La Facultad

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.

Los Asistentes Supervisores

Lead Language Mentor: Meghan Depue

Hi! I’m Meghan, the Lead Asistente for the Spanish Academy this year. This year will be my second year working as Lead Asistente, and my fifth year working at the Academy. I also attended the Academy 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, and now I work as a middle school Spanish teacher in Henrico County. In my free time, you can find me singing, reading, and most importantly, drinking coffee. I cannot wait to enjoy this year’s Academy with all of you!
Language Mentor: Lucy Hoak

¡Hola! My name is Lucy Hoak and I’m in my third year at U.Va., where I’m majoring in English and minoring in Spanish. I attended the academy in 2016 and loved every minute. At school, I enjoy participating and spectating in the arts and playing sports with friends. I studied abroad last semester in Valencia, which was an incredible experience. I’m so excited to return to the Academy and experience the Spanish language with everyone!
Language Mentor: David Bass

¡Hola!My name is David, I'm from Williamsburg, Virginia, and I'm a rising second year student at the University of Virginia double majoring in Spanish and biostatistics with plans to go into either medicine or statistics. I attended the Academia Española in 2017 and it's been my dream to return as an Asistente ever since! Outside of my classes, I love learning trivia as a member of UVA's Quiz Bowl team, teaching as a Student Docent at UVA's Fralin Museum of Art, meeting with the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, and doing crossword puzzles. I am super excited to meet and work with all of the wonderful students at this year's Academia Española!
Language Mentor: Charlie Mayock-Bradley

¡Hola, todos y todas! My name is Charlie Mayock-Bradley and I am a rising sophomore at Yale University double majoring in Spanish and Global Affairs. When I’m not in class, you can usually find me running, baking, or playing the saxophone with a musical group on campus. I attended the Governor’s Latin Academy back in 2017, so this will be my first time taking part in the Spanish Academy. I am beyond excited to be joining the Academy this year as an RA and can’t wait to get to know you!
Language Mentor: Arianna Barkhoridari

My name is Arianna Barkhordari and I just graduated from the University of Virginia with majors in Spanish and Foreign Affairs. This is my second year working as an Asistente for the Academy and I attended back in 2015! I love learning languages, cooking and baking, and singing. In my free time at UVA, I’m usually volunteering with ESL and Spanish classes, rehearsing with my a cappella group, or trying new food and coffee at every single restaurant in Charlottesville. I really enjoyed working with the chorus last summer and playing sports with the students -I am thrilled to be returning for another amazing summer at Washington and Lee!
Language Mentor: Halleigh Carson

¡Hola a todos! My name is Halleigh Carson and I am a rising second year at the University of Virginia where I am double-majoring in Spanish and Environmental Science. I attended the Academy in 2018 and am super excited to be coming back as an RA! When I’m not studying, I love to be outdoors doing just about anything from kayaking to hiking, as well as pursuing my interests in art and photography. I can’t wait to meet you all and am looking forward to this summer!