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.
Nuno Pereira – Class Teacher
My passion for sport led me initially to become a qualified Physical Education teacher and I have taught PE in various Portuguese schools. Later, while in Australia, I decided to upgrade my skills and become a teacher of English, since when I have been teaching people of all ages and cultural backgrounds in international education settings in Australia, Spain and Portugal.
In the last 5 years I have focussed on working with KS-2 and 3 children.
I have a special interest in Geography and travel, have travelled independently and extensively around the World, and enjoy exploring and learning about landscapes, different cultures, and the natural World. I have played and coached both football and volleyball.
I always care deeply about the development of my students and prepare them to become self-directed learners, taking responsibility for their own learning and developing the skills of independent thinking, communication, self-evaluation, teamwork and healthy lifestyle awareness.
Sam Power – Music Teacher
I teach Music at Barlavento. I am passionate about helping children to express their true selves through the medium of music and I enjoy helping children who that need little bit of additional support with English.
I have always enjoyed bringing the best out of children (and adults) and reminding everyone to play more and enjoy life together. My teaching experience in the primary sector in the UK involved both classroom teaching and personal tuition.
I have played the guitar and piano from the age of 13 and have now played professionally in many countries, including here in the Algarve where I have lived for over 2 years. I love to share the power of the voice in my music and in my teaching. I believe everyone has their own ‘voice’ and unique way of expressing themselves. Everyone has the potential to shine!
Apart from my love for music and teaching I enjoy swimming in the ocean (even in winter!), playing football and tennis, and teaching relaxation through meditation and qigong.
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.
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 – Foundation 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 – Foundation 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.