Los Niños Primero Staff
It is no surprise that Maritza Morelli found herself at the helm of a non-profit organization like Los Niños Primero. She is, at her core, a charismatic problem solver and compassionate advocate for education. Her professional journey began in Venezuela with a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a Masters degree in Child Psychology. Maritza’s foremost passion was clear: she has always wanted to help people to be happy, successful adults. In Maritza’s opinion, the most effective way to do this is by working with children. Developmental years are the most crucial for preventative work.
Her foray into the academic world was in working with the Department of Education in Venezuela. She spent seven years there, dedicated to researching the ways in which children learn to read and write. The noteworthy results of this research study changed the course of the National Scholastic Curriculum. Her next undertaking saw her moving to the US, where she began establishing roots in Atlanta, GA and building the strong community ties that captured the attention of various professional contacts.
For two years, she worked as a family interpreter for Northside Hospital, but her passion for education brought her back to the academic world. Her widespread reputation as a leader in the Latino community was built on a 15-year stint as the lead bilingual community liaison for Fulton County Schools. During that time, she met with and assisted Latino families in understanding and navigating the public school system. It was this experience that got her recognized by Pastor Rick Sommers at Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church. He needed a community leader to head a brand new, inspirational project called Los Niño Primero, and it was clear he’d found the perfect fit.
Since then, her work has been recognized by external organizations as well. In 2013, Georgia TESOL presented Maritza with the Public Service Award.
Ashley Lewman holds a degree in marketing from the University of Texas, Austin. She was first introduced to Los Niños Primero in 2011 when her daughter, Sophia, began volunteering as a counselor for the summer academic program. Ashley enjoyed volunteering with her daughter and assisting during the summer academic program. In 2015 she chose to work on the organization's largest fundraiser, an annual gala event, Circle of Friends. Most recently, Ashley has taken additional responsibility in the Development Office and is actively fundraising and writing grants for Los Niños Primero.
The strength, courage and devotion of the Los Niños Primero students and their families inspires Ashley daily.
Board of Directors
Kenneth (Ken) Mead, Chair
Ken has been an enthusiastic supporter of Los Niños Primero since 2001. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Business Management and Computer Science. He has recently retired from a 32-year career in the information technology industry, where he served colleges and universities, state and local governments, healthcare entities and non-profit organizations.
Ken is also a member of Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church and views this church’s outreach to the Sandy Springs community as a critical program that will drive near-and-long-term benefits to the city, its economy, and all constituents.
Charlie Gray, Vice-chair
Charlie Gray is the Vice President of and a Senior Financial Advisor with GV Financial Advisors. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Charlie is a founding member of the firm established in 1991 and a partner in the firm. Charlie earned his B.A. in Economics from the University of Georgia.
A long-time Atlanta resident who takes a leadership role in his community, Charlie is actively involved in a variety of organizations, including Premier Resource Group, where he served as president. Charlie serves as an Elder at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, chairs its Finance/Administration Committee, and serves on the board of the Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church Foundation, which he helped establish.
When he’s not meeting with or on the phone with clients, Charlie finds happiness managing his church’s softball team, watching Braves baseball with his wife Lisa, and spending time with their adult children, Margo, Cameron, and Chris.
Carlos L. Corless
Carlos L. Corless is the principal attorney with the Law Office of Carlos L. Corless, a personal injury and worker’s compensation firm located near Tucker, Georgia. Carlos earned a double major in English and Political Science from the University of Georgia in 1989. He earned a law degree from Georgia State University College of Law in 1992, where he was a member of the Law Review.
A long-time Sandy Springs resident, Carlos now resides in Candler Park. He enjoys spending time with his three adult children and volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Atlanta. Carlos joined the Board of Directors in February 2017 and is excited to a part of Los Ninos Primero, an amazing and fast-growing organization that is making a positive impact in the Latino community.
Sergio Dorronsoro is a Human Resources Leader with 15+ years of experience working in the profit and non-for-profit sector with the primary focus to execute human resources strategic initiatives to meet organizational priorities. His focus areas include Leadership Development, Diversity & Inclusion and Talent Management. Sergio currently works for Travelport a global travel technology organization in Atlanta. Prior to Travelport, Sergio was employed at CARE USA, a global humanitarian organization for 6 years. Sergio earned a B.S in Political Science from Troy University.
Sergio was raised in Atlanta and is a first generation American to Colombian parents. He has seen and experienced firsthand the growth of Latino Community in Georgia over the last 30 years. He is passionate about the Latin community and most importantly the youth so to ensure future success. Sergio is married to Alejandra and they have a son Lucas.
Barbara Hughes retired from National Electronic Attachment, where she was Vice President of Administration. Barbara is on the Board of Directors for “The Alliance for Children Everywhere” and is a Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church Elder. She has been instrumental in establishing a school in Zambia supplying them with all the essentials to learn.
Betty has a long history of building successful companies. She joined GyneConcepts in 2007 as secretary and treasurer, and became CEO in 2008. In addition to her duties with GyneConcepts, Betty is also co-owner, secretary, and treasurer of Medical Associates Hair Transplant Surgery Centers, which she has co-owned since 1984. Betty oversees financial and administrative affairs for all Medical Associates’ offices in Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga, TN. Earlier in her career, she spend 20 years with KinderCare Learning Centers as area and regional director, responsible for site selection, building construction and financing as well as overseeing 500 centers and staff. Betty is active in many community affairs, including being a recipient of the Community Service Award for the State of Georgia and the National Jefferson Award for volunteerism.
Samuel M. McClurg
Samuel M. McClurg is a retired executive, having been employed for 35 years by American Appraisal Associates, Inc., an international firm engaged in the valuation of real estate, machinery and equipment, intangible assets, and closely held business enterprises. Mr. McClurg received a Bachelor’s Degree in economics and physics in 1964 at Michigan State University. In 1966 he earned a Master’s in Business Administration majoring in finance. After serving in the US Army, he started his career at American Appraisal Associates in the valuation of intangible assets, closely held shares of stock, and business enterprises. Mr. McClurg managed the Southeast Regional Office of American Appraisal. He worked in Hong Kong for the company and assisted in the establishment of a new American Appraisal Associates office in Tokyo, returning to Atlanta in 2002. He has been retired since 2004.
Mr. McClurg is a life-long Presbyterian and served churches in Milwaukee and Sandy Springs on their sessions as an ordained elder. Mr. McClurg was elected to the Board of Directors of Los Niños Primero in April 2011 and as the Chair of the Board in January 2012.
Heidi Natkin is an integrated marketing professional who has worked with global companies including Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, and CARE. Her responsibilities have included leading marketing strategy, brand management, multicultural marketing, creative development, and cause marketing. For nearly 15 years she has helped global brands build lasting relationships with consumers by telling their stories in ways that touch the hearts of their fans while also promoting social causes and event marketing for the organization. Fluent in Spanish, she spent several years working as a project manager in Bolivia on USAID’s largest sustainable development program at the time. Heidi spends her free time training and competing in US Masters Swimming events and taking photos around Atlanta.
Olivia Rocamora is a Spanish and English teacher at The Weber School in Sandy Springs, where she also heads the department and coordinates language immersion programs to Spain and Cuba. Olivia earned a double major in English and Spanish from Oglethorpe University in 2010 and a Master of Arts degree in Secondary Education from Agnes Scott College in 2011. In 2018, Olivia was named Upper School Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) and was awarded the Angel Award by Los Niños Primero for beginning a partnership with Weber and leading efforts to furnish and revitalize a preschool classroom for LNP.
Olivia is committed to celebrating and serving the Latino community of Atlanta, and she seeks to sow seeds of passion, empathy, and activism for this community in her students.
Margaret Schafer received her Bachelors of Arts Degree from Converse College in 1980. She began teaching preschool in 1985, after the birth of her first son, and continued in the field when the family moved to Houston, Texas. Margaret was Assistant Director and later Director of Southwest Methodist Dayschool in the early 1990s and has a Professional Administrator Credential from the State of Texas. She taught Motor Skills at Pines Presbyterian Church in Houston for ten years and taught preschool gymnastics for 11 years. Margaret partnered with Marilyn Bitsis in 1994 to co-author KidBuilders Motor Skills for Young Children and they continue to present together. Their newest effort is Sensational Beginnings: Sensory and Motor Activities for Infants and Toddlers. Margaret is a registered trainer with the Texas Early Care Professional Development System.
She is currently the Motor Skills teacher for Los Niños Primero and conducts parent and teacher workshops as well. She is a lifelong Presbyterian and an ordained Elder. She is a member of the Leadership Sandy Springs Class of 2010. Margaret joined the Board of Trustees of Los Niños Primero in 2005, and was the Board Chair from 2007-2011.
Rachel Bailey, Teacher
Rachel Bailey is currently teaching the 3rd grade at E. Rivers Elementary School in Buckhead and have been with Atlanta Public Schools for 3 years.
Rachel Bailey currently hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Physical Education from Georgia State University and am certified in both HPE and ECE. She graduated in 2009 and went on to teach Georgia Pre-K at KinderCare Learning for 5 years. Rachel then taught GA Pre-K at Bolton Academy for 1 year before moving to E. Rivers Elementary.
Teaching is her passion. And with that passion comes a great amount of enthusiasm and desire to be there for her students each and every day in whatever way they need her to be. Rachel tries to instill within her students a sense of purpose and ownership. Rachel teaches each and every student to be critical thinkers and to take risks. Her classroom is full of love, happiness, and hug time. They treat each other with respect and communicate their thoughts and feelings openly within their safe place. Rachel wants her students to respect and love their teacher and know that coming to school should be a time in which they grow not only intellectually but also socially and emotionally. She wants her students entering the world with confidence and an eagerness to share who they are with others.
Rachel is excited to start the summer learning program and knows that at the end of these fabulous four weeks, our students will leave us with a sense of accomplishment and the tools to be successful in kindergarten.
Guadalupe Barron, Teacher
Ms. Guadalupe Barron DeCortes is a 3rd grade teacher at Lake Forest Elementary in Sandy Springs, Ga. She has been working in the educational field since 2008. Guadalupe started as a PAII at Riverwood International High School and did her student teaching at Lake Forest in 2013. Ms. Barron attended Shorter University and has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education.
Guadalupe loves teaching, and is a lifelong learner. She believes that every child should have the opportunity to grow and thrive in a safe environment. Every student can learn, we just have to have the patience and the love to know how to teach them. She believes that kids should be allowed to make mistakes in order to learn from them. She is excited to be joining the LNP team and am looking forward to learn new and exciting things along the way.
rashida caffey, teacher
It is Rashida Caffey’s 20th year teaching. She is currently an ESOL teacher at Lake Forest Elementary. This is her second year at Los Niños Primero, and she is looking forward to continuing her work with students from this wonderful community!
Mrs. Caffey graduated from Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Science of Education Degree in Elementary and Special Education. Later, she attended Georgia State University and earned her Masters of Education Degree in Reading Language and Literacy. She also holds a Reading Certificate (P-12), as well as Reading and ESOL Endorsements.
Mia Cellino, Music Teacher
Mia Cellino is licensed and board certified music therapist. In 2018, she received her Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy at the University of Georgia where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. During her time at UGA, Mia experienced 3 years of clinical work with clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance abuse. Mia currently works as a full time music therapist at Therabeat, Inc., where she works with pediatrics, adolescents and adults. Her primary instrument is bassoon, and she is also proficient in guitar, voice, piano and percussion.
Mia is thrilled to be a teacher for the Los Niños Primero Saturday School! She believes that all humans are inherently musical, and everyone can express themselves through music regardless of age, ability level, or resources. She enjoys working with children and exploring the educational and healing powers of music.
Rachel Coon-Arnott, Music Teacher
Rachel Coon-Arnott, Music Therapist/Board Certified, graduated from Charleston Southern University in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and from Georgia College and State University with a master’s in music therapy in 2011.
She also received her teaching certificate in general music from Georgia State University in 2006. She has 17 years of experience working as music therapist with children with special needs in a variety of settings.
Currently, she is employed part-time with Fulton County schools, but has spent the past 14 summers working as the music teacher for Los Niños Primero at the Mt Vernon location.
Rachel uses music to support the academic and social development of the children that attend the program each summer. She finds it to be a rewarding and gratifying opportunity to be a part of such a successful community program.
Lauren Du'Bois, Teacher
Lauren Du'Bois, a 3rd grade teacher at Church Street Elementary. Before teaching 3rd grade, Lauren was a paraprofessional for special needs Pre-K, where they developed student motor, social, and academic skills through creative differentiation.
Ms. Du'Bois attended Mississippi Valley State University, where she received a Bachelor in Sociology. Lauren is now currently enrolled in Capella University studying Clinical Psychology. She has worked at Kids R’ Kids Daycare teaching 4 year old, and Sunshine House teaching the Pre-K class. She has also worked with Learning on the Log, working with 3 and 4 year old. Teaching the future leaders is extremely rewarding. Lauren enjoys watching each child grow academically and socially.
Megan Feldvebel, Teacher
Megan Feldvebel started with Los Niños Primero in the summer of 2014. Megan teaches during our Summer Educational Program every year, and for our Saturday School Program throughout the school year with the three year olds as well. She also teaches in the Dual Language kindergarten program at Lake Forest Elementary School. She celebrates diversity and multi-linguistic learners in her classroom all year long! She has a strong passion for culture and children!
Megan has been teaching in Fulton County schools since 2010. In 2013, she was named teacher of the year at Campbell Elementary School in Fulton County. Megan has had a passion for teaching and learning about other cultures since she was young. She studied Spanish in college and loves to use it in her everyday practice in the classroom. She graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and has endorsements in Mathematics and ESOL (English for Second Language Learners).
OKSANA GONZALEZ, TEACHER
Oksana Gonzalez is a certified K-5 teacher with a Reading and ESOL endorsement. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Georgia State University.
She also holds a Master’s degree in Education and a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Georgia.
Oksana has taught across grade levels and has served under various capacities. She is a passionate educator and leader. She believes in the impact of integrating multicultural strategies in the classroom and engaging all her students with equitable teaching practices.
She currently works at College Park Elementary and is excited about becoming grade level chair for the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, she is looking forward to becoming an integral member at Los Niños Primero this summer!
Nicole Lee, Teacher
Nicole Lee is a reformed attorney who found her calling to be an educator 7 years ago. Nicole began her journey as an educator as part of the alternative certification program through the Houston Independent School District. She was a writing lab instructor at Highland Heights Elementary and a 4th grade writing teacher at Whidby Elementary. Her family relocated to Atlanta 5 years ago, then she joined Fulton County Public Schools. As a member of the Fulton County Public Schools team, she has served in the roles of EIP teacher, 5th grade ELA/Reading teacher, and 3rd grade teacher at Mt. Olive Elementary and taught 2nd grade at College Park Elementary. Presently, Nicole is a 4th grade boys teacher at Wesley International Academy.
Nicole earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Spelman College and a Juris Doctorate from Texas Southern University. While attending Spelman, she studied in Oaxaca, Mexico. She has received training in Orton-Gillingham, Foundations, Critical Friends Group, Mind Up, IB, and single gender education.
Jessica Brodley-Lopez, Chorus Director
Jessica Brodley-Lopez received her Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from The Florida State University in 2013. During her time at FSU, she received her certifications in Special Education and Neonatal Intensive Care. Following her time at college, Jessi completed her music therapy internship with Fulton County Schools.
Jessi plays guitar and piano as well as her primary instrument, voice. Besides working full time with Fulton County Schools, she provides individual and group therapy sessions for Music Therapy Services of Greater Atlanta.
Active in state organizations, Jessi is also the President of the Music Therapy Association of Georgia. Continuing to expand on her educational knowledge and therapy skills, Jessi is a member of the American Music Therapy Association and a Licensed Music Therapist in the state of Georgia.
Martita Jordan Macias, Teacher
Martita Jordan Macias is from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She taught PK-12 for 30 years in various elementary schools. Martita was awarded Teacher of the Year at Nancy Creek Elementary School in Dekalb County in 2002. She retired from Dekalb County School System in December 2012 after working there for 16 years. She has also taught in Spain, Puerto Rico and New York.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Literature from University of Cincinnati and a Master’s Degree in English as a Second Language from Mercy College. She decided to further her education at Lincoln Memorial University, where she received an ED.S. Degree (Educational Specialist in Education Administration and Supervision) in 2005.
Martita’s passion is teaching; following her recent retirement, she feels blessed to continue teaching at Los Niños Primero Educational Program. For the past two years, she has taught one of the 3-year-old classes. She loves teaching and finds working with preschoolers to be fascinating! She is excited to help students become life-long learners. Working with the students at Los Niños Primero is very rewarding, and she looks forward to being part of this successful educational program every year!
Marangely Pérez, Teacher
Marangely Pérez Montalvo is from Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico. She has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a manor in Special Education and Spanish k-12 from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is finishing her master degree in Early Childhood Education from the same university. She currently hold certifications in Early Childhood k-6 and Special Education k-12 from Puerto Rico. She is a Georgia Spanish k-12 certify teacher.
Marangely Pérez has 10 years of teaching experience. She has taught in Puerto Rico in an Elementary School, in a Middle School at Texas, and Georgia Pre-k Lead Teacher and Spanish Middle School here at Georgia. She is a currently Fulton County Spanish Middle School teacher.
Cara Prince, Teacher
Cara Prince is a native Atlantan and recent graduate of Samford University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education, with honors. She is certified to teach Pre-K through 6th grade and is very passionate about education and making a difference in the lives of children.
This is her 8th year with Los Niños Primero, but first as a classroom teacher. In the summer of 2011 she started participating as classroom volunteer, serving for 5 summers. Then, in the summer of 2016 she served as an intern before becoming a teacher’s assistant in 2017. Cara is very excited to begin this new journey as a teacher and impact the lives of the Sandy Spring community. She has seen first-hand the amazing and influential work Los Niños Primero does for children and cannot wait to inspire the students, as LNP has inspired her!
Tameki McDowell, Teacher
Tameki McDowell is a K-12 certified teacher in Georgia and has been teaching for the past six years. She earned her Masters of Education degree at Georgia State University where she studied in an accelerated program focusing on the needs of children in urban environments.
Her passion for education drove her to leave a successful career in Accounting to pursue a dream of helping spark young learners' curiosity and encouraging in them a desire to learn more.
She currently teaches fourth grade in Fulton County Schools and is excited about joining the Los Niños Primero family!
Octavia Rowe, Teacher
Octavia Rowe is originally from Chicago, Illinois. It is from the Chicago Public School system that she developed a deep love and passion for school which later turned into an affinity of wanting to become a teacher!
Octavia pursued her love for teaching by graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.A. in History and Masters in Elementary Education with a focus in Elementary Education. She began teaching in Chicago over five years ago in the primary grades.
Ms. Rowe currently teach kindergarten at Church Street Elementary school located in Riverdale, Georgia, where she empowers all her students to become lifelong learners and to follow their passion!
Joan Silvestrini, Teacher
Joan Silvestrini was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She has been an educator in the field of early childhood education for the past 23 years. Joan earned a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. Joan holds a Georgia Educator Certificate with endorsements in ESOL, Gifted, and SpanishK-12.
As a teacher, it is her belief that you are able to make a positive impact on the life of a child through education. Education provides us all with the necessary tools to become successful and prosperous human beings. Within a learning environment, students should constantly be encouraged to better themselves and to be open minded to different aspects of life. This will be her 2nd year working with LNP and Joan looks forward to working with our students and community!
KATRINA VERDE, TEACHER
Katrina Verde has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Kennesaw State University. She is certified to teach grades Pre-K through 5th.
Katrina started teaching at Lake Forest Elementary the fall of 2011. She taught Kindergarten for 6 years and just finished her first year in 1st grade and has really enjoyed getting to continue working with her past and future students through Los Niños Primero since 2013. It has provided such a great opportunity to extend students’ learning and create a better transition for the students who will start school at Lake Forest next year.
Kimberly D. Price, Ed.S.,
Kimberly began working with Fulton County Schools as a paraprofessional. During her seven years as a paraprofessional, she was awarded Fulton County Schools’ Support Professional of the Year, graduated with honors, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Brenau University.
Kimberly taught first grade for eight years. After her first year, she realized her passion for teaching reading, decided to continue her education, and enrolled in Walden University’s education program where she earned a Master’s degree in Reading and Literacy. She also decided to obtain her Reading Endorsement and became certified as a Teacher Support Specialist. As a classroom teacher, Kimberly has served as general education, Self-Contained Early Intervention Program, and Inclusion teacher.
In 2008, Kimberly earned her Educational Specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University in Administration and Supervision with Leadership Certification. Kimberly has served as Grade Level Chairperson, Coordinator of Extended Learning programs, and she is also Practitioner Faculty at the University of Phoenix Online.
In 2015, after teaching at Los Niños Primero for seven years, she was promoted to the role of Academic Coordinator.
As the Academic Coordinator, Kimberly is responsible for the instructional program. Also, she guides teachers to ensure that the learning environment and instruction are effective and that each child is receiving the academic support they need to learn today for a brighter future.
Site COORDINATOR holy innocents' episcopaL church
Erin is a Special Education teacher at Lake Forest Elementary School. She started teaching at Lake Forest in 2012 and has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten and 2nd grade. While teaching Kindergarten, Erin was a three-time Teacher of the Year finalist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Mercer University in Early Childhood and Special Education and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Reading and Mathematics. Erin is also ESOL endorsed.
Because many students from Los Niños Primero also attend Lake Forest Elementary, Erin is able to see, firsthand, the meaningful impact that this program has on our wonderful children. Erin began teaching at Los Niños Primero during the summer of 2013 and has experience teaching the 4-year-old and 6-year-old classes.
Last year she began the role of Site Coordinator and is eager to continue that work this summer at Holy Innocents’! Erin looks forward to supporting teachers in providing our children with engaging academic experiences this summer!
Site COORDINATOR Mimosa Elementary school
Marjorie Araujo is a K-12 certified Spanish teacher, who has been teaching with Fulton County Schools for seven years. Marjorie is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. She holds an Associate’s degree in Elementary Education from Georgia Perimeter College and a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Language and Culture from Kennesaw State University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Marjorie is passionate about working with children of all ages. She was the lead teacher for the three year olds class at The Spanish Academy for three years, then moved to Elkins Pointe Middle School after graduating from Kennesaw State University where she taught for five years. She is currently teaching Spanish at Centennial High School.
Marjorie teaches during our Summer Educational Program every year, and for our Saturday School Program throughout the school year with the three year olds as well. She strongly believes in the impact Los Niños Primero makes every year for the wellbeing of the Latino children. Every year, Marjorie delights in watching children grow, learn, gain, and apply new knowledge.
Site COORDINATOR El Nazareno presbyterian church
Kyon Postell is a Behavioral Health Counselor for Atlanta Public Schools and has been counseling young students for three years. Prior to entering the Behavioral Health field, she was a paraprofessional at Heards Ferry Elementary for four years; she was a nominee for Paraprofessional of the Year in 2007. She graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and a minor in Education. She decided to further her education at University of Phoenix, where she received a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.
Kyon has been actively involved in the success of students at Los Niños Primero since 2007. “I truly look forward to working with the students at Los Niños each year. It is amazing to watch the development of each and every student in such a short period of time. It is such a blessing to be a part of this process in building the confidence of students at Los Niños year after year.”
Jordan Keppler is a second-year Master’s student at The Florida State University perusing a degree in Early Childhood Education. In 2016, Jordan graduated from The Florida State University as a Service Scholar with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Social Science and a minor in Leadership Studies. This is Jordan’s 9th year with Los Niños Primero. Beginning as a Youth Volunteer in 2008, Jordan developed a passion for service and leadership through LNP and was accepted into the Service Scholar Program at FSU in 2012 when she also transitioned into the College Intern role at LNP. As Volunteer Coordinator, Jordan enjoys developing new ways to encourage and challenge Teen Volunteers to be ambassadors for Los Niños Primero and its values while becoming conscious and effective leaders in their communities.
Amanda has worked with LNP in one way or another since its inception in 2001. After graduating from Emory University in 2009, she spent 4 years teaching high school Spanish and English and working as an LNP Youth Coordinator for the summer programs. In 2013 she made the move to NYC where she now works in media research and consulting, volunteering for LNP remotely as the webmaster and keeper of all things digital. Amanda is passionate about the Latinx immigrant experience, the interplay of culture and technology, and the myriad contributions made by families like those of LNP to communities all across the US.
Family Engagement Coordinator
Gloria Narea is originally from Mexico.She graduated from Escuela Nacional Para Maestras de Jardines de Niños in Mexico City 28 years ago. Since then, she has been involved in teaching Early Childhood. She has taught Spanish, owned and coordinated an After School Program for elementary students in Toluca, Mexico. In 1994, Gloria came to the United States and learned English as a Second Language at Mercer University.
After staying home with her children, she decided to go back to teaching. In 2007 she began teaching Spanish at Holy Spirit Preparatory School (preschool) for two years. She moved to the HSP Lower School full time in 2009 to teach Spanish in Elementary. Gloria received The Cura Personalis Award in recognition of enduring witness and outstanding contributions to the ministry of Catholic education at Holy Spirit Preparatory School in 2016. She has been part of this community for 9 years and has been involved in differents extracurricular activities that enrich the students development.
In Summer 2016, Gloria started working for Los Niños Primero as a Family Engagement Coordinator where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with Los Niños Primero families as well as to assist in the implementation of all family programs including parent workshops, support groups, and volunteer opportunities. She also works to ensure that the parent coach program continues meeting the expectations as the door for more leadership opportunities for the parents.
Abel Rivera Ramirez,
Media and Engagement Coordinator
Abel Rivera Ramirez has been involved with Los Niños Primero since its start in 2001. Abel was a part of the first group of students who participated in the Summer Education program. In 2008 the organization had a call for youth volunteers and Abel appeared once again to give back to the organization that had helped him. He has volunteered consistently with us for the past 11 years. In our 2015 Circle of Friends Silent Auction, Abel served as one of our 2 Masters of Ceremony. Abel then participated as a college intern that same summer, working with our core team and youth volunteers on a daily basis during the Summer Educational program. Abel is now the Media and Engagement coordinator, a position in which he severs the LNP families by relaying information across all media formats, and by participating in person at our Saturday School Sessions and during the Summer Educational Program. Abel is currently enrolled at the University of Georgia where he is studying Landscape architecture. Abel serves as a moving spokesperson for the organization and as a testament to what an individual can accomplish with support such as Los Niños Primero
Yair Barranca, a rising senior at Riverwood International Charter School, has volunteered with Los Ninos Primero for 4 years. During his years at Los Ninos Yair has worked on Team Food helping with the preparation of snacks and lunch for our students during the Summer Educational Program. Participation in this group enabled him to interact with children in all the age groups which helped him develop a devotion to the program!
Entering his fifth year at Los Niños, Yair will now be a part of the administration team of the program as an intern. He will be working alongside the core team in ensuring the youth volunteers are able to be as effective as possible when working with the students, teachers, and parents.
Yair’s interest’s outside of Los Niños Primero revolve around a lot of physical activity. He very much enjoys weight training, but also participates in his school’s cross-country team and track & field team respectfully. In school Yair enjoys every subject, but literature and math hold a special place in his heart as he views them as essential to the success of any student. Although one day he hopes to become a lawyer, he aims to attend the University of Georgia or Georgia Southern University after his senior year!
Carmen Morales-Mier is a rising senior at Riverwood International Charter School. Carmen has volunteered at the Los Niños Primero for 3 years but she has been involved ever since she was a little girl herself!
She began her journey with Los Niños Primero when she was just three years old as a student in the Summer Educational Program and continued on by also participating in the Los Niños Primero Chorus. She is part of the 32% of Youth Volunteers who attended Los Niños Primero as students!
Carmen is grateful for all the things Los Niños Primero has done for her family and the Latinx community. She returned to Los Niños Primero as a Youth Volunteer because she loves the mission and vision of Los Niños Primero and the positive impact it left on her. As an alumni of Los Niños Primero she knows just how much of an difference this program can make in a child's life and so she comes back year after year to support ous students on their path to success!
Outside of Los Niños Primero, Carmen spends most of her free time volunteering around the Sandy Springs community. Carmen is involved in her school’s AVID program which is a program that helps students prepare for college. She is a member of the National Beta Club and the President of her school’s Hispanic Organization Promoting Education chapter commonly known as HoPe. She is one of the few students at Riverwood who are school ambassadors and participates in her school’s orchestra as a violist!