Staff Spotlight: Cristina Echeverria

This month’s staff spotlight honors Cristina Echeverria. Cristina is the Spanish Guide for Hershey Montessori School’s Middle and Upper School. Prior to joining our Hershey family in August of 2022, Cristina was a Spanish teacher at the Spring Garden Waldorf School, in Northeast Ohio. Cristina is originally from Bogota, Columbia, and enjoys sharing her native culture with her students. Every summer she likes to return to Colombia and stay at the beach as well as visit a small city there called Barichara.

Her favorite things to do include traveling with her daughter and friends, trying different types of food, hiking, dancing, meditating, and learning new things. She is currently residing in Orange. She is a single mom to her 9-year-old daughter who she says is the absolute love of her life!

Enjoy our interview with Cristina below:

Tell us what you do at Hershey that is unique to you.

I love sharing my Colombian culture with the school community. For example, sometimes I cook traditional meals from my country to share with the school and recreate traditional dances from my country.


What is your favorite part of your work at Hershey?

I like teaching Spanish, sharing about my culture and seeing how students progress in the language every day. I also enjoy the community work that we do on Fridays, as it is a fun way to develop new skills and connect with different members of the school.


What brought you to Hershey?                                

I was curious to learn about the teaching methodology of Maria Montessori.


What drew you to Montessori?

The further developing of several skills, including how to work independently and responsibly, critical thinking, and the learning of new skills every day.


Do you have a favorite Hershey memory?                     

After three months of being in school, I had the pleasure of seeing my students from various different nationalities recreate folk dances from my country.


What is a little-known fact about you?

I am ambidextrous — I am left-handed, but I can also use my right hand to cut, and play sports.


What is your favorite book?

Americanah, a novel by Chimamanda, Ngozi Adichle


Do you have a favorite quote?

Never underestimate the ability to try. Trying can turn nothing into something because even the smallest steps have the chance to become Bigger Things” by Roger Lee


Who has made the biggest impact in your life and what does that impact look like?

My mother is my biggest role model. She returned to college, after being married and having three children, to become a lawyer. She finished her degree with honors. She inspires me to be an independent woman and follow my dreams.


How would your friends and family describe you and how would you describe yourself?

They say that I am a persistent, smart, disciplined, organized, sociable, sensitive, kind-hearted, supportive, passionate, brave, authentic, loving, affectionate, cheerful, spontaneous, and generous person.

I really am persistent because I like to reach my goals and fulfill them. I am very optimistic, sensitive, and passionate.


Tell us about your happiest moment.

The birth of my daughter.


What is the biggest life lesson you would like to share with others?

I would say my biggest life lesson was learning how to support myself and start over from scratch when I immigrated to the United States. I left the comfort and security of a good job, family, and friends to come to America. I had to teach myself a new language and adjust to the new culture. It was tough to reinvent myself and create a new life, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.


Thank you for sharing your time and your personal side of life with us, Cristina. It is such a pleasure to get to know more about you. We truly appreciate your infectious energy and bright smile, and all that you bring to your students each and every day. We are grateful for your presence and work in our community!