Welcome! Meet the newest faces of the Mako family

Nicholas Partagas

Nicholas Partagas, AS Literature and Pre-AICE English teacher, has recently joined our MAST Academy teacher staff. Currently in his ninth year of teaching, Partagas says he enjoys working at MAST because he is a big lover of the beach and believes it creates a tie between the people, the ocean, and the water. “The students are also very nice, and the teachers very helpful”, Partagas said. His favorite country is the United States because you can travel a lot, and he loves Florida because it is a melting pot of diversity. When he is not teaching, Partagas plays the drums, golfs, and reads. In high school, Partagas’ favorite class was English. His favorite book is The World According to Garp by John Irving, and his favorite food is steak and eggs.


Jeffrey Raymond

MAST Academy has a new History teacher! Jeffrey Raymond has been teaching for ten years and has recently joined our Mako family. Raymond previously taught at Key Biscayne Community School (KBCS), where many of our students went to middle and elementary school. “I am so happy about seeing how all my past students are growing and succeeding,” Raymond said. “I like MAST because the student body is incredibly motivated and ambitious,” he said. His favorite book is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and he enjoys eating steak. Ever since he was in school, Raymond’s favorite subject has always been Social Studies. However, when Raymond is not teaching History, he plays golf and watches TV. Raymond’s favorite country is the United States because “despite all our differences, we come together in times of crisis.”


Melissa Fernandez

Melissa Fernandez first joined the school’s staff after graduating from MAST in the year 2000. Today, Fernandez is working as the lead teacher at the school, helping with the recruitment and development of the Cambridge and Maritime programs. Prior to MAST Academy, however, Fernandez worked at the district’s Career Technical Education Office, taking charge of engineering programs happening in the district. “I like MAST because it is a community where students and faculty work together to achieve goals. Every student wants to be here, and as a result, everyone has the responsibility of making MAST what it is”, Fernandez said. “MAST is very special.” Her favorite book is Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein and her favorite food is sushi. When Fernandez was in high school, her favorite subjects were literature, science, and JROTC. When she is not in school, Fernandez enjoys baking and doing computer and leather work, as well as spending time with her newborn baby.  “Having a baby and coming back is a new stage of my life, and I am happy to be sharing that with my MAST family.”

Her favorite country is the United States because of how diverse it is in people but also in geography. She also likes the ideals that the country stands for and says it is full of beauty. “We have everything, the mountains, the ocean. It’s beautiful”, she said.


Nadia Amador

New staff member and eighth grade teacher Nadia Amador has recently joined our MAST family. After working as a protective child investigator, she decided to start teaching. This is her first year as an educator, teaching Physical Science to eighth grade students. “I like MAST because of the brilliance of students that there are,” she said. Her favorite subject in high school was Biology. Her favorite book is Dune by Frank Herbert. Her favorite subject in school was also physical science. She is from Honduras and even though she admires vegetarians, she does eat meat, and one of her favorite snacks is hummus. Outside of the classroom, her hobbies are dancing and motorcycling and she has japanese fighting fish as pet. “I do not have a favorite country because I believe that we are all citizens of the globe,” Amador said.


Khenita Derby

After working at Teach for America, Language Arts teacher, Khenita Derby has recently joined the Humanities department at our school. This is her fifth year as a teacher. “My favorite thing about MAST is the community, the school and neighborhood,” she said. Her favorite young adult fiction book is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and as for the adult fiction genre her favorite book is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. She enjoys eating all seafood. Her favorite subject in high school was English and when she is not teaching, she spends her time writing poetry. “My favorite country is Jamaica, because that is where my family is from,” Derby said.


Grethel Villalobos

Language Arts teacher Grethel Villalobos is another addition to our MAST Academy teacher staff. After working with special needs kids, she decided to become a teacher. She is now teaching grades sixth and seventh at our school and it is her first year teaching. Her favorite book is The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde and her favorite food is sushi. In high school, her favorite subject was Language Arts. She loves travelling and hiking and her favorite country is France. “I love the museums, the culture, and the outdoors,” Villalobos said.