Martha and Larry Casazza: Founders of Escuela Cooperativa de Sayulita

February 20, 2018 Colleen Bentley

Q1 2018 Newsletter – Client Feature

Martha and Larry Casazza

When Martha and Larry Casazza began traveling to Sayulita, Mexico in 2007, they never imagined how it would lead them to live such a fulfilling retirement. While both were still working full time back in Chicago, they began visiting the small town for a week at a time, eventually buying a condo so they could spend more time there. Martha and Larry fell in love with the warm and welcoming locals, and wanted to give back in a meaningful way to the community.

Both were nearing retirement, so their timing for undertaking this endeavor was perfect. Education had always been a priority for Martha and Larry, so when they learned there was a real need in Sayulita for a tuition-free preschool for the local children, they knew this was the right path. In 2016 they began holding community meetings at the cultural center to see if local families were interested. Each meeting brought new faces and more enthusiasm, and before they knew it, they had 15 families registered to start in August 2017!

La Escuela Cooperativa now has 18 children in attendance, with two outstanding teachers and a strong community of support behind them. The goal of this Montessori-based school is to help children between the ages of 3 and 5 to learn independently, retain the curiosity, creativity and intelligence with which they were born. They provide English language instruction for the children and hope to expand throughout the larger community by providing services such as a bookmobile and English language instruction for adults at the school, after regular hours.

Martha and Larry did not know where retirement would take the two of them. They had talked about their future and discussed that they wanted to make this part of their life meaningful. The couple kept open hearts and minds, so when the Sayulita opportunity presented itself they were ready to take the leap into the unknown. There were many questions to be asked, and even after years of visiting the small town, the Casazzas made sure to really understand what the community needed.

The couple attributes the success of the school not only to the support from their own family and friends, but also to the support from the children’s parents. The high degree of family involvement and volunteerism in Sayulita demonstrates their investment in the children’s education. Opening La Escuela Cooperative has been an exciting journey, and the Casazzas are hopeful for the school’s continued success and expansion. Martha and Larry are living out their Private Vista in Sayulita – their unique vision of an enriched and fulfilled life.




Interview and article written by Colleen Bentley

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