The Founders

La Catalina Natural Language School was founded by Victor Amezcua, a native of Mexico City and his partner Julie Catton, an ESL teacher from California.

Victor and Julie bring a rich background in education and teaching languages to La Catalina School. They developed their own Spanish curriculum and methodology which is used at La Catalina and is based on teaching languages through the “natural” way of familiarization, similar to the way that children acquire their first language but adding adult skills to accelerate the acquisition process.

Victor was educated at the National University of Mexico, then at UC Berkeley in California where he received a Master’s in Mathematics. Victor has a strong background in education and has taught language and mathematics for many years.

Victor and his partner Julie are also part of the founding team of La Catalina Educational Foundation, which offers free or highly subsidized education programs to the local people in La Manzanilla.

Julie has a Masters in Education and a California teaching credential from Dominican University in the Bay Area of San Francisco. She also has a B.A. in Recreation Administration, holds her certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and has taught English in Spain and Mexico. Julie’s other passions include writing, traveling, reading and working with children.

Our Staff

La Catalina Natural Language School looks for bright, friendly and well-qualified teachers and support staff. Our teachers receive on-going training in our unique natural language methodology to support their professional growth.

Spanish Teachers

“Maestro” Miguel is our most well-seasoned teacher. He brings 30 years of teaching experience. Miguel has retired from the public schools and has enjoyed teaching classes at La Catalina School since 2003 and running a nursery with tropical plants. His vast experience comes with a lot of heart and humor.
Isaura Guadalupe Magaña Gutierrez grew up in La Manzanilla and has been teaching at La Catalina since 2007. Students enjoy Isaura’s clear instruction, good command of the methodology and bright personality. Isaura has 3 daughters and in her free time she enjoys reading and going to the beach.
María is our newest teacher who joined us in 2015. She lived in the USA and attended School for many years there. Her own experience in learning a second language by exposure and practice has given her great skills that, combined with our training in the natural method, makes her a talented and patient teacher. María has a 5-year-old daughter who is also being raised bilingual.
Ángeles Perez Guzman has been a teacher at La Catalina School since 2004. She graduated from a four year university in Guadalajara where she received her teaching credential. Angeles has her Master’s degree in Education. She teaches in a local middle school in the mornings and for La Catalina in the afternoons. In her free time, she enjoys reading and dancing.

Support Staff

Miriam Henze, born in Germany, grew up in La Manzanilla since the age of 5. She is the Office Manager at La Catalina School and has also been a Spanish teacher in the past years. She has spent some time living in Guadalajara and earned a degree in Audiovisual Arts. As much as she enjoys the city, she always comes back to La Manzanilla for longer periods of time getting involved in the activities of the bicultural community.

Anna Amezcua is our part-time U.S. registrar & recruiter, based out of Eureka, California. Anna is bi-lingual in English/Spanish and has a liberal arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. As much of Anna’s family is from Mexico, she frequently travels there. Apart from her administrative duties with the school, Anna paints and exhibits her work in Northern California.


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