Our vision at Aviva is to cultivate a mindful and thriving world through education. With several decades of experience in positive education, mindfulness, educational leadership and curriculum design the Aviva team deeply understands the dynamics of the modern classroom.
We have seen firsthand that traditional student wellbeing models have fallen short in cultivating the whole child. Empowered with recent research findings in the budding field of positive psychology, we at Aviva believe it’s time to revolutionize schools with a new evidence-based approach to cultivating authentic happiness in teachers and students.
Our Core Values
To empower the world by teaching the value of daily mindfulness
To enable our students to learn about themselves and grow
To focus on thoughts, words, and actions that start with the highest positive intention
To recognize, use, and celebrate each individual's strengths
Compassion & Love
To exude compassion, empathy, and love
Passion and Energy
To invest enthusiastically in making the world a more mindful, thriving place
To teach using only the most well-researched methods
To embrace all viewpoints and contributions
Who we are
Dr. Mary E. Sanders and Eric B. Hamilton
Dr. Mary E. Sanders and Eric B. Hamilton have combined their strengths to develop a unique, research-based program for schools, teachers, and students to increase wellbeing and happiness. To create our curriculum, we have curated the findings of Dr. Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Dr. Angela Duckworth, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD., among other leading positive psychology experts, into practical strategies that can be integrated into teachers’ personal lives, as well as their classrooms, enabling teachers and students to thrive.
Eric B. Hamilton
Eric B. Hamilton is a veteran director for international schools around the world. Eric has spent his entire career enabling schools to be happier, more compassionate environments where both students and teachers thrive. His extensive experience in curriculum development and school leadership have enabled him and Mary to develop their courses using the most contemporary and research-based pedagogical methods.
Eric has over 25 years experience in education as a teacher and leader. He attended the University of Delaware where he earned his B.S. in elementary education and middle school math. Later, he completed the master’s program at the University of Colorado in curriculum and instruction. He has been a dedicated practitioner of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga for the past 10 years.
Top 5 VIA Character Strengths: Fairness, Forgiveness, Honesty, Love, and Curiosity
Mary E. Sanders
Dr. Mary E. Sanders has been involved in the world of positive psychology, health, and wellness for more than 20 years. With certifications from the Wholebeing Institute in Positive Psychology and as a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practitioner, she is highly qualified to lead teachers towards happier, more holistic classrooms.
Dr. Sanders attended Eastern Illinois University and earned her B.S. in zoology and chemistry. She then attended Logan College of Chiropractic to earn her doctorate in chiropractic. Dr. Sanders is a certified yoga Instructor and has been a mindfulness, meditation, and yoga practitioner of over 25 years.
Top 5 VIA Character Strengths: Perspective, Spirituality, Honesty, Gratitude, Hope
Romina is a veteran educator who designs and develops online courses utilizing diverse platforms. With an MA in Instructional Technology and Media from the Teachers College Columbia University, Romina manages Aviva’s virtual curriculum, advises partner schools, and integrates technologies to help us develop a responsive learning environment for our students and teachers. She holds an Master in Educational Policy at Catholic University of Peru, a Diploma in Information and Communication Technology applied to Higher Education from Antonio Ruiz de Montoya University and a Diploma in Foundations for Virtual Education from UC Irvine.
Top 5 VIA Character Strengths: Fairness, Curiosity, Love, Honesty, Hope
Christopher Joseph Higgins
Christopher Higgins is an elementary school teacher who has been teaching for over a decade in South Korea, Panama, and Colombia. He is a certified Aviva trainer in Positive Education and focuses on emotional intelligence as a means of improving the efficacy of his instruction, boosting achievement in his students, and promoting well-being in his classroom and school.
As a mentor and a teacher, Christopher has a knack for moving his audience into a state of flow while enforcing mindfulness techniques to increase their level of awareness and participation. From here, he shows teachers how to pass these same skills onto their students.
Top 5 VIA Character Strengths: Humility, Teamwork, Curiosity, Perspective and Hope.
Andrea Roa Africano
Andrea Roa is a graduate teacher in Basic Education at the University of San Buenaventura. She is a certified Aviva trainer, applying the Aviva approach in her own classroom.
Throughout her 15 years in education, Andrea has become experienced in all grade levels, but always with a concentration on the process of reading, writing, language acquisition, and positive education.
When she’s not teaching, Andrea focuses on the professional development of other teachers, sharing strategies such as collaborative learning and curriculum planning, development of differentiated assessments, classroom management, and positive education.
Top 5 VIA Character Strengths: Honesty, Teamwork, Leadership, Perseverance, Love for learning