Giving Hope to the Future through Education

    Administrative Team
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"This is the true joy in life...to be used for a purpose recognized as a mighty one."
                                                                                           - G.B. Shaw

Gustavo Valle - Director of Programs

Gustavo Valle is a native Guatemalan with years of experience as a teacher in the rural schools and as an instructor of Spanish language and cultural awareness with the U.S. Peace Corps. As the Director of Programs for Avivara he has primary responsibility for developing, distributing and monitoring Avivara's school improvement grants, as well as moniroting and supporting those students who receive scholarships from Avivara.


In addition to his work with Avivara, Gustavo is highly respected and active in his own community and has helped to organize a community library, after school program and community center. He also served in the most recent national elections as the Election Director for the town of Pastores, where he was responsible for overseeing (and maintaining the integrity of) the voting process, the tabulation of votes, and the transport of the ballots to the capital. Gustavo lives in the community of Zacatecas, just outside Pastores, with his extended family which includes his mother, father, sisters, nephews and nieces, his wife and his two children.

Gustavo's time spent working with Avivara is split between consulting with teachers and community members about the needs of the schools and students, purchasing, preparing and delivering supplies, and meeting with scholarship students and their families.  Much of his work takes him out into the more remote and rural parts of Guatemala, which can sometimes be hard on him and on his motorcycle.

In Memorium: On December 30, 2017, Gustavo Valle, our friend, teacher and Guatemalan partner, suffered a heart attack while playing soccer and died on the way to the hospital. He will be missed by his many friends and colleagues.

Gustav and son delivering supplies
Gustavo and his son Juan David delivering supplies to Segunda Cruz
Gustavo teaching in the U.S.
Gustavo teaching U.S. students about Guatemala
Gustavo with broken motorcycle
Gustavo waiting for repairs to his moto
Ann Austin-Avivara
Ann teaching in the San Pedro After School Learning Center
Ann Austin - Associate Director for Educational Programs & Teacher Development

Ann Austin
has over fifteen years of experience as a Kindergarten-12th grade art teacher. She completed her M.Ed. in education through Lesley University in a program that emphasized the combined processes of collaborative learning and artistic/creative thinking.

Ann enjoys working with learners of all ages. Her primary responsibilities with Avivara are teaching art in the schools that receive support from Avivara, coordinating volunteer activities, and conducting teacher development seminars for Guatemalan teachers.

Prior to helping start Avivara, Ann was the volunteer supervisor in a residential facility for severely abused and neglected children who had been living in the Guatemala City garbage dump. For Ann, teaching is not so much about providing information, but more about finding activities that resonate with her students and engage them in learning through exploration, creative thinking and real-life problem-solving.

Ann describes her work with Avivara as both heartbreaking and joyful. On a daily basis she confronts her feelings about living in a country where infants die because of the lack of simple medical attention and basic nutrition, along with feeling great satisfaction knowing that she is contributing to the improvement of educational opportunities in Guatemala.  She is also energized when she is able to provide students with learning activities that expand their ability to think critically and creatively about their own lives and the problems facing their villages and Guatemala as a whole.

(Note: In the Winter, 2010 edition of the Wartburg Alumni Magazine, Ann was featured in an article about her work with Avivara and education in Guatemala.)

Ann Austin-Avivara
Ann teaching art and creativity in San Jose Pacul
Gary Teale - Executive Director

Gary Teale has a broad range of experiences as an educator and business administrator. In his twenty-five years of teaching he has taught 1st grade through graduate level courses, and in settings as varied as hi-tech computer labs to single room schools in the mountains of Guatemala. He has served as adjunct faculty in the Continuing Education Programs at Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University where he taught courses in instructional methodologies, curriculum design and professional evaluation. He has also been a mentor/supervisor of pre-service intern teachers with the University of Washington’s School of Education.

In addition to his experience as an educator, Gary has directed and developed organizational and accounting systems for both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. His most recent job in the United States, before coming to Guatemala in 2006, was as a Catholic school principal in the Archdiocese of Seattle. Prior to helping found Avivara with Gustavo Valle and Ann Austin, he was the Director of Volunteers for Camino Seguro, a Guatemalan NGO helping to provide education for children living in the Guatemala City Garbage Dump. For Gary, education is a life-long process of synthesizing first-hand experience with the spiritual/wisdom traditions of different cultures.

Gary loves the challenge that working with Avivara provides. Whether it is traveling over barely passable roads to teach in the rural villages, struggling with a technological problem with the website, or even mediating a conflict between two neighborhood children, he finds that his work is "never boring."

Gary Teale-Avivara
Gary and Andy (a neighbor)
Gary Teale-Avivara
Contacting Our Staff
To reach any member of the Avivara Administrative Team, please use our Contact Us form.
(Because we live and work in Guatemala, this is actually the fastest and most cost-effective way to get in touch with us.)

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