MEET OUR TEAM
A Niños del Sol Eco School Teacher is a professional that passionately cares about the environment, understands the impact they have on a student and the community, and has a profound desire to learn and make connections for the betterment of our society.
Director and ECO Specialist
Joshua is the director of Niños del Sol Eco School. He is passionate about connecting the classroom pedagogy to the Earth, community, and the ocean. He has worked in education since 2007. Joshua began as a preschool teacher but has spent most of his career teaching 1st through 9th grade. He has tutored high school, university and professionals in math, chemistry, English and Spanish.
Joshua received a teaching degree from Eastern Washington University and began his teaching career in Santiago, Chile. There he taught science in international schools. He returned to the USA and taught as a science teacher before moving to Costa Rica to teach at Dolphin's Academy. He became the director of NDS in 2016 and developed the school from a home-school collective to an inspirational elementary school.
His mission is to create a paradigm shift in the educational system and the way schools develop curriculum. He looks forward to connecting our school in deeper ways to our ECO pillars and being a leader of positivity in our school and community.
MIRANDA ABBOTT WITTMAN
Early Education Specialist and Performing Arts Teacher
Miranda Abbott is a professional dancer and choreographer as well as an author, educator and workshop leader, specializing in teaching curriculum through dance, art and literature. She has provided workshops to hundreds of teachers and has taught thousands of children in Canada and Costa Rica.
Miranda is the creator of Dance Equations, a company that develops math dance programs with cross-curricular linkages for educators. Beyond Movement is the first of many educational resources developed and illustrated by Miranda to teach educators a new way of helping students understand complex mathematical concepts.
As the founder and chief artistic influence behind Event Horizon Dance, Miranda’s choreography focuses on math, science, philosophy and political themes. Her dance company has been featured on several radio and television programs and her dancers have performed at many musical theatre productions and festivals.
Miranda has written programs and resource materials for The Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre and the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto).
In addition Miranda is also a yoga teacher and teaches classes in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica through Coco Yoga and Wellness.
Elementary Lead Teacher
Jennifer is responsible for teaching English as both a primary and secondary language. She teaches Math, Science and Technology this year at NDS. Jennifer is a passionate teacher who has inspired elementary students for over 20 years. She is the elementary teacher of the year in the state of Georgia, USA. She won this prestigious award in 2016-2017. She is IB certified but most importantly is loved by her students old and new.
We feel very fortunate to have Jennifer at NDS. In addition, Jennifer is helping us create our program and curriculum. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for both staff and students at our school.
Spanish Teacher and Cultural Specialist
Denis teaches all levels of primary and second language Spanish and is responsible for integrating culture and social studies and activities of Costa Rica into our school culture. This includes cooking, dance, and song. In addition to teaching the Spanish language, he is passionate about teaching our students about the real culture of Costa Rica, especially Guanacaste where we live.
His mission at Niños del Sol is to produce happy children and to let them learn through practice and patience. Allowing them to enjoy what they learn while feeling confident in their abilities. Denis believes that the education of a child begins with the practice of values, respect and love for each other and their environment and hopes to convey the values of sustainability.
Ocean Education Specialist
The role of the Ocean Specialist in an important one at NDS. Connecting our curriculum to our environment is one of our primary focuses. Therefore, Thomas is a vital staff member who rises to this challenge week after week. Thomas has spent a lot of time in the ocean, diving and fishing, and also works as a chef in a local catering company of his own. He bring his love of food, life and fun to the class. His lessons are engaging and educational. Thomas works along side Joshua, they both teach swimming techniques, water safety, as well as ocean biology. Students explore the ocean classroom at least once a week and bring specimens back to the school to study in our aquariums.
MARIALEX MENDEZ PIZARRO
Inclusion Specialist, Spanish Teacher
Marialex brings her ample experience from a Montessori preschool and ongoing study of psychology into the classroom. She focuses on the inclusion of students with special needs into our program. Marialex is forming the newest branch of NDS which is our inclusion program, following the vision that schools should be accessible and inclusive to any student. Marialex fills this role by working with students who have specific needs such as speech therapy and develops fine motor skills or other lessons as needed. Marialex works along side our teachers so that all student needs are met on a daily basis.
Our ground keepers are important members of our team. Freddy (left) is our grounds keeper who works diligently to keep our campus looking beautiful. Freddy goes above and beyond his daily duties and his family has become very close with ours. Christina Calero (center) pays close attention to what the school needs, cleaning and prepping our learning spaces. Ervin Hernandez (right) is our handyman extraordinaire, he helps us build, fix and repair on a daily basis.