We are a warm, welcoming and dedicated staff from a wide range of countries offering a variety of specialities. Click on the teachers to find out more.
Amanda Turner – Headteacher and Class Teacher
During my 38 years of teaching I have always held a strong belief in the power of education to change children’s lives and the right of every child to receive an excellent education. I have taught the full age range in primary settings and have always had the child at the heart of my creative, stimulating and exciting teaching. I try to ensure that I know all children as individuals so that their unique personalities, talents and interests are nurtured and developed to the full. I have taught mainly in small village schools and larger city schools in the UK, and also have teaching experience in international schools in Nepal and Sri Lanka. Since 2015 I have taught in the nearby Aljezur International School. At Barlavento I teach the Year 5 and 6 children, but also take every opportunity to teach across the school and so get to know each and every child.
Prior to becoming Headteacher at Barlavento I had twenty years’ experience of senior leadership roles in schools, including the position of Phase Leader of Key Stage 1 and Foundation Stage, Phase Leader of Key Stage 2, Special Education Needs Coordinator and Acting Deputy Head. I also worked for an English regional education authority as an Advisor for Pupil Assessment and as a Consultant for Teaching and Learning. In these positions I have always valued the importance of working collaboratively to ensure effective working relationships within the team.
I grew up as an expat in Aden (South Yemen) and therefore have a real insight into early school life in an international setting and the opportunities and challenges of living abroad. I first visited Lagos and the western Algarve over 30 years ago before I had my two daughters and have been in love with the area ever since. I enjoy the outdoor life of hiking, swimming, bodyboarding, running and exploring both in this country and many other countries around the world.
Karen Whitten and Sílvia Catarino – Directors
Sílvia and Karen have worked closely together as colleagues and friends since 2004 and now know each other so well they can finish the other´s sentence. Sílvia was born in Rogil, which is just north of Aljezur, and studied at Faro University, gaining a degree in Modern Language and Literature before training to be a teacher. She taught Portuguese at Barlavento International Primary School from 2000 until 2009 and her son attended the school for 5 years.
Karen is from Scotland and has lived in the Algarve for over 20 years. She qualified with a BA Honours degree in Business and Marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University in 1989 and then travelled extensively before settling in Portugal.
They are both passionate teachers and consider themselves incredibly lucky to be the owners and Directors of the two wonderful schools of Barlavento and Aljezur with their amazing family of students, parents, teachers and support staff. Their second passion in life is animal welfare and between them Karen and Sílvia have many rescue animals, including 13 dogs, 24 cats, 2 terrapins, 5 chickens and 2 Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs.
Hannah Turner – Deputy Headteacher and Class Teacher
As Deputy Headteacher I am thrilled to be part of the team planning to provide a vibrant, happy, safe and secure environment for the children to learn, try new experiences and grow.
I am also the class teacher of Years 3 and 4 and contribute to the teaching in both the Reception and Year 5 and 6 classes. I enjoy creating a stimulating, thematic and engaging curriculum where children are encouraged to challenge themselves, ask questions and develop into respectful, resilient, kind and reflective lifelong learners.
I am very pleased that we can offer a wide, rich and integrated curriculum with many specialist teachers in subjects ranging from Mindfulness to Art, and Agriculture to Science. I understand that each child is unique and has different needs, so aim to provide an inclusive setting where each child feels valued and everyone can participate and develop to their full potential.
I am a UK qualified Primary Teacher and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher and have been teaching in a number of different contexts and countries since 2012. I have worked in International schools in Sri Lanka, Sweden and Portugal, and taught in the UK state system and private Language Schools, working with children aged 4 – 14. I have an academic and research background in Anthropology, studying at both Degree and Masters Level in UK Universities. This has provided me with an awareness of our rich, diverse and complex world and I am always very excited to be sharing our understanding of this with the children.
Caroline Verle – Class Teacher
I am the Year 1 and 2 teacher, having been a teacher at this school for more than 30 years specialising in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. I obtained my Primary school Teaching Degree in Belgium and came to Portugal in 1981. I speak English, Dutch, Portuguese and French.
I am very excited to be part of the school team. I love my job and I get a great sense of achievement from seeing my students develop and grow as individuals, as well as having lots of fun on the way! I always try to integrate music and creative activities into other core subjects to make the learning experience more exciting. I strive to provide a positive and safe environment and nurture each student´s love of learning. I believe that all children are unique and have something special that they can bring to their own education. I will always assist my pupils to express themselves and accept themselves for who they are, as well as embrace their differences.
Jonathan Bergius – Mindfulness and Well-being Teacher
I work as the Mindfulness and Wellbeing teacher at Barlavento. I grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden and moved two years ago to the Algarve, where I am currently running ‘The Happy Minds Project’, which aims to bring awareness of mental and emotional well-being through mindfulness and meditation practices. I also teach English, Sociology and Mindfulness at the Aljezur International School.
I am a qualified English and Yoga teacher and am currently studying, practising and teaching Indian philosophy.
There is a growing body of evidence strongly suggesting that if we can educate children early on how to cultivate kindness, compassion and mental well-being, as well as resilience, awareness and emotional literacy, they will not only have higher rates of academic success, but will gain a more complete understanding of who they are as they continue their journey through life. I very much enjoy sharing this with the children of Barlavento.
José Mártires – PE, Portuguese and Computing Teacher
I teach PE, Portuguese and ICT across the Primary school, as well as teaching Science in Years 5 & 6. I have a BA in Physical Education from the Instituto Superior Dom Afonso III, Portugal and have more than 10 years teaching experience in Portugal, Morocco and Guernsey (UK). I have also played and coached football in the national youth league. I also teach PE and Science in the Aljezur International School.
My interests include travelling and hiking. I am very happy to be part of the teaching teams at Barlavento and Aljezur International Schools.
Lindsay Gale – Early Years Foundation Stage Teacher
As the lead teacher for Barlavento’s Early Years Foundation Stage I am truly passionate about early childhood education and realise how important the Early Years experience is in setting the stage for a child’s ongoing love of learning.
I am an upbeat and enthusiastic teacher, dedicated to activities that are child centred, engaging and nurturing. I have a special interest in early childhood attachment, child led learning and language acquisition, and aim to deliver the curriculum in a way that ignites a child’s imagination.
I am a huge advocate of positive behaviour management and my classroom is one in which kindness always prevails. Children in our Early Years setting will experience our supportive, constructive and productive atmosphere so that they can really thrive.
After completing my Master’s degree in English Language and Literature at St Andrews University, Scotland, I qualified as a teacher, gaining my PGCE in 2001 from the University of Newcastle. Since then I have taught in a variety of settings from the inner city schools in the North East of England to the mountains of Quetzaltenango in Guatemala, and now to Barlavento!
Giuliana Biagioni – Class Teacher
I feel incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to join the Barlavento team. I will be covering for Hannah as the classroom teacher of Moonstone, whilst she takes her maternity leave.
I graduated from Roehampton University, London in 2010 with a degree in Primary Education with Design and Technology and went on to teach for five years in schools in eastern England. I worked in a variety of school settings, taking on many responsibilities, including leading the teaching of reading through phonics and strengthening children’s writing skills through the ‘Talk for Writing’ strategy.
After moving to Portugal in 2016, I took a break from my full-time teaching career and focused on creating my own business. Although I found it easy to transfer the dedication, organisation and high energy, which I had previously put into my classroom work, I missed the thrill and reward of shaping a child through teaching.
Fortunately, in 2020 I was given the opportunity to return to teaching, tutoring children from both KS1 and KS2, covering the core curriculum as well as its foundation subjects. As a tutor I loved being able to really focus on the key learning needs of each child.
I enjoy developing a creative, inclusive and nurturing learning environment and have a passion for cross-curricular teaching, bringing topics to life through drama and role-play.
I believe that teaching is my vocation and the rewarding nature of working with children further confirms this for me. I am excited to teach again as part of Barlavento’s wholesome learning environment and will take great pleasure in sharing my enthusiasm and love of learning and teaching with others.
Evelina Beckers – Music Teacher
I am very excited to be joining the team as the Music Teacher at Barlavento, where the children and staff have all made me feel very welcome. I am very impressed to see the current rock band that has already formed at the school, and I can`t wait to work with them more closely. I also plan to start a school choir and am looking forward to what we can all create and perform together.
Music has been a very big part of my life and I play a variety of instruments (guitar, clarinet, piano and of course – the beloved recorder!). I also sing and was trained in jazz and opera during my college and university days.
I am very enthusiastic about sharing my joy of music with the pupils at Barlavento and believe that music helps the development of a child immensely. I will help them find their own voice and their own rhythm and through music show them how to think creatively and find inspiration in everything around them. Here’s to a musical future!
Simone Kehrer – Art and Agriculture Teacher
I am very excited to be teaching Art and Agriculture at Barlavento. I am originally from Germany but have lived in an ecological community in France for many years with my daughter. As the teacher of primary aged children in this setting we focused on the concepts of self-consciousness, self-responsibility, being connected with nature, and being respectful towards one another and our environment.
I believe it is very important to combine Agriculture, Art and Science and I would very much like to share with you and your children my enthusiasm for creating a green island in the school grounds.
Since 2011 I have been a professional Artist in France with several exhibitions to my name. I have done prints, sculptures, oil and acrylic painting using different techniques. In my teaching I encourage the children to fall into the flow of creativity and combine the mind, body and soul to allow children to express themselves and their feelings.
Susie Mayes – Drama Teacher and Admissions
I am originally from England and moved in 2006 to the Algarve, where I have been raising my three daughters.
My training is in theatre and I worked with the theatre company “Women in Theatre” delivering Theatre in Education programmes in Primary schools in Birmingham.
In the Algarve I have taught English in the “Escola livre do Algarve” primary school in Figueira, Drama in “Aljezur international School” and English (disguised as a drama class), in the state kindergartens in the concelho of Vila do Bispo, (Budens, Sagres, Burgau and Vila do Bispo).
I am also a seamstress with costumes being a personal favourite of mine.
I love my jobs and all the little people that I am privileged to teach and am very happy to be part of the “Barlavento” team.
Carl Wilson – Teaching Assistant
Originally from England I have lived in the Algarve for over 10 years. I love the outdoors and therefore assisting in the teaching of Agriculture and Art suits my skills and my interests very well. It is really great to see the students nurturing the garden and learning in the great outdoors. I personally have a great enthusiasm for what I do and I believe this is conveyed to each and every child. When I’m not in the garden I enjoy fishing and football and just being part of the Barlovento team, where I can see our students grow ……. just like our garden.
Cristina Santos – Hygiene and Cleaning Assistant
I am responsible for cleaning and sanitising the school and I take my responsibilities very seriously and am proud of the results. I always try to do my best and I love to help the children whenever I can. I enjoy the school and working with the teaching team and I do hope to spend more time directly supporting them and the children in the future.
Before Barlavento I managed a team of 15 people in a large Cash ‘n Carry wholesaler for almost 20 years. At the same time I was also responsible for managing a laundry and the cleaning of villages.
I have taken computing courses and enjoy both hiking and water aerobics.
Inês Amaro – Hygiene and Cleaning Assistant
Daniel Sequeira – Teaching Assistant and EAL Teacher
I am a Teaching Assistant and EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher at Barlovento, where I currently assist at all levels and in most subjects. I have a Degree in Journalism and Communication, am a qualified EFL Teacher and am currently undertaking a UK teacher training course to become a fully qualified Primary Teacher.
I have 8 years teaching experience in schools in China, Italy, New Zealand and Portugal. My experience in teaching EAL has encouraged and trained me to include diverse teaching styles in order to cover different learning styles and meet a variety of educational needs. In class I try to integrate games and the students’ own interests in order to make the classroom experience as engaging and interactive as possible.
I believe that children are the key to solving the planet’s future problems and that it is only through education that this can be accomplished. I thoroughly enjoy working with all of the children.
Ella Haley – Nutritionist and Teaching Assistant
I am a Teaching Assistant and Nutrition Coordinator at Barlavento and am responsible for organizing the school meals and workshops. I have always been very passionate about working with children on creative and educational projects focusing on health and nutrition. I am very happy to be part of a fantastic team in this progressive school. “Love food and be happy” is my motto.
Gemma Aldridge – Early Years Foundation Stage Teaching Assistant
I am very excited to be part of the team at Barlavento as a Teaching Assistant in the Foundation class.
I have enjoyed working in a variety of schools, including Forest Schools, for the past few years and I am passionate about ensuring that all children have the opportunity to learn in a stimulating and safe environment.
Prior to moving to Portugal I was manager of a large dental practice. I moved to Portugal with my partner and two children because we love the outdoor life and enjoy many activities as a family, including rock climbing, hiking, yoga, baking and crafts.
Karen Sunderland – Teaching Assistant
I qualified as a Nursery Nurse (NNEB) in England over 30 years ago and since then I have worked in a variety of childcare settings. For many years I worked in Social Services in England supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds, before taking time out to bring up my own children.
I returned to my career in mainstream schools in the UK before transferring to the more specialised Special Educational Needs (SEN) sector where I gained new skills and qualifications. Just before I moved to Portugal I fostered a number of children with emotional difficulties and challenging behaviour.
Now at Barlavento I am happy to be working with dedicated teaching staff to support pupils with their varying needs and enjoy every minute of it.
Lurdes Silva – Early Years Foundation Stage Teaching Assistant
I have been working at this school since 1987 and I am from Lagos where I have two daughters and a granddaughter. I am very happy to work with the Barlavento team and so glad that it has the name ‘Barlavento’ once again. I teach in the Foundation class where I always give of my best to the pre-reception and reception children. I adore the children very much.
Marcus Canedo – IT Support and Media Technician
I have been fascinated with technology since a very early age and since 2003 I have been an IT Teacher in international schools in the Algarve. I have also taught Computer Science, Maths and Business Studies and tutored staff and clients in IT and other companies I have owned. I have Degrees in IT and Management.
Over the years, technology has evolved into becoming an integral part of modern life, and can be utilised as an essential array of skills to help the development of young people. When teaching I attempt to use my varied experiences to enrich a lesson and broaden the relevance of the subject.
In this respect I have experience of photography and video work, teaching scuba diving, finance and accounting, sales and training, computer design optimisation and network implementation, yacht charters and motivational boot camps.
I am enjoying the opportunity of being part of this dedicated, professional team and making the school a wonderful experience for children. In school I spend a great deal of time assisting other teachers, troubleshooting technical issues and producing multimedia content. Out of school I enjoy water sports, golf, martial arts and researching new innovative technologies.
Ana Catarino – Administration
I am responsible for every aspect of work associated with school administration. I ensure that school administrative procedures are managed efficiently, consistently and with appropriate levels of confidentiality, and in these respects I do my best to assist staff, parents and children. It is important to me that all children feel safe and have a happy and rewarding time at the school.
I have a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering which I have applied in developing a project for children to promote environmental education and art. Prior to my role at Barlavento I worked for 5 years in hotel management here in the Algarve. I enjoy travelling, reading classic books, sports and helping others. I am also involved in a volunteering project called ‘From Kibera with Love’.
Diogo Casimiro – Administration
I have worked in administration at both Barlavento and Aljezur schools since joining the staff at Aljezur in 2018. I love working with children and supporting their learning in whatever way I can.
Since 2014 I have taught inline skating to students of all ages and am proud to have been Portuguese champion in this sport on 33 occasions. I also run an inline club for the children of Barlavento School. I am delighted to be part of the team at Barlavento.
Caroline Nutting – Class Teacher
I grew up in Ireland and before my teaching career, spent many years travelling, exploring, and working in different settings around the world, while soaking up many cultural experiences.
As a UK qualified Primary and Language Teacher, I have 11 years teaching experience across the age ranges from year 1 through to year 9, both in the UK and Portugal. I absolutely love working with children and creating a positive, creative, and inclusive learning environment in which every child can feel safe, valued and happy, and have the space to develop as an open-minded critical thinker.
Being in the great outdoors is a passion of mine and I am super excited about creating our own inspiring nature-based community at Barlavento, where I can share my knowledge and expertise to facilitate learner-led discovery, exploration, and meaningful experiences, so that the children can develop socially, emotionally, and physically, and become kind, confident, forward thinking and resilient lifelong learners of the future.
In my free time I enjoy cycling, swimming, playing the ukulele, learning lingua Portuguesa, and of course exploring beautiful Portugal.
Marcus Nutting – IT & Interventions Teacher
I am very excited to join and get to know the Barlavento school family this year.
My educator journey began as a snowboard instructor in Colorado, and I have since combined 11 years of school experience and many years of cyber experience to direct my path to become the IT and Intervention teacher at Barlavento.
I am interested in robotics, artificial intelligence and digital-media production techniques and am passionate about the ethical design and use of new technologies. I believe that understanding and maximising the positive impacts of computing is important and I envisage a world where tech supports our shared wellbeing and informs our collective decision-making. Technology has the ability to tackle complex global challenges and I hope the young minds of Barlavento will begin to explore how computers can make the world a better place for us all.
I am committed to inclusion and accessibility and have experience leading interventions using both the ‘Read, Write Inc.’ phonics and ‘Counting to Calculating’ Maths programmes. I am qualified to teach English as an Additional Language and have been working with English learners from East Asia and closer to home for a number of years.
Screen downtime is important to me and I’m very grateful to be able to spend plenty of time in our glorious Portuguese outdoors, cycling, surfing and skateboarding.