BILL SEBRING / (Middle and High School Mathematics)
Mr. Bill has been teaching mathematics at the middle school and high school level for the last 29 years. He holds a Master’s of Science in Teaching Mathematics from the University of New Hampshire. Throughout his career he has sought professional development opportunities to learn to engage students in meaningful problem solving and mathematical discourse. Mr. Sebring has put these practices in place his classroom, and recently has spent more than four years exploring how to combine these mathematical attributes with the teaching and learning of theCommonCoremathematicsstandards.
EMILY DITTMANN / (Middle and High School English)
Ms. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Pennsylvania and Masters of Education degree in Literacy with a Concentration on Writing from the University of Maine. Ms. Emily has co-directed the past two Maine Writing Project summer institutes in addition to serving as a MWP Teacher Consultant. She is a certified English teacher with more than 10 years experience and has also been a Culinary Arts Instructor. Her passion of cooking and gardening led her to found and direct a community garden for her school district in Maine, where she lived before moving to Nosara.
ESMERALDA CASTRO / (Middle and High School Social Studies and Civics)
Ms. Esmeralda was born in Costa Rica and raised in Heredia. She graduated as a Biologist from the Universidad Nacional and has a master’s degree in Ecological Agriculture from Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE). During the last few years she has been working in environmental consulting, but one of her favorite experiences in the past was working with kids teaching environmental education. She decided to move to Nosara and work in the Splash program because can work with children and enjoy nature.
LAIRD MACDONALD / (Environmental Systems and Societies (IB Coordinator))
Laird MacDonald grew up in Lompoc, California, surrounded by an extended family of teachers. At the University of California Santa Barbara, he earned a B.S. in Aquatic Biology. Upon graduation he worked for the UCSB Marine Science Institute for four years on research projects that included diving in Antarctica to study krill, and diving around offshore oil platforms to study fish. After hanging up the wetsuit, Laird earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Administration from Deakin University. For the last 17 years Laird has worked at top International Baccalaureate (IB) schools around world. The countries he has taught in include the United States, Philippines, China, Venezuela and now Costa Rica. He has worked as an teacher, IB program coordinator, principal and school director. His passion for teaching comes from seeing students excited about learning something new.
LISSA EIDELMAN / (Grade 6-9 Science Teacher, Grade 7 Math Teacher, Instructional Technology Coordinator)
Ms. Lissa hails from the Michigan North woods and holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Science Education from Hamline University in Minnesota. Her mission in life is to reconnect a critical mass of young people to natural systems. Lissa is passionate about field work, experiential, and project-based education. As a scientist, she has tracked wolves across Northern Minnesota, monitored sea turtles in Sicily, and surveyed snow shoe hares in Montana. Lissa has taught field ecology and middle and high school science and math in Costa Rica (Monteverde), the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, France, and the United States.
MERCEDES FALLAS / (Learning Specialist, Grade 6 Spanish teacher)
Ms. Mercedes is from San José and just moved to Nosara this year. She is a certified Special Education teacher from Universidad Interamericana and studied Ocupational Therapy at Universidad Santa Paula. She is now finishing my her master’s in Psicopedagogy at Universidad La Salle. Her 10 years experience in education includes working in three different schools in San José as well as operating her own private therapy practice. She has worked with students with various special needs including Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, and specific behavior problems and has provided learning support and developed accommodations for individual students. She loves teaching and being with students.
JAN KRIEGER / (Grade 6 English and Physical Education Teacher and Social Emotional Learning Coordinator)
Profe Jan has lived and taught in Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Gabon (West Africa) and Cambodia. He has a Masters in Multicultural Education and is certified in Spanish and Social Studies. He has created and led Model United Nations programs at the high school level and implemented a full immersion English program for Cambodian middle school students. Before teaching, Jan and his wife Karen worked as national park rangers and wilderness guides in Montana and Alaska. They also co-directed an environmental education program for teens in Yellowstone National Park called the Youth Conservation Corps. Jan's philosophy on education is that it should be relevant, include real-world projects and focus on who you are in addition to what you know.
GENEVIEVE SEHR / (Secondary Program Coordinator / Theory of Knowledge Teacher)
Ms. Gigi holds a master’s in education from George Mason University, a bachelor’s in History and Latin American Studies from Oberlin College, and a teaching license for both Social Science and English. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Ms. Gigi has experience teaching and developing curriculum in all levels of the International Baccalaureate program (PYP, MYP, and DP), including Theory of Knowledge, IT, and Environmental Science. Her career in international education includes working in schools from Argentina to Tokyo and includes working in several bilingual education programs and integrating local community resources. Ms. Gigi also has done professional development related to Montessori Education and Inquiry-based teaching and learning.
ANGEL CUEVAS / (STEM Fellow)
Angel Cuevas, our new STEM Fellow hails from Dominican Republic where he studied Science Education in a one-of-a-kind multidisciplinary program under a full privately funded scholarship. Certified to teach 4 science subject area (Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics) this year he will help us strengthen and develop our NEW 6th to10th grade Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI) science program (a sequence that includes Earth Science, Physical Science, Life Sciences, Chemistry and Physics), teach in our NEW STEAM and Agroecology courses, assistant-teach in Earth Science, Physical Science, and our outdoor experiential program "Expeditions". He will also assist our new scholars in their 1st semester transition, providing them with both in-class and after-school tutoring support. Angel spent his first two years teaching biology and chemistry, and managing the science lab, at Liceo Cientifico, Dominicana's premier public school, and its only STEM magnet school, founded by Dr. Maldonado. In two short years Angel managed to transform the biology course into a lab and project based one, including developing an agroecology project. We are excited to have Prof. Cuevas join our school and our Nosara community.
JOSEPH CHONZA / (STEM Fellow)
Today we welcome Joseph Chonza, STEM Fellow from Zambia, currently a junior at Earth University’s agronomy program. Joseph will be part of the school’s farm to table project that will be developing a student run farm project at Del Mar Academy. He will support 4/5th grade and 8/9 grade STEM programs and serve as academic support for our Scholars program. Working with our school food provider, SPROUTS by MARITZA, we hope to have greens for our cafeteria ready in a few months.
MONICA MARIN / (Spanish Teacher)
Monica Marin - Monica Marin has a licenciatura in history from Universidad Catolica de Chile and a masters degree in school administration and curriculum from University of Barcelona, Spain. A 12 year veteran teacher, she was originally a historian researcher, who began her career as an educator founding CSS-MSE, one of NYC’s top public magnet schools. She has since worked as administrator, vice principal and school founder, while always teaching Spanish, humanities and philosophy for children full-time in Tanzania, Dominican Republic and Chiapas Mexico. She has particular expertise in teaching writing skills and critical thinking. She enjoys reading, exploring and learning in different countries, and spending time with her son Ricky who is in Casa (Kindergarten). She is very excited to be living in Costs Rica by playa Pelada and being part of a progressive international school.
MARIA ISABEL CÁCERES / (Visual Arts and Spanish Teacher)
Soy venezolana, estudié primaria y secundaria en el mismo colegio de la ciudad donde crecí. Luego me mude a la "ciudad universitaria" en Venezuela, donde me gradué como Politóloga. Esta carrera me aportó mucha sensibilidad hacia las diversas relaciones y realidades internacionales, y me despertó la curiosidad para aportar en el cambio del viejo sistema educativo y apostar por excelentes proyectos educativos y ambientales.
Mi tesis de grado la desarrollé conviviendo en la comunidad indígena Yekwuana y a partir de ahí comencé a valorar e ir buscando poco apoco un estilo de vida sencillo, lleno de valores y cada vez más conectado con la naturaleza.
Diseñé y ejecuté el proyecto Taller Selva Creativa "fomentando el pensamiento ecológico" cuyo interés se centró en promover en los niños y niñas el placer de aprender y crear como seres ecológicos, rescatando la sensibilidad humana en la relación hombre- naturaleza, a través de la educación ecológica y de las artes plásticas. Fui directora y profesora del taller durante 5 años consecutivos y cada año organizaba planes vacacionales. Durante esta época estudié Educación, mención social, y lo aprendido me ayudaba a enriquecer mi trabajo.
El taller se cerró en el 2014, año en el decidí venirme a vivir a Costa Rica, un país que me llamó mucho la atención por el mantenimiento de las áreas verdes y respeto a la naturaleza. Al llegar aquí, trabajé junto con la ONG ASORED-Infantil ejecutando talleres de arte- terapia en escuelas vulnerables. Luego trabajé durante 4 años en una institución educativa en Playas del Coco, siendo profesora de Español, Cultura General, Artes Plásticas e instructora de acrobacias aéreas.
Datos curiosos: durante tres años fui voluntaria en la ONG Doctor Yaso- Payasos de hospital. Me gusta dirigir y crear shows de danza aérea.Disfruto hacer deporte, caminar en medio de la naturaleza y viajar. Amo las artes visuales en general, pero la práctica que más me conecta es la alfarería.
Ahora me siento muy emocionada por el cambio, pertenecer a la comunidad de Del Mar Academy y reír y enriquecerme con sus estudiantes.
¡Gracias por la oportunidad!
VICKY TWYFORD / (Upper Elementary Teacher)
Ms. Vicky has a master’s degree in Education and a bachelor’s degree’s in Art. Miss Vicky has been teaching at DMA for eleven years, since the school’s opening. She was awarded a scholarship at Virginia Wesleyan College and through university meetings and seminars, helped encourage single mothers to further their education. She taught at a public school in Virginia for 15 years. Vicky has two sons—Trevor, who is a medical physicist working with proton therapy treatment for cancer patients in Oklahoma City, OK, and Tyler, who is the environmental educator for the James River Parks and Recreation Center in Richmond, VA. After living in Virginia her entire life, Ms. Vicky made the big change to Costa Rica and the Pura Vida lifestyle with two suitcases, her dog Rocky, and her surfboard.
GABRIELA MENA / (Upper Elementary Teacher and Student Counselor)
Ms. Gaby is a Costa Rican teacher and psychologist who has worked with kids on and off for almost 18 years, starting as a volunteer when she was 15 years old. Her experience helped her to understand she had a vocation for education and child support. She holds a bachelor's degree in Language Teaching and Translation; and also a bachelor's and postgraduate degree in Psychology both from Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología (ULACIT). In her professional experience she has taught all the subjects in elementary; also life skills, including the creation of a sexual education and drug awareness program for middle school & high school students. She has been working very closely with directors and parents to improve and create programs related to the students’ needs and interests, enhancing and evolving institutions and their expectations. She supported the counseling department for two different schools, introducing IEP programs, ESL and SSL programs. She has experience with Costa Rican schools, reinforcing the MEP requirements, but also with international accredited school by SACS that use the United States educational system. For Ms. Gaby it is very rewarding to help students feel safe and capable of learning, allowing them to discover everything they are able to do in life, which is anything they set in their minds to do. In her personal life she recognized the benefits of Yoga and wanted to integrate it to her students’ practices. She decided to become a yoga instructor and has been teaching yoga for 5 years, inside and outside of the classroom. We believe Gabby is a good fit for our community because she has the profile, loves children, yoga, surfing, and cooking.
ANABELLE ÁLVAREZ / (Upper Elementary Teacher)
Ms. Anabelle holds a bachelor and a “licenciatura” or postgraduate degree in Elementary
Education from the University of Costa Rica. She is a bilingual Nosarian who has ample
experience in managing businesses. After some time of being outside the classroom Anabelle is
very excited to return where her background and heart belongs: teaching children. She hopes to
inspire children. Many of her organizational skills including planning and prioritizing, fostering
organization and instilling time management, important functional skills for the development of
our new generations. We are very happy to support a great member of our community to
become part of the Del Mar Academy team.
SUGELY BARRANTES / (Upper Elementary Assistant)
Sugely has lived her whole life in Playa Garza and has been part of Del Mar Academy for many years now. After spending some time in Toddler and Casa she is now part of the Upper Elementary Team. What she enjoys the most is helping the students with creative and artistic projects, and folklore dances. She has two daughters, one of them (Tihanny) attends second grade at Del Mar.
DAVID ABRAMOVICI / (Math Teacher)
David Abramovici Polo - Matemática 4to a 7mo - país de origen - Mexico
Soy oriundo de una pequeña comunidad judía en Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. Ahí estudié la primaria y secundaria en un colegio donde los grupos eran muy pequeños, el mío era de 7 personas. Al terminar la preparatoria viajé a Israel por 1 año para aprender aspectos de educación no formal, liderazgo, humanismo, entre otras cosas. Después estudié la carrera de psicología en la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.
Al terminar la carrera comencé a trabajar como maestro en la preparatoria 15 Madero por 2 años, mientras estudiaba mi maestría en docencia en la misma Universidad.
Al terminar la maestría comencé a trabajar en el Instituto Anglo Británico. Impartí clases de matemáticas a grupos de 6°, 7° y 8° mientras que era mentor de alumnos de 9°.
Me gustan mucho los deportes, en especial el soccer y el basquetbol, así como jugar videojuegos y caminar en la naturaleza o actividades al aire libre. Me gusta mucho trabajar en el ámbito educacional ya que tengo la posibilidad de ayudar a más personas a la vez, así como de causar un impacto positivo para la comunidad y para la sociedad.
MICHELLE CASTRO / (Lower Elementary Assistant)
Ms. Michelle is originally from San José , but has lived in Nosara for the past 10 years. This is her second year assisting the Lower Elementary program. At present, she is studying at the Universal Estatal a Distancia (UNED) at Nicoya, and she wants to graduate in the field of education or pharmacy. She loves to learn new things to she can teach her students. During her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, playing with her pets, and listening to music.
EFRAÍN AVILÉS / (Lower Elementary Assistant)
Mr. Efrain was born in Nicoya, Guanacaste and has lived in Nosara for years. He earned his school diploma from the Bocas de Nosara High School and has a degree by the Institute of National Learning (INA) in Tourism and Services. Before working for DMA, Mr. Efraín worked at Blue Spirit Retreat Center for two years. He loves children and believes that working at DMA has been one of his greatest experiences. He is currently studying Eduactional Sciences in the Universidad Católica de Costa Rica and his dream is to become a Montessori Teacher. He loves all the nature that sorrounds him and on his free time he likes to take a walk on the beach or take a ride on his motorcycle.
ANNABETH JENSEN / (Montessori Coordinator and 1-3rd Grade Teacher)
Annabeth Jensen is our new Montessori coordinator and 1-3rd grade teacher. With over 25 years of experience in a variety of school and geographic setting (Including California, Oregon, Maryland) Annabeth brings a wealth of experience and expertise as a teacher, as a teacher of teachers and as a consultant and administrator. A certified Montessori teacher with dozens of additional training courses, she originally did a BA in Psychology from Reed College and a Masters in Education from Loyola College in Maryland she comes to Del Mar to help us take the Montessori program to the next step in our long tradition of Montessori excellence! We welcome Annabeth and her husband Scott to our school and the Nosara community.
MELANIE KNEZICH / (Montessori 1-3rd Grade Teacher)
Born in New Jersey, I spent my formative years reading, gardening and growing up in an old Victorian home with my family. I spent my adolescence and college years in Florida, having my curiosity piqued by the twin studies of ecology and studying the natural world of the Atlantic ocean, marine estuaries, and saltwater marshes of St. Augustine. Majoring in Linguistics, I started my career teaching abroad in English and International Schools in South Korea, Japan, and Myanmar. Throughout these travels, I enjoyed writing, studying foreign languages and neurolinguistics. Returning home to the States, I earned my Montessori teaching certificate for the Elementary years (6- 12 years old). I enjoy reading science fiction, crafting, travel and tabletop games. I am keen to join the diverse, international community at Del Mar Academy.