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, Spanish for educators and for classroom teachers, 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

MHFace CGIMartie 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.

Amanda Cameron – Spanish Specialist

profeAmanda Cameron fell in love with the idea of becoming fluent in Spanish when she was a senior in high school taking AP Spanish. Arriving at Northern Arizona University in 1998, all she was concerned about was becoming bilingual – she would decide what to do with her language skills along the way!

After studying for two semesters in Granada, Spain and living with a host family, Amanda knew she would love to share her passion for learning the Spanish language and finished her degree at NAU in Spanish and Secondary Education. Her first teaching job was actually teaching English in Paraguay in 2003. After having lived in Spain, she yearned for another experience to be immersed in the Spanish language, and living and traveling around South America for 9 months after finishing college was the perfect answer.

Amanda began her career as a US high school Spanish teacher in 2004, took a three year break to travel the world again, and is now back where she started at Ralston Valley High School teaching levels 2 & 3 Spanish. During her years abroad from 2008-2011 she had some unique experiences such as teaching Spanish to Korean volunteers in Paraguay and teaching Spanish to aspiring adult travelers in Australia.

She loves to provide an environment where you are immersed in the language as much as possible and is always happy to engage on a personal level with students to help them figure out how they can maximize their learning potential.


Saphire Stockman – Onsite Program Coordinator in Costa Rica

saphire2Saphire 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 and 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.

Sarah Goertzen – Customer Service Specialist

Sarah GSarah grew up in Slovenia and Colorado and loves to travel! Her mobile life has made her value being able to communicate across language and cultural barriers and is passionate about helping others do the same. She recently graduated from Wheaton College with an Interpersonal Communication degree. All of her life experiences and education have taught Sarah that no matter where you are in the world, some of the best communication happens over a cup of tea.

Sarah loves anything to do with the outdoors; some of her favorite pastimes include riding bike, hiking, playing frisbee, and stargazing.

Common Ground International: Spanish and English Language Solutions