(In alphabetical order by last name)
Tanya E. de Durán-Ballén
This is my 23rd year at Academia Cotopaxi. Through these years I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of children and their parents. Before coming to our school, I worked in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System in North Carolina. I graduated from the University of North Carolina with a Double Major in Child & Family Development and Psychology. Followed by my Master’s degree in School Psychology. Since then, I have supported children of all ages and their families. At Academia Cotopaxi, I have worked as the School Psychologist and for the past few years also as the PK-2nd grade counselor. I would like to run for the Board of Trustees to bring my knowledge of education, child and adolescent development, social-emotional well-being, and communication skills and above all, share my passion and care for the school and each of our students. During the past 23 years, I have participated once in the Board of Trustees, served in Board committees, and volunteered in many other school committees. I take the importance of keeping up to date with my profession seriously. I have participated in many relevant trainings like Parent Effectiveness, Neuro-Linguistic-Programing, and Floortime among others. I am also a member of the National Association of School Psychologist and of the American Association of School Counselors. The most important reason why I want to be part of the Board is because of my love for the school and our children. I want to be part of the planning for the school’s future.
Growing up in Yorkshire, I was given two very important gifts from my parents – roots and wings. I still strongly connect with my childhood and school was a large part of that, yet my parents gave me wings to explore and discover who I was. That gave me the confidence I needed to study mathematics at Cambridge University and continue with a PhD in Astrophysics at Durham University. My desire to spread my wings further lead me to move to Philadelphia in 2000 in order to work as Post-doctoral Research Professor at Drexel University and then as a tenured Associate Professor of Physics at Widener University (2004-2010). While dancing in a salsa club, I met Francisco, an Academia Cotopaxi alumnus. 8 years and 2 children later, we decided another change and challenge was needed. In 2010 we moved to Ecuador and in 2013 I started working at Academia Cotopaxi.
As well as teaching in the high school for the past four years, I have been involved with many activities, from participation in the International Festival, the Fun Run, playing in the school plays, running and participating in trips to the jungle. I have worked on the IB and NEASC accreditation process and served as a co-chair on writing the strategic plan for technology, which bought the BYOD programme to Academia Cotopaxi.
Now it is my turn to give roots and wings back to both my own children and the students that enter my classroom and I feel I can do this by serving on the board, as well as through teaching. My first priority is to ensure that all students have a positive experience at school so that the students feel rooted at Academia Cotopaxi. This feeling comes from the environment of the school, which is partly created by the leadership. Whenever decisions are taken at the board level, my vote will always be to make sure that the impact to students is as beneficial as possible, as I feel that the teacher representative serves both the staff and student body. Academia Cotopaxi students will receive wings through the diverse range of students that they encounter and by being served by a board that will ensure that Academia Cotopaxi remains a leader in education both within Ecuador and the world. I feel I have the educational and world experience to add a strong voice to the board decision making process.
This is my first year as a teacher at AC. I moved here with my husband Jordan Englehart, who is also a teacher at the school, and our daughter Olivia. Since arriving here in August, I have tried to dive in and get involved in any way I can! I have served on a re-accreditation committee, volunteered as a mentor for grade 3 students, and served as a member of the Rainbow Club Dialogue Committee. Prior to working at AC, I have worked teaching high school English in Kuwait, South Korea, and in my home state of Colorado. This is my 10th year as an educator, and I have taught at all levels, including at the university level. If I had to choose one word to describe myself, it would be a “communicator.” I find that personal conversations are powerful, and I strive to form personal connections with everyone I meet, even if it’s just learning a person’s name. I hold a master’s degree in Communication Studies, and I especially enjoyed studying how ideas are communicated through traditional means such as speeches, letters, and newspapers, as well as about how ideas are spread through personal conversations, gestures, signs, and symbols. I think my experience learning about ways to resolve conflict and engage ideas where there often seems to be no common ground really informs the kind of person I am, both at work and at home. I strongly believe in engaging conflict and facing it with an open ear and heart rather than hiding from it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a doer, and that I tackle challenges head-on. If there is an event to be planned, I’m often at the forefront. If there is a problem to be solved, I like to immerse myself in the process of working to solve it. I truly care about people and their ideas, and I like to believe that my greatest strength as a person and as a professional is my ability to see all sides of an issue. I would like to serve as a teacher representative on the Board of Trustees because I would like to bring these strengths to the Board, working to make it more open and responsive to the needs of the community. Since arriving at Academia Cotopaxi this past fall, I have fallen in love with the friendliness and cohesion of this community. I have never worked at a school that is so dedicated to its mission and so driven to improve. My husband and I enjoy the closeness of the community at AC, and we really feel we’ve found a home here for the next phase of our lives. I would like to bring my ideas, dedication, and passion for people and for communication to the Board to continue serving the community, not just as an educator, but as a parent to a young child in the IMAGINE program and a lover of what the school is trying to do.
I have been serving on the Board of Trustees for the past three years and would love to keep working for the future of the school. In these past three years, we have done amazing things for our school and I would very much like to continue being a part of this process with your help. We have also had conflicts, and it is in these conflicts where I have learned the most, and we as a community have come together. I am currently CEO of Aromcolor a family owned business that sells raw materials and specialized chemicals to a broad array of industries. I have a special connection to our school since I graduated from AC in 1994 after having been in the school since PK. I also have two daughters that leave every morning to school with a big smile they are currently in 3rd and 4th grade. Academia Cotopaxi has a very powerful mission statement and the biggest drive I have for working on the board is to help the school fulfill its mission and help as a link with our community. Academia Cotopaxi is diversity and I can relate to that very well as I am part Swiss, Colombian, Spanish and Ecuadorian. I enjoy Mountain Biking and Fencing, which I practiced and competed during my high school years at Cotopaxi. Amazing things are coming to the school and I am sure that with the experience and the dedication I have with the school I can contribute positively to this change.
1986-present: United States Air Force. I have served as an airman and officer in the U.S. Air Force for over thirty years. During my time I have led and commanded units of 65-120 people, all with a focus on accomplishing the organizational mission. During my time in the Air Force, I have led groups from 4 to 120 people, having to exercise small-group and large-group leadership skills. I am currently assigned to the U.S. Embassy as the Defense and Air Attaché.
2008-present: Boy Scouts of America volunteer. I help found two BSA units (one in North Carolina and one in Virginia) and was the senior adult leader for two additional units. I am a strong believer in the BSA model of leadership development, youth-led, adult-sponsored. I have help guide the development of hundreds of young men and women as a Pack, Troop and Crew adult leader. I was also the adult leader for an 11 person, 12-day backcountry backpacking trip in the New Mexican Rocky Mountains.
“Why do you want to serve on the Board of Trustees?” – I want to serve on the Board of Trustees to contribute to and help support the scholastic excellence I have seen in my time here in Ecuador. Academia Cotopaxi has given my children a wonderful education and life experience, so I feel a duty to help provide the same to the other families and their children. The most direct way I can help perpetuate the school and wonderful staff is by being a member of the board.
“How have you been involved with Academia Cotopaxi?” - In the one year we have been here, I have been an active listener and watcher of the goings-on at the school. I have been observing by attending after-school activities and presentations, weekend festivals, and attending a board meeting to better understand the school that our children attend. I have followed with much interest the activities of the past year and feel that I am now ready to be an active participant. Now is the time for me to stand up and participate in a more formal role as a board member.
I am the mother of 2 girls at Academia Cotopaxi, grades 11 and 9, and I am an alumna of the school from the class of ’92. I have served in the Israeli Armed Forces and graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Economics. I manage our family business but my most important work is as a mother. To my colleagues, friends and my daughters’ teachers, I am known as an advocate for academic excellence. The focus on academic excellence is what I wish to bring to the Board of Trustees. A school is only as good as its students, and these students are only as good as their teachers. We need to ask ourselves what we need to do as a school so as to attract the best teachers and ensure that they get the support they need, so they remain with us for as long as possible. My focus and determination both in the workplace and in my personal life will be valuable assets for the Board and our school.
María Belén Clavijo Rey
I am 37 years old, I am the mother of a beautiful child who studies at Academia Cotopaxi and I am a lawyer who has worked with multinationals and projects of national interest since 2004, when I founded my law firm.
I studied Law at the Catholic University, I also did a diploma in International Relations and Foreign Policy at FLACSO, as well as a Master's degree in legal argumentation at the University of Alicante in Spain and the University of Palermo in Italy.
I believe that my experience in analyzing different legal situations and the knowledge acquired during my years of study and professional practice will be of great help to the Institution and to the Board of Trustees.
In addition, personally I believe in the mission on which Academia Cotopaxi is based and I have seen from personal experience the great support system that it can provide.
Working today for a project that in the future can be shaped for a better generation is something I believe in and something in which I will be grateful to be able to commit myself.