Alex has a degree in International Studies and Foreign Languages from Stonehill College and in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Teachers College – Columbia University. Thereafter, she worked at a few inclusive schools across New York City both as an English as a New Language (ENL) and English Language Arts (ELA) teacher in high school and middle school. She also worked as an ENL coordinator and instructional coach training teachers with strategies and techniques to bring into their own classrooms. Recently, she became a Montessori (MACTE) accredited teacher, and she supports teachers with approaches learned from that method to meet the varying needs within a classroom context.  She believes the only way to help a student is to know a student. Thus, in all of her work, she devotes herself to learning about the needs of each individual in front of her.

María Laura, a mother within a neurodivergent family and professional passionate about inclusion, transitioned from a career in human resources communications to becoming an educator at Academia Cotopaxi for the past six years. With a specialization in human development, rooted in the humanistic Person-Centered approach and a Master’s degree in Psychopedagogy, she currently works as an infant teacher at IMAGINE. Her mission is to promote confidence in the individuality of each person and break the taboos surrounding neurodiversity in education. As a member of SENIA, she firmly believes that achieving inclusion requires continuous collaboration between various agents of change, and she seeks to transform this belief into tangible actions in Ecuador.

Alejandra López is a special education teacher with 10 years of experience working with kids with special needs (ASD). She likes challenges and is constantly acquiring new knowledge.
She co-founded CIMA, the Multidisciplinary Intervention Center for Autism in Cuenca, and CABLAU, an autism specialized intervention center in Quito. Her work focused on intervention therapy and supporting families. Currently, she coordinates the inclusion department of a school in Quito and provides ABA based therapy.  Alejandra holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and a Master coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis.

She strongly believes that inclusion is fundamental to our society and that overcoming obstacles is a sign of a healthy environment.

Daniela Salazar is a passionate educator with over 20 years of teaching experience. She has a master’s degree in Psychopedagogy in Talent and Creativity.

Daniela is an elementary school Spanish teacher and a Certified EFT TAPPING Facilitator.  This is her 11th year working at Academia Cotopaxi.

Daniela firmly believes that emotions and learning go hand in hand. When students feel emotionally connected and inspired, the learning process becomes much more effective and memorable.

Emilia Velásquez is an Educational Therapist from Quito, Ecuador. She graduated from Universidad de los Hemisferios in 2021. She has had experience working in multiple social organizations related to disabilities and low income families. She has worked as an Instructional Assistant for three years and now she is part of the Learning Support Department at Academia Cotopaxi.

She is passionate about finding and creating new pedagogies and connecting or collaborating with teacher nerds. She has her own podcast about educational strategies to promote equity focusing on topics related to Disability, Migration, Ethnicity and Gender.

Emily Finn earned her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) from the University of California, Davis, in the United States. With more than 10 years of practice working with children with various needs, she is currently the Clinical Director of Together Occupational Therapy center in Quito, Ecuador, where they focus on therapy based in sensory integration.  She is also a supervisor for a therapy company based in California where she focuses on mentoring OTs in the school-based setting.

My name is Trinidad Vásconez; I was born and raised in Ecuador and pursued my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). During my career and time in Chicago, my main emphasis was Art Education and Arts Administration within different contexts such as schools (private, public, suburban), museums, and other learning spaces.
I have been working as an ES Art teacher for the past five years in Ecuador (American School of Quito and Academia Cotopaxi) and have contributed to the public and private sectors through Art Education projects.
As both an artist and an Art Educator, I find myself navigating through worlds with an open-minded perspective on the essence of Education and its impact on our daily lives. I see Art Education as a practice that intends to discover our voice, which is imperative during childhood.

Maria Gribensk is a High School English teacher with a Masters in Multidisciplinary Studies. She has been an educator for more than 15 years. She believes educators’ greatest responsibility is to create empathetic human beings who understand and value differences to form a society rooted in equity and inclusion.

Chelsea Toller has been an educator for over 25 years as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, English Language Development Coordinator, Vice Principal, and Principal. Her favorite role so far is serving as the Director of Student Support Services which combines all of her passions: Counseling, Learning Support, and English Language Learning at Academia Cotopaxi in Quito, Ecuador. She holds a BA in Community Studies and a MA in Educational Leadership. She believes that making the world more inclusive benefits everyone and she loves working alongside her SENIA Ecuador colleagues to grapple together as we move from “inclusion in theory” to “inclusion in practice”.

Devon Hehl is starting her fourth year, and 22nd year in education, at Academia Cotopaxi American International School as an Inclusion Coach and Inclusion Lead.  Prior to that, she worked at NIST International School for 8 years where she was an Elementary Learning Support Specialist and 3-year SENIA Representative.   She has also worked and lived in Zambia, Switzerland, and the United States.  Devon holds a Masters of Science in Special Education and a Bachelors of Arts in Education.  She is committed to embracing diversity and is thrilled to be a part of both small and large inclusive communities.  Devon is inspired by her family, colleagues, and the students she works with.