The Team

          Ellie Cottrell (Head Teacher)


Ellie Cottrell is the founder and head teacher of River House Academy.

Ellie taught for 11 years in Norwich, England where she worked with students with a wide range of skills and abilities. She enjoyed finding innovative ways of engaging learners so that they reached their full potential: academically, creatively and socially.

Having two children of her own, Ellie is clear that a rounded education must offer a balance between academic achievement and creative expression.

This balance is the defining strength of River House Academy.

    Sam Durrant (Deputy Head Teacher)


Sam has been a teacher at River House Academy since its very beginning.

Sam taught French for many years in the UK at comprehensives in London before moving to Norfolk. He has mainly specialised in pastoral care at Key Stage 4, including administering GCSE exams for 16 year olds at all ability levels. His passion for travel and new challenges brought him to Goa where he has now been settled for 3 years.

Sam believes in educating the ‘whole child’, providing experiences and opportunities that nurture the strengths and potential that he knows all young people have. River House Academy is the perfect place for him to practise this educational vision and continue learning to be an even better teacher.

     Rallika Komarpant (Secondary Teacher)


Rallika has a BEd in Mathematics and a Masters in Accountancy and Finance from Goa University.

She joined River House Academy in 2014, attracted by the creative attitude towards learning and sense of community. She feels privileged to work in a school that provides a high quality education for every child at the same time as guiding their personal growth and well-being.

Rallika will continue to contribute to the successful growth of River House Academy in both the local and wider communities alongside the development of her teaching skills.

Melissa Fernandes (Primary Teacher)

Melissa is a Canadian educator who has been working at private schools in India for the last two years. Teaching is a career change from her background in Advertising and Marketing Communications. Through a journey of self-reflection, she realized that teaching children was a supportive arena where she could be an agent of positive social change.
She joined River House Academy to experience a more balanced approach to teaching and learning.
Her philosophy of education is based on a student-centered model, committed to empowering students by nurturing them to take ownership of their learning.
Her main goal as a teacher is to create a learning environment where students realize their potential. Melissa believes that social and emotional development is just as important as academic performance and aims to support the personal growth and well-being of all her students.

 Divya Shetty (Primary Teacher)

Divya discovered her love for working with children when she volunteered at educational organisations like The Akanksha Foundation and Mumbai Mobile Creche in Mumbai during her weekends off from work. Three years back, she took the leap of faith and started working full time in the education sector. She completed her 2 year fellowship with Teach for India (a part of the Teach For All network) where she worked as a full-time teacher to children from a low-income community in Mumbai.

She believes in developing her classroom into a community where every student feels free and safe to express their ideas and opinions, which resonates with the ethos of River House of educating the whole child. She believes that River House provides a safe and nurturing environment to all children where they learn while developing a well rounded personality. She believes that working in River House with such a diverse community will make her a better teacher and a better global citizen.

Louise Fernandes (Head of Art)

Louise has been working within the education sector for over 10 years, mainly in the UK as well as in India. She is a qualified teacher of Secondary art as well as having a Masters in Art Therapy. Louise has worked with a wide range of young people and adults, supporting them in their creativity in many different settings. She believes in the importance of creative self-expression within education for emotional health and well-being, allowing for a holistic approach to an individual’s learning experience.

Louise strives to create a warm, nurturing, creative classroom where each child can reach their potential, meeting the needs of her learners in an individualised way. She enjoys being part of a diverse yet unified community where the needs of the child are central.

Being a mum of a 2-year-old daughter, Louise is excited for her family’s future in Goa, and hopes to develop her work as a teacher and therapist further at River House Academy, as it continues to grow.

      Resha Varik (Support Co-ordinator)



Resha is from a local family and has worked with our children for many years.

She is an integral part of the smooth running of the school, looking after our kitchen, administration of our day-to-day affairs as well as helping us to maintain strong relationships with the local community, neighbours and businesses.

Resha’s smile is available for rent 🙂

Our team at River House Academy is made up of fully qualified teachers from Europe, India and the USA. We also have TEFL support teachers and a small team looking after our office and kitchen.

Our staff are committed to working within the ethos of River House Academy, to ensure that our children receive the best education possible within a holistic, nurturing environment.

Contact Us
Headteacher: Ellie Cottrell
River House Academy,
House No. 23 Mangan,
Canacona, Goa,
403702, India

Location on Google map
Opening Times

Monday - Friday
8.45 am - 3.00 pm

Get in Touch