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OUR TEAM

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JEAN KIRSHNER

BEP President

As an educator, it is my greatest passion and joy to witness literacy unfold in young minds within classrooms all over the world. Literacy is the key to a voice and to our human potential. I am currently a professor of education at the University of Northern Colorado, where I find the same passion and joy in undergraduate and graduate students. I have worked with teachers in the classrooms of Belize since 2007. One of my greatest labors of love has been the book Decolonizing Transcultural Teacher Education, which depicts the collective work of educators from Belize and the United States. My work with my Belizean colleagues, students, and families continues to change and inspire me daily.

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CHRIS ROBINSON

Director of Operations

Nurse at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver. Became interested in the Cayo district in 2007 on a medical mission. Have returned to Belize to work with teachers as part of the Belize Education Project every year since.

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SHARI GRIFFIN

Director of Professional Development

To witness learning is to be in awe. The power of literacy to open doors, provide perspective, and inspire dreams should be available to each person. I have been teaching for 34 years. Before teaching in Douglas County, my teaching experiences have taken me from elementary schools in Craig, Colorado, to the University of Wyoming.

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DEBBIE BLAIR

Director of Technology Development

I have been an elementary teacher in Douglas County School District in Colorado for 28+ years. I have taught second and third grades. I have also co-taught technology and STEAM, so I am incredibly fortunate to plan, collaborate, and teach with classroom teachers. Each day, I’m amazed at the thinking of students. My husband and I fell in love with Belize when we were there for our honeymoon in 2000. Although I’ve wanted to travel with BEP for many years, family obligations kept me at bay until 2012. I was consumed by the eagerness of teachers and students alike who embrace our time with them. Literacy brought us together! I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of BEP, and I look forward to seeing where this adventure with our Belizean family takes us.

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ESTHER VALDEZ

Director of Instructional Leadership

As an educator since 1987, it has been my life's work to provide students with every opportunity to learn, thrive, and contribute to their personal success and their positive impact on the larger community.  I believe education and literacy acquisition are the great equalizers in the world.  I feel strongly that the power of education can harness unlimited potential and opportunities for our students. My work in educational leadership strives to impact the formation of new teachers, sustain continuous growth in teachers and principals through professional development, and influence educational policymakers. Global literacy affects all of us, and I am proud to be a partner with my Belizean colleagues, students, and families to support the development of responsible citizens using innovation and creativity to address and resolve the complex issues of our world.  

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LYNN LOVING

Director of Professional Development

Arm in arm. Hand in hand. Heart to heart. This is how we journey together with our Belizian Brothers and Sisters in our quest to make literacy come alive for all the children of the world. After retiring from 35 years of teaching, I am so very grateful to be involved in the BEP. Learning alongside these creative, resourceful, dedicated educators is one of the greatest gifts of my life. I am blessed to be supported by my husband, Brad, and my two amazing daughters, Clancy and Kate.

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