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At Mareas, we are committed to creating a caring, child-centered academic environment, where freedom and flexibility go hand in hand with learning from the most qualified teachers in the Samara area.


Lenina Araya Orocu

Founder & Director, 

Lenina is a native of San Jose, Costa Rica, where she completed her studies at the Universidad de Santa Paula with a specialization in Special Education, with an emphasis on Speech Therapy. She has worked exclusively with children  for the last 26 years and truly enjoys the time spent with them, nurturing them as they grow and learn. Her other passions are reading, riding her bicycle, and spending time with her family.


Miroslava Castro

Presschool- Kindergarten 


Miroslava Castro is from Caracas, Venezuela, a Teacher in Preschool Education, she studied at the Pedagogical Institute of Caracas which is a university where they train teachers specialized in pedagogy, she is also a Sensei of Karate-Do 4th Dan which she is passionate about. She currently has 4 Dojos in Sámara, Nosara, Islta and Nicoya. She has worked with children for 30 years in different areas as a teacher, Sensei, with academic reinforcements, recreationist and nanny. She loves working with children because with a smile or a hug from them her day is filled with color. She loves to play sports, walk, read and watch movies. She is happy to belong to the Mareas Academy team, starting her 8th year and always giving her best for the well-being of our community.

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Patricia Janzen

K, 3th-10h Grade,  English and Social Studies Teacher

Originally from Oregon in the United States. Patricia has lived in Samara for the last 5 years. Patricia took a short break from full time teaching to focus on herself but her love for Mareas and the students has brought her back to the school. She is excited to spend another year with everyone, doing what she loves. 

She graduated with her Master’s degree in Special Education from George Fox University and holds a professional teaching license in Oregon. She also holds degrees from the same university in early childhood education, elementary education, and English for speakers of other languages. 

In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family, go to the beach, and play with her dog. She is also an avid baker and constantly trying new things in the kitchen. 

Like many teachers, Patricia loves learning and is constantly seeking ways to enhance her knowledge both professionally, as a teacher, and personally. 

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Michaela Raftus

1st-2nd  Grade Teacher,

English, Science, Math and Social Studies.

Michaela is a French Immersion and English teacher from Nova Scotia, Canada, with an undergraduate degree majoring in French and minoring in Criminology studies. She obtained her Bachelor of Education in the Fall of 2022 and have taught in the classroom between Canada and Costa Rica since. She has always enjoyed working with children and spending time by the ocean, having taught swimming lessons and life guarded throughout her teen years and early twenties. Michaela love travelling, reading thriller novels, writing in her journal and spending time with friends and family. Her next professional goal is to complete a Masters Degree relating to Education and Counselling in the coming years and to continue gaining experience as an educator. 


Stephanie Rangel 

3th-10th Grade,  Science and

STEAM Teacher

Stephanie is Mexican, born in Mexico City. She has a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's degree in Science in Natural Resources and Rural Development. She has worked constantly on environmental education issues. She is very passionate about field work, and she loves it when her students share with her the love and respect she has for nature and all the beings that live in it. What she enjoys most about teaching science classes is being able to appreciate live and direct all the wonders that the environment has for us. This is her second year second year as part of our Mareas family.


Diego Salas

3th - 10th Grade Math and STEAM teacher

Diego is a native of Alajuela, Costa Rica where he completed his studies at the University of Costa Rica. He is a professor of Mathematics at the Central University, a private university. This is his second year as part of our Mareas family.

He likes to play soccer and volleyball, he also likes to listen to music and play video games.


Melissa Jimenez 

Grades 1st - 10th Spanish and  Social Studies from Costa Rica and Economics for the upper grades.

Costa Rican economist, originally from Playa Sámara, Guanacaste. She loves to read, play sports. She has worked in several universities in the country as a teacher of Social and Economic Sciences courses. She has been a member of the Mareas Academy family for 6 years, and this year 2023-2024 she will teach Spanish and Social Studies classes and an economics class for high school students.


Nicolás Tejada

1st-10th Grades, Spanish and  and Social Studies from Costa Rica and Literature in Spanish 

Originally from Cusco, Peru, Nicolas studied Hispanic Literature at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and later completed a Master degree in Education and Social Justice in Madrid. In the educational field, Nicolas had the opportunity to teach in alternative schools in different cities of Peru. In which he collaborated in the development of participatory methodologies for children and teenagers. Also, he worked at university as a teaching assistant of philosophy and narrative courses. Nicolas believes that his educational labor is an opportunity to show that tenderness is revolutionary

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Silvia  Rangel 


Silvia is originally from Estrada de Hojancha, Costa Rica. She is 44 years old and has 3 children. She has been part of the Mareas family for 11 years and for five years she has been a preschool assistant.


Isabella Di Capua 


Isabella is our third student to graduate from high school. She has decided to take a gap year before defining what she wants to do in her future. This year she has the opportunity to work at Mareas as an assistant and she is very excited to be part of the educational experience of our students.

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Hillary Campos


Hillary was born in San José; she is 25 years old and has three girls who attend Mareas. She is a bilingual preschool technician, and this is the third year that she works with us.

She has really enjoyed her experience as an assistant to the little ones at school.

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