Public Schools and later at the Bryn Mawr School, a recognized leader among independent, college-preparatory schools on the east coast.  For over nine years she directed her efforts to advancing the needs of children emphasizing experiential and collaborative learning methods. Subsequent to her teaching role she began as an administrator at L’Etoile in 2017, but still maintained an anchor in the classroom. As both a L’Etoile parent and administrator, Joëlle is delighted to be part of this vibrant community.

  • Nathalie Berthelot

    Pedagogical Director n.berthelot@letoilefrenchschool.com

    After receiving her teaching degree in Aix-en-Provence, Nathalie moved to La Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean, where she taught maternelle from 2000 to 2004. She went on from there to teach elementary at the Lycée Français de Caracas in Venezuela from 2004-2010. Her desire to explore America led her to the International school of Arizona and then to Portland. At L’Etoile her experience includes teaching 4/5 grade and directing pedagogy.

  • Susan Strieff

    Administrative Manager susan.strieff@letoilefrenchschool.com

    Susan graduated with honors from the University of Puget Sound with a degree in French Language and Literature and spent 6 months studying in Dijon, France. She has a strong background working in customer service and administration, including 2.5 years as the office manager at the Alliance Française de Portland. In 2021 Susan joined L’Etoile and has since then been an integral part of the administrative team. In her free time, Susan enjoys fostering pups for a local animal rescue, planning her next trip to France, and biking around Portland.


  • Olivier Paolini

    Maternelle Physical Education

    Olivier spent his formative years in central France in Lyon but moved to the shores of the Mediterranean in Perpignan for most of his professional career. He earned his teaching license in physical education at the University of Font-Romeu and his master’s degree from the University of Montpellier. From 2019 he taught PE in France at the middle school level but prior to that his passion for teaching was sparked in Portland. From 2014 to 2016, Olivier was an assistant teacher at L’Etoile, where he discovered the joy of working daily with children in the context of sports instruction and homework support. He is thrilled to return to L’Etoile with his family.

  • Theresa Beck van Heemstra

    English 2nd - 5th Grade t.vanheemstra@letoilefrenchschool.com

    Theresa loves teaching elementary grade students, who present unique challenges as they establish their independence and craft their identities. From her teaching experience at Portland Public Schools and the Portland Village School, Theresa understands what it takes to build a solid foundation in writing, reading, and grammar, and how to best apply those skills in constructive ways. Her students have put on full-length Shakespeare plays, have hosted Open Mic nights in which they’ve read their creative writing, and have built model cathedrals to contribute to their understanding of Medieval history. She loves including parents in the classroom to both visit and celebrate their children’s work.

  • Sarah Luxton

    English K & 1st Grade sarah.luxton@letoilefrenchschool.com

    A seasoned teacher with a Master’s degree in teaching, Sarah spent most of her career teaching first and second grades, as well as preschool and parent/child classes. Sarah is passionate about early literacy, and enjoys using music and poetry to help language come alive. Outside of school, she enjoys cooking, singing, and exploring the city with her family, including five-year-old twin daughters. Sarah strives to build self-confidence in her students by providing a warm environment where questions and the exchange of ideas are welcomed.

  • Clémentine Caule

    4th Grade/5th Grade (CM1/CM2) clementine@letoilefrenchschool.com

    Native to the Franche-Comté region, Clémentine graduated in Child Psychology from the University of Lyon where she developed a strong interest in different learning styles. She earned her Masters degree in Education at the University of Nimes with a focus on bilingualism. Clémentine has taught both in the South of France in the public system and in a French immersion school in California. She prioritizes giving her students a place to learn at their own pace in a caring environment, as she hopes to see them grow up and learn with confidence.

  • Lola Chevreau

    3rd Grade (CE1/CE2) laure@letoilefrenchschool.com

    Lola’s appreciation for the Pacific Northwest developed when she was studying art history at the University of Washington – where she earned her first master’s degree – in 2014. After that she traveled and worked in England and Canada before attending the University of Montpellier to earn her second master’s degree in teaching. From 2017 Lola has been teaching in preschool and in various elementary grades. Her teaching philosophy starts with building a positive classroom environment by emphasizing empathy, kindness, and inclusivity. In her free time Lola enjoys running, hiking, camping, and doing triathlons.

  • Cécile Paolini

    2nd Grade/3rd Grade (CE1) celine.paquet@letoilefrenchschool.com

    A certified teacher from the Ministry of Education since 2009, Cécile has taught multiple grade levels in both Perpignan and at L’Etoile from 2014-2016. In addition to her master’s degree in teaching Cécile holds degrees in art history and archeology, and has a strong passion for singing. She infuses the arts and music in her pedagogy with the intent of unleashing the creative energies of her students. Her approach is to tap into each child’s learning path and adapt her teaching practices accordingly. Cécile is thrilled to return to Portland where her daughter was born!

  • Mélissa Femenia

    1st Grade (CP) melissa.femenia@letoilefrenchschool.com

    Mélissa grew up in the Bourgogne region of France and completed her English degree in Dijon and her Masters in Education in Auxerre. Her first few years professionally were very formative, teaching many grades in a French public school. In 2021 she crossed the ocean to join L’Etoile, where she had interned in 2018. This will be her second year teaching 1st grade, an important year, where students develop foundational academic and social emotional skills. Mélissa strives to do everything she can to support her students to achieve their milestones in an atmosphere of openness, kindness, and positivity.

  • Joëlle Ceran

    Kindergarten (GS) j.ceran@letoilefrenchschool.com

    Joëlle began teaching in 1995 in France. While teaching, she completed a Master’s degree in clinical psychology at the University of Nancy II. In 2013, her interest in teaching abroad brought her to Portland. At L’Etoile, Joëlle strives to create a nurturing, engaging environment where the children can feel secure and learn at their own pace, in harmony with their personalities.

  • Céline Fraioli

    Pre-K (MS) c.fraioli@letoilefrenchschool.com

    Céline taught for 23 years across multiple grade levels in many places including Nantes, Avignon, Marseille, Montpellier and Paris. Additionally she worked as an administrator in schools for a few years. In 2022, she made a milestone decision to teach abroad, and will start her first year at L’Etoile as a pre-k teacher. Céline strives to create warm, inclusive spaces where she encourages her students to be open-minded to a range of ideas, thoughts, and expression.

  • Joséphine Archambaud

    Preschool/Pre-K (PS/MS)

    A native of Nantes, France, Joséphine earned her undergraduate degree in biology and geology before going on to earn a master’s degree in teaching in 2016. As a teacher certified through the Ministry of Education she taught for 8 years in French public schools in grades kindergarten through 5th. Her aim is to honor her students’ individual paths while challenging them to grow, develop, and flourish in their capabilities. She encourages her students to work at their own pace but still take advantage of the collaborative spirit in the classroom. In her free time Joséphine enjoys swimming, skiing, tennis, and playing the flute!

  • Emilie Prost

    Preschool (PS) emilie.prost@letoilefrenchschool.com

    Originally from central France, Emilie initially worked professionally in the fields of art, art history, and archaeology. After several years she redirected her focus to teaching, realizing that children inspire her and are a source of joy. She worked in a French international school in Jordan for seven years, before moving to Portland in 2019 with her husband. This will be Emilie’s fourth year at L’Etoile as a preschool and maternelle art teacher.

  • Jerome Wirth 

    Preschool (TPS) j.wirth@letoilefrenchschool.com

    A native of Sochaux, a small community in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in eastern France, Jerome has been working in French preschools in the Pacific Northwest since 2015. He joined the L’Etoile team in 2017, working both as an assistant and a classroom teacher during the summer and after school programs. As a trained musician, Jerome loves to incorporate music into each school day through group songs, use of instruments, and individual expression.

  • Rémi Jacquinet

    4th Grade/5th Grade (CM1/CM2)

    Rémi is originally from Brittany in the west of France, a region that he celebrates with his students by exploring its deep traditions. Earning his master’s degree in teaching in Nantes in 2015, with additional study of the English and Spanish languages, Rémi has worked in French public kindergarten and elementary schools since 2016. Additionally he has led summer camps both locally in France and abroad. In his classroom he strives to ensure the well being of his students and encourage them to collaborate with fellow classmates during projects and group time. In Rémi’s free time he enjoys sports including waveski -a mix of surfing and kayaking- windsurfing, badminton and hiking.