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Dedicated to Education
Samara School’s New Director Explains Her Philosophy of Education

By Arianna McKinney

She has always loved to be surrounded by children. That’s why Maria Luisa Villarreal Muñoz chose to pursue a career in education. Now, 14 years into her career, she has been promoted to Director of the school in Samara, assuming the new post on August 10.

Villarreal is a native of Nicoya where she lives in the Chorotega neighborhood with her two children, a 25-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter. For the past 8 years, she served as the Director at Carlos Miller School in Pueblo Viejo of Nicoya, where she also taught first, second and third grades. However, her voice was being strained working with the youngsters: “I always left without a voice,” she remarked. Since she especially enjoys the administrative part of education and wanted to progress on her career path, becoming Director of Samara School is an opportunity for professional advancement.


First Priority: Building a Wall
After a week on the job, Villarreal enumerated her goals for the school, placing emphasis on infrastructure such as building a wall behind the school and improving the electrical system. She walked around the school grounds, indicating how water runs into the yard, gathering in trenches and exposing the students to the risk of getting dengue from mosquitoes. In the short time while she walked around the schoolyard with VON, she said she was bitten at least six times. To prevent water from running in the schoolyard, the school is trying to raise funds and solicit community support to build a wall about 75 meters long. Villarreal explained that the wall also needs to be high so people won’t be able to climb over it to get into the schoolyard.  
Another school project is an effort to win the Blue Flag, an honor bestowed on institutions that promote environmental awareness and contribute to community cleanliness. 

Villarreal says that increasing student promotion so fewer students repeat grades is a high priority for her in the area of the school’s academic program. Being in a tourist area, she would also like to have more English-speaking people come to the school to interact with the students and help the English teacher. 

The Triangle of Educational Success
She also wants to get parents more involved with the school. Her educational philosophy is that learning success is formed by a triangle of involvement, with the three points of the triangle being the student, the school and the parents. If one of the three doesn’t fulfill their role in the learning process, she joked that it’s like getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle. 

Although Villarreal is no longer teaching in the classroom, she still has the pleasure of being surrounded by children. She said the children of Samara are very friendly and respectful. They stop by her office and give her cookies and candy. 


She is also happy to be working near the ocean, although she hasn’t yet had time to visit the beach. She has been busy with paperwork, organizing the institution and following the directives of the Ministry of Education. “Just seeing the ocean, my mind is clear,” she explained. The ocean relieves stress, which can certainly develop with all of the meetings and responsibilities that come with being the school’s new Director.


More Community News

Neighbors pitch in to improve road in Samara

Fourteen Samara businesses and neighbors along the road to El Lagarto restaurant decided it was time to do something about flooding and drainage problems along that road. Laura Ellington of Intercultura reported that the neighbors collected 550,000 colones ($1100) to repair the road, with the promise that the municipality will later contribute up to 4 million colones ($8000) for further improvements. 

Potable Water Promised to Beach Community of Pelada

The Federal Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) delivered a promise to the residents inhabiting the portion of the Ostional refuge in Pelada. For years the residents of the small beach community living in the 200 meter refuge zone have relied on well water that is often found to be unfit for drinking.

Lofty Plans for Carrillo's New Catholic Church

Puerto Carrillo has a new church, large with a high vaulted ceiling and arched windows along each side. The entrance is huge, opening to a vast space that leads to the altar which is elevated with wooden lecterns and the appropriate chair for the Bishop.

Downtown Nosara With New Curb

Now rainwater has a course to follow in downtown Nosara. The new 500-meter long curb and gutter stretch from the soccer field to the Rancho Tico restaurant, with a cost of over 10 million colones.

Torches, Lanterns and Drums to
Celebrate 190 Years of Independence

Thousands of students are expected to take to the streets to celebrate Costa Rica's 190 years of independence. Starting on the 13th of September, the torch will be lit on the border of Penas Blancas at 10 am, thus commencing the cross country tour.

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