I began my work as a teacher in Barrett Elementary in 1996, soon after the launching of Project Interaction, one of Arlington Public Schools Exemplary Projects. My job has been to design, implement and manage Barrett’s family involvement program, one of the key components of Project Interaction. In that capacity, I have initiated and run a wide range of programs and strategies for involving families in ways that 1) use and strengthen the capacity of parents to support their children’s learning, and 2) contribute to achieve the school’s goals of helping children succeed in school and building a supportive community.
In 2002, I took a leave from Arlington Public Schools to join the Center for the Study of Social Policy where I was responsible for managing itspeer technical assistance program. I also had the opportunity to work closely with the Annie E. Casey Foundation Making Connections community change initiative that sought to improve outcomes for children and families living in tough neighborhoods in 10 sites around the country. As a result, I hone new skills as Results Based Facilitator and added enormously to my knowledge and toolbox in the technical assistance, resident engagement and leadership development areas. In the process, I also realized how important it is for my happiness to be immersed in the communities with whom I work. So when I was offered the opportunity in 2007 to return to APS, I decided to come back home to Project Interaction and have been back in my office overlooking Barrett’s Outdoor Classroom since then.
In the early 1990s, I took some time to immerse myself in feminism theory and the international women’s movement. While my husband was doing a post-doctorate at Rutgers University, I split my time between the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in Rutgers and a pilot project of the Accelerated Schools program in the Bronx. When we moved to this area, I joined Women, Law and Development International where I continued to work with the women’s human rights movement and was very actively involved in the 1995 Women’s World Conference in Beijing.
I have been fortunate to have the very best education. I obtained my Masters degree and a PhD from Stanford University in International Development Education, a program that focuses on understanding the relationship between schooling and social change. The program was geared primarily towards developing countries and my original intention was to go back to Latin America after completing my studies and make my life there. However, while at Stanford I fell in love, married my husband and never found the way back home. I then began working with schools in this country and in particular on programs to strengthen the home-school connection to support student success. I have worked many years on the question of how to make schools more responsive and successful in engaging all families and how to help all parents become effectively involved in their children’s education.
I have lived in the Arlington Forest neighborhood since January of 1993 with my husband, Joel, and my son Gabriel, who goes to Washington Lee. Arlington is the place we now call home. Half of my extended family is in Chile, where my father was from, and half in Colombia, where my mother and sister reside.
Arlington Public Schools prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy or marital status. This policy provides equal access to courses and programs, counseling services, physical education and athletics, vocational education, instructional materials and extra-curricular activities. Report violations of this policy to the Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, 703-228-6008, or the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, 703-228-6110.