I am excited to join the community of St. Ambrose as the first-grade teacher! It is such a joy to teach children and help them grow both academically and in their faith.
I was born and raised in Northern Virginia, attending St. Bernadette Catholic School and Fairfax County Public schools. Growing up, I was involved in dance, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, and cheerleading. I also learned how to play the flute.
I graduated in 2014 from Lynchburg College, now the University of Lynchburg, with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Teacher Education in Elementary Education with a minor in Special education. In 2017, I graduated from Liberty University with an M.Ed. in teaching and learning with a cognate in Special Education. Apart from my B.S. and M.Ed., I also hold a Graduate Certificate in Autism Education from Liberty University and a Career Studies Certificate in American Sign Language from Nova. During the quarantine, I earned a Graduate Certificate in School Leadership.
This summer, I completed level 1 of Orton-Gillingham. I have also earned my VCEA, Religious certification, and Google certification. I would love to learn more languages (I already speak Spanish and know American Sign Language) as I feel it can help me in multiple ways. I love to travel and spend time with family and friends.
I am excited and grateful to return to St. Ambrose School for my third year. Originally from northeast Ohio, I moved to Virginia in 2004. Prior to teaching, my professional career had been in healthcare—working in journalism, office administration and most recently staff training. Prior to working at St. Ambrose, I had volunteered for seven years as a catechist at my home parish, St. John Neumann Catholic Community, teaching both second and fifth grades.
I was blessed to be able to receive a Catholic education from kindergarten all the way through college. In 2004, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication from Walsh University with minors in both English Literature and English Composition.
My pastimes are varied: from hiking with my husband and dog, to home crafts; but perhaps my favorite is reading. I also love traveling back to Ohio to visit with my family as much as possible.
I graduated from George Mason University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Integrative Studies, with a concentration in Elementary Education. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Elementary Education at Marymount University.
From a young age, I always wanted to teach. I was blessed to be around many individuals involved in education both in my family and at the schools I attended, and their examples and encouragement led me to work to achieve my goal of becoming a teacher.
I have lived in the Northern Virginia area my entire life, and attended Arlington Diocese schools for my elementary and high school years. I have been a part of the St. Ambrose community since 2014. I have worked in extended day, first and second grade as an instructional assistant, taught 2nd grade for two years, was the school resource teacher and now have the opportunity to teach 3rd grade.
I am passionate about working in a Catholic school where I can work to foster a faith filled environment for our school’s wonderful students. I am looking forward to bringing my ideas, innovations and enthusiasm into the classroom.
My name is Sandra Chaves and I am proud to be the 5th grade homeroom teacher at Saint Ambrose Catholic School! Prior to my recent arrival in Virginia, I was living in Buffalo, NY, where I earned my second master’s degree in the International Graduate Program for Educators at SUNY Buffalo State. I have over 25 years of experience in teaching various age groups in international settings. I have taught in England, Portugal, Brazil, and the US, and I have travelled to five continents! Travelling, languages, learning, and teaching are my passion. I am so blessed and grateful to be in the educational field, where I get to fulfill all these areas.
I am a cradle-born Catholic and have a great admiration for the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. One of my greatest dreams is to visit the Umbria region, where Saint Francis was born and died. I believe that if we have faith, we have everything. I hope to be a role-model in my classroom and with the students, while teaching them not only religion but all of the other subjects.
During my free time, I enjoy listening to music, reading, swimming, going to the beach, and visiting different places.
I am blessed and grateful to be a part of the St. Ambrose community and look forward to having a stellar year teaching your children.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”