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Our Team

LIFE International School boasts of a highly qualified staff. Our excellent teachers are specially certified to teach academics to students whose first language is not English. All staff is certified in CPR and First Aid and have their food handling license in Spain.

Director of LIFE

Walter Hopkins

Walter is from New York. He has a degree in Education, Spanish Language, and French with a Master’s degree in Spanish Language. He has taught Spanish and French to children from fifth grade to university students. For six years he was the deputy director of the Spanish as a Second Language program at Michigan State University and for three and a half years he was a professor at Houghton College where, in addition to language classes, he taught pedagogy, linguistics, and second language acquisition.
Assistant Director and Elementary Instructional Support

Laura Hopkins

Laura grew up in Brazil and the United States. She began her career in education as an elementary teacher and reading specialist. In 2018, she completed a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education at Michigan State University. For three years she worked as an Assistant Professor of Education at Houghton College where she mentored developing and early-career teachers. Primarily teaching courses in elementary education and language and literacy at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
Assistant Director and Curriculum Coordinator

Carol Paige

Carol started her educational career as a school social worker in Williamsburg, Virginia. Over the past 13 years, she served in schools in the country of Paraguay as a social worker and teacher. Most recently as the secondary school principal and director of curriculum and instruction at Asunción Christian Academy. Carol holds a master’s degree in Social Work and an Ed.S. post-master’s degree in Christian Education Leadership. She completed a Ph.D. in Christian Education Leadership.
Finance Manager

Ana Maria Veloza Berdugo

Annie was born and raised in Colombia. She has studied Economics at the Javeriana University of Colombia and her experience has been developed between Colombia and Chile in business administration, management control and finance. She has worked as an analyst in financial processes, business administrator and later as a business consultant in technology companies for implementing information systems in management control and reporting processes.
Marketing Manager

Natalia Amuchástegui Lehr

Natalia was born and raised in Argentina She attended an innovative, bilingual educational high school which sparked her interest in individualized instruction. She studied Marketing at UADE in Buenos Aires; and in 2002 she moved to Madrid where she pursued her professional career in Marketing at several renowned technology multinationals. She has a Master’s Degree in Business Intelligence, and has served in various roles in the LIFE project since 2015.
IT Manager

Logan James

Preschool Teacher

Paola Catalán

Paola holds a double B.A. in French Language & Culture and in International Business Administration. Soon after graduation, she began her learning adventure in education at a Korean American School in Guatemala. Once back in the USA, where she grew up, she continued her journey, mainly focusing on Spanish language acquisition and immersion programs at the elementary level in the Texas public school system. Having a strong interest in language, cultural studies, she then completed her M.A. in Spanish Language & Culture from the University of Salamanca, Spain. She now joins LIFE excited to teach kids so that they can grow up surrounded by love, all while excelling in all of their academic goals & life purposes.
Preschool Teacher

Addison Urfer

She has an associate degree in early childhood education from Illinois Central College. She has worked in the field of early childhood education since 2014 working with ages birth-5years in a classroom setting for 7 years and as an assistant director for 1 year. She loves children’s natural curiosity about the world around them and seeing them grow in knowledge and confidence in their abilities.
Elementary Teacher

Samantha Johnson

Samantha is a specialist in English language immersion, as well as teaching through fun and nature. She has been working with Linguistic Immersion method in the Spanish private school system for six years. A native of Jamaica, she has a master’s degree in Social Education from the Complutense University of Madrid.
Elementary Teacher

Alba Vidrier

Alba was born in Valencia. Her passion for the English language took her to the United Kingdom, where she spent three years. Alba loves working with children, and she has been teaching English since she got her degree in English studies at the University of Valencia & Nottingham Trent University.
Elementary Teacher

Rachel Bier

She received her B.A. in Elementary Education from McDaniel College (MD) in 2021 and has been working as a substitute teacher in grades K-12 since 2018. Most recently, she was a fifth-grade teacher in her hometown. She is a Google Certified Educator, so she loves finding new ways to incorporate technology into lessons and encouraging discovery and inquiry-based learning.
Elementary Teacher

Toyin Olukoya

Elementary Teacher

Lilah Castle

Lilah recently graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida with a B.S. in Elementary Education. Her degree contains a focus on English language learners, Christian education, and reading acquisition. She has been volunteering and substitute teaching in a variety of elementary classes since her senior year of high school. After previously student teaching with LIFE, she is very excited to continue to inspire students to be life-long learners through teaching sixth grade.
Spanish History and Language Teacher

Marta Jiménez

Marta has degrees in Theology and Primary Education from the University Complutense in Madrid. She has more than 20 years of experience working with children in various contexts, including serving as a camp director and coordinator of humanitarian trips to Romania and India, serving in schools and orphanages. She has worked as a primary school teacher since 2008, including 4 years teaching in a bilingual school in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States.
Music and Technology Teacher

Charis Schneeberger

Charis is the music and art teacher for PK-7th grade students. She received her degree in Music Education from a Bible University in Missouri after 5 years of study and a semester of student teaching. She has taught K-6 Music at an inner-city school for 2 years. She is running our music program and technology classes.
Preschool Aide and ELL Instruction

Doreen Riedel

Doreen has a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) from New Zealand Tertiary College. She is also certified in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 4) from ARA Institute in Christchurch, New Zealand. For the past 16 years, she has worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in Madrid and has experience teaching all ages and levels of English.
PE Teacher

Olivia Palasek

Social Studies and Bible Teacher

Donald Paige

Donald has a Bachelor degree in History. He worked at a living history museum in Williamsburg, Virginia as a Journeyman Silversmith and taught Colonial and Revolutionary War history. For 13 years he worked and learned from the silversmiths in Asunción del Paraguay as well as taught secondary social studies at Asuncion Christian Academy before coming to LIFE.
Middle School English Language Arts Teacher

Elizabeth Patton

Elizabeth is the sixth through ninth grade English language arts teacher. After earning a B.A. in English from The University of Alabama, Elizabeth moved to Memphis, Tennessee, for the Memphis Teacher Residency program. She earned her master’s degree in Urban Education from Union University and taught middle school in Memphis for five years. She loves sharing her passion for books with her students.
Spanish Language and Literature Teacher

Pilar Bargueño Portillo

Secondary Math Teacher

Name

Secondary Science Teacher

Trisha Birr

Trisha is from South Dakota. She has a B.S. in Secondary Science Education and Christian Studies from Crown College. While in the United States, she worked as a library associate in an inner city high school and as an aide in a Spanish-immersion preschool. She spent 8 years teaching middle and high school science in Prague, Czech Republic at an international Christian school. She also has experience as an athletic coordinator and enjoys coaching and playing different sports.
Learning Support Coordinator

Jessica Kim

Jessica was born in Madrid into a missionary family. She grew up in different countries and her exposure to different cultures has made it easy for her to build bridges of trust, understanding and respect with those around her. She has a degree in Pedagogy from the Complutense University of Madrid and has a specialization in the attention of students with special needs and learning difficulties. She strongly believes in inclusive education, where everyone can learn at their own pace.
Preschool Aide

Noelle Camenish

Noelle is a recent graduate from Ethnos360 Bible Institute, where she received her associates in biblical studies. Since a little girl, she has desired to work overseas. She is excited to learn from the wonderful teachers at LIFE and to get to know the children there as she works as an assistant teacher!
Councelor and Student Advocate

Marilyn Westergren

Marilyn Westergren and her husband Tim have lived in Tres Cantos for 28 years and are the founders of the Association Global Ventures and the directors of the annual Global Ventures English Camp in Tres Cantos from 2004-2016. Marilyn has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and a Master in Counseling.
Kitchen Supervisor and Cook

Beatriz Troisi Murias

Betty is trained as a Chemical Technician and worked for 10 years as a Microbiologist in the National Institute of Microbiology and the pharmaceutical labs in Argentina. In addition, she has worked as a baker and has volunteered with Global Ventures in Tres Cantos, helping with catering during the English Camp, as well as organizing workshops and activities for children and adults.
Administrative support

Name

Marketing and Social Media

Megan James

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