Faculty & Staff
Yadira Cardenas, Family Educator
Yadira Mederos was hired in August 2015 to work with infants and toddlers and their families in the Nurturing Families program in Redwood City and to help recruit new families to the program. She is a Family Connections alumna who previously participated in the Family Connections programs with her two children. Yadira is currently completing her early childhood education toward getting her site director credential.
Vanessa Drebin, Assistant Family Educator
Vanessa Drebin has a Master degree in Education from UC Berkeley and a Multiple Subject teaching credential. She is the mother of four children. Vanessa has been working or volunteering in preschools and elementary schools for the past 25 years, and has been a volunteer with Family Connections since Fall 2010.
Elvia Irigollen, Family Educator
Elvia Irigollen was hired in March 2017 to work at the Redwood City site. She has been teaching preschool since 2007, first with the Redwood City School District and then for Head Start in Menlo Park. She holds a CA Master Teacher Certificate, and she continues her ECE education.
Angela Jaime, Senior Family Educator
Angela Jamie has been one of our bilingual teachers since 1993. She is responsible for teaching preschool students and parent education. Before coming to Family Connections, Angela spent five years teaching primary school in El Salvador. Angela holds a California State Parent Education Teaching Credential, and she continues her education in early childhood education.
Margarita Ventura, Senior Family Educator
Margarita Ventura was hired in December 2008 to teach parent participation preschool and parent education at our East Palo Alto site. She has extensive experience with Montessori preschools, and was previously a Family Service Specialist for the County of Santa Clara. Margarita holds a California Parent Education Credential and a Site Supervisor Permit.
Carrie Wolk, Assistant Family Educator
Carrie Wolk was hired in July 2015. She fell in love with teaching young children 25 years ago, after volunteering in her daughter's preschool classroom. Following this, she took classes in child development and became a classroom teacher. Carrie taught at Children's Corner for 12 years and then spent a year at Menlo-Atherton Co-op teaching both children and adults. For the last 11 years, Carrie has taught at Montecito Preschool in Los Altos. Aside from teaching in the classroom at Montecito, Carrie has also purchased all the art and curriculum materials for the school and served as a Resource Adviser, and Carrie has planned curriculum for her own classroom and assisted others in planning their curriculum. Last year, Carrie attended Foothill College, earning 12 administrative units and she has qualified for her teachers permit.
Lorena Alcayaga, Early Childhood Program Coordinator
Lorena Alcayaga was hired in December 2001 to teach parent participation preschool and parent education at our East Palo Alto site and previous Clara Mateo location. She moved to our Redwood City site when it opened in December 2008. Her responsibilities also include supervising the intake coordinator, registrar and the parent recruiter. Lorena earned her B.A. in Human Services from Notre Dame de Namur University, an A.A. in Early Childhood Education and has a Parent Education Credential through the State of California. Lorena is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Human Development with a specialization in Early Childhood Education and Development.
Iraida Gutierrez, Administrative Program Assistant
Iraida Gutierrez was hired in February 2017. She is a Family Connections alumna who previously participated in preschool classes with her two children and her family is now participating in the Young Scholars Program. Iraida is responsible for enrolling families in our programs. She holds a Bachelors degree in Secretarial and Office Management from Panama.
Arely Huitron, Administrative Program Assistant
Arely Huitron was hired in August 2015. She is a Family Connections alumna who previously participated in preschool classes with her three daughters. Arely is responsible for enrolling families in Family Connections programs.
Reina Neu, Interim Executive Director
Regina Neu has spent over 30 years of her professional career working in the nonprofit sector. Her experience includes being an Executive Director for two Bay Area nonprofits (Young Audiences of the Bay Area, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Francisco and the Peninsula). Regina has also taught undergraduate and graduate nonprofit administration courses at San Francisco State University and at California State University, East Bay in addition to teaching and facilitating workshops and retreats for nonprofit professionals and board members. She has been working as a consultant for over ten years primarily with small to mid-sized nonprofits focusing on helping nonprofits increase their efficiency and manage change. Her expertise is in board development (training and facilitation), transition management, needs assessments, strategic planning, and fund development.
Ruth Pinkus-Resnik, Director Emeritus-Strategic Partnerships
Ruth Pinkus-Resnik was hired in January 2003 to oversee all our programs for both for children and parents. She holds a Master of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences and has over twenty years of experience in early childhood development, including teaching at two local community colleges. Ruth has collaborated with other early childhood professionals throughout San Mateo County on several initiatives including the creation of “Are you Ready?” booklets providing kindergarten readiness information to parents, the First 5 San Mateo Committee on Family Engagement, the Redwood City School District’s family engagement efforts, and the Ravenswood Ready School team (a member since its inception). Ruth is also a presenter and a consultant for the Early Childhood Language Development Institute run through the San Mateo County Office of Education.
Annielka Pérez, Development Assistant
Annielka Perez was hired in December of 2016. She is responsible for all administrative fund development activities. Annielka is a Family Connections Preschool alumna and is currently participating in the Young Scholars Program with her twin boys. She holds an Associate's degree in Graphic Design and Computer Business Administration.
Marsha Quita, Office Manager
Marsha Quita has been with Family Connections since August 2013 supporting our teachers and Young Scholars Program Coordinator. She brings with her a solid co-op background as an alumni parent of Preschool Family in Palo Alto. Marsha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Nursing from the University of San Francisco and lives in Palo Alto with her husband and two young children.
Lynette York, Finance Director
Lynette York was hired in November 2002 after volunteering as Treasurer on the Family Connections Board for two years. She is responsible for overseeing finances including budgets, financial analysis, payroll, audit and taxes etc. Lynette holds a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from Santa Clara University.
Miriam Yupanqui, K-12 Program Coordinator
Miriam Yupanqui joined our staff in July 2013 to lead the new Young Scholars Program. Miriam holds a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies with an emphasis in Immigration Policy from UC Berkeley and a Master in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. As a former graduate and staff member of College Track and a current member of the Nuestra Casa Board of Directors, Miriam is well suited to implement the Young Scholars Program which provides case managed care, parent education, and enrichment activities to coach, mentor and work with families and their preschool alumni children as they navigate the K-12 school system.
“After graduating from Family Connections when my son went to Kindergarten, I helped in the classroom as a teacher’s aid during the art program. I wanted to see his development in the classroom. He was happy to see his Mom there too!”