After studying History and then Education at Nottingham University in England, I began my career as a teacher in North London. As an inexperienced 21-year-old teacher, I chose the most challenging and hostile working environment that I could find to learn as much about classroom management and discipline techniques as quickly as I could. I stayed at this inner-city school for four years and formed close ties with students under often challenging circumstances. I have never encountered a discipline problem that I couldn’t solve since.
From London I moved to work in Washington D.C. in the USA as a Fulbright exchange programme teacher where I was inspired by the maturity of the students and their determination to work hard and create great futures for themselves. After a brief spell teaching back in London, I became a Middle Manager in an International School in Mexico City were I developed my ability to lead teams and improved my administrative efficiency.
Four years later, I found myself, with a wife and young family, working in one of the UK’s top state schools in Cumbria, northern England. The school was a beacon of excellence in terms of the education offered, learning outcomes for students and staff professional development and my time there transformed my professional ambitions and inspired me to believe that I had what it took to lead a whole school.
My first Directorship took my family and I back to Mexico City to take charge of a High School. I was able to shape a fantastic team there which, over the course of the following four years, transformed the school into a centre of educational excellence with a fully-deserved good name across the city. I was also awarded a distinction in a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Buckingham during that time.
In 2012 the opportunities that the new position at ELIS (El Limonar International School) Murcia offered were impossible to resist. After five years leading the school through significant curriculum, academic and organisational change, I’m completely convinced that it was the best possible move both professionally and for my family: ELIS Murcia is a fantastic school which has clearly benefitted from having a whole-school Principal for the last five years.
The new professional challenge therefore is to provide overall leadership for the two ELIS schools in Murcia and Villamartin from 2017 onwards. Despite being ‘sisters’, the two schools are very different in terms of needs, community and organisation. I will rely heavily upon the excellent leadership teams of both schools to run them on a daily basis and must ensure that all members of both communities are fully supported at all times. This task is made easier because ELIS, as part of the Cognita group, also has all the necessary financial, technical and educational support the two schools need to grow and improve in order to maintain their positions as the leading providers of quality education in their respective regions.
Vanessa Grimward, MEd
After graduating from the University of Southampton with a First Class Honours degree, my journey at El Limonar International School Murcia commenced way back in 1999 as a part-time classroom assistant...
After graduating from the University of Southampton with a First Class Honours degree, my journey at El Limonar International School Murcia commenced way back in 1999 as a part-time classroom assistant. My first full-time teaching posts at the school were in the English Immersion Department and, later, as a Primary class teacher and tutor. Over time, I assumed roles in the school’s middle management: firstly, as English Department Coordinator, and from 2007 as Primary School Coordinator.
In September 2014, whilst completing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, I was delighted to be named Deputy Head, a role that has allowed me to further consolidate my skills as a leader and to develop my knowledge of our wonderful school at a much deeper level.
September 2017 sees me move into the role of Headteacher at our school, a challenge which I honestly assume with great enthusiasm. I very much look forward to working even more closely with all members of our community and supporting the Executive Principal in leading our school into the next exciting stages of its continuous development. El Limonar International School Murcia is a truly special place that has grown and progressed immensely over the years but one thing remains unchanged: the unswerving dedication and care of all our employees, teaching and non-teaching staff alike, who always strive to provide an exceptional service to the children entrusted in our care. We are a true team, motivated by the desire to offer each and every one of our students the best possible start in their personal learning journey, in order that they might become the successful and confident leaders of tomorrow.
José Antonio García
Having a degree in Business Management and Administration, I started working at El Limonar International School Murcia in 2008, coinciding with the acquisition of the school by the Cognita Group. P...
Having a degree in Business Management and Administration, I started working at El Limonar International School Murcia in 2008, coinciding with the acquisition of the school by the Cognita Group. Previously, I held roles both in Controlling and Management in a variety of different sectors including construction, the chemical industry and Human Resources.
Working at El Limonar International School Murcia has provided me with the opportunity to learn about the educational sector, a sector which has such great importance in our lives, and it is indeed during these years that I have developed my career with the greatest satisfaction. Together with the rest of the Senior Leadership Team, I work hard to achieve constant improvements to the school’s offer, allowing our students to enjoy the very best facilities and the latest technology in their educational experience.
Head of Lower School
María Dios, MEd
Motivation, effort and a sense of responsibility are the key values that I have tried to convey to our students since El Limonar International School opened its doors 25 years ago becoming a pionee...
Motivation, effort and a sense of responsibility are the key values that I have tried to convey to our students since El Limonar International School opened its doors 25 years ago becoming a pioneer school in English education in Murcia.
These values have shaped my career and, from the very beginning, I have been able to apply them not only in theory but also in practice, when designing new educational and curricular strategies.
Over the years, thanks to our values, the involvement of our teachers and parent body, and also thanks to an educational system which guarantees linguistic immersion as the only way of achieving a quality bilingual education, we have helped our pupils to become the successful professionals they are today.
But this is not enough. The aim of El Limonar International School Murcia is, and has been for the last 25 years, for our students to achieve academic and personal excellence while encouraging them to adopt our values as a way of becoming better and more successful individuals.
Head of Upper School
Jon Wayth, MEd
After graduating from Warwick University with a 2:1 honours degree in French, I pursued my passion for languages by spending a year working and travelling around South America. I then spent five years...
After graduating from Warwick University with a 2:1 honours degree in French, I pursued my passion for languages by spending a year working and travelling around South America. I then spent five years in London working in business, culminating as PR Manager for Yahoo!. During this time, my desire to change vocation grew. As the son of a headmaster and teacher, I had inherited my parents’ interest in and commitment to teaching and education.
After completing Fast Track Teacher Training at Exeter University in 2005, I started my teaching career at one of the country’s best state schools in London, where I soon became deputy of a Sixth Form which offered both A Level and International Baccalaureate with many students going on to study at Oxford, Cambridge and leading universities. I remain passionate about the pursuit of excellence for all students.
I then moved to Dorset where as Head of Languages, I led a team of 17, comprising eight nationalities. This thriving department offered five languages as part of a compulsory curriculum to all students up to GCSE, which is rare for a large non-selective school in the UK. Our school became a beacon for language learning in southern England offering teacher training and regional MFL conferences. Whilst at Highcliffe School, I became Lead Practitioner for Teaching and Learning and was a member of the extended Senior Leadership Team. I was also involved in designing and delivering a new coaching model to the school. This training programme drove through effective change, developing and enhancing the teaching culture across the school. It was a role that sparked a deep passion for research based practice in the classroom to help teachers hone and refine their pedagogical approaches.
During this time, I also achieved my Masters in Education at Exeter University. Combining my experience in education and business, I conducted research on the retention and recruitment of students into Sixth Form. Amongst other formal leadership qualifications, I also completed the NPQSL (National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership), gaining further whole school leadership experience.
My wife and I were delighted to join ELIS Murcia and the Cognita family of schools in 2017. Since starting, I have relished leading a successful MFL department, sharing my passion for teaching and learning, and working on a whole school basis to deliver training. I look forward to continuing to develop our school´s culture and values of excellence and striving to help students realise their full potential both academically and personally. I also relish the opportunity of helping to lead our school community to even greater success and achievements.
Head of Data and Academic Assessment
After achieving a first class honours degree from the University of Salford in 1998, I worked as a postgraduate researcher and teacher at the University for a further two years. During this time I I volunteered to...
After achieving a First Class Honours degree from the University of Salford in 1998, I worked as a postgraduate researcher and teacher at the University for a further two years. During this time I volunteered to be a mentor on a summer scheme for local disadvantaged children in Manchester and this sparked my passion for working with young people. In 2001, after two years spent travelling and working as a Research Scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, I studied for my PGCE in Science at Durham University.
My career in teaching has been varied and rewarding, seeing me progress from a science teacher to Head of Science in a very challenging school, where I rapidly raised standards and outcomes for students. I was then appointed Assistant Principal in a secondary academy, with responsibilities for both pastoral provision and academic progress, where I was part of the senior leadership team of one of the most improved secondary schools in northern England.
In 2016 I arrived in Spain with my family to take on the role of Head of Upper School at ELIS Murcia and since then ELIS has become a hugely important part of family life. It is a privilege to work with such dedicated staff and students in an environment that is underpinned by our ELIS Values of respect, tolerance, dignity, resilience and perseverance – all things I hold in upmost esteem.
In September 2019 I have enthusiastically taken on a new role as ELIS Head of Data and Academic Assessment, working across the two ELIS schools to ensure that all students, from Nursery to Year 13, achieve the very highest of academic outcomes. I am excited by the challenges and successes ahead, the opportunity for both schools to continue to grow successfully and to play a key role in supporting students to achieve more than they thought possible.