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.
Sergio De La Torre, Treasurer
At JOYN, Sergio De La Torre partners with high net worth clients and their families to help navigate them through the complexities of financial success to imagine, create, and live extraordinary lives. Sergio loves making a difference in the lives of the clients he serves. At JOYN, the core of the Behavioral Wealth Management model is to create an intimate relationship with each client. A native of El Paso, Texas, Sergio grew up playing competitive soccer. His wife Angelica and him live in Roswell, GA with their two dogs, Roxie (a chocolate lab) and Zeus (an English Mastiff). They daughter is a Freshman at the University of Kentucky
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.
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
Rashida Caffey has been with Los Ninos Primero since the summer of 2017. She has been an ESOL teacher at Lake Forest Elementary in Fulton County since 2016, and enjoys continuing her work with students from this wonderful community through the Los Niños Primero Summer Educational Program!
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. Rashida Caffey began her teaching career in 1997.
Deaundra Audrey Cash, Yoga Teacher
Deaundra Audrey Cash is often referred to as a soulful yoga teacher. She has a passion for connecting the physical practice, mindfulness, and inner awareness. Her students consider her greatest teaching strength as her ability to provide a challenging class that is approachable and inspiring. Audrey is the owner of level3 Yoga, a yoga and fitness studio located in East Atlanta Village. Along with her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification, Audrey has completed trainings in Yin Yoga, Grounded Kids Yoga, and is currently an E.R.Y.T. with the Yoga Alliance. She is very excited to enter her second summer teaching with Los Ninos Primero.
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.
Kim Cole, Teacher
Kim Cole’s first summer with Los Niño’s Primero was in the summer of 2017. Kim has been a teacher for 11 years. She taught for a total of 8 years in Clayton County before transferring to Fulton County in 2016.
Kim teaches third grade at College Park Elementary school during the school year. Kim earned her Bachelor’s of Arts from Mercer University in 2008; and, her Masters of Art in Teaching, also from Mercer University, in 2010. She is passionate about teaching and seeing all children succeed.
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!
Natalie Generally Kirk, Music Teacher
Natalie Kirk received her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Emory University and completed her Masters of Music Education (M.M.Ed.) and Music Therapy equivalency at the University of Georgia. She is a Board Certified Music Therapist and is licensed to practice in the state of Georgia. Natalie completed specialized training with The National Institute for Infant and Child Medical Music Therapy and has worked with various populations, including premature infants, Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, substance abuse clients, school-aged children with autism and developmental delays, cochlear implant recipients, adults with developmental delays, and children with severe emotional behavioral disorders. She is also a certified music teacher in the state of Georgia and works with pre-K through grade 12 special needs students in the Fulton County school system. She is a member of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Music Therapy Association of Georgia (MTAG). She has served as the President of MTAG, and is currently the Continuing Education Chair for the South-Eastern Region of AMTA (SER-AMTA) and the Council Coordinator for Professional Practice for the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) .
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!
Tameki McDowell, Teacher
Tameki McDowell is a K-12 certified teacher in Georgia and has been teaching in Fulton County Schools since 2011. 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 being a part of the Los Niños Primero family!
Isaac Poling, Yoga Teacher
Isaac Poling is a certified k-5 teacher with a ESOL endorsement. He graduated from Atlanta Christiain College with a bachelor degree in Early childhood in 2010.
He started his teaching career in 2010. He is currently a 2nd grade teacher at College Park Elementary School. One of his passions is doing yoga. He has been practicing yoga for about 2 years. He is excited to be joining the LNP team and is looking forward to learning new and exciting things along the way.
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 9th 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!
Marley Sapp, Teacher
Marley Sapp started teaching with Los Niños Primero in the summer of 2019. She loves working with students to ensure their success in school by extending their learning to the summer. Marley also believes the small class sizes and hands-on learning approach of Los Ninos will help students retain their knowledge.
Marley graduated with a BA in Psychology from North Carolina State University in 2013, and a MAT in Early Childhood Education from Reinhardt University (with a reading endorsement) in 2016. She has taught Pre-K, math to grades one through five, and second grade in Fulton County and will teach third grade in Fall of 2019 at Trinity School. Marley is so excited to continue working with Los Niños Primero each summer.
Wendy Seeman, Art Teacher
Wendy Seeman is a certified K-12 Art Educator. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of North Georgia. Wendy has been a teacher with the Fulton County School system for twenty-four years. Wendy is currently an Adaptive Art Teacher, serving students with special needs in grades PreK-12.
She works at four elementary, one middle and one high school in North Fulton County. She enjoys traveling between schools and the opportunity to work with such talented and dedicated special education teachers at each school. For three of her twenty-four years with Fulton County, Wendy also had the privilege of teaching preschool to 3 & 4 year olds with special needs at Birmingham Falls Elementary School.
Wendy is an active member of the Georgia Art Education Association and has facilitated several professional development sessions at the state level. In 2018, she received the Croy West Special Needs Art Educator of the year award. Wendy is excited to be a part of the Los Niños Primero Saturday School program and to share her passion for creativity with the children.
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!
Michelle Tolliver, Teacher
Michelle Tolliver, is a gifted teacher with Clayton County Schools. She is in her 20th year in education, teaching 2nd, 4th, 5th grade and Gifted, and this is her 2nd year teaching with Los Niños Primero.
Michelle has her Bachelors of Education degree from Central State University, a Master’s of Educational Management from Staryer University, and a Specialist Degree in BrainSMART Education from Nova Southeastern University. She holds a Georgia Certification in P-5, ESOL, Gifted and Teacher Support and Coaching.
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, 2nd, 4th & 5th grades. Erin is 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.
During the summer of 2017, 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 Vickery Mill Elementary school
Marjorie Araujo is a K-12 certified Spanish teacher, who has been teaching with Fulton County Schools since 2011. 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 started her journey in education as a Teacher’s Assistant in 2003 and later as the Preschool teacher at The Spanish Academy until 2007. After graduating from Kennesaw State University, she moved into Middle School education where she taught Spanish from 2011 through 2016. Currently, she is teaching Spanish at the High school level.
Marjorie taught both the three year olds class for our Summer Educational Program and the Saturday School Program from 2011 through 2017. She is now serving Los Niños Primero as a Site Coordinator. She strongly believes in the impact the program makes every year in the wellbeing of the Latino children and their families and is a strong advocate for parent involvement in the children’s education.
Site COORDINATOR Hapeville Elementary school
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.
Family Engagement Coordinator
Gloria Narea is originally from Mexico.She graduated from Escuela Nacional Para Maestras de Jardines de Niños in Mexico City 30 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 11 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.
Lyn Diaz-Alpauti Data and Support Coordinator
Lyn Diaz-Alpauti has been working with Los Niños Primero for four years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Government and International Studies from the University of South Carolina. She is delighted to be working with Los Niños Primero as the Data and Support Coordinator as well as a facilitator for the Parent Leadership Program offered through LNP. In her previous career, she worked as Director and Regional Director of Admissions for various colleges and universities and has held different roles in helping the advancement of Latino integration into the U.S. educational system. She is committed, impassioned and inspired by the mission of Los Niños Primero.
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
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.
Lizbeth Zamora, administrative assistant
Lizbeth Zamora is currently an online student at Georgia State University and will be receiving her associates degree in Early Childhood Education next Spring. Although Lizbeth was not lucky enough to take part in the summer program when she was younger, Los Niños Primero played a big role in the lives of her and her family. Her younger sister went through the summer program and continued in Continuemos. Once Lizbeth was going into 8th grade, she became a youth volunteer and returned every summer for five years. Los Niños Primero allowed Lizbeth to find a passion for learning and giving back to the community. The organization opened many doors for her. In 2016, Lizbeth was a part of the Sandy Springs Youth Leadership program. She has also been a part of Sandy Springs Mission since she was younger. In the fall of 2017, Lizbeth began working to organize the annual Fiesta in the Park Festival. From there, she became the organization’s Administrative Assistant. She is also working as the Program Manager for the Civic Engagement Program for Lake Forest and High Point Elementary. You can find her helping in Saturday School, communicating with parents or interacting with the children.
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!