Lisa Blasser- Elementary Principal

Having been born in Taiwan, living my early years on both coasts of the United States before moving to Panama, “where I am from” does not have a simple answer. But, Panama has been my home now for many years!

San Diego State University and Florida State University provided me opportunities to earn my undergraduate degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude from FSU. My graduate studies continued at Nova Southeastern, earning a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics and Teaching English. Continuous learning motivates me to seek opportunities and to always improve.

For more than 26 years, elementary classrooms in the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) and Balboa Academy in Panama have been my classes of choice. The last three years I have been the Elementary Principal.

My husband and I are proud to have had our three children attend Balboa Academy which has prepared them well for their future endeavors.  I  believe in helping children find a love and curiosity in learning that will last them a lifetime and help make the world a better place. 

Angelica Vaccaro- Preschool Coordinator

My name is Angelica Vaccaro and I was born and raised here in Panama.

I graduated from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education.

I am also a Founder of Balboa Academy. 

I have been the Preschool Coordinator for the past five years and I am looking forward to many more days in “Paradise”, as I call our Preschool. 

I believe that the change we all want for the future begins in Preschool.


Robert Domenech- Middle School Principal

I was born and raised here in the Canal Zone of Panama. I grew up attended U.S. Department of Defense Schools and graduated from Balboa High School. I received an Associate’s Degree from Santa Fe Community College in Florida, a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Florida, and a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Florida State University.

Here at Balboa Academy, I have taught elementary school, served as Athletic Director, as the MS Assistant Principal and for the past two years have held the position of MS Principal.

Middle school is a time of transition for all students. From cognitive to physical, changes are occurring every step of the way. It’s important for us to recognize and honor each individual and their potential. As children navigate this tumultuous time period, it’s critical to help them develop the character traits that will be necessary to successfully cope with high school and beyond.

Ray Durbin- High School Principal

I am originally from Kansas but have been living in Panama since 1996. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Wichita State University and my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University. I have been an administrator in Balboa Academy since 2012.

I am married with two adult children.  My wife is also employed as a special education teacher at Balboa Academy and both of my children are Balboa alumni.

I believe that education is all about student learning and that given enough time, all students can reach their learning goals.

Xiomara Moreno- High School Assistant Principal

I was born in Panama, however, I am a native New Yorker where I completed all of my formal studies having attended Fordham University and then Lehman College for my Master’s Degree in Education.  

At the moment, I am studying for a second Masters Degree in Educational Leadership at Lehigh University. Previous to my career here at Balboa Academy, I worked at the International School of Panama for 20 years in various capacities. 

Currently, I am the High School Assistant Principal where I value seeing students grow emotionally, academically, and socially.

Melissa M. de Jimenez- Athletics Director

I was born and raised here in Panama.

I graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Oklahoma.

For the past 30 years, I have been teaching from Pre-K to Middle School, Special Needs (Reading and Math), and most recently as Athletic Director.

As a Founder of Balboa Academy, and as a teacher, I am proud to be a part of this unique school in which every student is valued as an individual, not just expected but also encouraged to be different.