The Pineapple School functions as a community where children, parents and caregivers play key roles in the educational process. That is where our name originates, as the pineapple is a Southern symbol representing friends and family. The pineapple is also a sign of welcoming. We want our little amigos and their families to feel welcome at The Pineapple School, from the moment they are carried, crawl, wobble or walk into our center.
A family-owned business, The Pineapple School was founded in 2010 by San Antonio residents, Juan and Krisana Puccio, and Dr. Hugo and Susan Carvajal, Krisana’s parents. While each founder brings unique experiences and skills to the team, Susan and Krisana are actively involved with the schools and support a strong team of administrators.
The mission of The Pineapple School is to provide a safe, stimulating and nurturing environment where young children can develop age appropriate cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills while simultaneously assimilating the language and culture of Latin America.
Learning should be fun and children learn best when actively involved. Optimal learning and development occur within a community where children feel safe and welcome, where everyone contributes, everyone belongs and everyone is respected as an individual. Children, their families, the teachers and support staff are valued members. Through active participation within a community centered around the Latin culture, each child will embrace the Spanish language. At the same time, he/she will master skills essential for success in future years.
Our CORE Values
LATINO CULTURE IN OUR HEARTS
We embrace the Spanish language and Latin American culture and proudly share it with our Pineapple School community.
HEALTH & SAFETY IS OUR PRIORITY
We practice safety and promote health in all aspects of our work.
We provide a safe environment for students and staff at all times.
We speak up to ensure the health and safety of others.
WE ARE FAMILY
We value and respect all families, embracing differences without judgement.
We treat students, their families and co-workers with warmth and compassion.
We form healthy relationships, creating strong bonds that give us a sense of identity and belonging.
GROWTH & LEARNING FOR ALL
We seek out new ideas and information and apply them in our work.
We listen to our students and co-workers and learn from them, just as they learn from us.
We embrace opportunities to provide meaningful learning experiences for students and for ourselves.
Susan Carvajal, Founder
As a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, Susan’s lifetime professional career has focused on the care and well-being of young children. She has worked in inpatient and outpatient pediatric settings, providing primary care to infants and young children. Susan and her husband owned and operated a childcare center in Galveston for 13 years. In San Antonio, Susan founded and developed the St. Agnes Play Group, a volunteer early learning program for socially disadvantaged, Spanish-speaking children. After serving as founding Director of The Pineapple School for 7 years, Susan now holds an advisory role, working with curriculum development and issues related to health and safety.
Pasatiempo favorito: Sharing “Wilford Stories”, intended to teach life lessons to my grandchildren
Krisana Puccio, founder
The Pineapple School came about because of Krisana’s love for children, language and entrepreneurship. She learned Spanish through immersion in 2004 when she attended a two-year international MBA program in Costa Rica. While working for a San Antonio corporation, Krisana dreamed up the concept of The Pineapple School; she was inspired by two factors: the strong desire among San Antonio parents to raise bilingual, bicultural children and her personal language-learning struggles as a young adult. Together with her parents and Venezuelan husband, she founded The Pineapple School in 2010. Today, Krisana serves The Pineapple School’s three campuses, leading functions such as Human Resources, Customer Relations and Marketing.
Frase favorita: “Todo lo bueno en la vida nace de un salto al vacío.” Alan Moore
Jessie Bakke, Administrator
Inspired by art and design as well as the language and culture of Latin America, Jessie is actively engaged in the design and development of classroom environments and outdoor play spaces. She plans and coordinates special celebrations at The Pineapple School. Additionally, Jessie works with our Pre-K program curriculum, implementing Reggio Emilia ideas and a project-based approach to learning. Jessie attended the University of Texas at Austin where she earned a degree in International Business with a focus on Latin America and a minor in Spanish. After college, she went on to study Landscape Architecture and practiced for several years before joining The Pineapple School team.
Destino favorito: Mexico City, for its colorful sights and sounds, delicious food, and artisan treasures
Andrea Blankenship, Director
Andi has been a professional educator for 20 years, spanning various age groups, from preschool to college. Prior to joining The Pineapple School, she worked as a special education teacher, an Education Administrator and Transcript Evaluator for The Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, a high school teacher, and a university professor at University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Andi obtained a bachelor’s degree in Interpretation/Translation while at the National School of Languages in Buenos Aires. Her lifelong passion is teaching. She is motivated by the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of our precious children and nurture their curiosity of the world around them.
Recuerdo favorito: Learning to roller skate with my abuelo on a long sidewalk surrounded by parks and monuments near the Zoo in Palermo Park, Buenos Aires
Cecilia Bowka, Director
Cecilia was born and raised in Mexico where her passion for early childhood education was fueled by growing up in a family of educators. Cecilia earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Escuela Normal del Estado de Durango in 2000. Cecilia (“Mrs. Ceci”) has worked in the field for over 14 years, first in Mexico, then in Galveston, Texas and now in San Antonio. She began working at The Pineapple School in 2011, where she has embodied the language immersion philosophy by sharing her culture and her love of children. Cecilia serves as the Program Director at our North Central campus. She enjoys spending family time with her husband, Steven, and son, Michael.
Tradición Favorita: Día de los Muertos holds a special meaning for me because it celebrates the colors, flavors and joy of my culture.