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.

Andrea Vaca

I have been in the field of education for 8 years. My current experience working in a student-centered,  inclusive learning environment in Quito, Ecuador, has given me the tools to design and deliver a project-based education for students of varied cultural backgrounds, where they are empowered to become protagonists of their learning. My formal study has provided me with an understanding of child development and family relationships. Those studies have emphasized the diversity of families and how children and families are influenced by the broader environment and change over time. I am passionate about early childhood and I am committed to making an impact in all of my students’ lives. 

Soledad Valencia

Soledad Valencia is a Clinical and Educational Psychologist from Quito, Ecuador. She graduated from Universidad San Francisco de Quito with a bachelor degree in Clinical Psychology and a specialization in Sexology in 2015. After graduation, she worked as a Personal Assistant and then as an Instructional Assistant for the Learning Support Department at Academia Cotopaxi for three years. Soledad coursed her Master’s degree in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Inclusive Education at McGill University from 2018 to 2020.

She is passionate about inclusion and has participated in several research projects with Ecuadorian youth. Soledad is currently working as a Learning Support specialist at Academia Cotopaxi.

Belen Zavala

Belen Zavala is passionate about inclusion.  She found her second home in the Middle School Learning Support Department at Academia Cotopaxi International School in Quito, Ecuador.  Belen holds a Bachelor in Business Administration, a Master in Business Administration and a Master in Teaching and Curriculum. She made a career change from business to special education when she experienced first hand the impact that good, passionate, dedicated teachers had on her kid’s lives. Her favorite time of the day is when she gets to “witness the awesomeness and magic happen” in her students’ lives as they realize they can accomplish different tasks. Belen is excited to be able to share her experience with SENIA Ecuador and help make her home country, Ecuador, a more inclusive safe place for all students.

Chelsea Toller

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


Devon is starting her third year, and 21st year in teaching, at Academia Cotopaxi American International School as a Learning Support Specialist and Inclusion Coach.  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.

Welcome to SENIA Ecuador! We are hosting our first Chapter meeting with our host Academia Cotopaxi American International School.  Please join us via zoom next Friday October 15th, 2021 at 3h00pm.  We will be sharing about SENIA International, the SENIA 2021 Virtual Conference and the next exciting steps for SENIA Ecuador.

Contact us if you are interested at ecuadorchapter@seniainternational.org