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
Samuel M. McClurg, Chair
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.
Kenneth (Ken) Mead, Treasurer
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.
Lauren is a full time, practicing attorney with The Antonino Firm LLC, a litigation boutique based in Sandy Springs. After graduating from Duke University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Lauren had the privilege of serving as a judicial law clerk to a federal appellate judge on the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals. She came to Atlanta in 1988 with a large, defense firm and has since spent half of her thirty-year legal career with big firms and half with small firms. Drawing from her experience on the defense and plaintiff side of cases, Lauren is able to anticipate both sides of a dispute. As an advocate, she has been described by clients as creative, resourceful, and effective. Lauren is a member of The American Mensa Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and The National Trial Lawyers of America. She has been selected numerous times as a Georgia Super Lawyer and to many Who's Who publications.
Lauren is married to her college beau, Tom Antonino, and is proud to have four wonderful children, two of whom have volunteered at Los Niños Primero. Lauren is thankful to be able to give back to her community by getting involved in organizations that have great impact on people, such as LNP. She joined the LNP Board in September, 2016 and looks forward to years of service, making a difference in the lives of under-served Latino children and the families and volunteers who serve them.
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.
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.
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.
Joe B. Martin
Dr. Joe B. Martin has been pastor of Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church since 2009 and has worked with the Los Niños Primero Board of Trustees since then. Participation with this program was one of the major reasons Joe B. was attracted to Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.
He serves as the liaison between Los Niños and the church, leads the annual bilingual worship service that concludes the summer program, and has provided a basketball training sessions for the kids. Joe B. is married to Rev. Jodi Martin and they have two sons, Joseph and Ben.
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.
Maria Acosta Salazar, Teacher
Maria Acosta Salazar is an educator at Lake Forest Elementary School. She attended Florida Gulf Coast University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2009.
During her first year at Lake Forest Elementary School, Mrs. Salazar served as an Early Intervention Program (EIP) Math teacher, where she focused on the improving student growth in mathematics. She currently teachers first grade where she continues her growth as an educator.
Marjorie Araujo, Teacher
Marjorie Araujo is a K-12 certified Spanish teacher, who has been teaching for five 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 teaches at Elkins Pointe Middle School located in Roswell, Georgia, where she instills the passion for language learning in her students. She enjoys working with preschoolers, because “They are a lot of fun!”. Marjorie delights in watching children grow, learn, gain, and apply new knowledge.
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.
Paula Boston, Yoga TEACHER
Paula Boston is an elementary school media specialist. She enjoys teaching students in grades P-5 literacy skills at the school where she works.
Paula received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education at Georgia State University. She has a master's degree in Leadership from Kennesaw State University and second master's degree in Media and Technology from the University of West Georgia. Currently, she is finishing her Education Specialist degree in Instructional Technology at the University of West Georgia. She has been an educator for the last 20 years and loves being in the library!
Paula has been doing yoga for the last 15 years. She decided to get certified two summers ago in Costa Rica with the Awakened Life School of Yoga. She has enjoyed teaching yoga at her school and on the weekends at Abernathy Park. Paula is looking forward to teaching yoga to our students at Los Niños Primero.
RASHIDA CAFFEY, TEACHER
It is Rashida Caffey’s 20th year teaching. She is currently an ESOL teacher at Lake Forest Elementary. This is her first 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.
Kim Cole, Teacher
Ms. Cole was born and raised in Atlanta. She has been teaching for 8 years. Prior to teaching, she was a stay at home mom raising 3 lovely daughters. Kim chose teaching as a profession after volunteering at her girls’ school. She earned her Bachelor’s in Communication from Mercer University while working as a school secretary; and, later earned a Master of Arts in Teaching, also from Mercer University.
Ms. Cole teaches kindergarten at College Park Elementary where she uses data to determine the next steps for students. Kim believes every student can learn and she encourages the process. She receives much joy when student’s have that ‘aha’ moment. She loves her job and the children she works with.
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 16 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 13 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 in the summer of 2015. During the school year she teaches kindergarten at Lake Forest Elementary. She celebrates diversity and multi linguistic learners in her classroom all year long.
She has been teaching in Fulton County schools since 2010. In 2013, she was named teacher of the year at Campbell Elementary School. Megan has had a passion for teaching and learning about other cultures since she was young. 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). She studied Spanish in college and uses it in everyday practice in the classroom.
In Megan’s opinion, it is so important to not only educate our youth, but also to reinforce morals and global perspectives into their minds as well.
Megan is thrilled to be a part of the Los Niños team and hopes to continue to do so for many years to come!
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!
Music Teacher & Chorus Director
Ricardo Hurtado has been teaching music to children for over twenty-five years. Ricardo formerly served as the School Director at School of Music and Arts Fountain of Love in Sandy Springs, Georgia. He has also worked as a music teacher with other non-profit organizations in the metro Atlanta area like: School of The Performing Arts, The Salvation Army in Doraville, GA, and Sandy Springs Mission Inc. in Sandy Springs. Ricardo owns a school of music in the Sandy Springs area where he has been working closely with the Hispanic community in the metro Atlanta area for over 4 years. Ricardo graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Music Therapy.
Currently, Ricardo serves as one of our music teachers in our summer camp program, and as the Children Choir Director and Cyber Orchestra Director in the Los Niños Primero school year regular program.
ELIZABETH JACKSON, TEACHER
Elizabeth Jackson is a native Atlantan who grew up in Sandy Springs and is excited for her first summer with Los Niños Primero! She is certified to teach K-5 General and Special Education.
Elizabeth graduated from Presbyterian College with a degree in Special Education. She has taught at Lake Windward Elementary for 9 years; 2 years teaching an MOID Special Education classroom, 5 years teaching Special Needs Kindergarten and the last 2 years in a General Education Kindergarten classroom.
Before teaching at Lake Windward, Elizabeth taught 2 and 3 year olds at a private preschool. Elizabeth is excited to be a part of such a great program in her hometown!
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.
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.
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 20 years. Joan earned a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. She holds a clear renewable Georgia Educator Certificate with endorsements in ESOL, Gifted, and Spanish K- 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 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. She believes that as teachers, it is their responsibility to ensure a nurturing classroom environment, so that students learn the importance of developing a positive attitude and respect for others.
Joan is a firm believer in active learning and maintaining a lively and interactive classroom. She believes that students should be actively involved in their own learning. Joan understands that all students need well-trained teachers to challenge and address every students learning style.
Students deserve to have a learning environment that builds self-confidence, so that they will feel comfortable taking risks during the learning process. Joan's goal is to establish an enthusiastic and motivated mindset among my students, in order to effectively lead them to success.
Kaela Tusin, Teacher
Kaela Tustin is a certified Lead GA Pre-K teacher at E. Rivers Elementary School in Atlanta. She has been teaching GA Pre-K for two years and taught 2 year-olds at Easter Seals of North Georgia in Roswell for one year. Last summer, she taught the Rising Pre-k Program to prepare bilingual children for Pre-k. Kaela graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kennesaw State University with a bachelor's degree in Birth through Kindergarten education and she most recently received the Best All Around Pre-k Teacher from Atlanta Public Schools Office of Early Learning.
Kaela loves helping students and their families with anything and everything and often has casual conferences with parents about behavior analysis, child development, and how to create an enriching home environment for young children. Pre-k is her passion and she hopes to continue teaching it for many years ahead.
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 has been teaching Kindergarten at Lake Forest since 2011 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.
Los Niños has such a warm loving and warm academic environment that Katrina has loved being part of. It’s been rewarding for her to watch the kids grow and see how the program is reaching more children and families every 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 a 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. She has served in numerous leadership roles and continues to hone her skills and grow as a leader. Kimberly has served as Grade Level Chairperson, Coordinator of Extended Learning programs, and she is also Practitioner Faculty at University of Phoenix Online. At the University of Phoenix, she teaches aspiring teachers “Foundations of Education” and Master’s level students “Models, Theories and Instructional Strategies”.
After spending 14 years as a classroom teacher, in 2017 Kimberly was promoted to the role of Administrative Assistant. As a member of the admin team, Kimberly supports with positive behavior management, discipline, teacher observations and other leadership roles as needed.
In 2015, after teaching at Los Niños Primero for seven years, she was promoted to the role of Academic Coordinator. She says that, “The most gratifying part of my profession comes from knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of children and adults.”
As the Academic Coordinator, Kimberly is responsible for the instructional program. In addition, she provides guidance to 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. It is Kimberly’s mission to provide support, build self-confidence, share her knowledge, and make a greater difference in the lives of staff and students.
Site COORDINATOR holy innocents episcopal Church & north springs Methodist Church
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. This year she is excited to take on the new role of site coordinator at two of the new locations as Los Niños Primero expands! Erin looks forward to supporting teachers in providing our children with exciting academic experiences this summer.
During the regular academic year, Erin teaches as Lake Forest Elementary School. She started teaching there in 2012 and has taught Pre-K and Kindergarten. While teaching Kindergarten, Erin was a three-time Teacher of the Year finalist. Next year, she looks forward to taking on a new role as a special education teacher in a team taught 2nd grade classroom.
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 has a true passion for teaching and learning, and she hopes to instill a love for learning in her students as well. She is excited to see what this summer brings for the students, teachers and community of Los Niños Primero!
Site COORDINATOR El Nazareno presbyterian church, Hapeville
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 Teen 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 Teen 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.
Isaac Weissman, a senior at The Weber School, has volunteered with Los Niños Primero for 5 years. During his years at Los Niños, Isaac primarily worked with Ms. Schafer, in Motor Skills, helping the kids develop proper body control, hand-eye coordination, and a better understanding of their capabilities. This enabled him to interact with all of the students across every age, which in turn fostered a passion to help the program in any way he could. A desire to give back to the community brings Isaac back to Los Niños each year.
Entering his fifth year, Isaac shifted to a more administrative role in the program as an intern. Interns like Isaac contribute to the program by helping operations run smoothly, supporting volunteers, teachers, and the students themselves, and doing whatever else may develop on a day-to-day basis. In this new leadership position, Isaac works together with the administrative team in ensuring the volunteers are able to be as effective as possible when working with the students.
Outside of Los Niños Primero, Isaac participates in a plethora of extracurricular activities and dedicates himself to his studies. Isaac enjoys Mock Trial, Quiz Bowl, and Math Team, where he, along with his peers, compete against schools across the nation. In school, Isaac enjoys nearly every subject, but he holds a special affinity for math and science courses. In the future, Isaac intends to do something that marries those two, he imagines that a field like engineering could be a good fit after graduation from high school.
A rising senior at Sprayberry High School, Daniela Ramirez is an experienced Teen Volunteer with over 3 years of service to the program. Her interest in Los Niños Primero began when she heard about the program when she was in the 8th grade, but it wasn’t until her Freshman year in high school, that she was able to begin volunteering. The program’s focus on early childhood development and outreach into the community made the program standout for her. Daniela’s involvement in other head start programs such as Breakthrough and Kumon, allowed for her own interests in public service to flourish and lead to her involvement with the Summer Program offered at LNP. The silliness, laughter of the students, and the fact that a positive impact is being made in their lives, all made the program worthwhile and enjoyable for Daniela. She finds personal fulfillment and genuine joy from being able to work with children in such a setting.
She finds that the program allowed her to engage with not only her local community, but also with positive influences. She has served as a Teen Volunteer for the past 3 years, and in her new position this year as an Intern, she hopes to continue her personal and professional growth. As an Intern, Daniela oversees and collaborates on many of the day to day activities in the summer program.
An Intern’s role is to serve and work together with the volunteers, teachers and LNP staff in ensuring students are supported as best as possible by all those involved. Daniela’s interests range from interior design, psychology, photography, early childhood development, sociology and even personal training. She hopes to continue working on her grasp of her native language of Spanish as well. Daniela aims to attend Chattahoochee Technical College, Kennesaw State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Berry College, or Georgia State University after graduating from high school.