Karine RAVEL SANCHEZ, Founder and Director
Following a Masters degree in Economics and a DESS degree in Human Resources, Karine began her career in Human Resources as a consultant and HR Manager in private companies.
After six years, Karine decided to change paths and she became a teacher certified by the French National Board of Education. She spent the following ten years teaching classes of varying levels between maternelle (nursery school) and CM2 (primary school).
Karine pursued her teaching experience in French schools abroad. She also worked as the pedagogical and administrative manager of a French school in Chile with 7 classes.
Drawing on her experience working with children, as well as her own personal experience as a mother of four, Karine decided to open her own school in Provence, a school which would adapt to the needs of each child.
Karine completed training in Montessori teaching methods for 3-6 year olds and 6-12 year olds with the organization « Apprendre Montessori, ». She also completed training sessions with Sophie Rabhi on the themes of Active Listening, Non-Violent Communications and Mediation. Karine is in charge of school administration and management. She also works closely with the teachers and with the school’s Pedagogical Director, to organize and structure programs which meet the needs of each child at the Gift School.
Laetitia LAUVRAY, School Curriculum Director, Les Hiboux Teacher (7-9 year olds)
Laetitia joined the Gift School team after 15 years of working at the Académie de Versailles in Paris, with children aged 3 to 10 years old, and more specifically in “Priority Education Zones” with children whose needs are not met with conventional school methods.
In 2014, Laetitia took on additional missions as a Teacher trainer (supporting young teachers as they begin their careers) as well as an Academic Trainer for Priority Education.
These missions gave Laetitia the opportunity to experiment with different pedagogies and learning methods, to enhance and develop skills in a spirit of exchange and teamwork and ultimately inspired her to further explore alternative teaching methods, taking the skills she acquired in French public schools to another level.
“The key to teaching for me is a holistic approach to education. I believe in teaching mindfulness, mindfully.”
In June 2019, Laetitia completed a degree in Psychopedagogy, so as to further enrich her core skills for accompanying children on an individual basis (using the theory of multiple intelligences, teamwork and cooperation, encouraging social interaction, positive reinforcement and other fundamental teaching methods and techniques). Laetitia is a patient and well-organized leader who brings to the Gift School her extensive experience teaching children.
Emmanuelle ROQUES, Teacher Les Toucans Class (5-6 year olds)
Emmanuelle studied Theater and Contemporary Literature before working as an actress and theater instructor in Marseille for 8 years. She then decided to become a school teacher, so that she could more broadly share her passion for theater with children. After her training, she taught in Marseille and in Paris for 8 years, across all levels from Pre-K to Elementary.
She then spent 5 years teaching in French schools abroad, at the French American School of New York, and at the Lycée Français in Copenhagen.
Alternative teaching methods which respect the developmental needs of children, as well as theater and Scandinavian culture, are Emmanuelle’s passions which she enjoys bringing into her classroom through creative and cultural projects.
Emmanuelle’s gentle nature, her optimism and her outgoing character have been a wonderful addition to the Gift School team since September 2021.
Léa DUBUQUOY, Teacher Les Hirondelles Class (4-5 year olds)
For as long as she can remember, Léa always wanted to work with children.
With a Masters degree in Education and Teaching and a passion for books, Léa worked for 5 years in a local children’s bookstore, where she also organized and ran workshops for children.
Léa felt called to teaching and particularly in alternative school environnements ; she therefore completed a full year’s training certificate at the « Aide à la Vie – La Source » Montessori training center in Saint Cannat, where she specialized in teaching 3-6 year olds.
As a Montessori educator, Léa worked for several Montessori schools where she used her training in traditional and Montessori teaching methods as well as her passion for books, to accompany young children through their developmental years.
Léa is also an active local eco-citizen and she is passionate about nature, cooking, yoga and meditation. Léa shares her interests with the children in her class who participate in her workshops with great pleasure.
Sweet, attentive and caring, Léa teaches Class 2 (4-5 year olds).
Carolyn GILLESPIE, Montessori English Assistant for Les Hirondelles Class (4-5 year olds) and English Teacher for Les Toucans Les Hiboux and Les Hirondelles
Globe-trotting Carolyn spent her childhood riding horses on the banks of the Mississippi River. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Carolyn’s parents moved to Provence when she was 11 years old and they have been there ever since.
Carolyn obtained a Masters degree in Eco-Tourism and Urban Planning from the University of Bordeaux and then spent ten years years studying, traveling and working abroad before settling back down in Aix en Provence. Her travels and experience lead her to spend extensive time in Chile, Ecuador, Belize, Holland and New Zealand.
Carolyn is a confirmed horse rider and rock climber, and she also has experience working as an assistant veterinarian.
After working in several bilingual schools in Provence, Carolyn decided to devote her career to children. She is currently completing her Montessori training with « Apprendre Montessori » and she has been working with the Gift School team from its inception in September 2019. Today, Carolyn works with Léa as an English assistant in Class 2 (4-5 year olds) and she teaches Sports in English to elementary classes. “Fun” and “silly” are two words the children hear Carolyn say on a daily basis.
Virginie PETRINI, Teacher Les Colibris (2-3 year olds)
Passionate about ornithology and ecology, Virginie studied agricultural and environmental science before deciding to share her love of nature with the citizens of tomorrow.
Virginie obtained a Masters in Education and then joined the faculty of the Académie d’Aix Marseille where she worked for 10 years with students from Kindergarden to CM2 (5th grade).
Virginie is interested in all alternative teaching methods, though she is especially committed to cooperative learning, inspired by the work of Isabelle Peloux from L’école des Amanins.
Virginie completed several training courses on learning disorders or specificities, from attention deficit and hyperactivity, to gifted children and autism, before deciding to specialize in this field. In January 2016, she began a full training course on learning disabilities, and in June 2017 she obtained her certifiate to work as a graphotherapist (handwriting rehabilitation) as well as a resource teacher. In 2018, she opened an independent practice as a resource teacher and graphotherapist while working and training as a teacher in a Montessori school.
Today, Virginie’s diverse experience has lead her to the conclusion that it is essential for children to develop a relationship with Mother Nature in order to be happy in school, as well as to reach their full potential in life. Virginie’s warm heart and enthusiastic disposition have made her a wonderful asset to the Gift School team since September 2021.
Morgane NICOLLE, English Teaching Assistant Les Colibris (2-3 year olds) & English Teacher Les Toucans and Les Hiboux
After obtaining her Masters in Education and Teaching, Morgane trained to be an English teacher at the Académie de Versailles. Morgane speaks fluent English thanks to a Bachelors degree in English Language and Literature, as well as to the Cambridge Certficate in Advanced English which she obtained at the University of Perth in Australia.
Morgane has extensive experience both as a school teacher as well as an English teacher.
As a school teacher, Morgane was in charge of classes ranging from Petite Section (1st year of Preschool) to CM1 (4th grade) for 3 years at the Academy of Versailles. She also taught nursery school classes in a French school in Thailand. As an English teacher, Morgane teaches English to classes ranging from 1st grade to High School seniors, while working in parallel with sick children in hospitals.
Trained in Montessori methods with the organization « Aide à la vie – la source » in Saint Cannat, Morgane uses positive reinforcement and mindfulness in her classes. Caring and experienced, Morgane teaches Class 1, our youngest children. She also teaches English to Class 2 (4-5 year olds) and Class 3 (6-7 year olds).
Yekaterina Muravyova-DELVIGNE, alias “Katia”, English Teaching assistant Les Colibris & Gift Wednesday and Holiday Camp Coordinator
Katia arrived in France in 2017, from Russia. Following her studies in Education and Teaching English, Katia worked with children and adults in various schools in her native city, Novossibirsk, Siberia.
Proud of her Siberian origins, Katia enjoys sharing her culture and language with the Gift School children. In her free time, Katia enjoys learning other languages and reading about psychology. She also loves nature walks and spending time outdoors.
Frances SILLARS, Science Teacher for Les Toucans and Les Hiboux classes
As a young child Frances has distinct memories of her first real appreciations of the natural world; the smell, the feeling of the wind and the taste of rain. Her young adulthood was shaped by natural history documentaries presented by the infamous David Attenborough. His wonder at the beauty, diversity and preciousness of our world along with his respect for our beautiful planet yet also the people he spoke with whether that be a young child, an eminent scientist or those who live off the land enthralled her.
Following a degree in Biology and French, Frances moved to Quebec to teach. This experience then inspired her to return to the UK and obtain her Postgraduate Diploma Certificate of Education in Secondary Science (Biology). Fascinated by the way a child’s first experiences with the subject named “Science” can influence the future of their passion for the world and its workings, Frances taught in two secondary schools and was responsible for organizing the Junior Science curriculum as well as Primary Outreach work. After having two daughters, here in France, the role of a bilingual and respectful education has taken a new and even more important meaning.
Frances joins the team at the Gift School to share her love of the world around us and our role within it through afternoon science workshops in English.
Kerrin EDWARDS, English Teacher Les Toucans and Les Hiboux & English Teacher Gift Wednesdays and Holiday Camps
Kerrin was born in London and grew up in Hertfordshire, England. After obtaining a degree in English & History, he initially worked as an editor in book publishing before beginning a career in education by teaching English in Greece. After returning to London, Kerrin completed his Cambridge FE ESOL (CELTA 2) teaching certificate, and taught English and Maths to teenage and adult refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants at a large college – later taking on the role of ESOL department manager.
Kerrin was lucky enough to take a career break to be a stay-at-home dad (SAHD) with his two young sons as they moved with his French wife to California. During this time Kerrin lead a pre-schoolers’ walking group, home-schooled his boys during lockdown, wrote a children’s book and a blog about being a (happy!) SAHD, taught football to young kids, and even learned to surf (he is still not a good surfer but loves being in the water and trying!).
Recently settled in Provence with his family, Kerrin is continually working on improving his French, as well as studying part-time for a post-graduate certificate in international education. Patient, caring and enthusiastic, he has many other passions, including football, piano, camping, skiing, running and cooking, and loves sharing some of these with the children at the school.
Laura GILLESPIE, Communications Manager
Like jazz (and like Carolyn), Laura was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Growing up in a bicultural French-American family taught Laura the fundamental rules of intercultural communication which she later refined through her studies, research and extensive travel.
Laura’s professional experience is diverse. After working both in Brazil and in New York, she worked for 8 years as an independent English language communications consultant for both local and international companies based in the Aix-Marseille region. She then founded and ran a destination wedding company, worked for EPIM (Ecole Privée Internationale de la Mediterrannée in Luynes, taken over by IBS in 2015), worked for a luxury travel planning company in Provence and then worked at the organic food store Biocoop in Aix. All the while raising two bilingual children and being a very active parent in her children’s schools and communities.
Laura joined the Gift School team in September 2020 to assist Karine in the school’s communications, development and administrative needs. She also supervises lunchtime for all classes.