Emilio comes to us with a wide range of experience, and a total of 10 years working in both elementary and high schools. While most of Emilio’s experience was first in university admissions and then in elementary education, he has simultaneously worked in grant writing, teacher trainings, Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math (STEAM) Education, and building partnerships with community NGOs.
Before arriving in Panajachel, Emilio taught a course titled “Habilidades Para La Vida” in Guatemalan public schools, where he focused on topics in self-identity, drug and alcohol education, and sex education. After working with Guatemalan youth, he knew that Guatemala was truly a place he could call home.
When he’s not working with Guatemala’s future leaders at AMA, Emilio loves to read, write poetry, hike volcanos, and sunrise kayak on Lake Atitlan.
Lucia holds an Educational Degree in Teaching and Administration from the Universidad Panamericana in Guatemala City and represents the school to the Ministerio de Educación Guatemalteco. Lucia was born in Panajachel and has been at AMA for 3 years; she also has two daughters and likes to swim and play basketball.
Nancy was born in Quetzaltenango and has been with AMA for 10 years. Nancy recently completed her Law and Notary degree from la Universidad Mariano Galvez, she also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Juridical and Social Science from the same university, Mariano Galvez. Nancy grew up on a coffee farm and worked from the age of 12 in the coffee fields! In her free time Nancy enjoys working with animals and cooking. Nancy is known as the heart and memory of the school.
Emilio will be the Middle School Math and Science teacher this year.
Natalia Ledford teaches high school sociology at AMA. She is TESOL-certified and has taught English language learners of all ages and backgrounds for various non-profit organizations in the U.S., Kenya and in Guatemala. She is a National Geographic Explorer with a background in documentary filmmaking and her BA in International Relations.
Miguel was born and raised in Panajachel and graduated as primary teacher from the “Escuela Normal Privada de Sololá” in 2013. The same year he started working at various educational institutions throughout the Sololá department, teaching children from the age of six, to adults at a night school. He also studied as a teacher for Secondary Education specializing in social sciences and pedagogy and currently is attending his last year to get a degree in Educational Administration.
Here at AMA he is in charge of the Communication, Language and Literature course teaching the 5th to 12th grade. He enjoys his work here educating students that “the more you read the more you know; and the more you know the further you will go”.
In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, dancing, running and surviving extreme adventures.
Coming to us from Australia, Louise joins the AMA team to teach Language Arts and Social Studies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Education with a focus in the learning areas of English literature and History. She has worked in schools in rural and remote parts of New South Wales, Australia for almost 10 years. Having worked in these communities, Louise has enjoyed the opportunity to meet some amazing young people and broaden her teaching expertise.
However, with the spirit of travel and new experiences calling, Louise is excited to join the AMA team for the 2017-2018 school year.
Debbie is from the heartland of the United States, Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduating with a PhD in Environmental Science she went to work for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a technical expert in water quality. One of her first assignments was to work in partnership with the American Red Cross and Central American Red Cross Societies to study the impact of water and sanitation projects put in place after Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and Guatemala. She’s excited to be back in Guatemala as the 5th and 6th grade class teacher at AMA!
Debbie has a wide variety of teaching experiences. She has taught in a cooperative preschool, led science, art and gardening enrichment programs for elementary and middle school children, substitute taught Spanish in first through 8th grade and math to 7th and 8th graders, and taught microbiology at the university level. She recently ran her own small food business. She’s excited to partake in the vibrant exchange of the AMA learning environment!
Debbie enjoys exploring the outdoors with her two boys, yoga, gardening, and cheering for the local soccer team.
Kayla has come to us from New Zealand, where she studied a conjoint degree in psychology and public relations. She has previously worked as a secondary teacher, a national level gymnastics coach and with children who have special needs.
This will be her second year with the AMA family. She is excited to use active, hands-on learning in her classroom to create critical and creative learners. By presenting real life issues, she hopes to push students to discover their own opinions, passions and solutions.
Kayla highly values creativity and imagination in the classroom; she loves reading, writing and art.
Hello! My name is Andreina. I grew up in the bay area in California. I will be teaching second grade this year and I’m very excited to get to know everyone. I have been teaching for more than five years. I have taught in Spanish Immersion programs, English Immersion programs, summer camps, daycares, Vacation Bible School, afterschool care and more! Teaching children is one of my passions in life and what makes me happy 🙂 I also love nature and the outdoors, going to the beach, swimming and going to church. I will do my best for your child to learn the most that he or she can and to make this an awesome year!
I have been teaching children of all ages since 1989. I grew up in Buffalo New York. I received two Bachelor of Science degrees, from Buffalo State University in New York, in Elementary Education and in Learning and Behavioral Disorders.
I’ve lived in Los Angeles, California and Austin, Texas. I worked for 20 years with children with special needs, ranging from blind, deaf-blind, autistic, behaviorally challenged, dyslexic and various learning disabilities. While teaching in Texas, at a bilingual school, I became interested in working with ESL students abroad.
I worked for three years teaching third graders at an international school in Kazakhstan. I love to share ideas with other teachers and also love nature, animals, hiking, swimming, board games, movies, biking, reading, music and art.
Esthela Gomez is a Native Panajachelense Teacher that has worked at AMA for 10 years. For 10 years she has been working with kindergarten. She has a lot of experience working with our younger students.
Esthela speaks Kaqchiquel, Spanish and English. She likes teaching and sharing with students.
Esthela teaches English for beginners and also teaches Kaqchikel from 1st grade up to 9th grade, and has also worked at Tree of Life Foundation as a Sponsor Relation Coordinator for 6 years. She is currently studying at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala Altiplano. She is studying Profesorado en Ingles Media, and is in her 3rd year studying and loves learning and sharing what she knows.
In her free time she likes to go for walks and play with her kids.
Dina, originally from Denver, Colorado, found her way to education through the outdoors as an adventure trip leader with youth all over the United States. Working in Expeditionary Learning schools allowed her to interact with students outside of the classroom, challenging them to try new activities and work as a team to get through difficult hikes and climbs. She has a BS in Geography from Ohio University and received her teaching license in Colorado through a British Primary education program.
Her first experience in Guatemala was in Quetzaltenango while she was immersed in studying Spanish at Proyecto Linguistico Quetzalteco. With a taste of Guatemalan culture, Dina decided to look for opportunities in education, finding her way to AMA.
Dina cares deeply about equality, creating connections within communities, and learning new things. She loves to explore new places by running, rock climbing, hiking, and swimming in freezing rivers. You can always count on Dina for outdoor adventures, cooking together, and hanging out.
Nicolas is working to obtain a degree in public accounting and auditing at the University Mariano Gálvez de Guatemala, has taught accounting for the last 5 years at AMA and provides professional accounting services to the school. His children Jasmin and Allan also attend at AMA.
Diane holds a Masters in Urban Planning from Pratt Institute; undergraduate degrees in Interior Design from Fashion Institute and Anthropology and Classics from Hunter College. After several decades as a consultant on Wall Street, she has been a volunteer since 9/11. Her work in Guatemala includes consulting with NGOs on health, women’s rights, education and commercial development. Clients include(d) Prosol , Oxlajuj B,atz, the Indigenous Mayor of Solola and The Integrative Health Project – NYC.
Luis was born in Sololá where he studied Physical Education, graduating in 2013.
He started his professional career in 2014, as a P.E. teacher at five educational institutions, including AMA.
In 2016 he decided to resume his academic career at the University Panamericana, studying Secondary Education in Pedagogy and Social Sciences. In 2017 Luis decided to change studies to Sports Management, at the Galileo University in Quetzaltenango. A two year study that, after graduating, will enable him to obtain leading positions at national sports institutions.
His hobby is basketball. He is an official basketball referee, and was invited to join the local Panajachel basketball Arbitration panel.
AMA students in grades K-12 took the streets of Panajachel the day before Earth Day, to participate in a community wide March For Science. Students chanted while marching, demanding a cleaner community.
Antony Stern was 1 of 2 graduates of the 2017 Graduating Class at Colegio AMA. Antony is a musician. This spring Antony, through endless hard work and perseverance, he was admitted into Berklee College of Music in Boston. Antony has hopes to develop the sound of his country’s national instrument, the marimba, into a creative modern fusion. We are thrilled to see where music takes Antony.
Oscar Barillas was 1 of 2 graduates of the 2017 Graduating Class at Colegio AMA. Oscar is known for his poetry and loves science. This fall, he will be taking his admissions exams to study medicine in Guatemala City. Through medicine, Oscar hopes to give back to others as they have given to him. We are so excited to see Oscar reach his goals.
Colegio AMA Class of 2016 Graduates