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
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).
Edna has 27 years of experience in education, 20 of those in Montessori. Edna 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 is currently completing her Certificate in School Management and Leadership, a program for preK-12 school leaders at 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 from the Haagse Hogeschool in the Netherlands.
She has 10 years of teaching experience. She taught for four years in a high school for children who have special educational needs.
Before joining The Earth School, Ms. Maaike worked as a volunteer in Rwanda's Southern Province as a teaching advisor.
Ms. Liz Maya Foster Elementary Teacher
Ms. Liz holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from La Salle University, Mexico.
She also has a Certification as an ESL teacher from Cambridge University (UK)
Ms. Marie Iradukunda
Ms. Copine holds a Bachelor in International Relations from the Independent University of Kigali, Rwanda. She has three years of experience as a teaching assistant working with children to develop their Dutch language skills.
Ms. Copine received a certificate from HarvardX in Child Protection with a particular focus on Children's Rights in Theory and Practice.
Ms. Erin Upjohn
Pre Primary and
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).
Ms. Erin 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
Pre Primary Teacher
Ms. Marggie holds an International Diploma in Early Childhood Education from the Montessori Center International in London (UK).
She has nine years of teaching experience in Montessori schools and speaks seven languages: English, French, Swahili, Luhyia, Tagalog (Pilipino), Kinyarwanda, and Luganda.
Ms. Sophie Kivumbi Primary Teacher
Ms. Sophie has 14 years of teaching experience, including nine years at The Earth School.
She was trained as a Montessori Primary Teacher at the Montessori Education Center of Uganda and holds an International Montessori Teaching Diploma from North American Montessori Center (Canada). Sophie speaks English, Luganda and Kinyarwanda.
Ms. Gladys Uwera
Ms. Gladys has four years of teaching experience at The Earth School and 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 also a Registered Nurse with three years of nursing experience in clinical settings and three years of experience as school nurse. Gladys speaks English, French, and Kinyarwanda.
Ms. Leana Beza
Pre Primary Teacher
Ms. Joselyne Umuhoza
Ms. Joselyne has three years of teaching experience at The Earth School and 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).
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."