On June 28th, 2012 the La Paz Community School General Assembly held their 6th annual meeting to discuss the growth and development of La Paz as well as nominate two new board members. We are extremely grateful to Felipe de la Espriela and Estela Reyes for their years of selfless service that they dedicated to La Paz. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. At the same time La Paz would like to welcome Mrs. Becky Clower and Mrs. Julia Berry to the board of directors who will no doubt help guide La Paz into a bright future filled with new challenges and accomplishments. The board of directors is forever indebted to the contributions of all of our departed board members and they are recognized below as Board Members Emeritus.
Abel McClennen (President and Founding Member): Mr. McClennen is the administrative representative on the board and visionary behind the project. A bilingual, certified secondary school physics teacher, Mr. McClennen graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine, USA with a degree in Physics. Mr. McClennen’s teaching experiences began at Souhegan Public High School in New Hampshire, renowned for its pioneering work with the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES); a progressive educational movement initiated by former Dean of Harvard University School of Education, Ted Sizer. After three years in New Hampshire working as an AP Physics teacher and faculty representative on the Personnel Policy Committee, Mr. McClennen and his wife Kerry spent time away from the United States teaching at CNA language schools in Brazil and Colegio Interamericano in Guatemala, before arriving in Costa Rica to fulfill their vision of starting a non-profit community school.
Jose Gerardo Brenes (Vice President and Founding Member): Mr. Brenes comes to us as an active community member in the coastal communities of Guanacaste. He is the President of the Cycling Association of Guanacaste, Founder and President of the Foundation for the Development of Guanacaste, Director of Community Relations for the Do It Center, Manager of Catalina Cove, and Director of the Federation of World Peace. He is also one of the founders and board members of CEPIA, a non-profit association out of Huacas, CR that is devoted to the cultural, educational and psychological development of infants through adolescents.
Rebecca Clower (Secretary)
Ms. Clower is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Major in Broadcast Journalism and minor in Spanish. She grew up in Buffalo, New York, but her mother and most of her family is from Costa Rica. After visiting family in Costa Rica annually since 1978, Becky and her husband Keith moved to Costa Rica full time in 2006. Ms. Clower is the co-owner of Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica; a local Real Estate, Rental and Tour company and a parent of two young boys, Kian and Elijah. Becky has appeared as a co-host on HGTV and is a contributing writer for the www.WeLoveCostaRica.com website. Her journalism background and fluency in Spanish make her a great fit as the secretary of the board. She looks forward to the growth of the school and specifically the scholarship program to give others the opportunity to experience the quality of education that one can receive at La Paz.
Julia Berry (Vocal):
Julia Berry is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a BA in Marketing. Mrs. Berry grew up in Savannah, Georgia and moved to Atlanta, Georgia shortly after graduation in Athens. While in Atlanta for 7 years, Julia enjoyed working at Turner Networks Sales, a division of Turner Broadcasting, Inc. As Marketing Director of the Northeast Region Julia worked with numerous cable providers in sales and client management of Turner’s various networks. In 2007, Julia packed up and headed South to Costa Rica to be with her husband Jim, who is the EVP & General Manager of the Las Catalinas development, where she currently works as well. Julia is a proud mother of her two year old son Reid, loves her new home in Costa Rica and is excited about her recent appointment on the BOD at La Paz.
Ashley Javogue (Vocal):
A graduate of Stanford University with a B.A. in design, Ashley’s unique world view has been cultivated throughout her entire life beginning with her first 18 years in Brazil. After a brief time in the US to attend university, Ashley then spent extensive time in the fashion and jewelry business in Milan, New York and France where she designed jewelry for Chanel and Mademoiselle fashion shoots as well as for a myriad of design studios. As a parent of two children at the school, Ashley’s fluency in French, Portuguese, Spanish, and English maker her an ideal fit for the board of directors. She is committed to the culturally sensitive and progressive educational philosophies of La Paz and will be a key player in the next phase of school expansion on the new site.
Brian Crites (Vocal and Founding Member): Mr. Crites is a founding educator of La Paz who is the teacher representative on the board and acts as the general chair of the school’s non-profit organization. With a masters degree in elementary education from Portland State University and extensive teaching experience both abroad and in the United States, he is an essential consultant to the board. Also, a board member on the US non-profit La Paz Community School based out of Portland Oregon, Mr. Crites has been integral in cultivating the relationships between foreign entities and La Paz in order to bolster the foreign donor base of the institution.
Dr. Jim Cramer
Dr. Cramer is the retired CEO of the School for International Training (SIT) located in Vermont. His involvement in the international education community was integral in the development of La Paz.
Dr. Carlos Hernandez
The ex-CEO of the five star resort Reserva Conchal, Dr. Hernandez is actively involved in the sustainable development of Costa Rica in the global market.
Caroline Lemaire (Founding Member)
A native of France, Ms. Lemaire is an active La Paz parent and massage therapist. She is also deeply involved in other local non-profits including CEPIA.
Dr. Lisa Porter (Founding Member)
Dr. Porter was a professor of International Cultural studies at Bridgewater College in Virginia. Her thesis on the impact of transnationals on the Guanacaste community was essential to the founding of La Paz.
Lic. Ignacio Esquivel
A partner in Facio Law Firm out of San Jose, Mr. Esquivel graduated from the University of Costa Rica in Law as well as from the INCAE/Georgetown University school of international relations in Nicaragua.
Gregory Casillas (Founding Member)
Mr. Casillas is an active member of the Guanacaste community. Through his extensive training in Yoga he has brought together hundreds of community members in the name of peace.
Dr. Jose Maria Garita Monge (Founding Member)
The owner and founder of the famed Farmacia El Cruce, Dr. Monge is also a leader in the preservation of local Guanacastecan traditions.
Felipe de la Espriela
A graduate of the famed Earth University with a degree as a licensed engineer in agricultural science, Mr. Espriela is an active independent contractor in the telecommunications industry in Guanacaste.
Estela Reyes Valerin
Estela is an active member in the local community who presently works in the real estate sector. She maintains closely connected to the development of the La Paz community.
Ms. Cascante is a founding board member of La Paz and continues to actively involve herself in the development of education in Costa Rica.