La Facultad

Director: Brandon Norris

¡Saludos! My name is Brandon Norris. I’m a Spanish teacher at Short Pump Middle School in Richmond, Virginia. I’m thrilled to be returning for my sixth year working at the Spanish academy. I am fascinated by all languages and developed my passion for them when I attended the academy myself back in 2011, as it was a truly unforgettable experience. As director, I hope to impart this same level of excitement for language to the students. In my free time I enjoy sipping coffee while chatting with friends or reading in a foreign language. I also love doing adventurous activities like rock climbing, white water rafting, and kayaking.
Profesora principal: Sidney Cintrón

I am an enthusiastic high school Spanish educator at Stafford High School in Stafford County Schools. I have a Bachelors of Arts with a concentration in Spanish and a Masters of Education with a concentration in Foreign Language Education. I am a traveler fanatic, in love with the world. When possible, I enjoy exploring everything that different countries have to offer. I am an educator that is fascinated by what knowing a second language can offer the learner; I enjoy expanding their horizons to open multiple doors to unlimited opportunities. One of my personal goals is to extend the opportunity to language learners in any way from advice, influence, education, or via mentorship.
Profesor: Scott Youngdahl

My name is Scott Youngdahl. I teach Spanish and coach boys’ soccer at Rockbridge County High School. At the Governor’s School I will teach Japanese. After majoring in Spanish and minoring in Japanese at UT-Austin, I lived in northern Japan and taught English for two years on the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program, where I met my wife, an elementary school teacher from North Carolina. After Japan, we lived and taught English in Puebla, Mexico, as well. I have taught Spanish and Japanese at the middle school, high school, and university levels, and I have a Masters and Ph.D. in Spanish from UNC- Chapel Hill. Guitar and music have always been passions of mine, and I look forward to working with “La Tuna”—the vocal and instrumental music group of the Academy.


Profesora: Aída Abarca

¡Hola! I’m Aída Abarca. I was born in El Salvador but have lived in Northern Virginia since 2001. I attended George Mason University where I earned a BA and MA in Foreign Languages with a concentration in Spanish Literature. I have experience teaching Spanish to second language learners and heritage speakers. Some of my interests include traveling, hiking, reading, and dining out. This summer I look forward to teaching about the music of the Spanish-speaking world.
Profesora: Meghan Depue

Hi! I’m Meghan Depue, and I will be teaching a class on the history of the Spanish Civil War. This year will be my sixth year working at the Spanish Academy, and I also attended as a student in 2014. I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Spanish and a Master’s in Elementary Education. For the past two years I have worked as a middle school Spanish teacher in Henrico County. In my free time, you can find me singing, reading, dancing, and most importantly, drinking coffee. I cannot wait to enjoy this year’s Academy with all of you!
Profesor: 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.

Los Asistentes Supervisores

Mentora principal: Arianna Barkhordari

Hi everyone! My name is Arianna Barkhordari. I am so excited to be the lead mentor for the Spanish Academy this year! This is my third year working at the academy and I attended back in 2015. I graduated from the University of Virginia with majors in Spanish and Foreign Affairs in 2020 and I am currently completing my master's degree in elementary education at UVA and teaching 5th-grade Spanish immersion. I love learning languages, cooking and baking, hiking, and singing. In my free time, I’m usually trying new food at every single restaurant in Charlottesville and hiking in the Shenandoah National Park. I am looking forward to getting to know you all and hope to make this summer unforgettable!
Mentor: Charlie Mayock-Bradley

Hola, todas y todos! My name is Charlie Mayock-Bradley and I'm a rising junior at Yale University double majoring in Spanish and Political Science. When I'm not in class, you can usually find me running, baking, thrift shopping, or volunteering with Yale's ESL program. I attended the Governor's Latin Academy in 2017 and joined the Academia Española family for the first time last year as a mentor. I am beyond excited to be returning as a mentor this year and can't wait to get to know all of you this summer!
Mentor: Jeremy Flax

My name is Jeremy Flax and I am a middle school Spanish teacher from Richmond, Virginia. I attended the Academia Española as a student and later as a mentor, and I am very excited to work with all of you this summer! Upon graduating from the University of Mary Washington with a B.S. in Psychology I lived in Madrid, Spain for two years where I worked as a language assistant in a bilingual high school. I later lived and worked as an educator in France and Colombia and ultimately received a Master's of Teaching from Christopher Newport University. I also love to cook, swim, practice yoga, and write and perform music.
Mentora: Madeline Kwasnick

My name is Maddie Kwasnick, and I am a first year student at Kenyon College majoring in International Studies, Spanish, and Arabic. In my free time, I like to study languages, play the piano, read fiction novels, and write. I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the academy in the Summer of 2019, so I am beyond excited to return! I will do my best to make this a fantastic three weeks for you all.
Mentora: Ali Shahira

Hola everyone! My name is Shahira Ali and I am looking forward to being a mentor for the Spanish Academy this year. This is going to be my first year working as a mentor, but I attended the Academy in 2017, and it was an unforgettable experience. I am a rising senior at UVA double majoring in Spanish and Cognitive Science and in my free time I love playing basketball, tennis, and volleyball. I’m also a big fan of Latin pop and reggaeton music. I can’t wait to get to know everyone and create lasting memories this summer!
Mentor: Jonathan Swap

Hello everyone! My name is Jonathan Swap, and I am a first year at the University of Virginia with an intended major in Mathematics (interested in environmental sciences and leadership). I attended the academy in 2019, and I can’t wait to help y’all have the same experiences I had. When I am not studying, I like to play volleyball, listen to music, and bake desserts. Some other things I like: netflix, learning languages (plan on taking some Portuguese and Korean classes), and the game mafia. I am super excited to be working with y’all and reach out if you need help with anything!