Cristina Sanchez Black was born in Johannesburg to a teacher and a fitter-and-turner, Spanish immigrants in search of greener pastures. When she was five, the family relocated to Angola from where they fled a year later due to the civil war. Escaping with his life, her father started over in the little fishing village of Stompneus Bay on the West Coast. Here Cristina was immersed in yet another culture and learned to speak Afrikaans, adding to her growing language skills. She and her two younger brothers enjoyed a carefree, wholesome and grounded childhood. During this time, Cristina naturally assumed the role of teacher, helping her brothers with their schoolwork when necessary. So began a passion for educating and helping others, which extended to her circle of school friends.
Cristina attended Stellenbosch University where she completed a Bachelor of Arts. She applied and was accepted into the Counselling Psychology course in her third year, which she completed as one of her majors, the other being English. Thereafter, she completed her Higher Education Diploma. In this year, she had the pleasure of returning to her alma mater to do the practical component of her course with her old English teacher, thereby establishing a relationship that would last well into adulthood.
After graduating, she felt the need to broaden her life experience: she managed an estate agency (where her languages held her in good stead), worked as assistant to the director of a Portuguese cork business and, later, for a civil engineering firm.
Her first teaching position was at Helderberg High School in 1995 where her old English teacher (now the principal) contracted her to tutor Angolan students. This was followed by a locum position at Parel Vallei High School where she taught English, as well as History, and later a position at Grabouw High School for a year.
She returned to Helderberg High School to teach English, Spanish and Portuguese, EMS, Mathematics and Art and Culture, as well as heading up various extra-curricular activities such as the Toastmasters’ youth leadership programme, the school newspaper and others. During this time, her son and daughter were born and she was afforded the opportunity to venture into tertiary education, teaching writing skills at Helderberg College on a part-time basis in the year of her daughter’s birth.
In 2007, Cristina returned to the West Coast where she joined the team that started Curro Langebaan. Here she obtained experience of growing a school from the ground up as Head of the English Department.
Cristina joined the IES group in 2011, dividing her time between Blouberg International School, where she taught Spanish from year 3 to year 9, and Helderberg International School, where she taught Spanish, as well as English Literature. In 2015, she joined the Helderberg team full time. Since then she has joined the academic committee and the Journey team, headed up the library team and implemented various other extra-curricular activities. In 2019, she was appointed High School Phase Co-ordinator. She started as Principal of Helderberg International School on 1 April 2021.
Cristina enjoys spending time with her family, the outdoors, hiking, reading and meeting people from all walks of life. She is a firm believer in looking for the good in life, respect for all and that every action (however small) has the power to make a positive contribution.
GET IN TOUCH
We would love to hear from you…
We are on hand to answer any questions you may have! Please get in touch either with the following contact details or by using our quick contact form. We will endeavour to reply to you within 1 working day.
If you would like to arrange visiting the school, to have a personal tour and to get answer to all of your questions, please visit our Admissions page & make an enquiry with a suggested time and date to suit you!
Call Us: +27 21 851-6290/1
Visit Us: Helderberg International School, PostNet Suite 214, Private Bag X29, Somerset West, Cape Town, 7130