Cecilia Paredes
Executive Director
From the start-up of the new Peace Punta de Mita, A.C. on April 1, 2013, Peace’s Executive Director, Ceci has played a pivotal leadership role, first to lead the wind- up of previous activities and second, to create a new strategic direction with a new business plan to implement at the start-up.
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Ali Elías
Education Coordinator
One year after she finished her law degree in Tepic, Ali moved to the Punta de Mita area in 2005. It is through joining the former PEACE that Ali found her vocation as a full-time teacher at Avanza. Ali states: “The Avanza program changed my life forever, and as Confucius said ‘Choose a job you like and you will never have to work a day in your life’. That’s exactly what happens to me every day.” Due to her passionate attitude and values that she brings to Peace, Ali was promoted in April 2015 as the Education Coordinator, over seeing the four programs and staff training.
Carla Pliego
Carla gained a BA & MA in Psychology from the Universidad Iberoamericana, and PhD in Psychoanalysis at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. Recognized as a specialist in psychology of health, Carla joined the Peace staff in September 2015 as Education Counselor. Carla published “Happy Parents and children, 2012", a practical guide for parenting that does not drown the soul. Carla is in charge of designing and implementing the program “Discipline with Dignity” aimed at teachers and “Nurture with soul”, a support group for parents.
Warren  Hair
English Teacher at punta de mita kindergarten
Warren was born in Victoria, Australia and came to live and work in Mexico in 2006. He studied visual arts at RMIT in Melbourne, and has exhibited his paintings in solo and group shows throughout Australia, U.K. and Mexico. Warren has also attended art workshops at the Academia de San Carlos and ENPEG La Esmeralda in Mexico City. He has been teaching English for over six years throughout Mexico City and Bahía de Banderas, with experience teaching all age groups and levels of English, from basic to advanced and TOEFL preparation. Warren joined the Peace team in March 2015 with the intention to motivate the students in the community to embrace English as a tool that will aid and strengthen their opportunities for the future. Working at the Punta de Mita Kindergarten, Warren teaches 120 students.
María  Rangel
CAMPEONES teacher AND ENGLISH TEACHER at Corral del risco kindergarten and punta de mita secondary
Moving recently to the Bahia de Banderas area from Guadalajara to take on this position with Peace, Maria is a product of Rob Haines’ program titled SEED [see Newsletter #6], where she graduated in 2012 from the USAID sponsored two year study program at Broome Community College, Binghamton, NY. Prior to that, she completed her bachelor certificate at Preparatoria Regional de Colotlan, campus Mezquitic. Maria is a very passionate teacher who loves what she does and wants to make a difference in people’s lives. One of her goals in life is to change the world to become a better place for everyone. Maria believes that the kids are the future and that they are like seeds that need to be fed with love and peace to become a beautiful tree. María teaches 23 CAMPEONES every afternoon, whilst at the Corral del Risco kindergarten she has 35 students. Her English classes at the Punta de Mita Secondary have 51 students.
Jacqueline  Cota
English Teacher at Higuera Blanca Elementary and PEACE Adults English Program
Jacqueline Cota was born in La Paz, Baja California Sur. After winning an exchange scholarship for academic excellence she moved to the city of Guadalajara. She studied Hispanic Literature at the Universidad de Guadalajara. Jacqueline specializes in Spanish, English and Nahuatl (Mexican Pre hispanic Language) languages as well as communication. After that, she moved to Higuera Blanca to become part of the Peace Team where she has been an active English teacher since March 2015. She teaches English to 97 students at the elementary school of Higuera Blanca, and the adults program at Peace. While working as a teacher for Peace’s English Program she has learned to be more humane, believing that together the team can make it possible to give children a better education and improve their self-esteem in order to create a new generation which can make changes in the world.
Andrés  García
ENGLISH TEACHER at punta de mita secondary
Andres was born in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Having always been inpsired by languages, Andres began teaching himself English as a child before honing his language skills at private English schools and university.Enrolling at the Universidad Technologia de Bahía de Banderas, he completed his degree in Tourism. His study earned him the opportunity to train overside in the Dominican Republic where he gained specialized skills within Hotel Management. Upon returning to Mexico, Andres gained experience in Cancun, strengthening his tourism work by taking on managerial positions. His passion for languages has led him to English teaching, where he extends his sound knowledge to his community in order to improve their well being. Currently, he teaches 90 students at the Punta de Mita Secondary.
Miriam  Marín
English Teacher at the Higuera Blanca kindergarten and Higuera Blanca Preparatoria
Miriam was living in Los Cabos Baja California Sur. She started her career as a teacher since 2005. She studied marketing degree and then she got certified by Teasol institute in Baja California University as English Teacher. She moved to Bahía de Banderas in 2012. Miriam has experience with children which she loves and for that reason she has worked in several foundations in order to help them. As well she has taken many courses in human development and education for all. Miriam loves animals, she owns a cat and two dogs. One of her passions is to learn as much as she can to support and help people and that is just what she is doing. Miriam currently has 91 kindergarten students in Higuera Blanca, and teaches 23 at the Preparatoria totalling 114 students.
Gabriel Castro
avanza teacher
Gabriel was born in Tepic, Nayarit in 1985. When he was 17 he moved to Querétaro where he concluded high school and later started his career in law, but his vocation for teaching eventually led him on another path. By chance, he substituted for his history teacher one day and taught his first class. Since then he has been working in his this vocation. Back in Nayarit, Gabriel worked with different educational institutions and recently joined the Peace team where he currently serves as the Avanza Program lead teacher. Gabriel says that at Peace he found the opportunity to do what he does best, be happy teaching children and young people who deserve the opportunity to excel as individuals.
Martha Medina
English teacher at the higuera blanca primary
Martha was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco . At an early age, she began to study English at the Berlitz school. While in high school, Martha lived in Anaheim, California where she completed her English studies, becoming fluent. This aptitude later gained her entrance to study management. After several years of living in Montreal, Canada, she began studying Montessori Philosophy and Preschool Education at the Instituto Maurer in Mexico City. During her English teaching experience, she has applied various techniques that combine Montessori and also systems from Pierre Faure, while lending her time volunteering at orphanages. Currently Martha, along with her assistant Emmelin Flores, teaches to over 260 pupils in Higuera Blanca.
Rosa del Carmen  Elías
Assistant teacher at corral del risco kindergarten
Carmen was born in July 1953 in the city of Tepic Nayarit. Carmen has a degree in social sciences and a masters degree in special education. Carmen is a retired kindergarten and elementary school teacher by profession but still remains active collaborating and helping at the kindergarten of Corral del Risco through our Peace Educational Program. Carmen is a key pillar among Peace staff, assisting and counseling Peace teachers thanks to her extensive years of experience and vast knowledge in the educational area.
Carmen is a person who has worked her whole life in favor of education and because of her continual enthusiasm she feels she can help the people who need it the most.
Osmara García
Osmara García is from Punta de Mita, Nayarit, and she is currently doing her bachelors in administration at the Autonomous University of Nayarit. Osmara started doing volunteer work for Peace in February 2015 because she is very passionate about helping and giving back to her own community. Starting in early January 2016 she is part of the Peace staff as a part-time administrative assistant. Osmara was named by the Government of Nayarit State as the coordinator of the youth for an organization whose main target is doing community service and seeking the welfare of the local communities. One of Osmara’s goals is to become the mayor of Punta de Mita.
Lourdes ‘Lulú’  Lopez
Casa Campesina Overseer
Lulú is originally from Santiago Ixcuintla, Nayarit. She has lived in the Banderas Bay area for 12 years and she joined the Peace team in November 2015 to oversee the Peace Community Center , Casa Campesina. Her children Joel, Eric and Clarita are graduates from teh PEACE AVANZA Program and have reintegrated into public school in the Punta de Mita area. She is happy to be part of the Peace team, as she can be close to her kids and she is also a support for the rest of the students at Peace.
Alexis Flores
ENGLISH TEACHER at the punta de mita primary
Born in Villa Hidalgo, Nayarit, Alexis had the great priviledge to move to the United States at the age of 16 where he completed High School. Having become fluent in English from this experience, Alexis returned to Mexico where he enrolled at the Universidad Autonoma de Nayarit, UAN to major in Toursim. At the University Center for Languages in Puerto Vallarta, Alexis gained PET and TOEFL Certification. These certificates helped his work as local tour guide for over five years where he regularly interacted with foreign toursists. Alexis has begun to use his people and language skills to teach, joining the PEACE team as English teacher and teaches to 130 primary kids. Alexis hopes to give back to the community the skills that have helped him successfully grow within the important tourism field.
Gricelda Orozco
ENGLISH TEACHER at the punta de mita primary
Gricelda was born in Watsonville, California, and has lived in Punta de Mita since 2000 after her family relocated to Mexico. She studied for a Bachelors Degree in Tourism Management, giving her the oportunity to work for a few months in Panama where she applied her new skills before later moving to Cancun. Despite her interest in tourism, her aspirations to help others beckoned. Gricelda sought to begin with her local community first, Punta de Mita. Joining the PEACE team as an English Teacher gives Gricelda the opportunty to share her native English speaking skills with over 140 children, who she sees will benefit greatly and contribute positively to the community’s future.
Ana Orozco
Computer Teacher
Ana grew up in California with her sister Gricelda and family. In 2000, she settled in Punta de Mita with her family after their relocation. Taking interest in new media, Ana took to studying technology, specializing in Web Page Design at the UTB in Nuevo Vallarta. Ana teaches students about various computing programs such as Excel which she feels are essential for their career advancement.
Emmelin Flores Cazarez
Assistant Teacher
Emmelin is an Higuera Blanca local. Having recently completed her secondary school studies,Emmelin has joined the PEACE team as an assistant to English Teacher Martha Medina. Working closely with Martha allows Emmelin to not only gain important teaching techniques but also an understanding of the philosophy created by Maria Motessori in which Martha speacializes. Assisting Martha, Emmelin is able to hone in on students who are in need of extra help within the class, helping them to improve. Emmelin aspires to be an English teacher herself in the near future, inspired by her need to help people and improve her community.