Born in Liverpool, England, I am an educator, musician and writer. At school I studied languages ancient and modern, and majored in Theatre at Metropolitan University, Manchester, England, England. With an American dad and British mum, I spent time in both the US and UK before settling in Portland, Oregon in 1989. I am married, with three grown children, a daughter and two stepdaughters.
I graduated from Concordia University's Masters of Education in TESL(Teaching English as a Second Language) program in 2010. For my practicum, I lived in South Central Mexico teaching middle, high school and adult learners. Since graduation, I have taught students from every continent. I teach all levels.
Many of my students have been Spanish-speakers from Mexico and Central and South America. My teaching practice focuses on providing students with real, hands-on activities and materials from the Social Studies content area to facilitate their transition to the host culture.
I am an active member of my community and enjoy seeing students, neighbors and friends discover local resources and activities that enhance participation and collaboration. This is an exciting time in history that affords us the opportunity to learn, grow and share as we deepen our collective knowledge of the world and our place in it.
My name is Juan Enrique Rodríguez Figueroa. Education: Professor of Secondary Education at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala; Degree in Education and Human Rights, also at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala-City. I have enjoyed teaching at public and private schools in Panajachel and being technical director at the College EDUCASA, CEEDUCCA and PCI in Panajachel.
My name is Isabella Fassi and I am from the neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri with the best food - The Hill! I have a B.A. in sociology from the University of Missouri in Kansas City where I worked as a tutor, ESL instructor, youth advocate, and teacher's aide. I also majored in Spanish and spent time studying in Spain. After graduating from UMKC, I moved to Chikwawa, Malawi where I taught English Language and Literature for two years in a secondary school in a rural village called Mitekete.
I believe that studying languages and literature invites us to enter new worlds, consider new viewpoints, and discover new insights about ourselves. I look forward to working with students at PCI to travel across time and borders through written and spoken word, and on the way, gain practical skills to prepare them for their academic futures.
I am happy to call Panajachel my current home and I try to get out and about as much as I can. I enjoy hiking, running, and, above all, playing soccer.
After studying Engineering Physics at Cornell University, I worked for The U.S. Patent Office. I had not been there long when I attended an inspiring presentation by Buckminster Fuller. He spoke about personal integrity, the environment, architecture, and geometry. Back at The Patent Office, I read all of Fuller's patents and I started building models of some of his architectural innovations.
I soon left DC to help develop sustainable technology at The New Alchemy Institute on Cape Cod. Meanwhile, I continued to experiment with Fuller's ideas, especially a structural concept he called "tensegrity." I founded a company to make an educational toy for building tensegrity models. After several years of this, I returned to school for my M.A. degree in Curriculum and Teaching.
I then spent 13 years teaching mathematics in high school and community college. In 2008, I created an engineering academy within an inner-city high school. I worked in that academy for six years teaching physics, engineering, and robotics. Frustrated by the state of education in the U.S., I moved to Panajachel in 2014 to teach math, physics, robotics, and engineering at PCI. My main passions are teaching, inventing, sustainable technology, and building and fixing stuff.
I am Sandra (Sandy) Schreffler. I was born in Guatemala City and moved to New York when I was 13. I earned my B.A. degree from Adelphi University in New York, majoring in Spanish, French and Secondary Education. I taught High School and after a number of years, returned to school at the University of Houston, where I earned a Masters degree in Spanish. I also earned a teaching fellowship to the University of Florida, where I received my Ph.D. degree, with specialties in Spanish, Linguistics, and Second Language Acquisition.
I have taught at Texas A&I University in Kingsville, TX, New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, Pittsburg State University in Kansas, The University of Connecticut, and Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. During my time at Pittsburg State, one of the main training centers for High School teachers in Kansas, my responsibilities included training foreign language teachers-to-be and supervising their student teaching and teaching methods for effective language teaching. At Istanbul Technical University, I was the Dean of the School of Foreign Languages where I also held workshops for more than 100 English instructors on teaching methodology and techniques for effective classroom management, and while at Roger Williams University I was Acting Dean of the School of Education, prior to joining the Language Department and teaching methodology to future teachers. I retired from active teaching in 2012 and returned with my husband to Guatemala.
I have returned to teaching because I enjoy sharing my knowledge with students. I remain in touch with many of the students I taught back in the U.S., some who have visited me here in Panajachel.
I am passionate about education, I have been teaching for over fifteen years and have also been the director of private schools. I believe in the importance of teaching students to develop their emotional intelligence as part of a comprehensive education to be successful people in different areas of your life.
I have been teaching Spanish, Literature Seminar in PCI for four years, during which time we received congratulations from the Minister of Education to achieve one of the highest levels of reading in Guatemala.
Working in PCI has been one of the best experiences as a professional, for many reasons, I mention only a few: I love to see how children from different nations and cultures live together in harmony, respect and love each other like family; I like to be part of teachers giving importance to everyone, not only as a student but as a person providing the help and support they need.
I come from the small town of Dissen in North-Western Germany. After graduating from high school, I moved to Cologne, Germany, to study History, German Literature, and Middle Eastern Studies. During my time as a student, I developed a passion for travelling and foreign cultures. In a quest to learn Arabic, I lived in Cairo, Egypt, and Beirut, Lebanon, and, briefly, in Istanbul, Turkey, where I met my Guatemalan partner. Together we lived a year in Vancouver, Canada, before eventually moving to Panajachel in 2013. In the summer of 2014, I graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Cologne, with my thesis on the coup d’état in Guatemala in 1954.
Since then I have been a freelance editor and translator, working on manuscripts of students and academics of all subject areas, thereby gathering a wide range of knowledge, which I am very excited to put to use at PCI! Apart from teaching mere facts, I hope to spark curiosity for the world and passion for everything cultural!
In addition to travelling and history, I enjoy hiking—especially volcanoes—, good food, literature, drawing and painting, and football.
My name is Brett Michael Labo. I am from Jacksonville, Florida, and I have a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Florida. In 2011, I served for two years and three months as a Food Security and Agriculture volunteer in Nicaragua through the Peace Corps. Service taught me the importance of diversity, sustainability, humility, and the value of teaching.
In August 2015, I chose to return to the Peace Corps Response, a program for professionals and served as an Agriculture Specialist for four months in Nahuala, Guatemala. I worked alongside local counterparts, building greenhouses and teaching farmers how to grow tomatoes and bell peppers. During that time, I visited Panajachel many times and enjoyed myself tremendously.
This past summer, I worked as a trip leader for Rustic Pathways, a youth, outdoor, adventure program. I mentored international high school students on community-service trips in Laos and Thailand. The students and I helped build bathrooms, kitchens, and schools for rural communities.
All of my adventures and volunteer experiences have shown me the importance of community, being a positive role-model, and empowering others. Every opportunity I had to teach was deeply rewarding and led me on my current path. Math has always been my passion, and I am so thrilled to teach at PCI.
BS in Biology & Chemistry
Graduate Studies in Earth & Environmental Science
Graduate Teaching Program in Secondary Science
I am a licensed secondary science teacher.
I have worked in Egypt, South Africa, Peru, China and Kosovo.
Teaching is about students; understanding them and helping them achieve their potential.
I connect with the local community to facilitate my understanding of the culture, language and goals for their children’s’ futures. I’ve learned so much from all the local communities over the years that I’m eternally indebted to my students for teaching me how to be a better teacher; the local teachers for helping me understand how to better serve their needs; and my colleagues for sharing their expertise with me.
I look forward to teaching at Panajachel Colegio International.
Hi, my name is Paulo Enrique Díaz Aguilar. I grew up in Panajachel, especially in "Barrio Norte". I studied in Sololá and then studied in Quiche and I graduated with my degree in physical education.. I am happily married with two children, one is five years old and the other one is a year and a half years old. I am proud to be a father and I work for them. In P.E. this year I plan to teach why physical activity is so important for our health and well being. Some people think it is a waste of time, but being activity is a value for our whole life. I want to focus in football and basketball because I know that the PCI students have a really big potential so I will train them and try to make them champions. We will also learn other physical games and activities.
Art is the communication medium of our soul, in which we show how we see, feel, and interpret the world. Knowledge of art also allows us to learn to accept criticism, to be constructive critics, and above all to interpretation of different cultures.
I studied architecture at the University Rafael Landivar in Guatemala City and worked as a professor at secondary and university levels. I am passionate about reading and bird watching, both as art and the relationship it has had throughout history to religion, culture and society, but mostly I like to share it so that others appreciate it.
I hope that with my teachings PCI's students understand the potential importance of the art in their lives in the enjoyment and relaxation that it brings. In addition, I hope to develop their critical thinking and creativity, but above all for tolerance, recognition and acceptance of individuality that every human being permeates his artistic expression.
Hello! My full name is Juana Acabal Itzep. If you want, you can call me Juanita. I am from a small town from the North which is called Chel. My city is Chajul, Quiché. I speak Quiche, Spanish and English. I graduated as a Bilingual Secretary in October 2008, in “Escuela de Ciencias comerciales” located in Chichicastenango. In 2009 and 2011 I worked as Secretary for a boarding school called “Internado de Niñas Indigenas” in Chichicastenango. In this boarding school I had the opportunity to get to know more about my country. The different cultures, languages and clothing. During parts of 2011 and 2013 I lived in Wausau, Wisconsin, USA, studying Business Management at the Northcentral Technical College, with a scholarship that was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). After my scholarship, I worked as a translator for groups and individuals in Antigua Guatemala, Quetzaltenango and Panajachel. 2014, I had the honor to join PCI. I am very happy and exited to start this year with a positive attitude. It is my pleasure to help you!
Membership of the Board of Trustees will vary over time. Below are the current and founding members. Their principal responsibilities are to guarantee the financial stability of the school and to make it into the best educational facility that it can be. Legally, the school is a non-profit Asociacion Civil, and its finances will be transparent to all interested parties.