Board & Staff

Our dedicated team members bring varied experiences in education, philanthropy, and nonprofit organization management to our work.  Learn more about each member of the team and the board of directors below.

Board Members Back to Top

Kristin Ehrgood

President and Board Chair

Kristin Ehrgood is the President and Board Chair of Flamboyan Foundation.  Additionally, she is the founder of Sapientis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing a diverse and informed network of change agents committed to improving the quality of public education in Puerto Rico, and was part of the founding team of DC School Reform Now, a non-profit organization committed to supporting education reform in Washington, D.C.

After earning her master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2001, Kristin and fellow Kennedy School alumnus Vadim Nikitine started Sapientis in Puerto Rico.   In the spring of 2005, her work at Sapientis was recognized by Ernst & Young when she was named Entrepreneur of the Year in the area of Social Responsibility.

Kristin attended Bucknell University, where she earned a B.A. in International Relations, before joining Teach For America and teaching for three years.  She later joined the Teach For America staff as Executive Director of their New Jersey region and then as Director of New Site Development.

Kristin currently lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Vadim Nikitine, and their two children.  She also sits on the boards of Sapientis, DC School Reform Now, Stand for Children, Teach For America *D.C. Region, and Venture Philanthropy Partners.

Rea Carey

Rea Carey has served on the Flamboyan board of directors since its founding.  She shares a vision for improved outcomes and excellence in public education for all children.  She currently serves as the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a nonprofit organization that builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country’s premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people, and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all.

She has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit start-up, fundraising, program oversight, boards of directors, management and leadership development. She has worked extensively in HIV/AIDS prevention for youth and young adults.  Rea was the founding executive director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. In 1999, the Advocate named Rea one of its “Best and Brightest” for individual contributions to the LGBT rights movement.

Rea served on the board of directors for Sapientis, which advances the social and economic development of Puerto Rico by developing leaders who improve public education, from 2001 – 2005. She has also served as an advisor to individual major donors and foundations and has served on the advisory boards for such wide-ranging publications as Teen People magazine and the Georgetown University Journal of Gender and the Law. Rea earned her master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  She lives in Washington, DC with her partner and daughter.

Vadim Nikitine

Vadim Nikitine is the President of Commercial Centers Management, a holding company involved in 6 million square feet of commercial space in Puerto Rico, Florida, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwestern United States.  His companies are actively involved in all phases of the development of shopping centers, mixed-use projects, hotels, and mini-warehouses.  In Puerto Rico, Vadim developed the first self storage facilities that rely primarily on solar energy.  In the last several years, Vadim has continued to invest in the energy field, primarily focusing on efficiency and alternative energy sources.

Vadim is a graduate of Harvard University, where he obtained an undergraduate degree in economic development and sociology in 1989, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government in 2001.

Vadim is a co-founder of Sapientis, a non-profit organization committed to improving public education by mobilizing a diverse and informed network of change agents. Additionally, he is on the Board of Rare Conservation, an international environmental non-profit organization, and he has participated in the creation and preservation of a 580,000 acre national park in Peru.

In December 2001, Vadim was recognized in Caribbean Business as one of 40 people under the age of 40 having a significant and positive impact on the Caribbean.  In June 2003, he received the Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst and Young in the field of Real Estate, Construction and Hospitality.

Office of the President Back to Top

Kristin Ehrgood

President and Board Chair

Kristin Ehrgood is the President and Board Chair of Flamboyan Foundation.  Additionally, she is the founder of Sapientis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing a diverse and informed network of change agents committed to improving the quality of public education in Puerto Rico, and was part of the founding team of DC School Reform Now, a non-profit organization committed to supporting education reform in Washington, D.C.

After earning her master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2001, Kristin and fellow Kennedy School alumnus Vadim Nikitine started Sapientis in Puerto Rico.   In the spring of 2005, her work at Sapientis was recognized by Ernst & Young when she was named Entrepreneur of the Year in the area of Social Responsibility.

Kristin attended Bucknell University, where she earned a B.A. in International Relations, before joining Teach For America and teaching for three years.  She later joined the Teach For America staff as Executive Director of their New Jersey region and then as Director of New Site Development.

Kristin currently lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Vadim Nikitine, and their two children.  She also sits on the boards of Sapientis, DC School Reform Now, Stand for Children, Teach For America *D.C. Region, and Venture Philanthropy Partners.

Natalie Bundi

Managing Director of Finance and Operations

Natalie Bundi is the Managing Director of Finance and Operations at the Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, she works directly with the COO in the establishment and maintenance of org-wide quality and efficiency in communications, human resources, finance and technology.

Prior to coming to the Flamboyan Foundation, Natalie spent four years at Teach For All, based out of London. Natalie’s first role at Teach For All was as a Regional Senior Associate, supporting the programmatic growth of the European partners and the internal operations of the regional team. For the past three years Natalie served as Chief of Staff on the organization’s programmatic partner-facing team. In this role she managed a team of associates to ensure effective administrative and operational support to a team of expatriates, as well as the team’s budget and strategic planning process. During her tenure, Natalie saw the organization grow from approximately 30 staff members and 10 network partners to 120 staff members and 35+ partners. Prior to Teach For All, Natalie worked as a consultant at Deloitte in New York City where she gained her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credentials.

Originally half Swiss, half Irish, Natalie spent most of her life growing up abroad having spent significant time in Italy, Germany, India, Hong Kong, Thailand, the US, and the UK. Natalie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s Degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics & Political Science.

Jaime Farrant

Managing Director of Puerto Rico Relief Efforts

Jaime Farrant is the Managing Director of Puerto Rico Relief Efforts at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, Jaime is responsible for building, implementing, and managing all fundraising efforts to support relief work. He works out of the Flamboyan Washington, D.C. office but collaborates with Flamboyan’s Puerto Rico team to mobilize others to support long-term efforts for Puerto Rico’s recovery.

Prior to this role, Jaime worked as Grants Program Specialist with the D.C. Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants. In this role, he managed grants awarded to the agency by the U.S. Department of Justice and local appropriations, advised and made recommendations to the Director on legal and policy matters, and managed the Victim Legal Network of DC.

Jaime possesses over a decade of experience working as a passionate advocate on behalf of diverse and vulnerable communities across the world. Jaime has worked as an attorney providing immigration legal advice, assistance and representation in a wide array of matters. He’s served as Executive Director of Ayuda, a Washington, D.C. based organization that advocates for low-income immigrants through legal, social and language services, education and outreach. Jaime also worked in Arizona as a Policy Director with Border Action Network, a human rights organization that works with border and immigrant communities across the state. For eight years, he worked with International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-governmental international human rights organization, where he led intervention and investigation teams throughout Latin America and founded IJM offices in Guatemala and Bolivia.

Jaime holds a Master of Laws degree in International Legal Studies from American University, Washington College of Law, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Puerto Rico Law School and Bachelor of Science degrees in marketing and organizational management from Marquette University. He is also a licensed attorney in the District of Columbia, New York, and Puerto Rico.

Guiomar García Guerra

Executive Director

Guiomar García-Guerra is the executive director of Flamboyan Foundation. She shapes, implements, and oversees all aspects of the Foundation’s strategy in Puerto Rico (PR).

Prior to joining Flamboyan, Guiomar worked as an independent consultant to multiple nonprofit organizations, universities and private schools. Her services focused on strategic planning, donor development, program evaluation and program development. She also worked at the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, where she established Giving Circles as a new vehicle for philanthropic giving. Before returning to Puerto Rico in 2002, where she was born and raised, Guiomar lived for fifteen years in the United States. She worked at The Wallace Foundation in New York City as part of the Education team and managed the Ventures in Leadership Fund, dedicated to investing in innovative leadership programs for public school administrators across the United States.

While pursuing her doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Guiomar worked as a researcher at Education Matters, where she focused on a multi-year study on the impact of district-wide school reform in Boston Public Schools. Guiomar taught Preschool in Seattle and Kindergarten-3rd grade in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She received her undergraduate degree from Williams College; MA in Human Development and Psychology, and EdD in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard.

She serves on the board of Scuba Dogs Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting coastal ecosystems in PR. She has also served as a board member of several other education nonprofits. She currently lives with her family in San Juan.

Ilan Mach

Office Coordinator

Ilan Mach is the Office Coordinator at Flamboyan Foundation. In his role, he supports the efficient day-to-day operations of all teams and assists in crafting and implementing new systems of operations.

Prior to his time at Flamboyan Foundation, Ilan served as a program intern at the Information Security Oversight Office, helping to prepare for the implementation of the Controlled Unclassified Information Program. In addition, Ilan worked as a legislative intern in the office of Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, and performed outreach to DC college campuses as a function of his internship with the United States Public Interest Research Group.

Ilan received his Bachelor of Arts in Government from Georgetown University.

Robert Pryor

Associate, Finance and Operations

Robert Pryor is the Associate, Finance and Operations at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, he supports the Managing Director, Finance & Operations in the establishment and maintenance of organizational wide finance, human resources, and technology systems.

Prior to this role, Robert worked as Flamboyan’s Office Coordinator. Previously, Robert was Volunteer and Programs Coordinator at Give and Surf in Bocas del Toro, Panama, where he worked with local Ngöbe communities in improving the quality of education in a remote environment. Robert directed the day-to-day operations of Give and Surf’s team and volunteers, designed and implemented more efficient systems of operation, and aided in the creation of culturally-responsible curricula.

Originally from California, Robert first came to DC to attend American University, where he earned Bachelor’s degrees in Latin American Studies & Spanish and International Politics.

Marci Young

Chief Operating Officer

Marci Young is Chief Operating Officer of Flamboyan Foundation. She oversees the strategy, program, and operations of Flamboyan’s work in Washington, DC, as well as the long-term planning, establishment and maintenance of organization-wide quality and efficiency to ensure the foundation’s goals are achieved in DC and Puerto Rico.

Marci brings nearly 20 years of experience as an education, non-profit, and advocacy leader at the local, state, and national levels. Marci began her education career as a kindergarten teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland. She brought her passion for working with young children to become a national advocate and served as Executive Director of the Center for the Child Care Workforce where she led efforts to improve the quality of working conditions for educators in early learning settings. She later applied her skills for strategy and issue campaigns to become the Director of Pre-K Now at the Pew Center of the States. In that role she led the final years of a 10-year advocacy initiative that successfully increased pre-k access, funding, and quality nationwide.

Prior to joining Flamboyan, Marci was a Partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners, a nonprofit philanthropic investment organization that combines growth capital and strategic assistance to improve the lives of children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region. Most recently, Marci served for three years as the Vice President of Impact at United Way Worldwide overseeing efforts to replicate and scale education, income and health impact strategies for the global network of United Ways.

Marci earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and a master’s degree in early childhood education with a specialization in policy and administration from the University of Pennsylvania. She has served on numerous local and national boards and currently is a Trustee at the McLean School. Marci and her husband live in Bethesda, Maryland with their two teenage sons.

Staff: Puerto Rico Back to Top

Alma N. Díaz Carrión

Associate, CollaborativePR

Alma N. Díaz Carrión is the Associate, CollaborativePR. In this position Alma offers administrative and programmatic support. Anchored by Flamboyan Foundation, the CollaborativePR aims to improve the number of students from the municipality of Loiza making it to and through college or other post-secondary institutions and attaining a solid, rewarding career.

Prior to joining Puerto Rico’s office, Alma provided grant writing support for Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña, a corporation that implements public policies for the social and economic development of 27,000 residents. Her passion to maximize the capacity and performance of the third sector in Puerto Rico led her to volunteer as a grant evaluator for NGO’s that compete for United Way funds. She also volunteered to promote the services provided by the Center for Volunteer Development located at the University of Sacred Heart.

Alma lived in Washington, D.C. for almost two years, where she participated in Córdova/Fernós Congressional Internship Program at the U.S. House of Representatives and worked in the Consumer Education and Engagement Division at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

She completed a graduate certificate in Non-profit Management from George Washington University and holds a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in Puerto Rican and Caribbean History from the Center of Advanced Studies in Old San Juan.

Alma was selected by the Center for Puerto Rico -Sila M. Calderón Foundation- to join the first group of young entrepreneurs. Her project is focused on a business of selling 100% Puerto Rican natural products based on a solidary economy model.

Guiomar García Guerra

Executive Director

Guiomar García-Guerra is the executive director of Flamboyan Foundation. She shapes, implements, and oversees all aspects of the Foundation’s strategy in Puerto Rico (PR).

Prior to joining Flamboyan, Guiomar worked as an independent consultant to multiple nonprofit organizations, universities and private schools. Her services focused on strategic planning, donor development, program evaluation and program development. She also worked at the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, where she established Giving Circles as a new vehicle for philanthropic giving. Before returning to Puerto Rico in 2002, where she was born and raised, Guiomar lived for fifteen years in the United States. She worked at The Wallace Foundation in New York City as part of the Education team and managed the Ventures in Leadership Fund, dedicated to investing in innovative leadership programs for public school administrators across the United States.

While pursuing her doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Guiomar worked as a researcher at Education Matters, where she focused on a multi-year study on the impact of district-wide school reform in Boston Public Schools. Guiomar taught Preschool in Seattle and Kindergarten-3rd grade in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She received her undergraduate degree from Williams College; MA in Human Development and Psychology, and EdD in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard.

She serves on the board of Scuba Dogs Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting coastal ecosystems in PR. She has also served as a board member of several other education nonprofits. She currently lives with her family in San Juan.

Karen Holguin

Director, Reading Programs

Karen M. Holguin García is the Director, Reading Programs at Flamboyan Foundation. She creates programs of professional development and coaching, among other initiatives that strengthen the teaching of reading and writing from kindergarten through third grade. She collaborates in the design, creation and implementation of reading comprehension materials aimed at the lower elementary grade levels. She works directly with Flamboyan ‘s partner schools and teachers to help further our goal of guaranteeing that every public school student reads at an appropriate level by the end of third grade.

Before she joined Flamboyan, Karen was a kindergarten teacher and professor at the Elementary Laboratory School of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Prior to working at the Lab School, she was a Research Assistant at the Centro para el Estudio de la Lectura, la Escritura y la Literatura Infantil (C.E.L.E.L.I.) at the aforementioned university.

Karen holds a Master ‘s Degree in the Teaching of Reading and a Bachelor´s Degree in the Teaching of English to Spanish Speakers, both form University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus.

Since 2010, Karen has been an active member and collaborator of the Maratón Puertorriqueño de Lectura, a committee dedicated to the organization, promotion and realization of an annual international reading marathon. Furthermore, her passion for reading advocacy led her to become the co-founder and co-investigator of the Proyecto Alianzas de Lectura Puerto Rico – Guatemala, a pedagogical and investigative initiative aimed at the promotion of reading, the formation of readers and the integration of children´s literature to curricular content, carried out in a rural school in Guatemala.

Julián Laboy Rodríguez

Director, Program Evaluation

Julián Laboy-Rodríguez is the Director, Program Evaluation at Flambyan Foundation. He plans and manages the implementation of internal evaluation processes that assess the impact and outcomes of Flamboyan’s programmatic efforts to promote early literacy in Puerto Rico’s public schools. Specifically, he supports documenting, monitoring, and measuring Flamboyan’s impact on K-3 teachers and students through reading comprehension and classroom library programs.

Before joining Flamboyan’s team, Julián was a professor assistant at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. Here, he taught research methods in Psychology to undergraduate students, and advanced statistic courses to graduate students. He also led and helped in various research projects, of which some were published. Aside from teaching, he was also a consultant in research and evaluation. It was from his consulting experience that he started being passionate about and felt the need for doing something regarding the island’s education needs.

Currently, Julián is at the final stage of earning a PhD in Psychology- Industrial/Organizational- at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. He earned a M.A. in Psychology, with two majors- Academic/Research and Industrial/Organizational- and a B.A. in Psychology at the same university.

Julián enjoys reading (mostly nonfiction: general science, western and eastern philosophy, psychology, education, research methods, among others), traveling, origami (paper-folding), and playing classical guitar and videogames.

Katherine Miranda

Managing Director, Education Programs

Katherine Miranda is the Managing Director, Education Programs at Flamboyan Foundation. She oversees the strategic planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to achieve Flamboyan’s outcomes, which focus on ensuring that all public school students can read by third grade.

Katherine has over 14 years of experience as an educator and is deeply committed to public education. She began her education career teaching middle school English at a public school in West New York, New Jersey, where she grew up. Since moving to Puerto Rico in 2004, she has worked as a teacher, adjunct professor, teacher coach and educational consultant on a range of projects in public and private institutions across the island and collaborated on educational and nonprofit initiatives with organizations such as the Enlace Literacy Program, másTaller Collective and the Comité Pro Rescate y Desarrollo de Vieques.

Katherine holds a Ph.D. in English with a concentration in Caribbean Literature from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, a M.A. in Educational Technology and Information Systems with a minor in EFL Education from Sagrado Corazón University, and a B.A. from New York University in Latin American Studies.

Erika O'Neill

Associate, Operations and Communications

Erika O’neill Alfaro is the Associate, Operations and Communications at Flamboyan Foundation. She offers support to the Executive Director, the Deputy Director, the Manager of Communications, and the rest of the team in Puerto Rico.

In this role, she helps oversees the day to day operations, provide support in the establishment and maintenance of organizational wide finance, human resources, and technology system. In communications area, she gives support with the design of graphic materials.

Erika has been part of the foundation since its inception. She began as an intern in 2008 and later on worked as Administrative Assistant supporting the daily work of the foundation and the Executive Director.

Erika holds a B.A. in Business Administration in Management. Now she is completing a Master’s Degree in Graphic Arts with an specialization in Digital Graphic Design.

Erika enjoys spending time with family and showing her sons the nature and the beautiful places the island has.

María de Lourdes Ortiz Rodríguez

Manager, Teacher Engagement

María de Lourdes Ortiz (Lourdes) is the Manager, Teacher Engagement at Flamboyan Foundation. She serves as the primary liaison between our teacher partners and Flamboyan. She also coordinates outreach, supervises logistics and provides administrative support for our educational programs which strive to assure that more public school students read at grade level by the time they complete third grade.

Before she joined Flamboyan Foundation, Lourdes worked as program leader for Cotrugli Business School; an international higher education institution located in Croatia and Serbia. As program leader Lourdes had the opportunity to teach courses in the area of community service where students implement service oriented initiatives in their companies and communities.

Throughout her professional career Lourdes has had the opportunity to work in various non-profit organizations such as Sapientis in which she developed initiatives focused on supporting the leadership skills of public school teachers and youth. Her experience working with the public school system in Puerto Rico has guided her to pursue opportunities in which she can contribute so that students receive a quality education.

Lourdes graduated from the University of the Sacred Heart where she obtained a Masters in Science in Non for Profit Management and a Bachelor in Business Administration with a concentration in tourism development from the same university.

As a mother of a boy, she enjoys all the new adventures her son imagines every day.

Isabel Ponce Marrero

Director, Literacy Instruction Support

Isabel Ponce is the Director, Literacy Instruction at Flamboyan Foundation. She works directly with teachers and schools allied to Flamboyan to support the implementation of programs that support professional development, consulting, and training to strengthen literacy practices. She also collaborates in the design and creation of material to enhance reading comprehension skills for students from Kindergarten to third grade.

Before she joined Flamboyan Isabel was a kindergarten and preschool professor in The School of San Juan. She also worked as an Academic Coordinator for the preschool, kindergarten, and Spanish elementary level teachers in the mentioned institution. Prior to working at The School of San Juan she assisted teachers in the Center of Preschool Development at University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus through the government initiative Juvempleo.

Isabel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Preschool Education and is currently at the final stage for completion of a Master’s Degree in the Teaching of Reading, both from University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She was also enrolled in a special project called PEICME that helped create awareness of the conservation of the environment and natural resources. She obtained 18 credits in Environmental Science for her participation in the PEICME Program from Universidad Metropolitana.

During her free time she loves to spend time with her family and explore gastronomical places of the island.

Rosiris A. Ramos Meléndez

Manager, Communications

Rosiris A. Ramos Meléndez is the Manager, Communications at Flamboyan Foundation. She supports the programs in Puerto Rico to execute and implement effective internal and external communications processes and strategies. She creates written and audiovisual content, helps with the dissemination of key messages and provides support in the building and maintenance of the organizational systems.

Her professional experience in the communications field started in Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico where she helped with the coordination of various large fundraising events. Rosiris also worked as the editorial coordinator in Prensa Comunitaria -a nonprofit organization centered in the practice of social journalism – where she was able to assign and cover news about some of most disadvantage communities in the island. During this time, she had the opportunity to build content for their website, TV show and newspaper, and coordinate a training program for nonprofits regarding communications aspects. She also collaborated with their radio program and cinematographic project. While completing her master, Rosiris worked as a free-lance journalist writing articles, producing videos and has offered professional services for local magazines, as well as for a small marketing and communications firm.

Before Rosiris joined Flamboyan, she worked at Sistema TV, the local television channel 40. As the Programming Coordinator, she was in charge of some of the technical aspect of the station offerings.

She earned her Master’s degree, as well as her Bachelor’s degree, in Communications, with a major in Journalism from University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus.

Rosiris has a great spirit of service and enjoys spending time learning interesting things about health. She also enjoys spending time with family.

Carlos Rodríguez

Deputy Director

Carlos J. Rodríguez Silvestre is the Deputy Director of Flamboyan Foundation’s Puerto Rico office. He works closely with the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico office in the areas of development, implementation, and evaluation of strategic plans to ensure the success of Flamboyan¹s programmatic investments in Puerto Rico, ensuring internal office operations run effectively and efficiently and bridging processes between the Puerto Rico and Washington, DC offices.

Before joining Flamboyan, Carlos worked as an engineer and business strategist focused initially on solving complex operations and logistics challenges faced by Fortune 500 companies. He also labored in the Media & Entertainment industry with Univision Communications, Inc. were he not only provided support to sales, finance and operations, but was the point of contact with Federal regulatory agencies for compliance matters, liaison between in-house legal counsel and local senior management and project manager of most corporate projects for Univision Puerto Rico.

He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology where he obtained a Bachelor in Industrial Engineering (B.I.E.) and a Masters in Science in Industrial Engineering (M.S.I.E.). He later obtained a Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A.) from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, where he concentrated his studies in Finance and Strategic Management. Finally, he obtained a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Law. Carlos is licensed as a Professional Engineer (PE) in the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico and member of the Puerto Rico College of Engineers and Surveyors (CIAPR). He is also a licensed attorney and member of the Puerto Rico, Florida and Washington, DC BAR.

Zuleimaris Salas Jiménez

Associate, Reading Programs

Zuleimaris Salas Jiménez (Zuly) is the Associate, Reading Programs at Flamboyan Foundation. In this position she offers administrative and programmatic support to achieve the outcomes outlined for the Education Program. She started in Flamboyan in October 2013 as a consultant working with the data collection of the Puerto Rico Directory of Foundations. In 2014, she transitioned to provide administrative and office support and in 2015, she became the Education Program Assistant.

Before joining Flamboyan, Zuly worked in different nonprofits providing administrative and communications support. She has also dedicated her time as a volunteer in many nonprofit organizations and youth groups (Entre Voces, Impacto Juvenil, Mentes Puertorriqueñas en Acción, among others). She was one of the founders and the president of Jóvenes Sembradores de Esperanza, an initiative that provided community services to the northwest coast cities in Puerto Rico.

She holds a B.A. in Public Relations and Advertising and two minors in Corporate Communications and Cooperative Administration from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and a M.A. in Communication and Education from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She also has studies in photography, graphic design, event coordination and community management. Zuly is currently pursuing her second M.A. in Public Relations from the University of the Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico.

Eva Villalón Soler

Senior Director, Research, Policy and Evaluation

Eva Villalón-Soler is the Senior Director, Research, Policy and Evaluation at Flamboyan Foundation. She researches and analyzes key public education issues related to Flamboyan’s work, articulates Flamboyan’s position on them and creates resources that capture and communicate what we’re learning in the field.

Before she joined Flamboyan Foundation, Eva taught anthropology and social sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras and the School of Visual Arts of Puerto Rico, both public higher education institutions. She also worked as an independent translator and editor for a wide variety of academic and literary publications.

As a researcher, Eva is concerned with social and economic inequality at both global and local levels. She conducted extensive qualitative research on the lives and struggles of migrant farmworkers in the United States through immersive fieldwork and hundreds of interviews. Her passion for public education stems from both her personal teaching experience and first-hand understanding of education’s transformative power for low-income families.

Eva holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus.

Staff: Washington, DC Back to Top

Michael Andrews

Director of Leadership Development

Michael Andrews is the Director of Leadership Development at Flamboyan Foundation. In his role, Michael advances Flamboyan’s work in D.C. by developing and facilitating family engagement content for school and teacher leaders. Additionally, Michael develops and manages content design and facilitation of leadership certification partnership programs and provides coaching to participants.

Prior to working at Flamboyan, Michael worked in the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) within the Postsecondary Career & Education division designing and managing programs aimed to prepare students to successfully matriculate and complete postsecondary education. Additionally, Michael served as a District Director for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). In this role, Michael provided training and support of AVID teachers, elective teachers, AVID tutors and AVID students throughout the District.

Throughout Michael’s career, his focus has always been to assist students and families with navigating the often-challenging terrain of postsecondary education. Michael has worked with the D.C. College Access Program, the University of Maryland College Park, and The Catholic University of America, where he managed programs and initiatives designed to empower students and families through their experiences on and off campus with a focus on retention and college completion.

Michael is a proud “Double Duke” and holds a Masters of Education in College Student Personnel Administration and Bachelor’s Degree from James Madison University. Michael lives in Maryland with his wife Danielle, and his children Ellington and Brooklyn. In Michael’s free time, he enjoys running and speaking publicly to empower boys and young men about being impactful and intentional contributors to society.

Katherine Avery

Senior Director, Facilitation and Training

Katie Avery is the Senior Director of Facilitation and Training at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role she designs and delivers training around educator mindsets and biases, leads a team of parent and teacher facilitators who execute family engagement sessions at partner schools, and contributes to on-going professional development opportunities.

Katie joined Flamboyan Foundation after eleven years of working in public and public charter schools in Washington DC. She began her career as a primary teacher at Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB) Public Charter School, where she led the English Curriculum development team and ran an afterschool Spanish-immersion theatre program. In 2010, Katie joined a group of parents, advocates, and community leaders to open a Montessori public charter school that focused on cultural enrichment and empowerment for students in Washington DC. In her role as founding co-director, Katie worked as the school’s family liaison, intervention specialist, National School Lunch Program (NSLP) manager, and professional development coordinator.

Prior to Flamboyan, Katie served District of Columbia Public Schools as a Master Educator, specializing in Early Childhood Education and Language Acquisition. In her role with DCPS, Katie designed and facilitated team sessions around race and equity in education, contributed to a variety of Critical Friends’ Groups and workshops, and provided individual teacher support through the program’s coaching initiatives.

Katie has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the George Washington University, attended the Barrie Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies (MD), and is trained in a variety of innovative educational practices including Brain Gym, SIOP/TWIOP, Redirecting Children’s Behavior, and anti-bias and multi-cultural education.

Melissa Bellin

Manager of Program Operations

Melissa Bellin is the Manager of Program Operations at the Flamboyan Foundation. In her role, she works with the program operations team to support the Family Engagement Partnership. Melissa coordinates and manages partnership agreements, grants, and payment processes, as well as co-creates departmental systems to ensure coordination or planning across teams.

Prior to joining Flamboyan, Melissa worked as a Reading Interventionist with KIPP DC: Lead Academy. As a Reading Interventionist, Melissa led and managed school-wide literacy assessment windows, analyzed assessment data and led PD on administering Strategic Teaching and Evaluation Progress (STEP) tests and tracking assessment data. She started at KIPP in 2013 as a Capital Teaching Resident, and has also served as a first and second grade teacher. Her prior experiences also include a summer as a case associate intern with Advocates for Children of New York and a summer in Tanzania as an English, Science, HIV teacher and Campus Coordinator.

Melissa received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Harvard University. At Harvard, Melissa worked as an undergraduate research scholar at the Institute of Quantitative Social Science where she conducted research on how strategies for responding to racial stigmatization vary with group identities and boundaries. She also spent two years with Roxbury Youth Initiative Term-Time as Director of Program and Curriculum.

Carol Brady

Director, School Partnerships Coach

Carol Brady is a Director, School Partnerships Coach at Flamboyan Foundation. In her role, she partners with elementary schools across Washington, D.C. to support the development of practices and tools that educators can use to engage and academically partner with families.

Prior to joining Flamboyan, Carol spent seven years as an early childhood teacher in Texas and Washington, D.C. Carol began her teaching career in D.C. as a Teach for America corps member, where she taught in both charter and public schools. In 2013, Carol became a founding Leading Educators fellow and served as a curriculum and instruction coach at Garrison Elementary School, where she also led their Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI) program. Carol’s success as a classroom teacher was closely tied to the strong relationships she continually built with families. During her career, Carol has led dozens of teacher trainings on home visits and parent-teacher engagement with Flamboyan.

Carol holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science in Education from The University of Texas. Carol lives in Washington, D.C. with her
wife.

Samantha Cohen

Senior Managing Director of National Family Engagement

Samantha Cohen is Senior Managing Director of National Family Engagement at Flamboyan Foundation. In her role, Samantha builds Flamboyan’s strategy and approach for ensuring that every educator in the United States is an effective practitioner of family engagement.

Samantha brings 14 years of education experience, having worked in the district, charter, higher education, and non-profit worlds. She strives to bridge the siloes in the education sector to ensure that low-income students and families have the opportunities they desire and deserve. Having begun her career as a first grade teacher in Atlanta, Samantha believes deeply in working as a true partner with families and students.

Samantha received a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, her teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University, and her Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Doug, live in Takoma Park, with their cocker spaniel, Cooper, and they enjoy running, cooking, and traveling.

Robert Crosby

Managing Director of Program Design

Robert Crosby is the Managing Director of Program Design at the Flamboyan Foundation. He leads the program design team focused on the strategy, design and execution of our school partnerships to support the unique and ongoing needs of students and families throughout their educational career while building a cohesive strategy across all grade levels.

Robert began his career as a classroom educator, teaching first grade in Washington, D.C. and kindergarten in Hong Kong. After his time in the classroom he transitioned to the Teach For America – D.C. Regional office, where he served as a coach of teacher and leadership development focusing on elementary curriculum, classroom management, and family engagement. Robert was responsible for developing new teacher training curriculum for hundreds of new teachers as well as partnering with school leaders at more than 15 schools in the D.C metro area to support teacher development. Robert left Teach For America and founded Achievement First Aspire Elementary school in Brooklyn, New York as the Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction. During his time at Achievement First Aspire, he created and supported the execution for high impact family engagement that lead to more than 90% of students meeting and exceeding district wide reading and math goals.

Robert holds a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from George Mason University, a teaching credential in early childhood education and a Bachelor of Journalism in strategic communications from University of Missouri.

Anita Drever

Managing Director of Evaluation and Learning

Anita Drever is the Managing Director of Evaluation and Learning at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role she provides strategic leadership to Flamboyan’s research initiatives and oversees the organization’s external and internal program evaluations.

Prior to joining Flamboyan, Anita was the Director of Applied Research at the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) where she led CFED’s research team, and directed research and evaluation projects for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, and others. While at CFED, Anita became deeply involved in research examining parents’ influence on children’s financial capability.

Anita brings over a dozen years of academic and applied research experience to her work at Flamboyan. While a professor of geography at the University of Tennessee, Anita authored over a dozen peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and received funding from the National Science Foundation and the German Institute for Economic Research. After leaving academia to become an applied researcher, Anita directed local, state and national evaluations of youth programs while based at the University of Wyoming and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

Anita received her Ph.D. in urban and population geography and bachelor’ degrees in geography and political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kyle Evans

Director, School Partnerships Coach

Kyle Evans is a Director, School Partnerships Coach at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, Kyle partners with D.C. area school teams around family engagement program institutionalization and sustainable practice. Along with the Flamboyan team, Kyle identifies and explores core school leader and teacher actions that contribute to sustainable and high-quality family engagement practices beyond the formal Flamboyan partnership.

Kyle started her career as a middle school English and history teacher in Portland, Oregon. During her 9 years as a classroom teacher, Kyle also co-created and implemented schoolwide student-led conferences, facilitated staff professional development, and authored student-centered curriculum. Since moving to Washington D.C. in 2009, Kyle has worked in service of the improvement of DCPS and D.C. charter schools. As an independent educational consultant, she conducted qualitative school reviews for the District of Columbia Public Charter Board and wrote curriculum for Rising Educators on equity, cultural competence, and bias. Previously, she was a leadership coach to D.C. area teachers for Leading Educators, a school-based program manager of the Catalyst program for the District of Columbia Public Schools, and an instructional coach for Friendship Public Charter Schools.

Kyle received her M.Ed. and Administrative license from Portland State University in Oregon and holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Ohio University. Kyle lives in Capitol Hill with her husband Matt, four-year old son (a proud DCPS student), 18-month-old daughter, and her 6 year-old dog Rudy.

Sarah Ferrell

Manager, Program Design

As manager on the program design team, Sarah works to ensure alignment across the elementary, middle, and high school programs, while including family, student, and teacher voice in program design.

A native Marylander, Sarah studied at the University of Maryland, College Park. She tied studies in global public health, nonprofit and government leadership, and social innovation in family engagement to experiences at Medicare, a community empowerment center, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), and the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL). She was an activist on campus, organizing several movements for social justice in the College Park and greater communities. Sarah is excited to combine her experience in public health and education with her commitment to social justice to advance Flamboyan’s efforts for empowering D.C. teachers and families to partner together and accelerate academic achievement for children. Sarah joined Flamboyan as a member of the operations team and is excited about her transition to the program design team.

Apeksha Goonewardena

Data Analyst

Apeksha Goonewardena is a Data Analyst at the Flamboyan Foundation. In this role she collects, manages, and analyzes data as part of organizational-wide evaluation plans. Apeksha also develops trainings and instructions for teachers, the Family Engagement Leadership Team (FELT) and Flamboyan staff for data entry and online tools.

Prior to her time at Flamboyan, Apeksha served as a research assistant in the Health Cognitions and Behavior Research Lab. In this role, she applied social psychology theories to examine cognitive, affective, and situational factors that affect health decisions.

Apeksha received her Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Psychology from the George Washington University (GWU) in 2016. At GWU, she worked on a National Institute of Health funded research project focused on the relationship between racial discrimination and HIV/AIDS contraction in young African-American adults. In addition, she co-authored a separate research presentation on the effects of self-compassion and self-esteem on maladaptive eating patterns in college women, which was presented to a university-wide forum. Apart from these accomplishments, she was also an active member of the Elizabeth J. Somers Women’s Leadership Program and an outreach mentor at Community for Hope.

Kimberly Gutierrez

Program Associate

Kim Gutierrez is the Program Associate for the Training and Knowledge Management Team at Flamboyan Foundation. She supports the Senior Director of Facilitation and Training, Director of Knowledge Management and Program Design Team in the establishment of cohesive organizational-wide programming to help trainings reach maximum impact.

Originally from California, Kim first moved to the east coast for undergrad at Hobart and William Smith (HWS) Colleges, where she earned degrees in Sociology, Women Studies, and Political Science.

Prior to this role she worked as a research assistant for Professor Khuram Hussain from Hobart and William Smith’s Department of Education. In this role she researched and catalogued illustrations of the black press from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s to contribute a series of collaborative publications that concentrate on publishing histories that have been written out of general media.

Apart from this work, she was also an active member of community organizing efforts, student mentorship programs and college readiness initiatives bridging HWS with the larger Geneva community. Kim is excited to combine her passion for social justice, research, and commitment to student empowerment to help realize Flamboyan’s aspirational goal.

Marian Horton

Director, School Partnerships Coach

Marian Horton is a Director, School Partnerships Coach at Flamboyan Foundation, working closely with principals and school leaders in middle schools across the District of Columbia. In this role, she helps a committed family engagement leadership team enhance family partnerships through planning and facilitating professional learning community meetings, designing and developing new tools and program supports, and providing professional development to teachers.

Marian brings 11 years of school-based experience to Flamboyan. With a great deal of passion for addressing the problems facing disadvantaged and underserved communities, she started her career as a middle school teacher, having taught English Language Arts and Social Studies. She served as an educator for seven years, and was twice named Teacher of the Year. After teaching, Marian served as an instructional leader for four years, having worked as an Instructional Coach and Family Engagement Coordinator at Community Academy Public Charter School and an Instructional Coach of Literacy at Stuart Hobson Middle School.

Marian has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Science in Education Administration from Trinity University in Washington, D.C.

Justin Jones

Senior Managing Director of DC Family Engagement

Justin Jones is the Senior Managing Director of DC Family Engagement at Flamboyan Foundation. He manages the Washington, DC family engagement program team and shapes, implements, and oversees all aspects of its strategy.

Justin began his career in education as a 6th grade Teach For America teacher in Phoenix, Arizona, trained new teachers, and spent several years on Teach For America’s recruitment team in various positions leading a team of recruiters, data system efforts, and strategic initiatives. He then joined the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) in Washington, DC, where he led the creation of a statewide longitudinal education data system.

Prior to Flamboyan, Justin worked at The Achievement Network (ANet) for six years. He served as the founding Executive Director of the DC region, where he built a network of over 70 district and charter schools and led a team of coaches working alongside school leaders to drive breakthrough results for their students. Later, he became Vice President of Product Strategy, leading the enhancement of ANet’s technology platform and partnerships in support of schools.

Justin holds a BA in Psychology and Political Science from the University of North Carolina and an EdM in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. He currently serves on the board of Two Rivers Public Charter School and lives in the District with his wife and two children.

Tywanna Lesley

Director, School Partnerships Coach

Tywanna Lesley is a Director, School Partnerships Coach at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, she partners with elementary schools across the District of Columbia to support the development of practices and tools that the partners use to engage their families.

Tywanna began her career in education as a teacher with KIPP D.C. She was a founding kindergarten, first, second and fourth grade teacher. During her tenure at KIPP D.C., she designed unit and lesson plans, managed multiple grade level teams, and coordinated grade-wide family engagement events. Tywanna also mentored first year teachers at KIPP D.C., and co-facilitated teacher trainings for The New Teacher Project.

Tywanna’s commitment to urban education derives from her experiences as a former public school student, and from her work as a tutor and mentor to students at the local Oberlin elementary and high schools. Tywanna has a Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies from Oberlin College, and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from American University.

Megan Lucas

Senior Director of Knowledge Management

Megan Lucas is the Senior Director of Knowledge Management at the Flamboyan Foundation. In her role, Megan collects, codifies, and disseminates best practices within the organization and to external partners through fellowships, training, and tools. Megan also coaches schools within the Family Engagement Partnership, supporting their principals and teacher leads to implement and institutionalize effective family engagement practices.

Prior to joining the Flamboyan team, Megan spent 6 years as a classroom teacher. Her career began as a Teach for America (TFA) corps member in the Metro DC area, where she taught Kindergarten and First Grade in Prince George’s County. In summer 2010, Megan became a founding teacher at DC Scholars: Stanton Elementary, a turnaround partnership school in Southeast DC. During her tenure at Stanton, she authored reading curriculum, served as the K-2 Literacy Teacher Lead, Grade Level Lead, and conducted over 100 home visits. Outside of the classroom, Megan has served as a Relationship Building Trainer for Flamboyan, a Teach Plus Policy Fellow, a DCPS curriculum writer, and a member of the Leading Educators TLI cohort.

Megan holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Florida State University. She lives in Maryland with her husband, Danny, and baby, Penelope.

Cynthia Phillips

Managing Director of DC Operations

Cynthia Phillips is the Managing Director of DC Operations at Flamboyan Foundation. She supports Flamboyan’s family engagement work, leading and overseeing financial and grants management, designing and implementing systems and structures, and ensuring effective planning and coordination.

Prior to coming to Flamboyan Foundation, Cynthia was the Vice President of Operations for The Heart of America Foundation, where she was responsible for developing and enhancing organizational processes, including budgeting and finance operations, as well as overseeing HR and general administrative / organizational processes. She also crafted, implemented and managed strategic planning and organizational development, as well as overseeing technology systems, managing office facilities, and supporting foundation grant writing.

Cynthia’s previous experience includes serving as the Director of the National Book Program for Reading Is Fundamental. Earlier work experiences include the American Council on Education, as well as five years with the Peace Corps, where she worked as a bilingual liaison with posts in Latin America, with a focus on supporting Peace Corps’ Education Sector programs. Cynthia received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University, with a minor in Hispanic Languages and Literature.

Jacqueline Pratt-Tuke

Senior Director of Secondary Partnerships

Jacqueline Pratt-Tuke is the Senior Director of Secondary Partnerships at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, she assesses the unique needs of students and families in the secondary grades, the age-appropriate roles that families play to support student success, and strategies that schools use to effectively engage families in order to design family engagement programming for secondary schools. She also manages the middle school team at Flamboyan and coaches middle and high schools across the District to implement family engagement practices to equitably engage families. Additionally, in collaboration with her colleagues, Jacqueline develops strategies to connect family engagement from pre-school to post-secondary so that families have a consistent experience across elementary, middle, and high school.

Prior to joining the Flamboyan Foundation, Jacqueline taught sixth grade science and nonfiction literacy at KIPP DC: KEY Academy. During her tenure at KEY, she wrote curriculum, managed the sixth grade team, and designed and implemented a family engagement plan across the lower middle school. Jacqueline also coached student teachers and Capital Teaching Residents and facilitated teacher trainings for The New Teacher Project and Teach for America as a content specialist.

Jacqueline came to D.C. as a Teach for America (TFA) corps member and taught biology at Dunbar Senior High School where she began her family engagement work, implementing a problem-based module for students and their families on bioethics. Jacqueline double majored at Penn State University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture and Extension Education and Journalism. She holds a Master’s degree in Teaching from American University.

Nicole Savage

Director, College Readiness and Success

Nicole Savage is the Director of College Readiness and Success at Flamboyan Foundation. She firmly believes that post-secondary education is for everyone and is committed to increasing college access and completion. In this role she conducts research, shapes strategy, and works to build capacity around educators, non-profit organizations and families partnering to support student success.

Prior to joining the Flamboyan, Nicole served as the Program Coordinator for College Readiness for the University of the District of Columbia Community College. There she supported the strategic direction and overall management of the CARE Dual Enrollment Program. She also worked with schools and local agencies to support district college readiness initiatives and goals. Through this position she worked to build and sustain relationships with administrators, counselors, parents, and students across numerous public and charter schools.

Nicole began her career in higher education in admissions. As a Senior Director for Admission and Co-Chair for Multicultural Recruitment at Vassar College she was responsible for outreach, recruitment, selection and collaboration with offices across the institution on diversity programming. The opportunity to educate and support students from the application process through matriculation in this role is what sparked Nicole’s interest in college readiness.

Nicole earned a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies, focusing in sociology and race and ethnic studies from Vassar College and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Kamille Seward

Director, School Partnerships Coach

Kamille Seward is a Director, School Partnerships Coach at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, she provides educators and school leaders with tools, resources, and best practices that will guide them in partnering with and engaging families to support student learning.

Kamille began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member teaching second grade at an all-girls charter school in Southeast, Washington, D.C. In this role, Kamille strategized and developed innovative ways to form trusting relationships and academic partnerships with families, which yielded student success. Kamille also served as grade-level lead, reading assessment coach, and family engagement teacher lead.

After leaving the classroom, Kamille joined the IMPACT team at the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). As a policy coordinator, Kamille developed and implemented process improvements to increase the efficiency of IMPACT, the performance-based evaluation system for DCPS employees. During this role, Kamille continued to serve as a teacher trainer for Flamboyan Foundation, co-facilitating a professional development series for charter school teachers.

Kamille holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Virginia, and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Virginia.

Justin Stephens

Senior Director of Coaching

Justin Stephens is Senior Director of Coaching at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, Justin leads Flamboyan’s coaching strategy and the professional development of School Partnership Coaches.

Justin began his career in education as a teacher in Newport, Kentucky where he designed and taught an inaugural course on arts and humanities for middle school students. During his first years of teaching, Justin began an exploration of the impact of race, class, power, and privilege on adolescent literary experiences in the classroom. This exploration inspired his graduate studies in Minority and Urban Education at the University of Maryland. There, he conducted research on the literacy experiences of students in urban settings.

Justin taught Middle School English Language Arts with Baltimore City Schools for four years. During his last two years as a classroom teacher, his students achieved 90/90/90 status and in 2009 Justin was recognized as his school’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Justin then left the classroom to coach teachers and administrators across ten Baltimore City Elementary and Middle Schools on implementation of Common Core literacy standards. After eight years with Baltimore City Schools, Justin joined Leading Educators where he served as Program Director of the organization’s Washington D.C. teacher leadership fellowship. Justin then transitioned to Director, Strategic Consulting where he provided consulting services for teacher leadership initiatives for the New York City Department of Education and leaders from urban districts across the country.

Justin received his M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, Minority and Urban Education from University of Maryland, College Park and his Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education from Northern Kentucky University.

Diana Suarez

Managing Director of Training and Knowledge Management

Diana Suarez is Managing Director of Training and Knowledge Management, in this role she oversees teacher and leader training, fellowships and applied learning for Flamboyan. The Training and Knowledge Management team shares Flamboyan’s approach to effective family engagement with educators at all points in their careers by managing, supporting, developing, and facilitating trainings and learning opportunities for the Family Engagement Partnership (FEP), Alternative Certification Programs and in Flamboyan’s Professional Learning Communities and Fellowships. Diana brings to her work at Flamboyan expertise in structures and content that engage families to build academic partnerships.

Before coming to Flamboyan, Diana worked as a teacher in the DC Public Schools. She came to DCPS as a Teach for America (TFA) corps member. She taught 1st and 2nd Grade and is certified in ESL and Special Education. At Powell Elementary, a partnership school in Washington, DC, Diana served as the family engagement teacher lead for the school’s Family Engagement Partnership with Flamboyan.

Prior to beginning her career in education, Diana co-owned and operated Wagamuffin Pet Care LLC., a local DC pet care company. Diana has a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Catholic University and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Curriculum and Development from George Mason University.

Emily VanHouten

Senior Director, Elementary Program Design

Emily VanHouten is the Senior Director of Elementary Program Design at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, she designs family engagement programming for early childhood and elementary partnership schools by assessing the unique needs of elementary students and the critical roles their families play at this age. Emily leads Flamboyan’s team of elementary partnership coaches to support our partner schools to equitably and effectively engage families.

Prior to joining the team at Flamboyan, Emily served as the Assistant Principal for Excel Academy Public Charter School’s Elementary Campus in Southeast, D.C. In this position, Emily designed, implemented, and managed a rigorous academic program for students in kindergarten through third grade. Emily also served as an Instructional Coach at Excel, building teacher capacity in the areas of curriculum planning, instructional best practices, and family engagement strategies. Emily was a founding third and fourth grade teacher at Excel, and began her career as a Teach for America (TFA) corps member in Washington, D.C.

Emily holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education from The State University of New York: College at Geneseo.

Stacia Weaver

Director of Communications

Stacia Weaver is the Director of Communications at Flamboyan Foundation. In this role, she identifies strategies and communication platforms that shed light on and promote Flamboyan Foundation’s mission and key focus area – family engagement and its unparalleled success in increasing academic achievement for students in Washington, DC and across the country.

Stacia joined Flamboyan Foundation in 2016, transitioning from a management position at a high-performing charter school in Washington, DC. There, she was introduced to the dynamic education landscape. Coming on-board with public relations and communications experience in national, health-related organizations, Stacia used those specialized skills to tell the story from the lens of academic achievement, student success, and the systems in place that help minority students excel in college and beyond. In this role, Stacia also had the opportunity to mentor a graduating senior and tutor students who participated in Homework Help, one of the school’s signature enrichment programs.

In her career, Stacia has explored many elements of public relations and communications at non-profit organizations, including fundraising, event planning, managing crisis communications, overseeing editorial calendars and social media messaging, and producing digital and print communications and marketing materials.

Stacia graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications. In 2011, she earned a Master of Arts degree from Drexel University, where she studied Public Communication. Stacia lives in Maryland and spends most of her free time with family, friends, and decorating her new home.