Our students learn alongside passionate and dedicated educators from a wide variety of backgrounds. We are all educators: whether we have dedicated years of higher education to our disciplines, have lived on Eleuthera our entire life, or are conducting scientific research at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Below is a list of the professionals working most closely with Island School semester students.
Founder & Headmaster
Chris Maxey has dedicated his life to work with young people to help them believe that they can make a difference in the world both for the environment and for people. After graduating with a BA in History from Yale University, Chris served as an officer in Naval Special Warfare and developed a foreign area expertise in Latin America. He began his teaching career at The Lawrenceville School and received a Joukowsky fellowship to pursue a Masters degree in marine resource management at University of Miami Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Chris and his wife Pam founded The Island School along with Christian Henry in the Spring of 1999.
Dean of Students
Liz arrived at The Cape Eleuthera Island School family in spring of 2013. She joined us as the Director of the Gap Year Program, which she led for three years. Liz also directed our Summer Term for two years and assumed the role as Dean of Students in fall 2016. Her transition to The Bahamas came after years of fostering a deep understanding of experiential education, she is still as passionate as the first time she assisted a student to see the best version of themselves ten years ago. Liz received her BSc in Physical Geography in the UK. She combined her love of the ocean and her passion for education by spending over two years teaching marine science at an experiential education facility in the Florida Keys. She transitioned to the ‘land-down-unda’ in 2012 – taking outdoor education to a new level in the Australian bush leading trips and working with students from all over Australia. Since being back where she belongs, where the ocean and land meet in a place she thoroughly believes in, she has been able to foster relationships with students, develop programming, and is working hard every day to deepen her understanding of what it means to live well in a place. In her spare time, Liz finds herself hiking, being outdoors, hammocking, exploring the underwater world, traveling and spending time eating good food with friends that are family and family that are friends.
Director of Curriculum
Ashley graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Sociocultural Anthropology and Professional Writing and specializations in Peace and Justice Studies and Health and Wellness Promotion. In 2008, Ashley accepted a position as a Teach For America corps member and taught for three years in California, simultaneously pursuing a Master's degree in Education at Alliant International University. Looking to foster experiential learning methods, Ashley then spent one year working in outdoor education. In 2012, Ashley returned to TFA to work with the same community she initially taught, this time coaching teachers in pedagogy and practice. Ashley has attended workshops in leadership, experiential education, positive psychology, and critical thinking. Ashley joined The Island School community in 2014 as a Histories and Literature teacher after finding the curriculum and program matched her education philosophy focused on holistic development, and in Fall of 2016, assumed the role of Director. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys running, backpacking, reading and adventuring outside.
Dean of Faculty
Bruce has been an educator for 17 years. He has spent most of his career working in and around the Grand Rapids area of Michigan teaching Science and Industrial Arts. Bruce earned his Bachelor's degree in Biology at Central Michigan University in 2001, and a Master’s degree in Education from Ferris State University in 2004. Bruce also holds teaching certifications in Chemistry, Industrial Arts as well as Construction Trades. Over the course of his career, he has enjoyed creating curricula specifically designed to connect student’s passions and needs with experiential place based learning. His philosophy of teaching centers on the idea that
learning must be real, hands-on, relevant, and meaningful to students. Bruce believes that students experience success in education when their dreams and abilities are connected with their passions in a significant and meaningful way. In 2015 Bruce and his family moved to the jungle of Costa Rica to teach as well as immerse themselves in the rich culture and natural environment. Throughout his career, he had been fortunate enough to work with different cultures and students in rural, suburban, inner city and jungle settings. In his free time, Bruce enjoys freediving, SCUBA, woodworking, and spending time experiencing new adventures with his wife and three children.
Fellows Program Coordinator
Alex hails from Lancaster, Ohio but has lived in California, Chilé, Michigan, and Colorado. Alex graduated from the University of Dayton in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in Geology. He returned to the university to earn a secondary education teaching credential in 2010. Alex has been professionally involved with outdoor and experiential education for over twelve years. Currently, he certifies students to freedive at The Island School. He has taught classes on backpacking and kayaking, instructed students at a residential outdoor education facility in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and led National Parks camping trips. Alex's relationship with The Island School dates back to the Fall of 2014 when he volunteered for the Cape Eleuthera family. Today Alex certifies students in freediving and coordinates morning freediving sessions for students. Alex also manages the Teaching Fellowship Program, coaches the students training for the Half Marathon, and is an expedition leader for sailing and kayaking trips. In his free time, Alex loves freediving and ultra running.
Applied Scientific Research Head
Cameron hails from Ada, Michigan and first joined the CEIS community in Summer 2014 as an intern with the Shark Research and Conservation program. After returning to and graduating from Eckerd College with a degree in Marine Biology in 2015, Cameron rejoined the CEIS community as a research technician at CEI. Since then, he has taken on more education focused roles with the Education Programs department, The Island School semester program, Gap program, and Expeditionary Summer Term. Cameron is now combining his passions of field research and education as the Applied Scientific Research Head. Aside from this role, he enjoys freediving, fishing, running, and exploring the island.
Paul grew up on the campus of Cate School, a boarding school in Southern California, where his father worked as an English teacher. After graduating from Cate in 1979, Paul studied biology at Middlebury College, returning to Cate in the mid-1980s to begin a teaching career that has now spanned over 35 years. Paul has taught biology, chemistry, genetics, and anatomy and physiology in addition to an interdisciplinary course he developed called "The American Wilderness", integrating environmental science, English, American history, and philosophy along with an outdoor component of whitewater kayaking. Paul’s commitment to innovative, experiential, interdisciplinary education attracted him to the Island School where he will spend the fall semester while on sabbatical from Cate.
During his tenure at Cate, Paul has served as Associate Director of Admissions and Dean of Students, in addition to serving as a dormitory Head, and coaching soccer and lacrosse. Paul also runs Cate’s Outdoor Program and in his free (and work) time enjoys anything outdoors, but his passions are surfing, kayaking, and fly fishing.
Valencia grew up in Abaco where she spent her childhood fishing, boating, crabbing, and enjoying the outdoors. In 2005 she completed her tertiary education at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida where she earned a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education with a Specialization in Exceptional Student Education. After University, she taught in West Palm Beach for three years and later moved to Nassau where she was employed with the Ministry of Education for six years before exploring the private school arena. She has taught for more than years and views the opportunity to teach and impact the lives of young learners a blessing and gift. Valencia believes that a person is molded through meaningful and positive life experiences. With that said, her mission in teaching is to help develop today's youth into well-balanced and motivated individuals by creating meaningful and purposeful experiences in and out of the classroom. Valencia enjoys learning from her students and from the world around her and exploring opportunities for personal and professional growth. When she is not teaching, she loves traveling, spending time with her dog, Gertrude, journaling, walking, biking, and being outdoors!
Bass comes from Cairo, Egypt. He attended the American University in Cairo where he double majored in Physics and Mathematics. He went on an exchange program at the University of Arizona in his junior year at college. Bass has been in the education field for 10 years and he is highly inspired by Ibn Sina’s holistic philosophy of education. While in university, he privately tutored the CIE and the IB Math and physics syllabi. After graduating he taught at universities in Egypt and worked on developing proprietary curricula for Top Choice Admissions - an education consultancy and tutoring startup. Most recently he was Mathematics Faculty at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa where he also led many student life programs, such as the House and the Spiritual Life programs. Bass has a deep passion for physical education through martial arts, particularly Capoeira and Jiujitsu. Bass won the welterweight Egyptian Fighting Championship title in 2011 and founded the Capoeira Academy in Egypt in 2012. In his free time, Bass likes to practice his handstands, read about education, play and sing capoeira music.
Ms. Joan Telle was born on the beautiful island of New Providence, The Bahamas.
She graduated from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica with a Bachelor’s Degree in Botany/Environmental Science, and a Master’s Degree in Crop Protection & Biotechnology from the University Of Leeds, England.
Life Sciences as a subject has always fascinated her, hence she has 13+ years of teaching experience at the High School and College Level (Bahamas Baptist Community College/ University of The Bahamas).
Her educational philosophy is to ensure that students gain fundamental knowledge of a particular subject from the very beginning and can use what has been learned beyond the classroom. Therefore, she strives to present clear demonstrations, use applied examples and active learning techniques, which help students to grasp the concepts that they will need for problem-solving and independent thinking. Furthermore, she feels that it is essential to present current information and technologies that are both important to the field and relevant to the student; as a result, she aims to incorporate recent studies and novel ideas into the classroom and in the field.
In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading, traveling and exploring the outdoors.
Lauren grew up in Baltimore, MD before heading south to the College of Charleston where she studied Hospitality and Tourism Management. Lauren spent her summers during college as a counselor at Kieve Camp in Maine. Her journey with The Island School first began in 2012 when she was an Island School student for the fall semester. After completing the semester program she always knew she wanted to come back to Eleuthera to teach someday. She first returned to teach for the summer term program in the summer of 2017 and has taught the Tourism and Development course each summer since. Lauren also taught as a Histories fellow for the 2018-2019 school year. She is very excited to continue her journey at The Island School as an Interdisciplinary Teacher and Dorm Head for the Tree House dorm this year.
Sara grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and then headed east for college. She studied Environmental Studies and Geology at Colgate University in central New York. While in school, Sara worked for Colgate’s outdoor education program and led groups of students into the Adirondacks to hike, climb, paddle, and camp. She spent her summers on the coast of Lake Champlain working at Camp Dudley at Kiniya, a girls summer camp in Vermont. Sara worked as a Marine Ecology teacher for the Island School Summer Term program in 2018, and is so excited to be back on Eleuthera! Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends, snorkeling, reading (or napping) in a hammock, and eating good food.
Railey was born and raised in Colorado, where she spent her early year's hiking, skiing, and backpacking. She moved north to Maine to attend Bowdoin College, where she got her bachelor's degree in Earth and Oceanographic Science and Cinema Studies. She likes to interrogate systems--both natural and man-made--in order to better understand how they permeate our everyday lives. Her enthusiasm for experiential education and love for the ocean drew her to the waters of Eleuthera, where she is eager to be a part of the Island School team. Railey is a passionate SCUBA diver, traveler, and linguist. In her free time, she writes, watches movies, and tries to teach herself, French.
Maria-Claudia Schubert Fontes
Maria Claudia grew up in Miami, Florida after moving with her family from Caracas, Venezuela. She spent many summers as a counselor and lifeguard at Fun Days by the Bay Camp in Coconut Grove. After graduating high school, Maria Claudia attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. While in college, she double-majored in Cultural Anthropology and Latinx/Latin American Studies as well as completed a Social Justice concentration. During her junior year of college, Maria Claudia studied in both Lima, Peru and Melbourne, Australia where she researched contemporary Indigenous political movements. Throughout her senior year of college, Maria Claudia worked for the Coalition for a Healthy & Greater Worcester, which sought to mitigate health disparities amongst the Latinx community. One of her goals this year is to cultivate pockets of stillness into every day, and as such, you may find her meditating or water coloring on her spare time.
Anita grew up on Mount Desert Island in Maine, home of Acadia National Park which grew her love of the outdoors. She followed this passion to Colorado where she studied Organismal Biology and Ecology at Colorado College. As a student, Anita has studied ecology in Belize, Maine, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming with a focus on applying ecological concepts to inform sustainable practices. Anita attended The Island School as a student in Fall 2013 and is thrilled to reunite with the community from the other side. In her free time, you’ll find Anita anywhere near the water (swimming, diving, sailing, snorkeling).
Whit hails from Middlebury, Vermont where he spends his free time outdoors, traversing the Green Mountain trails on foot, bike, and ski. His early desire to explore the natural world was cultivated by the freedom that a state filled with river bends, mountain peaks, and woodland trails can offer a young adventurer. Whit then moved to Boston, MA to receive his BS in Biology and Environmental Studies where he focused on conservation ecology, environmental policy, and environmental justice. At Tufts University, his research examined the effects of seasonality and climate change on tropical plants and Lepidopteraphenology. Apart from research, Whit led backpacking trips for Tufts orientation and continued this love of experiential education at the High Mountain Institute in Leadville, CO. This initial exposure to place-based learning has left Whit seeking communities and educational philosophies that foster this creative and exploratory potential. He is thrilled to have now found exactly that in a sandy new home on Eleuthera.
Growing up in Williamstown, Massachusetts, home for Kelsey has always been tied to the outdoors. Her passion for experiential education and adventure was first ignited at Camp Dudley at Kiniya in Colchester, Vermont where she has spent the last 13 summers since 2006. Working as a cabin leader and outdoors staff member, Kiniya has given Kelsey the opportunity to travel throughout Spain, backpack in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, and organize backpacking and paddling trips for young women in the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. In 2016 she graduated for Wheaton College (MA) where she majored in English and served as the Outdoor Education House President and Dean’s Intern for the First Year advising program. For the next three years, Kelsey worked as an Educator at The Leadership School at Kieve Wavus Education in Nobleboro, Maine. Teaching a curriculum focused on social-emotional learning, community building, and leadership skills, Kelsey is excited to bring her enthusiasm for mentorship and community based learning to the Island School this year. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys playing cribbage, exploring new places, and bird identifying.
Gráinne is from Ireland and is delighted to be now on the other, much warmer, side of the Atlantic. She studied PPES (Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology) at university in Dublin and France, and, since graduating, has been teaching English in Chile, Italy, and Madagascar. She loves traveling and learning languages, and is particularly passionate about outreach and engagement with the local culture and people. She is especially excited about doing lots of water sports this year, having spent the last few years hiking, cycling, and running marathons.