Educational Work in Guatemala
Jan 20, 2021
Shirley Kinsey & Bill Safstrom
Educational Work in Guatemala

Bill Safstrom and his wife, Janet, live in Woodinville. They have three adult children, and one grandchild with another on the way. Janet has an M.Ed and teaches 1st grade in the Snohomish School District. Bill has an M.Ed in School Administration and was a middle and high school teacher and principal for 45 years. The final 21 years, he served as principal of Bellevue Christian High School. Since 2010 he has worked in teacher education at the UW, and at SPU where he continues to work with teacher candidates. Besides soccer, one of his passions is supporting teachers to reach their goals with resources and professional development.

Bill’s first trip to Guatemala was to support the administrators at the America Latina schools in Guatemala City and Chimaltenango in 2010. That experience captured his imagination and his heart. Shortly after, he was asked to join the board of the Nicolas Fund for Education. He currently serves as NFE vice president and chairs the education program committee. He has been deeply involved in the development and growth of NFE’s tuition-free middle/high school program at the Colegio Cristiano Nicolas since its founding in 2016. He is also committed to supporting the Mayan teachers in the rural public elementary schools that feed CCN.  He has worked with public and private school officials in the Ixil region, and U.S. educators, as well as the CCN staff to provide professional development for up to 150 Mayan teachers a year.

Now, after a dozen trips to the Ixil region, he values the relationships he has formed there. He is beginning to understand the deep needs of the region, the resilience of the Mayan people, and the power of education to empower communities and break the generational cycle of poverty.