Kevin Wade
Alumni Officer

Welcome to a bumper Summer 2019 Aloha College Alumni Newsletter! 

The Alumni Association is now moving from strength to strength with the increasing number of members getting involved in supporting the education and well-being of our current pupils. As you know, one of our main aims in setting up the Aloha College Alumni Association was to use the vast talent pool of our ex-students to enhance the learning experiences of our pupils.  When I originally sent out an email to our alumni in October last year, asking for volunteers to come in and share their experiences at our first Learning Conference. Entitled “Careers of Purpose”, there was an amazing response. Six alumni were invited in to come and speak to students in Year 11, 12 and 13 about their experiences at Aloha College and their career paths since leaving our gates.

We heard tales of careers chosen in the charity and not for profit sectors, as well as from young lawyers and entrepreneurs, All the alumni talked about a shared love of their time at an internationally and culturally mixed Aloha College Marbella!

Given the topic of the conference, it was important that we heard from people working to improve the lives of others, as well as helping to solve problems in the world.  Part of the school’s mission, the values of care and honesty are skills, which are in great demand in popular growth fields of work, such as social entrepreneurship, or corporate social responsibility (CSR). The ability for our students to have “soft” skills, as well as academic – will make them employable in all sectors and at all levels within their future organisations.

After the talks, students and staff joined the alumni visitors on a learning walk around the local area, where they could ask questions in a more informal way and also think about their own future plans and aspirations. I thank Skander Allani (1997) Evanina de Morcillo Makow (1993) Oscar Fernández Bracho (1993) Irina Selegenenko (2007) Tara Lovelady (1992) Lamiaa Abouelala (2013) for giving up time during their busy schedules to impart their knowledge and inspire our current pupils.  Many thanks to all of you who volunteered your time too.   

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DATE FOR YOUR DIARIES! * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The next Learning Conference will be held at Aloha College Marbella on October 11th, 2019 and its theme is STEAM-B education: we are especially interested to hear from alumni who work in design, arts technology, or businesses that harness the power of these intersections. Please consider joining us for the morning sessions, 10am- 1.30pm?  Use the email to express your interest and come and share your experiences!


Many of our ex-students come back into school to visit us.  It is always fabulous to hear first-hand about their exploits and listen to their stories. Nicole Moerland (1998) the director of the Marbella Film School, came into talk with our Year 12 Theatre Studies students and Tiffany Winterler (2009) made a flying visit before returning to her business in Munich, Germany.

The following pages highlight more stories from members of our alumni. . . .

Chris Knaup (2012) came to Aloha College Marbella in Year 6 and graduated in 2012. His mother, Margot, was a loyal Board Member of our school and sadly passed away in December 2016. A few months later Chris lost his father with a stroke. He was an only child and he found his life was turned upside down and had difficulty coping. This experience made him more aware of mental health issues in young people which, if left without support, can detoriate. He now wants to promote and raise awareness of these issues and wants to give back thanks to the University of Bristol who supported him so well. They founded the charity “Healthy Minds” which guides young people by tapping into the proven benefits of sport, exercise and healthy eating. On behalf of this charity, Chris competed in the 2019 London Marathon with Aloha College Marbella sponsoring him.

“Time really does fly, I spent 8 years at Aloha College and it is now 7 years since my graduation. Reflecting over the last past 7 years, events may seem random and unstructured to me, but in another way, it has just been about me exploring the seeds that were planted at Aloha College. Right after graduation I went to study engineering at the University of Sheffield and this can be directly attributed to the Mr Lopez’s passion for teaching physics in IB. After going on a year abroad to the National University of Singapore and spending a year in industry with GE’s Aviation division, I graduated, but then decided that engineering was not the profession for me.

I went to read Finance (MSc) at the University of Bristol, during which time I represented them at the European Debating Championship in Estonia and interned at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Alternative Finance. I can now see that this

interest in business and finance was seeded back in Mr Wade’s Business & Management classes during the IB programme.

After my studies, I joined PwC in their M&A team in London and focused on valuations for the financial service industry. After about a year of getting absolutely bored of valuing every type of collateralized debt obligation around the world, I remembered a conversation with Mr Ranea outside of Mrs Bachelor’s office, where he helped me figure out that what I really wanted to do is help commercialize new technologies. I swiftly left PwC and joined a boutique mid-market corporate finance firm that specializes in the TMT industry. So far, I have helped sell and fund multiple drone, semiconductor and machine learning analytics platforms and I am loving every minute of it!

It was only when I started University and met people from all walks of life that I realized what a privilege it had been to attend a school like Aloha College. Not only a school that provides a great education like the IB programme, a variety of extra-curricular activities and top-notch facilities, but also a school that has teachers that will take the time and care for each individual student.”

Ivana Dahl (2012) visited us in January this year. 

“I immediately received a warm welcome from Mrs. Batchelor and Mr. Escobar and felt like nothing had changed. We had a chat about what the Class of 2012 were doing since they graduated Aloha College and the importance of doing what you are passionate about. I could feel Mrs. Batchelor and

Mr. Escobar’s genuine excitement and pride for everyone.

Afterwards, I spoke to the debating team, I was impressed by how proactive and talented students at Aloha College are. I was also able to talk to two students, who have current offers for UK LLB programmes. They asked pertinent questions and showed attributes that law firms look for, such as ambition, which gave encouragement that they are prepared to excel in their chosen career path.

It was great to see how Aloha College continues to grow whilst maintaining its friendly and supportive environment. For example, I was glad to see that Aloha College has appointed a Career Advisor, and built a new sports centre. Also to reminisce with Mr. Wade and see how Aloha College still benefits from popular and familiar faces, such as Ms. McGirl and Mr. Davies.

The support and education I received at Aloha College acted as a springboard for my career and gave me long-term friendships. To all the current students, I hope you enjoy your time at Aloha and good luck with all the amazing things that are to come!”

Macarena Gomez-Salazar (2008)       

“Having studied at Aloha College, I was taught so many wonderful things. Not only the benefits of working hard, but it opened my mind to many different skills and gave me confidence in obtaining anything that I would want from life.  At the same time it is a protected environment and when it comes to the real world, you really don’t see it coming.

Until Year 13 at Aloha College, I kept all my studies up to date, passing year after year, and when it came to university, there were so many other things that taught me more than my studies. I started travelling, worked in different areas of architecture and combined my university studies with professional experience. This meant it took me longer to graduate, but it was worth it.

I’m currently working for an architectural company based in Barcelona, specializing in installations and renewable energies. In the following years I will be collaborating with “architects without frontiers” in Africa and Central America, producing sustainable architecture with the aim of improving the life of those in the third world.

When I was studying for the IB, I remembered us being asked if we would prefer to earn a lot of money in a job that didn’t make us happy or not earn much money working in something that we love to do. I’m lucky enough to be in love with the work I do and how much it improves the world we live in.” 

To finish, both some happy and sad news.  First the sad news. Guy Edwin Portwin (1991) who was in my tutor group when I first joined Aloha College, passed away at the young age of 46 at the end of May this year. Our sincere  condolences to his family.

On a happier note, Adrián Ortuño Crespo (2007) has recently got married.  Adrián’s mother, Maria Jesus Crespo, was instrumental as a hard-working member of the board of trustees in getting the Alumni Association up and running and all the college family expresses our congratulations to Adrian and wish him and his new wife future happiness. 

Please get in touch and don’t forget that you can make a significant contribution in shaping the futures of our current pupil body!

Do you know other ex-students who have graduated from Aloha College Marbella? If you know anyone who would like to register and receive all the news and events of the college, forward this newsletter to them, or direct them to our Aloha College Marbella website, where they can register online and join our growing community. 

Contact us by email on:

Darren Roth
Headteacher Secondary

Earned his BA(Hons) in English Literature from Cardiff University before completing his teaching qualification as a secondary English teacher at Swansea University. Over 17 years in South Wales, he held roles including Head of English, Head of Sixth Form, and senior management before joining Aloha College Marbella in 2012. A passionate educator, Darren finds immense satisfaction in students’ success.

His diverse interests extend beyond the classroom. Darren obtained his pilot’s licence at 17 through a Royal Air Force scholarship and continued training for years. He volunteered in the Camp America scheme, played water polo for Wales Under 18s, and taught children to swim.
Outside of his professional and athletic pursuits, Darren enjoys reading, cycling, and walking his rescue Yorkshire Terrier, Charley. A paddleboarding enthusiast, he finds joy in outdoor activities. Darren also has a flair for cooking and delights in preparing meals for friends. He holds a special affection for the Andalusian sunshine and seizes every opportunity to explore Spain and beyond.

Earned his BA(Hons) in English Literature from Cardiff University before completing his teaching qualification as a secondary English teacher at Swansea University. Over 17 years in South Wales, he held roles including Head of English, Head of Sixth Form, and senior management before joining Aloha College Marbella in 2012. A passionate educator, Darren finds immense satisfaction in students’ success.

His diverse interests extend beyond the classroom. Darren obtained his pilot’s licence at 17 through a Royal Air Force scholarship and continued training for years. He volunteered in the Camp America scheme, played water polo for Wales Under 18s, and taught children to swim.

Outside of his professional and athletic pursuits, Darren enjoys reading, cycling, and walking his rescue Yorkshire Terrier, Charley. A paddleboarding enthusiast, he finds joy in outdoor activities. Darren also has a flair for cooking and delights in preparing meals for friends. He holds a special affection for the Andalusian sunshine and seizes every opportunity to explore Spain and beyond.

Louise Verinder
Designated Safeguarding Lead & Pastoral Care

Louise earned her BA Hons degree from Edge Hill University and went on to complete her PGCE. With a lifelong passion for sports, she always knew she wanted to become a PE teacher. She excelled, particularly in sports acrobatics, earning the honor of representing Great Britain. For fourteen years, she served as head of PE in Chorley, in the north-west of England, before embarking on what was supposed to be a year’s sabbatical in Spain.

Louise joined Aloha College in 2014 as a part-time teacher of PE. A couple of years later, she transitioned into the role of pastoral care, a role that she absolutely loves. Tasked with leading the secondary school’s PSHEE program and serving as the Designated Safeguarding Lead, she finds great pleasure in developing positive working relationships with teenagers, supporting their mental health and wellbeing, helping develop their self-esteem and confidence, as well as helping them navigate the challenges of life!
Louise is passionate about learning and developing her skillset. She is an accredited life coach with the ICF, specializing in working with teenagers. She has studied for a Diploma in NLP and has recently been awarded a Level 5 Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health-Informed Schools and Communities. 
Outside of teaching, Louise loves the simple things in life. Spending time with her family and friends, travelling, and spending time outside hiking, skiing and paddleboarding. She loves good food and she feels truly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
Sara Dickie
Head of Key Stage 2

Graduated from the University of Plymouth with a BEd (hons) specialising in English Literature and teaching children in the primary age range.  For the next 17 years, Sara worked in large, central and outer London schools.  As a senior leader in the UK, Sara raised attainment and supported curriculum development across groups of schools in the local area and worked with the local education authority to provide training across boroughs. She ensured the success of school improvement in roles such as leader of English, Maths and SEND provision over the years.  Sara moved to Spain in 2017 and is currently our Head of Key Stage 2.  

Sara has travelled to many fascinating destinations across the globe and still counts travel as one of her interests.  However, she now spends more time at her rural finca in the Andalucian mountains than ever before due to the increasing number of rescue animals she supports.  Outside of education, Sara loves to spend time in the countryside with her horses, dogs and many other animals under her care. 
Liz Keys
Teaching & Learning

Liz gained a BA.Hons degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Hull.  After her PGCE  she began her teaching career at a state Primary School in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Her passion for teaching and her love of travel soon prompted her to take up her next role as a Reception class teacher at Bangkok Patana School in Thailand where she gained invaluable experience of working in an international environment. 

A desire to move closer to the UK prompted Liz to join Aloha College Marbella in 1997 where she has been a Key Stage leader in both KS1 & KS2. She is passionate about providing children with a Creative Curriculum which  provides exciting stimuli and first-hand learning experiences. Her interests are reading, travel and sampling different cuisines.
Anna Sweeting
Head of Key Stage 3 and Enrichment

Completed her degree in Business, Accounting and Finance, then later a Certificate in Mathematics. Having worked in banking, accounting and education finance she started teaching by founding a tuition company in 2006 and lecturing part-time in a further education college. These both grew, and a decision was made to sell the business and lecture full time, while also leading GCSE Maths. Anna made the move to secondary education in 2015, then joined Aloha College in 2016.

Anna loves inspiring students to try new things and to grasp opportunities, you never know where they will lead! She enjoys performing in theatre shows and singing, but the most drama in her life comes from being an avid follower of Blackpool FC, a curse that she has passed on to her two sons.
Jacqueline Brice
Head of Key Stage 4

Achieved a first class Honours degree in Mathematics and Physics from Kings College London before pursuing a career in broadcasting. She indulged her curiosity in the latest scientific and technological advances as a producer of scientific documentaries for BBC Radio and Television and then moved into fly-on-the-wall documentary making for Channel 4 with the police and the Royal Navy. Her broadcasting career has taken her flying through thunderstorms with lightning chasers in North Dakota, to crime scenes with the Metropolitan Police murder squad and from the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious to Gibraltar by Sea King helicopter. 

As her young family took priority in her life, she turned her degree into a Post Graduate Certificate of Education and brought her family to Spain, where she has continued to share her love of mathematics, science and life-long learning with the students of Aloha College for almost two decades. Over the years, she has thoroughly enjoyed leading the Mathematics Department and Key Stage 3 and now she is working as the Head of Key Stage 4, hoping to instill a love for learning and international travel in our young adults and to encourage them to value a broad range of creative, analytical and communication skills.
Ellen Richards
Head of EYFS

Studied at the University of Chester where she completed her BEd (Hons) in  Primary education, specialising in the Early Years. She believes there is no age range more exciting and inspiring with which to work, and feels fortunate to have truly found her vocation. 

Ellen has taught at international schools in Guangzhou, China, Bangkok, Thailand and London, UK, before joining the Aloha College Marbella team in 2018 where she is currently Head of Foundation Stage. Having attended international schools herself in Maseru, Lesotho, Yokohama, Japan and South Wales in the UK, Ellen feels a strong sense of belonging within our multicultural community.
Outside of work, Ellen is most content exploring all and any creative pursuits, be it in a rather haphazard way! What she lacks in finesse she makes up for in enthusiasm, and will happily while away the weekend with her sewing machine. 
Elaine McGirl
Head of Key Stage 5

An experienced educator with over two decades of expertise in the field of science and education. Originally from Ireland, Elaine graduated with Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Limerick after earning a Bachelor of Science in Education majoring in Biology and Chemistry. 

Driven by a passion for understanding how students learn best, Elaine has held diverse roles in education, including lecturing and tutoring in educational psychology to undergraduate students. She has extensive experience teaching various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate, A Levels and the Irish Leaving certificate, providing her with a comprehensive understanding of various educational systems. 
In 2007, Elaine joined Aloha College Marbella, where she has served as an IB and A-Level Biology teacher, General Science teacher, and Head of the Science Department. Currently, she holds the position of Head of Sixth Form and IB Diploma Programme Coordinator, demonstrating her leadership and commitment to guiding students towards academic excellence and personal growth.
Outside of teaching, Elaine enjoys Irish dancing, Flamenco, and salsa. She can play several instruments from her days in a youth marching band. Elaine loves traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with animals.
Anne Ross
Head of Key Stage 1

Began her teaching career with a Foundation Degree in Early Years from the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland. She managed and developed a Nursery School in the Highlands for several years and was very involved in raising the awareness and the importance of Early Years education throughout many schools in the Highlands and North of Scotland. Anne then furthered her studies, experience and expertise by gaining a PGCE at the University of Buckingham to further her career in Primary education.

At Aloha Anne has always been passionate about extending her knowledge and learning, she is currently studying to become a certified Well-Being coach. She is a strong advocate of student wellbeing, emotional intelligence and social development, these important life skills ensure our students emerge more resilient and ready to face future adversities. 
Even though Anne has lived in Spain for over 20 years, she loves to explore Spain’s rich culture and many hidden treasures. She is an enthusiastic traveller with a love for diverse destinations and learning from different cultures. Anne has always been passionate about sports and keeping fit and in her spare time she loves Crossfit classes, family time and reading.
Emma Saunders
Primary Designated Safeguarding Lead & Pastoral Car

Emma has dedicated her entire teaching and professional career to ACM. A Saint Mary’s University London honour’s graduate, holding a Masters Degree in International Education from Oxford Brookes, Emma has shaped her career into a student-centric narrative. Her experience and research into “Third Culture Kids’, which recognises our students unique educational, international and Spanish experience, was used in crafting and developing the Primary PSHEE programme, facilitating essential skills appropriate to academic, psychological and emotional well-being.

Emma’s professionalism at Charity, is helping change lives for the vulnerable, in Málaga and Africa where ACM has initiated educational programmes in Kampala. Her work as a rapporteur for the COBIS ConnectED sessions is established and recognised. As a qualified Catechist, Emma’s Pastoral Care role is busy and engaging. As a safeguarding expert and officer, fluent in Spanish, Emma analyses the latest programmes, developments and policies, at national and International level.
As a former ballerina, Emma trained young dancers for school shows and Marbella events in modern/Irish dance, and regularly performed in her native West End. Emma also enjoys entertaining family and friends, however Tara the Afghan Hound as the newest member of the Saunders family, is the one who now steals the show!
Kate Edwards
Headteacher Primary

Kate graduated from the University of Central England with a BEd (Hons) in Primary Education, specialising in the Early Years. As an experienced leader in both UK and international educational settings, Kate is committed to providing students with a learning environment that celebrates effort and achievement in both academic and personal endeavors. In July 2019, Kate, completed the Cobis Program for Aspiring Heads, before taking on her first headship with us in 2023. 

In her spare time, Kate loves spending time with her husband and three children. They often enjoy trips to the park, constructing Lego masterpieces, strolls along the beach and splashing about in the pool. When time allows, Kate also loves to bake.  At home you’ll often find her whipping up a storm in the kitchen. Rumour has it, she dreams of donning the iconic apron on the Great British Bake Off one day! 
Víctor Ranea
Head of Administration

Víctor Ranea se unió al colegio como Business Manager en 2003. Lideró el proceso de transición entre la antigua compañía y la fundación actual. Como responsable del área de Administración, ha participado en varios Planes Estratégicos. Además de las finanzas y los Presupuestos Generales, ha dirigido los proyectos constructivos del colegio y contribuido en los planes de marketing así como en la implementación de nuevos sistemas informáticos del área de finanzas.

Licenciado en Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales por la Universidad de Málaga, Víctor Ranea es un apasionado del deporte, con experiencia en competiciones regionales, habiendo contribuido a la creación de los clubs deportivos del colegio. Un amante de los viajes y la gastronomía, así como de la música, el teatro y el cine.