On Friday, March 18, Horizon Academy students, parents, teachers, family members and friends made the most of the beautiful Easter weather by loading up two chartered catamarans with about 300 people and heading off to Goff's Caye. The whole school usually has at least one Field Trip Day for each school year, and last year (March 2015), we decided to spend the day together. That experience was such a resounding success, that we planned another caye trip this year.
The day was sunny and breezy, perfect for a day on the beach. Our families snorkeled and swam, laughed and chatted, and enjoyed their snacks and each other's company in a welcome change from the busy-ness of a usual Friday in the city.
Events like this remind us of how blessed we are to live in our beautiful Belize and to be able to make such precious memories with our children and their friends. Thanks to all of you who came along for the day, and to everyone who helped to make the trip such a lovely reality.Posted Monday, 04 April 2016+
Board of Directors
Chairman, Onan McLean
Onan McLean is the Managing Director of McLean Insurance Brokers & Risk Solutions Ltd.
Mr. McLean holds a Master’s Degree in Insurance and Risk Management from Cass Business School in London, and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration
and Management from Universidad Adventista de Centroamerica in Costa Rica.
Onan McLean also has seven passes towards an Advanced Diploma in Insurance from The Chartered Insurance Institute.
With close to 25 years of experience in the insurance world, currently he specializes in offering Insurance and Risk Management to corporate clients such as hotels, banks, and the industrial sector, among others.
Mr. McLean is also a family man and a loving father to three young children. He has been part of the Horizon family for the past five years now, and has been part of the Board of Directors since 2012, first as Treasurer and now as Chairman of the Board.
Co-Chair, Saira Mahabir
Ms. Saira Mahabir was born in Trinidad on August 4, 1966. On March 22, 1995, she moved to Belize. She presently holds the position of Managing Director of Century 21 BTAL.
Saira is an active member of Rotary Club Belize Sunrise, where she has held several positions on the Board of Directors including president.
She has fast growing twin boys, and is a founding member and the immediate past chair of Horizon Academy. Saira has been one of our strongest advocates since the school’s inception, and continues to work tirelessly whenever and wherever she can to help our school.
Treasurer, Victor Usher, Jr.
Victor E. Usher Jr. was born in Belize City on September 15, 1972 and enjoyed a very active childhood along with his younger brother and sister. He graduated from St. Catherine Elementary in 1985 and then St. John’s College in 1989 after completing the business course. Barry University’s Inez D. Andreas School of Business was next, where he completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting in 1993. In 1993, he returned to Belize to join the family business, where he remains today. He has been a Justice of the Peace since 2002. He has also been an active member in the Rotary Club of Belize, Sunrise since its inception in 2007. He has been a three term Service Projects Director and is currently the Public Relations Director in his Rotary Club. Victor has also been an active member of the Board of Directors at Horizon Academy and Maud Williams High School within the recent past. He has served as Treasurer during his time on the board of both schools. Victor is married to Lorena Sabido-Usher and has two awesome children, Victoria and Alexander, who attend Horizon Academy.
Fundraising Director, Claudette El Ters
Claudette El Ters has been self-employed for the past 21 years at a family owned and operated construction resource company. She is the Administrative Director and has held this position since 1997.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida.
She is the co-chair of the Fund Raising Committee on the Board of Directors for Horizon Academy.
Currently an executive member of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Claudette has served on this board for the past 5 years. She currently sits on the BCCI’s labour sub council as chairperson and is the representative on the Labour Advisory Board.
She and her husband are newly qualified marriage counselors for the Catholic Diocese. She has participated as a member of the formation group and in several Christ Renews His Parish Retreats held under the Catholic Church Auspices.
She is a member of the Belize Volunteer Blood Donors Association. She has been an active member since 2008.
Claudette’s personal achievements include competing in and completing several cycling classics, triathlons, and, most recently, a half-marathon held in Belize.
She is a dedicated wife and mother of two. She enjoys personal challenges as well as competitive sports. She is aspiring to conquer a full marathon and enter in other marathons outside of Belize.
Fundraising Director, Melissa Shagoury
Melissa Shagoury Garcia has been the Managing Director at Belize Traders Ltd. since 1989 and Belize Signs Ltd. since 1998, both companies dedicated to providing full services in the automotive parts and signs industry.
She is a member of the Belize City Lions Club and is currently serving as the President (2014-2015). Melissa also serves on the Board of Directors of Horizon Academy.
In addition to serving the community through the Belize City Lions Club, she enjoys doing outdoor activities and baking.
Melissa lives in Belize City with her husband Gustavo and their child Sebastian.
Marketing Director, Judy Munoz
Judy is a high-energy marketing professional who listens to develop successful and effective solutions. She has over 30 years of proven B2B and PR branding experience with a strong emphasis in innovative campaign development and execution.
Judy is responsible for developing and implementing strategic campaigns & other marketing/advertising initiatives. She uses past and real-time information to leverage market share. She possesses a results-driven personality with a ‘can do’ attitude to help develop new business for clients.
Her experience as a specialist in consumer and education marketing includes:
- Multi-channel marketing and advertising
- Effective branding strategies
- Direct Response & public relations
- International admissions and recruiting
Judy holds a Master’s Degree with emphasis in Global and International Marketing from the University of Liverpool. She enjoys being a grandma, listening to music, reading and collecting unique items from her travels. Judy is a well accomplished individual who looks forward to the next chapter of her life; by completing her Doctorate Degree.
Marketing Director Liaison, Alice Castillo
I am Alice Irene Craig Castillo, Horizon Academy’s resident “Grandma”. I have been a teacher and then an administrator for more than two-thirds of my life, and I would have it no other way. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Education in Michigan in 1971, returned home and began my teaching career at St. Catherine Academy.
In 1985, I was appointed Principal of SCE, now BES, and served in that position until 1997. In 1997, I was appointed to be SCA’s first lay principal, a position I held until 2002.
I retired from teaching and administrating at this time but was soon asked by the Minister of Education to assume chairmanship of The National Council for Education. I did this job for three years and then moved on to the planning of and birth of Horizon Academy.
I have three daughters, Dian, Lesley, and Christy, two of whom have followed in my footsteps and become teachers. The three of them have given me seven grandchildren, 6 boys and 1 girl. They have added to my life a new level of energy and joy.
I will continue to give my time and expertise to Horizon Academy as long as I am able to, and I continue to embrace the structures here as my own.
Secretary/Teacher Representative, Vanessa Neal
My name is Mrs. Vanessa Neal and I have been a teacher at Horizon Academy since September 2013. I received my Associate’s degree in Business Administration from St. John’s College and I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Education at the University of Belize.
My choice to become a teacher was not made lightly. This decision was a culmination of a process of reflection about what I wanted to do with my life. I have chosen a career in education because I believe that it is one of the most important functions performed in our culture. I believe that teachers individually and collectively have the ability to not only change the world, but to improve it.
Within the process of teaching, I hope to find both personal and professional renewal. I want to be a part of a noble profession with the hope of one day being counted among those in whom future teachers find inspiration.
Principal, Dian Maheia
Ms. Di is Horizon Academy’s Principal and part of the team that founded this beloved little school. Born and raised in Belize City, Ms. Di attended St. Catherine Academy and then St. John’s College Junior College before winning a Fulbright Scholarship and moving on to the University of Louisville in Kentucky, where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s in English.
She returned home to teach English and Literature at S.C.A., where she remained quite happily for the next 12 years. When she started her family, she decided to stay at home for a while, but that time was interwoven with work at the Ministry of Education, where she spearheaded the Secretariat for the planning and execution of the National Education Summit in 2004 and published In Search of Reform. She then went on to work directly with the then Minister of Education and the Chief Education Officer to compile the Ministry’s Action Plan 2005 – 2010 and monitor its progress.
During this period, Ms. Di also worked with Macmillan Caribbean publishers as an editorial consultant and writer, collaborating on various series and working with teachers in Belize and throughout the Caribbean. Together with her mom, Horizon’s resident Grandma, she created and delivered courses based on speaking and writing better English and published Practice Makes Perfect, a book designed to help students to develop and improve their comprehension skills.
Ms. Di has been an integral part of the concept development and the establishment of Horizon Academy. Today she continues to enjoy the challenges of each day at school, with the best part of the day always being the smiles and the hugs from the 100 plus children she loves.
She is happily married and has three children of her own, Mara, Billy, and David. Her faith centers her, her school keeps her grounded, and her little family