About Common Ground International

Common Ground International’s Mission and Vision

Common Ground International helps professionals navigate bilingual environments and helps students prepare for bilingual environments. We provide industry-specific Spanish and English Language training and language services to individuals, professionals, and organizations that help remove the language and culture gaps that exist in the workplace. We help you communicate clearly with your team and with your clients so that you can operate more productively and efficiently.

What we offer

Each of Common Ground International’s language solutions are specifically designed to help individuals and companies better manage their diverse workforce, and improve their service to current and potential clientele.

We specialize in Practical and Industry Specific:


Founders & Owners

Fosters in San Jose

Rory and Leslie Foster founded Common Ground International in the fall of 2001 while they were teaching Spanish at Alexander Dawson in Lafayette, Colorado.  Leslie was teaching middle school Spanish, and Rory was teaching Kindergarten – 6th Grade Spanish.

Some friends, who were about to start clinical rotations in their Doctorate of Nursing program, requested specialized Spanish classes to help them be more successful in their rotations. The medical Spanish classes were a raving success, and the idea was born to form a company dedicated to helping students and professionals use Spanish in practical settings.

Over the years the idea has expanded to include other professional industries apart from medicine, helping high school Spanish students graduate with real Spanish conversational skills, American English training for professionals around the world, document translation, and Spanish – English interpreting services.

Rory and Leslie now have a bilingual family, and a wonderful team of language professionals here in Colorado and throughout Central America that they enjoy working with as they carry out Common Ground’s mission. You can learn more about Rory Foster on Facebook, LinkedIn, & Google +.  Follow Common Ground on Facebook & Twitter


Abby Wagner – Spanish Specialist

Abby Wagner

Abby is a Colorado native who started her language journey in the classroom in the 7th grade.  She very quickly fell in the love with the Spanish language and the culture.

She continued her Spanish study throughout college and studied abroad in the Dominican Republic.  She lived with the most wonderful host family and got to speak Spanish every day.  Being immersed in the language allowed her to hone her skills while also experiencing the local culture.

Being inspired by the wonderful teachers she had in her life, she decided to take her skills back to the classroom and she currently teaches high school Spanish in Jefferson County.  She loves working with students of all ages and enjoys sharing her knowledge with any willing learner.  Since she’s not a native speaker, she is living proof that anyone can learn Spanish!

Outside the classroom, she loves to experiment in the kitchen, try new restaurants and read on her Kindle.


Cate Phipps Orive – Spanish Specialist
Cate Phipps Orive

Cate’s life with Spanish began when she was a little girl and first traveled to Mexico where she later ended up living for 15 years as an adult.  She has been teaching Spanish in Colorado since 2002, and she loves working with adult learners. Being able to share in the language development of adult professionals who strive to improve their skills and apply them everyday within the community is something she finds very fulfilling.

Cate finds adult learning focused, fun, and very dynamic, and especially meaningful because it’s learning with a purpose and a vision! Cate is always inspired by the level of commitment she sees in class. She particularly enjoys building communities of practice that have a real effect on improving the quality of healthcare services in Colorado.

Martie Helweg – English & Spanish Specialist

photo coming soonMartie learned to speak Spanish in Spain where she lived for fifteen years teaching Spanish and English as a Second Language. She got her start teaching Spanish and French at the American School of Madrid. Later she became a Montessori teacher for the Hill House American Montessori School of Madrid and opened their evening ESL language school.

As a First Grade Team Leader at the Montessori, it was her job to teach both Spanish and English to a group of children from all over the world. Among this group of diverse children there were several in the class with varying levels of dyslexia. As a result she studied reading psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia and at the University of Madrid.

Since her arrival to Denver she has been teaching languages both privately and professionally. More recently she has been focusing on high school and professional student ages. She is currently teaching: professional Spanish & English classes and private Spanish lessons for high school students with learning disabilities.


Saphire Stockman – Onsite Program Coordinator in Costa Rica

Saphire StockmanSaphire first came to Costa Rica in 2011 to immerse herself in the Spanish language and culture through study abroad. She was a student at the University of Kansas at the time.

She made the move back to Costa Rica in 2012 after graduating a proud Jayhawk, and has worked as a volunteer coordinator in Costa Rica since then. She has coordinated groups internationally in Guatemala and Peru as well. Saphire loves matching the energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge of international volunteers with local organizations communities that need support.

She has traveled extensively through the US, Central and South America. Her bucket list still includes: speaking a fourth language fluently, scuba diving, and working to someday become a FIFA soccer referee.

Common Ground International: Spanish and English Language Solutions