Head of School
DEBORAH K. MONROE, Head of School
Over the course of her career, Deborah K. Monroe has acquired a broad range of experience as a school leader by serving in various administrative positions and as a teacher in the Lower, Middle, and Upper School divisions in four premier PK – 12 institutions. Over the last 29 years, Deborah has successfully built innovative college preparatory programming while also ensuring a robust socio-emotional curriculum for students. Advocating for leadership opportunities and inclusion has also been an enormous part of Deborah's work as she fundamentally believes that independent schools are a vital training ground for compassionate global citizenship.
Senior Administrative Team
With over twenty years of experience in education as a teacher and school leader, Dr. James McCartney currently serves the TASIS Dorado school community as the Assistant Head of School. Before joining the TD team, he successfully led a public school district in New Jersey as superintendent, and during his tenure, it developed into one of the highest performing schools in the state. Dr. McCartney's work in schools also includes experiences as a principal, assistant principal, and teacher in both New Jersey and Puerto Rico.
Upon joining TASIS Dorado in 2017, he guided technology infrastructure upgrades and digital age learning enhancements before being charged as the newly appointed Director of Plant & Facilities with the re-opening of our school after Hurricane Maria. Finally, he dedicated two years leading the elementary division as principal, which was highlighted by newly implemented technology integration and tools, social-emotional learning initiatives, and enhanced literacy and writing instruction in both Spanish and English. Over the course of his career, Dr. McCartney has had substantial experiences in school leadership, improving student performance, instructional innovation, financial sustainability, facilities management, public relations & marketing, emergency & crisis response, and technology enhancements.
Dr. McCartney has a B.A. in Elementary Education/History and an Ed.M. in Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey. In addition, he has an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University with a dissertation focus on effective technology integration. In addition, he has completed coursework at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School to earn a Certificate in School Management and Leadership. As a lifelong educator, he has also taught educational leadership graduate courses for Georgian Court University, served on the New Jersey Technology Committee, achieved Google Certified Educator Level 1 & 2, and presented at numerous professional development conferences, which included the exploration of a new Digital Learning Profile for today's students.
Overall, Dr. McCartney remains firmly committed to always putting students first and inspiring them to become future leaders and forever learners. Leaders who are altruistic with honorable values and driven to make those around them better. Learners who welcome academic rigor and recognize the value of a growth mindset. He wants students to DREAM BIG with the confidence and diligence to make those dreams a future reality. As a forever learner himself, he will continuously learn and grow as a school leader while owning complete responsibility for the success of his students, teachers, and school community and remembering that the task ahead is never greater than the strength within.
Outside of school, the McCartney Family enjoys life in Puerto Rico! Jim, his wife Tara, and three children, Abby, Kevin, and Ryan, have explored much of the Island, hiked the mountains, visited various off-the-beaten-path beaches, rescued numerous Sato puppies, and visited countless sports complexes for our children's athletic endeavors. "We even added to our dog-family as Cooper, a rescued Sato, became our boxer, Baily's, new fur-brother! Our family loves Puerto Rico and has embraced all it has to share!"
Sara Hernández has over 20 years of experience in education as a middle school and high school teacher, Registrar/Student Information Manager, Middle School Principal, and, currently, as the Upper School Principal. Under her leadership as principal, she has developed teacher leaders and has worked closely with TASIS Dorado administrators and teachers to create a strong middle-to-high-school transition. Furthermore, she views a collaborative school environment as the key to creating successful teachers and students. Sara Hernández earned her Bachelor's Degree in Education with a Major in TESOL from the University of Puerto Rico and is currently finishing her Master's Degree in Education with a Major in Educational Leadership from NUC University.
Mariela Reyes has been a teacher (PK & K) at TASIS Dorado since the school was founded in 2002. She is often described as a "pioneer" and an "institution" in this community. Mariela is deeply respected and well-loved by both colleagues and parents for her knowledge and skills as an educator, her understanding of child development, and her attention to the unique qualities of each and every student. For many years, Mariela has been a leader in curriculum and instruction as the Pre-School coordinator at TASIS Dorado and has mentored a remarkable number of student teachers through our partnership with the UPR's teacher-training program. She was also a key figure in our school's success in being recognized by the Middle States Association with an Early Childhood Education Program of Distinction Award. Mariela has a B.A. in Preschool and Elementary Education and an M. Ed in Preschool Education from The Univerity of Puerto Rico. In addition, she has also taught undergraduate courses for the University of Puerto Rico Bayamon Campus and has presented at numerous professional development conferences. Mariela is the proud parent of two TASIS Dorado Bears from the great classes of 2019 and 2021.
Garrison Knapp has more than a decade of experience in education, starting as a 5th Grade student teacher at TASIS Dorado, followed by two years as a 5th Grade and PE teacher and ten years as Dean of Students and Coordinator of Student Activities. Garrison earned a BA in Sociology with a minor in Education from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. Garrison has two children enrolled at TASIS Dorado.
Melissa Arroyo Rivera has been an educator for over 20 years in both the public and private school systems. She holds a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico in Teaching English to Spanish Speakers, an M.Ed. in the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages and Curriculum Development, and is currently an Ed.D. candidate. Melissa has served on several committees, including TASIS Dorado’s Strategic Planning Committee, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Faculty of Education Graduate Department Clinical Practice Advisory Board, NASSP’s Student Leadership Advisory Committee, Middle States Planning Committee, among others. She has also presented in national leadership conferences and published posts on the blog for the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Melissa is a former National Junior Honor Society advisor and the current advisor of the National Honor Society Strivers Chapter and also serves as the English Department Coordinator. She currently teaches the AP Seminar course from the AP Capstone program. Her two children attend TASIS Dorado.
Samara Nieves holds a B.A. in English as a Second Language (ESL), Elementary Level, and an M.A. Ed. in Educational Leadership and Management from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla Campus. Currently, she is studying for her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teaching at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Campus. Before working for over 3 years as a Principal in private schools, she spent 8 years as an elementary English teacher in both private and public schools on the west side of Puerto Rico. During her successful career in teaching her students to acquire the English language, she also had the opportunity to teach Conversational English courses at an undergraduate level for the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla Campus. In addition, Samara has presented at professional development conferences for the PRTESOL Western and Northern Chapters.
Susan Fiallo has more than 20 years of experience in education including nine years as a classroom teacher, two years as Dean of Students PK-6th grade at Caribbean Consolidated Schools-Parkville campus, three years as the character education coordinator and ten years as Assistant Principal at TASIS Dorado, which included leading the school's Middle States Accreditation process. Susan holds a BA in Business Administration and French from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and she earned a MAEd in Elementary Education from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Susan is the proud parent of two alumni from the classes of 2014 and 2018.
Priscilla Torres arrived at TASIS Dorado in 2012, bringing with her more than a decade of experience in administration, customer service, and sales. She began her career at TASIS Dorado as the Administrative Assistant to the Headmaster and Senior Principal. With her deep understanding of our students, parents, community, and school, Priscilla became our Director of Admissions in 2018. Priscilla has a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Psychology from Sacred Heart University. She has a love of children, an infectious smile, and a great commitment to customer service for our community. Her son graduated from TASIS Dorado in 2018 and her daughter is currently a proud TASIS Dorado Bear.
Gildren Bengoa’s ability to connect people with their passion has allowed her to successfully execute fundraising campaigns and special events for the past 20 years in a multicultural, multilingual environment having lived and worked in the United States, Finland, and Puerto Rico. For the past 6 years, she worked for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society managing different fundraising campaigns in the Southern Florida & Puerto Rico markets. Gildren ensures the growth and success of development projects for TASIS Dorado by maximizing opportunities and securing financial support through individual, legacy, and corporate gifts. She describes her role as a facilitator matching the interests and needs of our organization to donors who desire to make a positive difference in our community and further serve our mission. Gildren holds a degree in International Affairs & Business from Xavier University. Her three children attended TASIS Dorado as teenagers when they moved from Finland back to Puerto Rico in 2010.
Michelle Yegros has worked with some of the leading independent schools on the island to plan and promote major fundraising events, work on strategic plans, and develop communication and marketing initiatives. She also has over 25 years of production experience in the film, video game, web, social media, and advertising industry. A Communications graduate of Universidad del Sagrado Corazón and a BFA from Ringling College of Art and Design in Computer Animation, Michelle did graduate studies in the United States and Italy. She worked in California for Warner Bros. films and other major video game developers. Back in Puerto Rico, she was an advertising Executive Creative & Senior Art Director of Paradigm Associates in San Juan. Michelle is the proud parent of two TASIS Dorado Bears from the great classes of 2021 and 2023.
Luis R. Cruz has more than 30 years of experience in accounting, including more than 15 years in Human Resources in various industries such as law firms, distributors, and manufacturing companies. He plays an active role in the supervision of the school’s plant and facilities. Luis helped to organize TASIS Dorado from its start in 2002 and in 2016 he became the Chief Financial Officer and Business Manager. Luis holds a B.A. in Business Administration in Accounting from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico located in Cupey. Additionally, he has served in a volunteer capacity as a Human Resources consultant for the Jane Stern Library. Luis has a daughter who is a TD alumna from the Class of 2014.
Elizabeth Sánchez has more than 10 years of experience in Human Resources in various industries such as Retail, Technology, Education, and Manufacturing. She is responsible for leading the human resources department, with a focus on employee relations, payroll, benefits, talent management, compliance, and employee engagement. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Studies and Justice from Sacred Heart University and has a master’s degree in Human Resources. She is an active member of the Human Resources Society, volunteers on different projects that support employment seekers, and shares her time providing interview coaching and resume creation.