The heart of the Puerta Abierta begins with our local staff of over a dozen dedicated, enthusiastic and innovative educators, many who have been a part of the Puerta Abierta family for over a decade.
Juanita began volunteering at the Puerta Abierta as a high-school student and quickly connected with our programs. In addition to working at the Puerta Abierta, Juanita is a registered psychologist and collaborates with a mental health initiative in our community called IX Colibri. She enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her family (she is the eldest of four sisters) and reading. Juanita feels fortunate to work in her community where she can support the formation of young leaders. She believes in using empathy, education and positive energy to generate a movement for a more just and equal world for all.
Amanda taught bilingual elementary education in Oakland, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a focus in education and Spanish. Amanda arrived in Guatemala in 2003 as a Peace Corps volunteer. While she never imagined that she would be planting her roots in rural Guatemala, she couldn’t be happier living in a colorful rural village with her husband, two rambunctious daughters and equally rambunctious dogs. Amanda feels fortunate to have work that is creative, meaningful, and keeps her connected to the playful spirit of children.
Candelaria began at the Puerta Abierta as a volunteer while she was in high school. She has evolved into the lead primary school teacher at our center and recently graduated from university with a degree in school administration. She loves math and recently became our math coach at the Puerta Abierta. In addition to working with our school, Candelaria also coordinates the Reading Circle program with the Sparks Foundation. When she is not working, she loves to spend time with her family, read books and learn about computers.
Febe has been collaborating at the Puerta Abierta for many years, first as a volunteer and now as a preschool teacher. She’s full of energy, smiles and love. In her free time she likes to design clothes, go to the gym and listen to music. Febe graduated from university in 2021 with a specialization in working with children with learning challenges.
Isabel is fun, creative and dynamic. She is our kindergarten teacher and garden coordinator. Isabel began volunteering at Puerta Abierta in 2017 and soon after, she joined our teaching team. She is a talented storyteller and loves her students like a family. Currently she is studying social work at the university and hopes to initiate innovative projects for the development of her community. Isa describes herself as simple, humble and always open to new opportunities.
Pedro is one of the new teachers at La Puerta Abierta. He loves music, books, jokes, agriculture, and is a member of the puppeteer group Rixwach de Santiago Atitlán. In his free time he plays his guitar, tells stories, designs puppets, and grows tomatoes and chiles.
Chonita joined our team at the Puerta Abierta in our first year of existence and has helped shape our literacy programs, preschool classes, early stimulation classes, and the Traveling Library. Three things that bring joy to Chonita are painting, embroidering, and interacting with children.
Ana first learned about the Puerta Abierta when she enrolled her son in our preschool. She began collaborating with our programs as a parent volunteer and now she is a lead teacher. She describes herself as enthusiastic, creative, fun and happy. Ana enjoys reading children’s books, cooking and aerobic dancing. She is also studying education at the university.
Chonita is our newest teacher at the Puerta Abierta. In addition to teaching 3rd grade, she also coordinates our Mothers’ Artisan Group and helps our school develop our Tzutujil curriculum. Chonita recently graduated from the university with a degree in educational administration.
Susana has been working at the Puerta Abierta for three years. In particular, she loves teaching grammar. Susana describes herself as friendly, quiet, active, responsible and eager to learn new things every ay. This year Susana teaches fourth grade.
Mari is a graduate of the Maia Impact Program that cultivates young female leaders to be agents of change in their community. Mari is passionate about music, fashion, art and nature. She is studying psychology at the university. In her free time, she can often be found walking her adorable black dog, Noche.
David has been offering exercises to our students since the beginning of the Puerta Abierta. He shares classes that are challenging, innovative and fun with our students. David also offers swimming classes in our community. He is a true renaissance man – a talented carpenter, a passionate gardener and a loving father. David’s dream is to become a specialist in recreation and extracurricular activities for children and families.
Antonio is the newest member of our team. He has been working with language tutors, especially English, in different institutions and communities in Guatemala. He considers himself a dynamic, creative, responsible person and who feels a lot of love for humanity. In addition to teaching English at the Puerta Abierta, Antonio also works with our Artisan Mothers Group and the Puerta Abierta store.
Lesly is new to the Puerta Abierta this year. She is working in our administrative office where she supports parents, students and teachers with a variety of tasks. She is also a physiotherapist and meets with patients during the afternoons. In her free time, Lesly likes to walk, exercise and learn new skills. She looks forward to meeting families, friends and volunteers at the Puerta Abierta.
Martha is an assistant to our preschool teachers. She helps prepare materials, teach classes and support our students. Martha is happy, responsible and open to learning new teaching strategies.
This year Juana will be collaborating in Puerta Abierta developing English classes and accompanying students with special learning needs. She is fascinated by the fine arts, drawing, experimenting with different coffee preparations, riding her bike, and exploring nature. On Saturdays she works as a barista and translator (English - Spanish - Tzutujil) at CoAtitlán, a cooperative that specializes in coffee.