top of page
BHS_edited.jpg

About Us

BHS is a welcoming and dynamic new-age school for the post-Covid era that focuses on student-centered learning through a revolutionary education approach called the BHS Method™, rather than using the old-fashioned "one-size-fits-all" teaching methodology that unbelievably still exists today in other schools.

 

BHS is revolutionizing education by teaching students that the path to success is by finding their true strengths and continually learning from failure to find solutions to problems.  Unlike traditional schools that still believe in the out-dated teaching model designed for children in the industrial age nearly 300 years ago that defines success simply by how well students can memorize answers to tests in one chance versus trial and error.

 

To accomplish this vision, as a Social Wellness School™, BHS lives by the promise and original mission to help teenagers excel not only academically, but socially and psychologically as well.  Accordingly, besides academics, social life, extra-curricular group activities, and mental health and emotional confidence are all priorities of the school.  BHS also provides leadership and empowerment skills, international speakers, and career and life counseling.  Naturally, students increase their emotional intelligence while expanding their opportunities and finding their life passions.  BHS even offers students with the tastiest and healthiest meal plan available in Barcelona for optimal physical health and nutrition.

 

Delivering on its promise and mission is Why BHS is the fastest growing school in Europe.  Indeed, in only its 2nd year, BHS has already been considered both the best international school in Spain and most prestigious school in Spain

BHS is the only international and American school in the heart of Barcelona city.  Unlike the other international and American schools which are located outside the city and lack real life Barcelona culture.  BHS is the school for the global village where the international community unites, also with perfect access to all modes of public transportation.

While BHS uses the American school education system, it is the international school in Barcelona for the global community.  Accordingly, BHS is the most international school in Europe, as no nationality is larger than 20% of the student body.

 

Indeed, BHS is the only school in Barcelona that has English immersion and English Foundation Year programs for non-native English speakers.  While also offering intensive Spanish courses for non-Spanish speakers to develop cultural integration within Spain.

BHS is a fun, engaging, caring and diverse environment (across multiple grade levels, religions, cultures and nationalities) where students come together as one big family learning through flexible, innovative and dynamic teaching methods.  Asking questions, engaging in dialogue, and speaking in class are welcomed and rewarded.

To further create its unique family bond among students, BHS offers extra-curricular activities and creative elective options for students such as beach volleyball, music, art, and journalism which produces our school newspaper.

 

Moreover, BHS has a modern digital school platform for academic monitoring and progress transparency, flexibility for traveling athletes, and learning independence.

BHS started with only 5 students in the basement of a co-working space, in its first year (2020-2021), and then grew to over 30 students in its 2nd year (2021-2022).  In its 3rd school year (2022-2023), BHS had already grown to 100 students.  In its current school year (2023-2024), BHS has grown to 200 students and created an innovative urban university-like campus in the Gracia, Barcelona neighborhood.

In the upcoming school year (2024-2025), BHS will increase enrollment to a maximum of 400 students to serve as the global school for the world.

About Us: Welcome
About Us: Team Members

Leadership

BHS Leadership Team.jpeg

Amanda Slefo

Director & Partner

(pictured on the right)

Amanda Slefo is Assyrian American from Chicago with an infectious personality, referred to as the "heart and soul" of BHS by students, parents and staff.

 

Prior to joining BHS, Amanda was already a distinguished high school teacher at Evanston Township High School (ETHS) in Chicago where she received multiple outstanding teacher awards.  ETHS is ranked in the 95th percentile of all high schools in the United States.


Amanda's initial role as Head Teacher to now Director of BHS has involved overseeing admissions, educational learning, academic performance, and university placement.  Amanda additionally became a Partner of BHS.


Amanda holds a Bachelor's Degree in History and Secondary Education.  She also has an English Language Learners certification and served as Education Director of the Assyrian Cultural Foundation.


Moreover, Amanda has extensive experience with university placement and specializes in creating dynamic learning experiences for students.

Akida Mashaka

Founder

(pictured on the left)

BHS is the brainchild of Akida Mashaka, an American free-spirited entrepreneur from Los Angeles, California.  Akida founded BHS to create the best learning environment for his teenage son.  He started BHS with only 5 students in a basement and 4 years later, BHS has grown to over 200 students based on Akida's vision to have the best learning environment for teenagers.

 

After living in Barcelona with his family, Akida experienced the antiquated teaching methods and major flaws of schools in Barcelona including American, IB, British, International, and especially the Catalan schools.  Accordingly, Akida created a school to solve the problem that he had in finding the right school for his son.


Akida wanted a school with smaller class size focusing on individualized and communal learning in a family-like environment.  Through a student-centered culture, innovative digital educational tools, independent learning, social engagement, and emotional confidence, Akida founded BHS to foster the skills necessary to be successful in today's post-Covid world.


While the name "Akida" means leader, Akida is a graduate of Harvard Law School and attended university in the USA on a tennis scholarship.  Akida graduated #1 in Psychology in his university class at Morehouse College.  Therefore, a one of kind work-life culture committed to academic empowerment, social confidence, emotional growth, mental health, along with extracurricular and school life activities are collectively the backbone of BHS.

IMG_9476.jpg

Ciarán O’Mahony

Vice Principal

Ciarán O'Mahony is from Ireland and joined BHS in January 2022.  Ciarán is currently serving as the Interim Director, while the Director, Amanda Slefo, is on maternity leave.  Ciarán has the unique gift of a way with words that makes even the most complex concepts easy to grasp for the teenage mind.  Students who could never see themselves as "loving Physics" or "understanding Calculus" suddenly found themselves doing so at BHS.

 

Ciarán has developed the school’s Mathematics and Science Departments based on nine years of tutoring mathematics and physics to both high school and university students in Ireland.  Ciarán currently teaches advanced Mathematics courses such as AP Calculus and AP Statistics.  He also trains teachers on the BHS Method while overseeing Professional Development.


Ciarán holds a Bachelor of Science Honors degree in Applied Mathematics.  He previously worked as a Senior Consultant with an Irish pillar bank.  During this experience, he received awards for his exemplary programming and computer models that significantly improved efficiency within the bank.

IMG_9423.jpg

Kate Bonato

Vice Principal

Kate Bonato is from Canada and joined BHS in September 2022 as a teacher in the Humanities Department.  Kate immediately thrived within the BHS atmosphere and student-centered classrooms.  BHS was the place where her talent could truly grow.  Kate quickly rose from a teaching position to an administrative role and has taken on the role of Vice Principal.  Kate currently oversees admissions, educational learning, and academic performance with a focus on student life and wellbeing. 


Prior to joining BHS, Kate was working as a teacher and coordinator of a work study program in Montreal, Canada at John F. Kennedy High School.  She has been teaching since 2009 and prides herself on loving her line of work and teaching from the heart.  She emulates an energy that students recognize for being open, honest, and above all having their best interests at heart while still finding ways to challenge them both in and outside of the classroom.

Kate holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and English Literature as well as a Masters of Arts in Second Language Education from McGill University in Canada.  Prior to working in high schools, Kate also worked as a second language English and Spanish teacher in Spain and for the MLS Montreal Impact first team.

bottom of page