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OUr Staff

Our People


Bryan van Scoyk 


Bryan is originally from Thousand Oaks, California. He enjoys writing, reading, traveling, cooking, and hiking. Prior to his time in Guatemala, he worked in international education in Europe and North America. He has been at LIFE School since 2018 and feels extremely motivated by the wonderful students and staff he gets to work with every day.


Carmen Díaz
dministrative Coordinator

Born in Panajachel, a business administrator, Carmen has been part of Life School for six years as the mother of a student and has been part of the Life School staff as the Administrative Coordinator since 2018.  She very much enjoys being part of an educational project that helps the Panajachel community.


Loida Betía Ajiquichí

Technical Director & Spanish Teacher

Loida Betía Ajiquichí Sicajau is originally from Panajachel, Sololá. She is an elementary teacher studying a second career to be a Pedagogical High School Teacher in Educational Administration at a local University. Loida’s eleven years of experience have been served with dedication and love in various local schools, and she has been at LIFE School since 2015. Becoming friends with her students is very special to her, as well as having a unique time learning and sharing interesting things with them every day. She has loved the opportunity of teaching and learning at the same time and now that she is part of LIFE School, she has new friends with whom to learn. 


Maria Elena Criado 


Maria Elena Criado Quiacaín is from San Pedro La Laguna. She graduated from Colegio Liceo Sitsematico Integral Lisi in San Juan La Laguna as a bilingual secretary. Maria Elena is now a university student studying the areas of Secondary Teacher in Administration and School Administration. Maria Elena joined LIFE School’s administrative team as the Secretary in 2014, and she is happy to be part of the LIFE family.


Elvia Verónica Muj Bal

Kaqchikel & Spanish Teacher

Elvia joined LIFE School in 2012 as our Kaqchikel and 4th/6th Spanish teacher. She lives here with her daughter, son, and husband. They are originally from San Juan Comalapa. Elvia is currently studying education at La Universidad de San Carlos in Sololá. Elvia loves teaching Kaqchikel and Spanish languages and the Guatemalan culture, and she also teaches Art to our Pre-K students. 


Esthela Solis Suy 

Maintenance Staff

Esthela is from Patanatic, Solola. She speaks Quiche and Spanish. She loves to cook and play soccer. She is very happy to be part of the LIFE school community, where she has been contributing along with her husband Luis and son Bryan since 2011.


Jose Luis Queche Hernandez

Jose Luís is the school’s Jack-of-all-trades. He is from Panajachel and enjoys being a member of the LIFE School community along with his wife and son, who is a proud graduate of the school. He has been at LIFE School since 2011.

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Damaris Ajiquichí

Spanish Teacher

Damaris is from Panajachel, Sololá. She graduated from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala in Intercultural and Bilingual Primary Education, and is currently continuing her studies in social work. Helping children from other towns in Guatemala in their learning makes her reflect and understand different areas of accessibility in education, and she therefore does her best to make learning meaningful.


Omar De León

Physical Education Teacher

Omar has been a PE teacher since 2012 and he is currently finishing his last semester to receive his license in PE, Sports, and Recreation. He loves to learn, teach, and share knowledge and he loves bringing happiness into the lives of his children through his classes. He is motivated to contribute to the education in his municipality and his country, and he is happy to be a part of LIFE School where he can impact many students. 


Josías Queché

Technology and Communication Teacher

Originally from Panajachel, he graduated from high school with a specialty in computing. He is currently studying a Bachelor's degree in Design and Communication at the Galileo University and is in the process of graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Pedagogy and Educational Administration at the Universidad Panamericana. He seeks to ensure that the learning can be applied to real life; he is motivated that students can use what they learn in class in other areas.


Alicia Mariela Saloj Bocel

Yard Duty

Alicia is from Sololá, and is a teacher with a specialization in learning disabilities. She recently acquired her license in psychopedagogy and is interested in the formative stages and the well being of her students. She is very grateful and happy to be part of LIFE School. 

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Yulisa Tuis

Yard Duty

Yulisa is a PE Teacher from Panajachel. Her passion is teaching and learning and is currently receiving her license in Physical Education, Sports, and Recreation. She is a beginner's basketball coach who loves seeing the smile on students' faces when they learn something new. She believes that respect and empathy are two of the most important characteristics that we can have, and she loves sharing that with her students. 

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Maggy De León

Yard Duty

Margaret is an enthusiastic and energetic teacher. She was born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Passionate for knowledge, she’s been interested in studying human development with studies in psychology as well as a degree certifying her as a music teacher.
She’s interested in matching her passions with community service. 
She has experience as an Art, Psychology, Philosophy, and English teacher, and she is continuing her studies as a sworn translator. She is also interested in impacting human lives in areas such as Psychology and Mindfulness.


Silvia Saminez

Párvulos A and B

Silvia is from Monte Mercedes, Sololá. She graduated from the Sololateca Integral College of Infant Education. She also graduated with a degree as a high school teacher from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala. Since 2014 she has been part of LIFE school as a Kinder A teacher, and she really loves imparting knowledge. 


Abigail May

Párvulos A and B, Primary Art

Abigail is a passionate educator and a lifelong learner. She began teaching in her hometown in Virginia when she was 22, shortly after completing an undergraduate degree in elementary education and theatre. After six years of teaching pre-k and kindergarten in Virginia public schools, Abigail made the move to a private school in Guatemala City. She quickly fell in love with the country, especially Lake Atitlan. She also has a certificate in gifted and talented instruction. One of her greatest joys is teaching young learners through play. When she is not teaching she is knitting sweaters, baking vegan desserts, and walking her dog Lucy. Abigail and Lucy are very excited to make Panajachel their new home.


Daniella Easter

Párvulos C, Science

The daughter of an American father and a Guatemalan mother, Daniella was born and raised in Sololá. She likes to play sports,  read, write, and sing, but she especially loves teaching and helping others. She is a graduated English Teacher and has been teaching since 2017 and joined LIFE School in 2020. She is motivated by the passion she feels when she sees her students improve and internalize their knowledge.


Jennifer Collins

1st Grade, Teacher Leader

Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Jennifer has been teaching for over ten years and she joined LIFE School in 2020. All of her teaching has been international in private schools, public schools and non-profit schools. She has taught kindergarten through grade six, with the bulk of her experience in kindergarten and first grade. Jennifer holds a degree in primary/junior education from the University of Queen’s in Kingston, Canada. She has lived in five countries other than Canada, with the bulk of her teaching career in Haiti. When not in the classroom, Jennifer loves reading, cooking and traveling. 

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Jeff Wilkins

2nd Grade

Jeff Wilkins comes from a small town in southern New Jersey and brings with him over a decade of teaching experience that he has gained from a variety of educational settings. While he holds a Master's degree in Special Education and is licensed to teach Kindergarten to 3rd grade, Jeff's experience extends to instructing students of all ages and levels. For the past ten years, he has had the privilege of teaching in Seoul, South Korea. When he's not teaching, Jeff enjoys a wide range of activities such as exercising, scuba diving, and playing board games. He can't wait to arrive in Guatemala and experience all that the country has to offer!


Molly Healy

3rd Grade, Teacher Leader

Originally from Boston, Ma, USA, Molly has been teaching for over ten years and she joined LIFE School in 2020.  She has worked in public and private schools both internationally and in the states. Molly has taught Pre-k through 5th , with the bulk of experience in first and second grade. She  is Montessori and ABA trained. Molly holds a degree in Humanities from Campion College in Sydney, Australia. She has lived and taught in many countries, most recently having taught in Myanmar. Molly is passionate about education and enjoys reading, writing, and traveling.


Milena Mladenović

4th Grade

Milena is an experienced Class Teacher with a demonstrated history of working in education management. She gained practice working in a primary school in Serbia, but also working on projects that are of national and international importance. Focused on the transformation of educational approaches, she has expertise as a STEAM dedicated teacher, as well as a Teacher trainer in areas of communication, conflict resolution, self-awareness and self-regulation methods in the classroom. Driven by the passion to support young ones to fulfill their potential and find joy in learning, she oriented her methodology towards project based learning, peer support learning and flipped classroom. She joined the staff at LIFE School in 2022. 

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Lauren Kremer

5th Grade

Lauren is very excited to start teaching at Life School! She is from Ontario, Canada and has spent the last 4 years in Ottawa. She has previously lived abroad several times in Europe, and is looking forward to exploring a new part of the world. Several of her teaching positions in Ottawa have involved her teaching English as a Second Language to children who have recently moved to Canada. She is excited to apply that knowledge in a different way in Panajachel, and learn from the students along the way. In her free time, Lauren likes to do craft projects, hike, and read.


Michael Timoney

Middle/High School Math & Science

Michael is originally from Belfast, Ireland. His first degree was in French and Spanish before he decided to move into education. He has been recently working with children with Special Educational Needs and has found it really inspiring. He loves teaching as it is never boring, and each day is different. He really enjoys seeing the growth in his pupils as learners and as human beings.

Outside of work, he loves cooking and eating new foods, learning new languages, reading and all kinds of sports (particularly basketball). He can’t wait to become a part of the team at LIFE School and the wider community in Panajachel.


Tilly Jagelski

6th/7th Grade ELA & Social Studies

Tilly is originally from the United States, but has grown up attending international schools around the world. She earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Theatre from Augustana University, and has spent the last year at the American International School of Abuja working with kindergarteners and third graders. She loves getting to know her students as individuals, and combining her passion for teaching and drama within the classroom. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, writing, baking, and watching cartoons. She's looking forward to being a part of the wonderful community at Panajachel!


Hansel Avendaño

7th/8th/9th Grade Math

Hansel was born right here in Panajachel and has lived here all his life. He originally studied Agroforestry Engineering and is currently doing his masters in Management of Sustainable Agriculture. His parents are both educators and so he has always had a love of teaching. Working with youth is something he really likes because of the results that come from instilling knowledge. In his free time he plays basketball and volleyball, and can often be found walking his dog by the lake. He also enjoys playing the drums. This is his second year working at LIFE School and he is excited to be back. 


Shannon Saunders

 8th/9th Grade ELA & Social Studies

Shannon Saunders is the new 8th and 9th grade English/Social Studies teacher at LIFE School. She is originally from Texas but was currently residing in New Orleans and teaching at the
International School of Louisiana before relocating with her family to Panajachel. Shannon brings over twenty years of teaching experience and is certified to teach English and English
Language Learners grades 6 - 12. Her passion for teaching and personal connections to the community in San Josè Ch’aqa’ Ya’ were the catalyst for embarking on this new adventure.
Some of Shannon’s hobbies include horseback riding, quilting, writing poetry, traveling, and playing board games.

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