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 was doing the same job in my own country, as well as in the Czech Republic and Poland. This is my second year at the Spanish Academy: last summer I taught Music and Dances of the Hispanic World and I am very excited to be the Director in this 2019! 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 travelling 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.
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 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 short stories, myths, legends, and parts of novels that are popular in the Spanish speaking world.

Gustavo Tisera

James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA-Universidad de Salamanca (Spain)
Dual Master’s Degree(M.Ed.) in Spanish Language and Culture for Educators and Teachers of Spanish as a Foreign Language (JMU), the United States and University of Salamanca (USAL), Spain. (graduate 12/18/2016). In December of 2016, I was part of the inaugural cohort to complete the Dual-Enrollment Program with James Madison University in Virginia and La Universidad de Salamanca (USAL) in Spain for which I received a Master in Education degree from JMU and a Master’s Degree in Spanish Language and Culture for Educators from La Universidad de Salamanca, which is recognized throughout the European educational community. My academic interests range from advanced Spanish grammar and syntax to theoretical linguistics to Second Language Acquisition. My most recent studies in Salamanca have ignited an interest in the "variedades de la lengua española" ranging from a sociological aspect to a lexical aspect.
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 in 2011, and I’m excited to be returning for my fourth year working at the academy. This year I will be teaching a class on Hispanic dances as well as spearheading the dance project for the academy. I am fascinated by all languages and enjoy spending my time sipping coffee while chatting with friends or reading in a foreign language.
Scott Youngdahl

My name is Scott Youngdahl. I have been teaching Spanish since 1997 and learning it most of my life. I met my wife teaching English in Japan on the JET Program, and we later lived in Puebla, Mexico, teaching English as well. I have taught at the middle school through university-level Spanish classes, and I have also taught Japanese at Elon College. I have a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin, and I received my Masters and Ph.D. (Spanish) at UNC-Chapel Hill. My passions are music and languages. My wife Jan is also a teacher, and we have two children, 16 and 19 years old.