How and Why a School was Born
Jun 6 2015

I was recently given the opportunity to write my story about the founding of The Magellan International School for Latino Magazine.  Here’s the link to the article on our school site: How and Why a School was Born.  It’s been an amazing experience to be involved in the ground floor of starting such a phenomenal school!

I have not been involved in the day to day activities or in many of the big achievements since it’s founding because I chose to take more of a behind the scenes role.  I gave birth (and have the illustrative scars) to the kids who inspired it’s creation, so I think that counts for something. 😀

I decided to take care of myself and our kids while my ex husband and others did much of the heavy lifting to get us where we are today.  The kids seem reasonably well adjusted despite the chaos, and they have benefited greatly from being able to attend MIS!  I guess we will know if they turned out alright if they are sane in their 30’s.

It has been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve been busy having a lot of fun as well as re-learning lessons that I should have learned the first time!  Lesson learning is tricky because each time the situation seems to have slightly different variables and different people involved so you unwittingly let your guard down thinking you should give the people and the new scenario the benefit of the doubt.  But then boom, you get a little blindsided. In hindsight it is much easier to spot the red herring. [insert red herring emoji]  However, the recovery time is faster, you see the signs earlier which means you don’t put your guard down as much, your good friends become greater friends, the experience makes you stronger, there’s a lot of red wine involved, and hopefully someone gets just a wee bit wiser.

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Volunteering Made Easy
Oct 27 2010

Last weekend, my kid’s school, Magellan International, had its first Fall Festival.  We were one of the founding families of the school and it was a great event with lots of kids, booths, sno cones, dragon dancing, and pinatas.  I even got my hand painted with henna in classic Indian style.  It has made my recent business meetings quite interesting because I feel compelled to explain the ornate henna tatoo on my fingers and palms so that people don’t think I have some rare disease. 🙂  My daughter decided to get her face painted as Spiderman…but fortunately not with henna!

There are always so many things going on that are school related that I’m really impressed with the parents who coordinate events like these.  As a full time working mom, I feel like I can’t keep up most of the time so I’m grateful for the other moms & dads who get involved and organize events like these for the school.

The coordinators for this event chose to use VolunteerSpot as their tool to help organize the other parent’s contributions and activities.  I was excited they used VolunteerSpot because a friend of mine, Karen Bantuveris, is the founder of the company.  I had lunch with Karen last week and told her how I liked using the tool.  I signed up to bring paper plates and volunteered my time at one of the booths (mask making for the Brazil booth).  It was really easy to sign up and then I got an email reminder before the event letting me know what I had signed up to do.  I try to get everything on my calendar but as life and kid’s activities get more complex, I appreciate every little reminder I get.

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First Week Of School
Aug 23 2009

School starts next week for most kids here in Austin – public or private.  Many parents are in a flurry getting ready to get their kids back into a routine if they haven’t had one during the summer. For dual working parent families, like ours, who probably had our kids in summer camps it’s probably a shift back to more stricter bed times and potential looming home work days.

For us this is a very special first week of school because our kids will be attending the new Magellan International School (MIS) founded by their dad, Erin Defosse!   It is Austin’s FIRST multi-language (Spanish, English, Mandarin), International Baccalaureate, Primary Years Programme school (pre-K to 2nd) ever and has already set the record for enrollment numbers for a new private school with about 45 students on Day One!  Most private schools start with significantly fewer students.

They will be offering art, music and physical education as part of the standard education and will be teaching using the ‘units of inquiry’ model.  You’ll have to go to the site to learn more about how that model works.  As a person who is rediscovering her passion for singing, offering music is well ‘music to my ears!’

The kids have been involved in getting the school ready from helping to paint, potting plants, running errands, and assembling furniture.  It’s been a great experience for them to see how something that never existed before comes to life.  They might just get the entrepreneurial disease bug.  🙂

As an entrepreneur, it’s amazing to see how much has happened from vision to fruition.  In March 2007, we moved our son to the Austin International School (AIS), a wonderful school whose primary language is French.  Erin grew up in Mexico so he had a strong desire for the kids to be fluent in Spanish.   We really enjoyed the environment and teachers at AIS but given that neither of us knew French, Erin began searching for different alternatives and didn’t find anything suitable so in the Spring of 2008 just before I took the steady, day job, he decided to look into creating one.

Since that time, he along with someone he hired to help him get things off the ground by finding the right Head of School, not only found the perfect Head of School, Marisa Leon, from Colombia but also 3 great teachers – one from Spain, one from Colombia, and one from Chicago.  They all have very sweet personalities and awesome backgrounds.  I’m excited about the kids getting to work with their respective teachers.  It will be interesting to see how they all adapt to living in the United States in a city that’s had over 100 degree temperatures for quite some time now.

So 20 or so months ago, MIS was a vision in Erin’s mind and now it is reality.  I know it will positively effect thousands of kids who will surely go out and make a wonderful difference in this world in not only one language, not even two, but three languages.  As a writer, I have come to appreciate the power of language both written and oral in changing one’s own world and the world at large.  Oh to have such power in more than one language…what a gift to our kids.

So cool! 8)

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Nothing Much To Write About
Jul 23 2009

Well that’s not entirely true.  There is always many things to write about but it doesn’t always fit the topics of this blog which are business and parenting.  I’m meeting some great people on this path to finding a home for Babble Soft (I so enjoyed the comments from all of you on that post) but nothing I can write about yet.  It’s an interesting process to go through because we haven’t really set a price for the company but of course people want to know what the price is, and I say it depends on the buyer! 🙂  Which it kind of does because we want to make sure it’s the right fit with the right marketing channels that will enable Babble Soft to live on.

I found it interesting that one of the professors at UT Austin did her dissertation/thesis to prove that entrepreneur’s don’t always sell their company to the highest bidder.  I could have told her that without all the research.  We look for the right fit, the right timing, the right exit, and for hopefully the place it will live on the longest and be paid the most attention to.  The hope is that the highest bidder fits all of those criteria!

The kids are doing great and enjoying summer camp.  My daughter has a little end of summer camp performance tomorrow and then she’ll be at the same place my son is at but it won’t really be camp for her like it is for him.  He goes bowling, swimming, skating, to the park, and on field trips constantly it seems like.  At the end of August they will start at their new school:  The Magellan School and soon they will be babbling in Spanish!

So yes, there’s loads to write about but writing about the trivia and minutia of daily life takes too much time and is boring to most and the high tragic/dark comedy drama…well we must leave that to reality TV shows, the movies, and to shows like Grey’s Anatomy.

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A New International Multi Language School in Austin
May 3 2009

Some of you may know that my husband, Erin Defosse, has been spearheading the formation of a new amazing private international multi-language (Spanish and Mandarin) school for the Austin community – The Magellan School.

Since we both fancy ourselves entrepreneurs, we understand each others need to try new things and hopefully make a difference.

The location was just announced (see a copy of the latest newsletter below) on Far West/Mopac and it will be the first of its kind here in Austin!

The Head of School, Marisa Leon, is fabulous!  I interviewed her and have met with her on several occasions since then.  She is remarkable with kids, brilliant, and extremely observant.  As a parent, I am so thrilled that she will be leading a school that my kids will be going to!

I will be the only one in the family who probably won’t be fluent in Spanish so I’m foreseeing a future where the kids will be saying things about me behind my back. 🙂  But it’s a risk I’m willing to take for my kids to be global citizens and be able to communicate with so many more people in the world.

They are still accepting applications for the Fall.  Even if you don’t have pre-K to 2nd grade school age kids please consider donating (tax deductible) and be part of the founding financial supporters of the school to help ensure its continued success.

The early years of any start-up/entrepreneurial endeavor are so critical and any financial or volunteer support you can give will go a long way to making Austin one of the key global centers in the world!  I firmly believe that schools like this will attract companies and families to our fine city.  Giving even just a little goes a long way.  Check out the Magellan Giving page for more information.

When a child discovers that he or she can change the world for the better…the world usually changes!

Please help spread the word!

Click to view this email in a browser

The Magellan International School
has found a home!

Dear Parents, behalf of the Board of Directors of the Magellan International School we are delighted to officially announce that MIS has found a home! After many months of searching for the ideal location and negotiating a lease we can now tell you where the School will be located. The address is:

7130 Chimney Corners
Austin, TX 78731


The School facility is conveniently located in Northwest Austin near the corner of Far West Blvd. and Chimney Corners and across the street from Doss Elementary. It is just a few minutes from Mopac. The facility was originally built as a school. Here are some of the highlights:
• Over 8,000 square feet, most of it comprised of very large classrooms
• Designed to meet the requirements of a primary years school
• Ample playground with a fully built out playscape and separate areas for Pre-Primary and K+ students
• Secured access with digital keypad in main entry
• Easy drop off and pickup driveway
Most independent schools don’t have the opportunity to start off in such a facility and in fact many start out in a home, retail space, or within a church. Being able to start on day one with a real school building is truly a blessing. So, make sure you spread the word and also remind those you know that we are still accepting applications for Pre-Primary through 2nd Grade. Visit our Admissions page for more information.

From now until August the MIS team will be busy at work on the facility giving it a new upgraded look, performing any required maintenance, and filling it with the furniture and supplies that will be needed to start classes on August 24th, 2009.

As a non-profit school we ask for your support as we work on our facility. We will be patching, painting, cleaning, decorating, gardening, and many other ‘INGs. If you believe that you can assist us in any way please don’t hesitate to contact us at (512) 961-6431 or We would love to get your help!.

Securing the facility involved many of our supporters, including Board Members and families, that came together to provide the financial backing that allowed us to sign the lease. To all of you that have supported our School and, indeed even enrolled your children before we could even give you a street address, we thank you immensely for the trust and faith that you have placed in us.

We are very excited about having reached this major milestone in the history of the school. That said, we still need your financial support in the form of tax deductible donations to enhance and grow our program even further. Please visit our Giving page for more information.

In summary, we are delighted that we now have ourselves a facility and eagerly await the beginning of classes on August 24th!


Erin Defossé
Founder & President

María Isabel León
Head of School

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Happy Valentine’s Day
Feb 14 2009

For some reason I felt compelled to write a Valentine’s Day post.  My husband spent most of the day with the new head of school for The Magellan School (bilingual Spanish immersion school he is founding) that is opening Fall 2009.  She flew in from Colombia this weekend to start meeting people and getting ready for the school opening.  I really like her!  She reminds me a little bit of my husband’s sister.  One of the reasons I knew she would work well with my husband is that she grew up with several engineers in her family and knowing how to work with the ‘engineering-type’ is a plus because often I don’t understand how my husband – the rocket scientist – thinks (or doesn’t think)!   They met with interested parents and were interviewed by the local news station KVUE.  The segment is supposed to air on the Sunday night news after the Oscars.  I took the kids to swim class and we joined them for lunch at PF Changs.

We were planning on going to my best friend’s son’s birthday party but he got sick and we had a bunch of things going on here, so after my husband finished up his school related activities, we went to Barton Creek Square mall so I could exchange some things at Nordstrom’s that I had gotten during my recent trip to visit my mother.  And yes, they took back a pair of shoes I had worn once that didn’t end up fitting well.  Now that’s customer service! Given that I usually shop at Target, that was a great experience.

We ended up having Valentine’s dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, where we had to wait 20 minutes for a table.  For being in a down economy, the mall was overflowing with people…especially the Nordstrom’s shoe department!  The kids enjoyed the pizza with fruit and we enjoyed the eggplant pizza with goat cheese and sausage.  I sampled two different kinds of martinis.  [As an aside, I’ve decided to make it a goal to try as many kinds of martini’s as I can this year!]  The caramel apple martini was pretty darn good!

So it was an unusual Valentine’s Day but we have an unusual household so it was not too odd a day (especially after the martini’s! 🙂 ).  Here are some links to some other interesting Valentine’s Day items:

v-day-heartTwitter raises $35 million! (I heart twitter – although I still don’t really know how they are planning to make money, but I have faith!)  You can follow me on twitter @aruni.  Currently I have about 1,700 followers.  There’s another article on TechCrunch about the investment too which is an interview with one of the new investors.

Make your own candy heart message at Cryptogram@mikeneumann sent me that link.

I’m not looking for a lover, I’m looking for a portal and stop f-ing with my mind, f with my heart instead cartoons by Hugh (aka @gapingvoid who has more than 13,000 followers on twitter).  I asked him if he was going through a mid-life crisis, and he said he went through his years ago at a very young age.  After I saw one of his cartoons with a naked women, I asked him about it and he sent me a link to one of his cartoons of a naked man…which I won’t link to here to protect the innocent, but it was pretty darn funny!  Then @vicequeenmaria who lives in Miami sent me a link to a cartoon with alligators going to some place called Mango’s that I didn’t fully understand until she explained it, but it is too racy to link to here!

Love at first site by @paisano (he has more than 3,000 followers) where he lists logos that were changed to reflect a Valentine’s Day theme (e.g., Google, Yahoo).

So Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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