Who We Are

Our Team

Academic Director:

emilioEmilio is a proud first-generation college graduate. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in math studies.

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.

Technical Director: Ms. Lucia Xon


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.

Administrative Director: Ms. Nancy Lopez

NancyNancy 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.


Classroom Teachers:

Secondary Math and Science Teacher: Mr. Emilio Gonzales


Emilio will be the Middle School Math and Science teacher this year.



High School Sociology Teacher: Ms. Natalia Ledford

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.


Secondary School Spanish Teacher: Mr. Miguel Alpirez


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.

Secondary Social Studies and Language Arts: Ms. Louise Hulbert

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.

Middle School Math/Science/ESL Teacher: Mr. Miles Kelley

Miles Kelley is a 2016 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA), holding a Bachelor’s degree in International and Environmental Studies. While studying at UNCA, Miles was an active Student Environmental Center employee, school bike mechanic, and manager/coordinator of an educational community garden. After graduating Miles has worked as a farm-hand and landscaper, a volunteer English tutor for low-income/below reading level children, and a substitute teacher for Kindergarten to 8th grade. His time working with children has shaped him into an ardent teacher interested in cultivating a love for learning in and outside the classroom. Aside from teaching, Miles is passionate about outdoor education, sustainable agriculture, food access, and nutrition. He loves cooking, dancing, writing poetry, and exploring the community and natural landscape around him. On any given weekend you can find Miles swimming in Lake Atitlan, hiking Guatemala’s Volcanoes, or exploring cliffs to rock-climb.

4th Grade Teacher: Ms. Kayla Woods-Gibson

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.

2nd Grade Primary Teacher: Ms. Andreina

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!

1st Grade Teacher: Ms. Alicia Serapiglia

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.

Pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten Teacher: Ms. Catherine


Catherine comes from Asheville, North Carolina, where she graduated from University with a degree in International Relations and Latin American History. Through the years, she has worked as a preK and Kindergarten teacher at an experiential learning center, an AmeriCorp- Project Power academic enrichment specialist, substitute teacher, and as a competitive gymnastics coach. Catherine was first brought to Guatemala and Lake Atitlan when she traveled through Central America after University with the intention of broadening her understanding of the region in which she studied. Her love for the culture and heritage of the region, as well as the stunning natural landscape brought her back two years later with the hope to pursue work with the Youth in the Atitlan region.

Cat encourages creativity and individuality in her classroom. She believes allowing child-initiated learning is a fundamental part to early child development, and is the most vital part to nurturing children’s abilities. Learning to love school and love learning is the foundation of a child’s future in school, so creating a fun and safe space for a child to learn is the backbone of her classroom.

Cat loves to spend time outdoors exploring and adventuring through everything nature has to offer. She has a passion for the mountains, enjoying rock-climbing, hiking, running, yoga-ing, or contemplating whether or not the lake is too cold to swim. When not outside, you can most likely find her buried in a book and sipping coffee.

Elementary Assistant Teacher: Ms. Esthela Gomez

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.

Accounting Teacher: Mr. Nicolas Ramos


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.




Media Arts Project Teacher:  Ms. Diane Dreyfus, M.S. Arch.

FullSizeRender(1)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.

Sports and P. E. Teacher: Mr. Luis Fernando Giron


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.

If you are interested in applying, take a look at Job Opportunities, also here or Contact Us

Our Students

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.

AMA Student Body



1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd-4th Grade

5th-6th Grade


Recent Graduates

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

Colegio AMA Class of 2016 Graduates