It Takes a Village
We love children and we believe in the importance of their education. Everything we do at The Earth School is with that in mind, from our curriculum and carefully designed campus and materials, to the people we have with your children every day. Come meet our team, comprised of education professionals from around the world who all have two things in common - a love of learning, and an understanding of the importance of instilling that in our students.
Ms. Edna de Bonilla
President, Founder, and Proud Mother of Two
Ms. Edna founded The Earth School in 2011 and continues to provide guidance and overall leadership of the school, as well as to oversee school admissions.
She holds a Master's degree in Education from University of Dundee (UK) as well as doctoral level studies in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute (USA) and Mind, Brain and Teaching (Neuro-Education) at Johns Hopkins University (USA).
Ms. Edna is an education practitioner and researcher who started her international education career in 1994. Her experience includes teaching, school management, leadership, professional development training, and consulting in both private and public school systems in different countries around the world. She is also a member of Association Montessori Internationale, founded by Dr. Maria Montessori.
Juan Carlos Bonilla
CEO, Founder, and Proud Father of Two
Juan Carlos co-founded The Earth School in 2011 and is responsible for the strategic plan implementation and financial oversight of the school.
He holds an MBA from the Edinburgh Business School (Heriot Watt University, UK), a M.Sc. in Organizational Research from the Université Nice Sophia Antípolis (France), and a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from the International University of Mónaco. He has over 20 years of experience in management, mainly in the non-profit sector.
Juan Carlos is an elected Board Member of the International Schools Association (ISA). Founded in Geneva (Switzerland) in 1951, ISA is the most senior organization in the world of international education and the first educational Non-Government Organization to be granted consultative status at UNESCO.
Ms. Lauren Rogers
Head of School
Ms. Lauren is responsible for the day to day management of the school, family-school partnerships, curriculum development and the supervision of the school's academic planning and implementation, assessment and student progress as well as teaching practice oversight. Ms. Lauren qualified as a teacher in the UK in 2008, and joined The Earth School in 2015.
She holds a B.Sc. Hons degree in Psychology from Cardiff University (UK), an Early Years PGCE from University of Birmingham (UK) and an International Montessori Teaching Diploma from North American Montessori Center (Canada).
She has also completed a course in Coaching in Montessori Schools.
Ms. Lauren holds a Certificate in School Management and Leadership, a program for preK-12 school leaders from the
Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and Harvard Business School (HBS).
She plays the piano and double bass, and has led school choirs and directed whole school productions.
Ms. Maaike Klompmaker Elementary Teacher
Ms. Maaike holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the Haagse Hogeschool in The Netherlands.
She started teaching in 2011, specializes in working with students in Elementary school and she also taught for four years in a high school for children who have special educational needs.
Before joining The Earth School in 2019, Ms. Maaike worked as a volunteer in Rwanda's Southern Province as a teaching advisor.
Ms. Majorie Adjapong
Ms. Majorie is a passionate Montessorian who started her teaching career in 2015. She has worked with both Primary and Elementary age students.
She holds an International Diploma in Montessori Education from the Montessori Training Institute (UK). Ms. Majorie is also trained in teaching English in Early Childhood as part of the Language Learning and Development program of the British Council.
Ms. Majorie has experience teaching in international schools in Ghana and Senegal where she worked before joining us in 2021.
Ms. Marie Iradukunda
Ms. Copine started teaching in 2017 and joined us in 2020. She holds a Bachelor in International Relations from the Independent University of Kigali, Rwanda.
She also obtained a certificate from HarvardX in Child Protection with a particular focus on Children's Rights in Theory and Practice.
Ms. Copine worked teaching children to develop their Dutch language skills and is now enjoying implementing the Montessori method to teach French to our Elementary students.
Ms. Sophie Kivumbi Primary Teacher
Ms. Sophie has a successful teaching career that started in 2003. She joined us in 2011 and has worked with Primary and Elementary students.
She initially trained as a Montessori Primary Teacher at the Montessori Education Center of Uganda and then also obtained an International Montessori Teaching Diploma from North American Montessori Center (Canada).
Ms. Sophie speaks English, Luganda and Kinyarwanda and loves teaching all areas of the curriculum, specially Language and Mathematics.
Ms. Grace Nkurikiyinka
Ms. Grace is an enthusiastic teacher who loves singing! She started teaching in 2019 and holds a Bachelor degree in Economics and Education from UNIK as well as a Master in Management from UESTC in China.
She is fluent in English and French as also speaks basic Chinese.
Ms. Grace has experience teaching in Montessori and international schools in China.
Ms. Leana Beza
Ms. Leana joined us in 2020 as a Primary teacher and French Instructor.
She studied Hospitality Management at Davis College (Rwanda) where she graduated before joining us.
Ms. Leana has enjoyed implementing the Montessori method to teach French to our youngest students.
Ms. Erin Upjohn
Ms. Erin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education from the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) and a Masters degree of Teaching and Learning from the University of Wellington (New Zealand).
She taught in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom before joining The Earth School in 2021. She has a background in special educational needs and in particular working 1:1 with children in literacy and numeracy and with children who have speech, language, and communication needs.
Ms. Erin is also a qualified music therapist and plays flute, piano, and guitar.
Ms. Marggie Wafula
Ms. Marggie is a dedicated teacher who loves working with our youngest students. She started teaching in 2009 and joined us in 2017.
She holds an International Diploma in Early Childhood Education from the Montessori Center International in London (UK) and also studied Business Administration at the
Adventist University (Rwanda).
Ms. Marggy speaks seven languages: English, French, Swahili, Luhyia, Tagalog (Pilipino), Kinyarwanda, and Luganda.
Ms. Victoria Lidede
Ms. Vicky is an experienced Montessori educator who started teaching in 2009. She holds an International Montessori Diploma from Head Start Mercy Montessori Center (South Africa).
She has worked with students of Primary and Elementary ages as well as children with special needs.
Ms. Vicky has experience teaching internationally in Kenya and South Africa.
Ms. Joselyne Umuhoza
Ms. Joselyne holds a Bachelor's of Business Administration from the Independent Institute of Lay Adventists of Kigali.
She also studied Mathematics-Chemistry-Biology (MCB) at Lyceé Notre Dame du Bonne Conseil (Rwanda).
Ms. Joselyne joined us in 2018 as a Montessori teacher when she started her teaching career. She has worked with our Pre-Primary and Primary students teaching French using the Practical Life and Sensorial curriculum.
Ms. Gladys Uwera
Ms. Gladys started her teaching career in 2014 when she joined us. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Rwanda and an International Montessori Teaching Diploma from North American Montessori Center (Canada).
She is a Registered Nurse who started her nursing practice in 2007 in clinical settings before becoming a school nurse.
Ms. Gladys speaks English, French, and Kinyarwanda. She has enjoyed implementing the Montessori method to teach French activities and lessons.
It all Started With One
The Earth School started from the vision, work, and effort of Edna and Juan Carlos Bonilla.
When the Bonillas first came to Rwanda in 2010, it was for a short-term assignment in gorilla conservation headed by Juan Carlos. After almost 20 years of living, studying, and working abroad across three continents, Rwanda was to be the last stop on their expatriate journey before returning to their native Guatemala. When the conservation project expanded beyond what was originally planned, it was clear that the Bonillas were to be in the country for longer.
A lifelong educator and deeply committed to the values and principles, as well as professionally trained in Montessori, Edna wanted the best for their children’s education. Their eldest, Andrés, had grown up in Montessori and she wanted the same for her youngest, Nicolás. If there were no authentic Montessori schools in Rwanda, she was going to make her own. She went back to her teaching manuals, made Montessori materials from scratch, and began teaching Nicolás, as her first and only student.
As time went by, other international families were struggling to find appropriate education programs for their young children. Soon Edna began to realize that there was a growing and genuine need for child-centered, holistic, and experiential education in Rwanda. Seeing this, she endeavored to begin what is now The Earth School. With the help of Juan Carlos, they began working night and day to found the school. From a living room with only one student, we established the first summer camp program in Rwanda.
From there, we opened our first campus with a handful of eager, bright-eyed, and excited students, and from there, we have continually grown and taught with the same excitement, love of learning, and value of education that we have had since that first classroom and first student. Our beautiful state of the art campus in Kigali is now a showcase of what an authentic Montessori school should be and is a center of excellence for Montessori best-practice. The school is an accredited member of the Geneva-based International Schools Association, the most senior organization in the world of international education.
Together, Edna, Juan Carlos, and our team have worked tirelessly to create a space and a school where children from all over the world can come together and grow, learn, and have fun while receiving a world-class education.
Grounded in Montessori, green and conscious, experiential and transformative – The Earth School way.
“I've been taught many things through my mom and Montessori, but my love of learning is the lesson I hold most dearly."