Director: Javier Buenadicha

I am originally from Spain and I have been teaching my mother tongue for almost a decade. This is by far, my biggest passion and the thing I like the most. I fell in love with languages in my teenage years and that was the reason I decided to study them in college, where I had the opportunity of enjoying immersive-learning experiences in different countries. With this year's Academy, my goal is to lead students to have that similar life-changing experience. I hold a BA in History and Mass Communication and two master’s degrees: one in Applied Linguistics and another in Education. Before teaching Spanish in the US, I did the same job in my own country, as well as in the Czech Republic and Poland. This is my third year at the Spanish Academy and I am very excited to be the Director for a second time. If I am not teaching, you will probably find me outdoors hiking, climbing, caving or kayaking, although you can also see me reading good literature occasionally. I love traveling and cooking, and I am always trying to learn something new.
Lead Teacher: Vicente Colón

My name is Vicente L. Colón and I am a native Spanish speaker born and raised in Puerto Rico. I attended the University of Puerto Rico where I obtained my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I have experience teaching business law and Spanish. I live with my lovely family in Southside Virginia. I enjoy reading, art and nature.
Teacher: Brandon Norris

¡Saludos! My name is Brandon Norris. I’m an enthusiastic Spanish teacher at Short Pump Middle School in Richmond, Virginia. I attended the Spanish academy as a student back in 2011, and I’m excited to be returning for my fifth year working at the academy. This year I will be teaching a class on Hispanic dances, including their origins and some basic steps of each dance. I am fascinated by all languages and enjoy spending my time sipping coffee while chatting with friends or reading in a foreign language.
Teacher: Aída Abarca

I am Aída Abarca.I was born in El Salvador but have lived in Northern Virginia since 2001. I hold a BA and MA in Foreign Languages from George Mason University, with a concentration in Spanish Literature. During the academic school year, I teach Spanish as a Second Language and Heritage Language in a Fairfax County Public School. Some of my interests include traveling, hiking, reading, and dining out. This summer, we will explore popular short stories, myths, and legends from Latin America.
Teacher: Jayne Guillen

I am from Richmond, Virginia, where I teach high school Spanish in Henrico County. I originally studied to be an interpreter and translator, which I still do during school holidays. My Spanish teacher in high school actually encouraged me to apply for this same academy back in 2012 and it was a life-changing experience that led me to continue my Spanish studies at VCU and in Cuernavaca, Mexico. In my spare time I like to bake and hike, and am also an avid musician, dancer and Cuban dance instructor. I look forward to teaching about the music of the Spanish-speaking world this year!
Teacher: Scott Youngdahl

¡Hola! My name is Scott Youngdahl, and I will teach Japanese at the Academy. I have a Bachelor's (UT-Austin), Masters and Ph.D. (UNC-Chapel Hill) in Spanish, and I currently teach Spanish at Rockbridge County High School.I met my wife (also a teacher) on the JET Program, where we spent two years teaching English in Hokkaido, Japan. I have taught Spanish at the junior high, high school, and collegiate level since 1997, and I taught Japanese at Elon College for two years as well. I love language, music (guitar and voice), and cooking good food.