Board of Directors

In June of 2016 the La Paz Community School General Assembly held their 10th annual meeting to discuss the growth and development of La Paz as well as nominate and vote in new members.   The board of directors is forever indebted to the contributions of all of our departed board members and they are recognized below our new Board as Board Members Emeritus.

Gabriel Chaves Ledezma (President)

Gabriel is one of the founders of P&D Lawyers which specializes in Real Estate, Corporate Law, Foreign Investment, Construction and Environmental regulations and Notarial matters.  A graduate of the University of Costa Rica Attorney at Law program and Notary Public since 2003, Gabriel is a Costa Rican citizen and active member of the local community.  He is a Member of the Costa Rican Bar and Notarial Association as well as a variety of other local boards.

Jose Gerardo Brenes (Vice President and Founding Member)

Mr. Brenes has served on the board since 2007 as a founding member and is 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.

Marcela Fernandez (Secretary)

Attorney and Notary Public, graduated with honors from the American University of Costa Rica and graduate of the University of Latin American Science and Technology in Notary and Registry matters, Marcela moved to Guanacaste fifteen years ago to fulfill her dreams of a peaceful and healthy life . Lover of justice and noble causes, she is also a mediator for the Latin American Consultant Promotion of Peace.  Marcela is always attentive through legal protection and under the respect of fundamental principles such as fairness, equality, non-discrimination, ensuring the best interests of the students, as well as the interests of the institution; this is only part of her various contributions as a member of the Board.

Jake Jacobs (Treasurer)

Jake Jacobs brings strong business background to the board of directors.  He has a BS in Business from University of Colorado and Fashion Design degree from FIDM Los Angeles.  He worked 5 years in Asia for Nike and 20 years at Spyder Active Sports, a global ski apparel brand where he last held the position of CEO.  Moving to Costa Rica in 2009, he has opened Pura Vida Ride in 2011, a rental, retail and coffee shop at Las Catalinas specializing in Stand-up Paddle boards and Mountain bikes.

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.

Carolyn Herman (Vocal)

Carolyn Herman and her family moved from Colorado to Guanacaste in 2011.  She and her husband are the owners of RPM Property Management and Real Estate in Tamarindo.  She is involved in many community efforts in Tamarindo including ADI, Amigos de Education and Tamarindo Church.  They have two children who attend La Paz.  Carolyn has a Masters in Counseling Psychology and prior to moving to Costa Rica worked for many years with teenagers and their families in therapy, church, and school settings.  Her passion for youth and for La Paz make her a great addition to the board. 

Sandra Thompson (Vocal)

Sandra Romero Thompson brings to the Board a unique blend of educational and professional skills combined with life experience. Born and raised in Honduras, she received her higher education in the USA, earning her doctorate in Mental Health Rehabilitation and Masters in Education/Counseling from the University of Texas and her Bachelors in Psychology from Southwestern University. Over the last twenty years, she has been in private practice, has owned and managed several small businesses and has served as an executive and board member of international non-profits.  She has extensive hands-on experience in non-profit health, education and community development.  Sandra has three children at La Paz and is a strong proponent of its Community.

Marianela Pastor Vega (Vocal)

The addition of Ms. Pastor to the Board further diversifies an accomplished group of professionals who are passionate about the vision of the school and who have the charisma to fulfill the mission.  Both bilingual and “bicultural”, Marianela brings the balance and perspective of both foreign and local cultures to the Board to help the school continue to flourish.  Marianela is an active part of the Playa Grande community, and has sat on various public and private Boards throughout her career.

Board Members Emeritus – In recognition of our previous contributing board members

Martyn Hoffmann (President 2013-2016)

A native of South Africa, Mr. Hoffmann brings to the board a strong business administration and project management background through his work with Greenfield Partners LLC and Athens Group.  His pragmatic approach to creative business solutions in complex situations will bring additional structure and sustainability to the schools finances. He has sat on Boards of various non-profit organizations including the Miocean Foundation and the Truckee River Watershed Council throughout his career and has been board president since September of 2013.


Julia Berry (Vocal)

Julia is originally from Atlanta and worked for 7 years 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. 

Rebecca Clower (Secretary)

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 website. 

Mr. Abel McClennen (Founding Member)

Mr. McClennen is the Director of  La Paz Community School and the lead visionary behind the project.  He is a recognized International Baccalaureate Director and a leader in the development of best educational practices in the Costa Rican Ministry of Education.

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.

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 remains closely connected to the development of the La Paz community.

Laura Cascante

Ms. Cascante is a founding board member of La Paz and continues to actively involve herself in the development of education in Costa Rica.