Learn English / Learn Spanish Who We Are | Quienes SomosWhat We Do / Que HacemosWhat You Can Do / Que Puedes HacerPhotos and Media / Fotos y MediaEvents / EventosContact Us / Contactanos BIENVENIDOS! – a LESTA - ¡WELCOME! Learn English / Spanish Through the Arts! Aprende Ingles / Español a través de las Artes
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Who We Are


LESTA, Learn English / Spanish Through the Arts, was created by Cyndi Turtledove in 2004, when she returned from 18 years of teaching ESL, Spanish and Theatre Arts in MEXICO (1986 – 2004).   She integrated her university ESL Teacher Training students with her ESL Handicapped students in wheelchairs. Her student teachers at CAM (Centro de Actualizacion del Magisterio – Staff Development Center - under the Sinaloa Secretary of Public Education) produced 7 original ESL shows with these Handicapped students, receiving many wonderful articles in Mazatlan newspapers.

'ACTION GAMES… 101 Fun Ways to Learn English Grammar' - Cyndi’s action oriented Conversation ESL games book, was published in 1993- 2004 in Mexico D.F. by Editorial Delti, and has been used throughout Mexico by ESL teachers there, as well as in language programs to teach Spanish, French and German in D.F. ISBN#: 968-6820-14-0. Visit Website >>

Upon Cyndi’s return to Oregon in 2004, she founded the Bilingual Theatre Club in Cornelius, with students from Echo Shaw and Cornelius Elementary schools performing in the free space donated to her by Sabino Sardineta at the Centro Cultural in Cornelius. In 2004-2005 she wrote and produced "A Cornelius Christmas Posada", and "Ardillas Mias – A Squirrel’s Tale" there.

In 2006 Cyndi began to base the LESTA Bilingual Musical Theatre program of classes at THPRD’s Cedar Hills Rec Center in Beaverton.  And in August 2007, LESTA received its IRS NON-PROFIT status. Working with children ages 6-11 Cyndi wrote and produced "La Trompa del Elefante", "Hotel Buena Vista", "Los Cangrejos", "Los Gatos", "Sponge Bob y Los Vaqueros en España", and "Ardillas Mias - A Squirrel's Tale", for school year + summer camp courses.

Between 2007 and 2010 LESTA Bilingual Musical Theatre classes and Summer Camps grew with a total of 26 Show Performances developed at Barnes, Mooberry, Reedville and City View Charter Elementary Schools, Hillsboro Latino Adventist Church, Cornelius United Methodist Church and the Hart Theatre

in Hillsboro.  New Bilingual scripts written by Cyndi 2008-2010 include "El Tesoro - The

Treasure of Sierra's Padre", "The Legend of Food Mountain - Leyenda de los Aztecas", and a special Theme commission on the subject of Nutrition:  "Frutas, Verduras y Mas".


LESTA’s roots go back to Action Arts Foundation, a non-profit theatre organization which Cyndi founded in Portland during the 1980’s, where she as Artistic Director, developed alcohol and drug abuse theatre projects, receiving funding from the Oregon Dept. of Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Rose Tucker Charitable Trust and the then Metropolitan Arts Commission, to produce playwright Charles Deemer’s "The Genie in the Bottle" , a cultural history of alcohol use. Action Arts Foundation also created projects for The Chemical People and the Oregon Nurses Association unions. Other LESTA roots include Synthaxis Theatre Company (1972-1977),

Cyndi's first non-profit theatre company, with its unique "Theatre Tools in the Schools" program in the Pasadena Unified School District, funded by the then CETA federal government programs - Compre-hensive Employment Training Act, which took Theatre and All the Arts into Elementary, Secondary, and High Schools to assist the teaching of English, Spanish, Literature, Writing, History, Geography, Biology, and other non-drama subjects.   Synthaxis performed in Scotland 1979 and 1980 at the

Edinburgh Fringe Festival - 3 shows each summer, and in London at the Unicorn Theatre for Children.

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Goals & Methodology

LESTA works with 4 different types of Goals: Language, Artistic, Social and Community.

The 4 basic Language Skills in all languages are: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

Two are Passive: Reading and Listening. Two are Active: Speaking and Writing. In her 18 years in Mexico, Cyndi discovered that students, of all ages, regardless of what language they were studying, had great difficulty with Speaking and Listening Comprehension. Even university graduates who had had 4 years of English language training were frequently frightened of speaking and/or had little or no experience with Speaking. Traditional methods of teaching a Language usually involve an extreme concentration on Reading and Grammar, a bit of Listening, but very little and very non-creative methods of Speaking and Conversation. The use of THEATRE – not just formal Theatre, but Theatre in all its forms – improvisation, games, writing, etc. tricks students into SPEAKING and they lose their FEAR of speaking while having fun.

Writing their own scenes, songs and raps helps students develop their creativity and relate better to the world around them, while learning the 2nd language. And the unusual use of both English and Spanish at the same time (frequently frowned upon) makes students of both cultures feel comfortable and as if they have something of their own culture to share. They see they are valuable and really needed to help others who are helping them at the same time.

Theatre, Music, Dance, Crafts and Games teach many disciplinary skills, following directions, spatial relationships, rhythms, musical skills, flexibility and strength, organization, memorization, concentration, focus, visual awareness, imagination development, many forms of creativity. The 7 Social Goals listed below also deal with specific Theatre Arts areas.

The improvement of Self-Esteem, Enthusiasm, Team-work, Cooperation, learning to be both Leaders and Followers, helping others in new ways, seeing how older children can help younger ones, making new friends, developing TOLERANCE and enjoyment of others different from themselves. Organizing and management skills, Directing, Assistant Directing, Stage Managing, and Coordinating different areas: Props, Costumes, Sound Effects, Lights, Design, Sets, and Publicity.

LESTA seeks to develop projects to help different kinds of community organizations and entities, including (but not limited to): Handicapped organizations, Hospitals, Mental and Physical Health programs, Crime Prevention and Law Enforcement / Police organizations, Drug and Alcohol Abuse programs, and Ecology / Environmental Improvement.

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     Board of Directors & Staff

Cyndi Turtledove, Artistic Director
Cyndi Turtledove
Cyndi holds a B.A. Bachelor of Arts and an M.F.A. Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre from UCLA, with a specialization in Directing. She has more than 30 years experience training teachers, teaching, writing, performing and developing curriculum and programs in Theatre and Education. As a published author, she has traveled throughout Mexico using her book “Action Games …101 Fun Ways to Practice English Grammar”, to train university teachers to use the Arts in Education, and she is fluent in Spanish.

During her 18 years in Mexico, she taught ESL in rural schools, Spanish to Anglos and was Director of the Community Language Dept. at ITESM, Campus Queretaro and the Universidad Cuauhtemoc. In Mazatlan, she won awards for her Diploma Program in English at C.A.M. Centro de Actualización del Magisterio. Staff Development Center for State of Sinaloa Public Education Dept. She was Artistic Director of Action Arts Foundation in Oregon and Synthaxis Theatre Co. in Hollywood, California, and served as President of L.A.T.A. (Los Angeles Theatre Alliance) where she managed CETA grants connecting the Professional and Educational Theatre Communities. In Portland, before moving to Mexico, she taught Theatre at Jefferson High School of the Performing Arts, Mt. Hood Community College and Portland Public Schools.


The Board of Directors is made up of Volunteers with Community Leadership, Artistic Skills and dedication to LESTA’s Goals and Activities. The Board meets 4 times per year, on Sundays, in January, April, July and October.    We welcome new qualified Board Members You do not have to be Bilingual to serve on this Volunteer Board.  If you are bilingual, that is an extra plus.   Please come and visit.


   NEW PRESIDENT from JULY 24, 2022

         ERIKA RAMIREZ PALACIOS    LESTA Volunteer since 2017
    Native Spanish speaker    Assistant Teacher to Maestra Cyndi

    PHOTO TO COME       15 years with PCC Hillsboro, Oregon


Abel is the General Manager of Aiden's Professional Landscape Maintenance in Hillsboro.    In Mexico he studied the COBOL program at The Technical Institute in Mexico City, D.F.       Later in Oregon he studied Computer Science 2 years at Oregon State University in Corvallis.  He is married to Carmen Arroyo, has 4 children, the oldest of which, Andee, performed with him in our LESTA 2010 show at Cornelius United Methodist Church, "FRUTAS,  VERDURAS y MAS!" + many other Family Bilingual Musical Plays, including  "SPONGE BOB Y LOS VAQUEROS EN ESPAÑA", at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, HIllsboro, "PIRATES of the FRIJOLE-BBEAN", "ALICE MEETS DRACULA in the Old West!" "A SQUIRREL's TALE - ARDILLAS MIAS", "A HILLSBORO CHRISTMAS PASTORELA" at Hart Theatre in HIllsboro.


     KEN SILVER:   Vice President. Writer, Literary Scholar. Hillsboro
          Owner/Director of Innovative Children's School, Chicago, Illinois. Photo to come.


     KATHY HOUGH - KAKALINA, Secretary/Treasurer. Bilingual. 

        Photo coming.  Kakalina has been a LESTA VOLUNTEER and "SPANISH
THRU THE ARTS" Class Teaching Assistant for 3 years. She was with GIRL SCOUTS for
almost 20 years and is a Dragon Boat enthusiast and Quilter excelente.



     LESTA 2019 - 2022   VOLUNTEERS
          Catherine Durso - Tarina - Bilingual, Ex-Treasurer/Secy
          Gabriela Zbrankova - Impact NW, Community Organizer
          Patrick Steihl, Lawyer - Bilingual   Hillsboro, Or.
          Sandy Monterrezno, State Farm Ins. Bilingual (El Salvador)

              Sheryll Ruecker - Bilingual     Borego Springs, So. Calif.
             Vicki Amador
    Hillsboro, Or.
           Lizbeta Robertson     Hillsboro, Or.
           Jan Sea   Hillsoro, Or.

              Kalie Eyman - Professional Magazine Editor - Bilingual  Portland, Or.

              Erika Ramirez - 10 years with PCC, 3 years as Lesta Teaching Asst - Bilingual
Ken Silver - Bilingual Greeter with Walmart 15 years-Volunteer 5 years

              Chris Kondrat - Artist, Diversity Specialist -Bilingual

              Carmen Arroyo -Bilingual PT associate - Mooberry Elementary, Hillsboro                Teodulo Osuna Garcia - ESL Teacher/Supervisor, Mazatlan Mexico 8 years

              Dr. Marta Valdes Lizarraga -Univ. Language Dept Dir, Mazatl Mex. 20 years


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United States

Mary Alice Tilles,  Spanish Teacher, Southridge High School, Beaverton 503   259-5400
Rosa Garcia-Kisting, Spanish Teacher, Southridge HS, Beaverton 503   259-5400
Sabino Sardineta, Ex-Director Centro Cultural Cornelius (503) 359-0446
Jack Musser, Superintendent Forest Grove School District (503) 359-8110 ext 280
Marion Griffith, Director, A Grade Tutoring (503) 641-6794
Jenny Bruce, Director, Bruce’s International Language School (503) 643-8448
Susan Rodriguez, Ex-Principal Echo Shaw Elementary School (503) 359-2489
Andrea Martinelli, parent participants BMT (503) 330-0334
Shu-Fang Wu, parent participant BMT (503) 533-7198
Claudia Aldaz, parent participant BMT (503) 690-9658
Chris Sauer, parent – high school Spanish son tutoring (503) 295-3607
Aimee Baker, parent – high school Spanish son tutoring (503) 669-4112
Maria Bautista Springer, ESL university student in Mexico (503) 591-9782
Julie Cortez, Editor, El Hispanic News – Biling. Newspaper (503) 228-3139 ext 310
          Charleen Watson, Bilingual Arts Teacher, League City, Texas                   (     ) _________


Dra. Angeles Cervantes, M.D., ESL student of Cyndi Turtledove 011-52-669 985-5439
Prof. Teodulo Osuna Garcia, ESL Teacher, Mazatlan, Mexico 011-52-669 669-1184
Lic. Marco Antonio Alduenda, Ex- Director CAM Mazatlan, Mexico 011-52-669 981-5491
Ramona Lizarraga, ESL Teacher, Mazatlan Mexico 011-52-669 984-0770
Dra. Rose Guzman, M.D. Mazatlan, Mexico 011-52-669 916-4056

Lic. Hector Sollis Aguirre, Director Bancomer Mazatlan, ESL student

011-52-669 982-6732
Lic. Patricia Benevidez, Accounting Dir. Port of Mazatlan, ESL student 011-52-669 986-2204

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