Our Team

ICI, Inc. staff and consultants have demonstrated experience in education, research and evaluation, the provision of technical assistance, mental health, social policy, organizational development, cultural competence, professional development, and program development.

As a team, our staff and consultants have combined experience and expertise in organizational change and development, community needs assessments, survey research, program evaluation, curriculum development, cross-cultural communication, multicultural/bilingual education, mediation and violence prevention, counseling and clinical diagnoses, public health and health-care management, substance abuse prevention/treatment, and work on children and family issues.



OWNERS/BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Abdín I. Noboa-Ríos, Ph.D., President. A native of Puerto Rico is fluently bilingual. He has obtained degrees in urban studies, education, research methods and demography from Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and Southern Connecticut State University.

He is an acute observer and interpreter of the urban polity. He has worked in the field of educational research; social policy; program development; curriculum and instruction; program development; diversity management and training; mental health; and planning and evaluation. As an international consultant, Dr. Noboa-Ríos has provided services in these areas both in the U.S. and abroad—the Caribbean, Guam, the Trust Territories of the Pacific Basin, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

In education, Dr. Noboa-Ríos has served at the local community level, worked in the public school sector, served as school administrator at various levels, and as project officer at the Federal level with the National Institute of Education (now IES). He has also worked at the state level and directed community-based efforts in education and community organization.

He has been actively involved in the field of school reform for more than 30 years and has been project director or principal investigator of numerous educational research projects, including the evaluation of the Urban Systemic Program and the State Systemic Initiative for the National Science Foundation, and the Comprehensive School Development Program for the Department of Education. 

He has authored more than 50 articles and publications, written two books, and edited two others. He is the co-founder and past editor of two national Latino journals, including the first national U.S. journal of contemporary Puerto Rican thought. He is co-editor of Psychline, a Hispanic journal on Latino psychiatry. He has contributed to the state-of-the-art in education; cultural diversity; addiction; community empowerment; parent involvement; crime and violence; language and multiculturalism; education and culture; identity, race and ethnicity; segregation; HIV/AIDS; mental health; and prevention and treatment of substance abuse.
Dr. Noboa-Ríos has also served in various commissions and has been a member of several Federal committees, including the New York State Commission on Education, the U.S. Census Committee on Racial and Ethnic Definitions, Cultural Competence Advisory Network (C-CAN) for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), the Prevention Enhancement Protocol Systems (PEPS) Committee for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP); among others. He has also served as board member and advisor to numerous local and national organizations working with minority adolescents and the homeless, e.g., the National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the National Urban League.

He has helped direct two CBOs (community-based organizations) and has worked in the public and private sector. As an outstanding community worker, he has been listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest and Men of Achievement, among other directories.

John Villamil Casanova, A.B.D., Executive Vice President, is former Executive Vice President of ASPIRA Association, Inc., the nation’s largest national not-for-profit Latino, educational organization. With over forty-one years’ experience in the environmental science, policymaking, educational management, strategic planning and IT, he specializes in the development, management and implementation of IT programs and strategies; curriculum development and implementation of educational/staff training programs and planning; and implementation of charter and alternative school networks and systems. He has also organized and supported development of community based-organizations in the US, Puerto Rico and in Latin America.
Having worked in both the private and public sectors, he also brings extensive experience in program management, organizational development, fund raising, campus administration, professional development, and the development of business and marketing plans. As a prolific proposal writer, he is also highly knowledgeable about community informatics, with over 35 articles and major projects reports in scientific journals and government publications as well as several textbooks and instructor manuals authored for Macmillan QUE.

Recognized by Hispanic Engineer and Telecommunications Magazine as one of the nation’s 50 most influential Hispanics in IT, John has been advisor to several university systems, elected officials and school districts. In addition, he has served as board member of local, regional, national and international boards of directors of for-profit and nonprofit organizations; and has served on several national advisory committees. He currently serves as member of the Governor’s Board on Hispanic/Latino Affairs for the State of Virginia.

Migdalia Rivera de Noboa, R.Ph., Treasurer, is a licensed pharmacist in PR and in the States of Ohio and Connecticut. She received her pharmaceutical training in PR where she completed formative training and first practiced community pharmacy. She also received formative education at the Universidad de Méjico, DF. Having worked in three continents and proficient in three languages, she has practiced public health from multicultural perspectives and brings to the field a broad set of experiences in business and public health.

Carmen R. Noboa de Pérez, CPA, Board Member, has over 30 years in accounting and is currently CPA and Chief Auditor/Manager with the American Medical Association (AMA); formerly international Accounting Manager for United Airlines. She works with ICI, Inc. as auditor and overall accounting review. 

Alex Rodríguez, Ph.D. (Honoris Causa), Vice President for Business Development, is one of the country’s pioneers in the field of bilingual education having led the drive to pass the first mandatory bilingual education law in the nation in the State of Massachusetts, 1971. As the first Latino to ever serve and later Chair the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination and an early leader in the nation’s civil rights struggle, he has helped both Boston University and Bridgewater State University establish some of the nation’s first degree-granting programs in the field of bilingual education.

     Alex was appointed the Court monitor for Special Education in Boston in 1980 and was instrumental in drawing the roadmap and methodology that led the Boston Schools to comply with Chapter 94-142 and the Commonwealth’s Chapter 766. He was an early advocate for the establishment of Human Resources training programs and worked to help establish many affirmative action programs throughout Massachusetts, successfully working with Mayors, town and State authorities.

     He has extensive teaching experience at some of Massachusetts’ finest educational institutions. He was an Instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies, and Lecturer in Community Organization, Laboratory of Community Psychiatry Program at Harvard Medical School-Harvard University as well as adjunct Faculty Member at Boston College, Black Studies Department, teaching a course on the History of Puerto Rico and as a Field Faculty member at Goddard College’s Graduate Program in Plainfield, Vermont. He has also served as consulting senior advisor to the Associate Dean for Research at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD).

     Throughout the years, he has served as Assistant Commissioner for Public Welfare (Policy and Planning) in Massachusetts as well as the Assistant Secretary for Administration at the US Treasury Department. From 1999 until 2011 Mr. Rodriguez was President and CEO of Rodriguez & Associates in Virginia and now serves as Vice-President for Business Development and Contract manager at ICI, Inc.

STAFF and CONSULTANTS

Merrill Anderson Ashcraft, Ph.D., statistician and methodologist, she has worked extensively for the Federal government and the Navy in numerous activities in both a research capacity and in data analytics. She has served as adjunct professor at several universities in the Chesapeake Bay area of Northern Virginia and currently serves in a special research consultant capacity to ICI, Inc. on various longitudinal students. She is currently president of her own firm, Strategic Consultants in VA.

Bettie Baca. Her career spans a lifetime rich in public service with over 30 years of executive management, education, administration, organizational, operational and general management experience. She has served as Executive Director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Director of the Summer Program and Associate Director of the Mid-Career Master in Administration program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She has also served on the Admissions Committee and was responsible for recruiting and guiding many young Latinos through the admissions process. After Harvard, she joined the Federal government as a Senior Executive at the Commerce Department and later at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

     Ms. Baca is SES-certified by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. She has expertise in Federal Government administration including telecommuting policy, travel, paperwork reduction, budget and performance integration, contracting, advisory committees, strategic planning, human resources and competitive sourcing. She has programmatic/regulatory expertise in welfare-to-work, disability, education, Native American, Hispanic, women and minority issues, including expertise in small business and veterans’ small business development and servicing.

     Altogether, she has worked in public service, in the private sector, in politics, in education, in the Congress and at the community level, advocating for and conducting outreach to diverse groups including Hispanics, Asian Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, women, and people with disabilities. Her early career was as a community organizer and a writer/editor, working in both the public and private sectors.

      Ms. Baca currently writes and edits Annual Financial and Performance Reports and Congressional Budget Justifications for the Federal government. She also edits books and other publications. Her work has earned numerous awards and commendations.

Luis Antonio (Tony) Báez, Ph.D., is currently directing the Centro Hispano, Milwaukee, WI (previously, Council for Spanish Speaking, Inc.), serving over 15,000 low-income individuals every year, many working as recent immigrants. Programs include Head Start and parenting, bilingual adult learning and ESL and pre-employment workforce development, subsidized elderly housing, immigration, health, school advocacy, and a comprehensive social services program. Above all, the organization provides extensive civil rights and equity advocacy on behalf of Latinos and other working people; it also has a significant presence and authority in all Latino issues.

   Previously, he was Provost and Chief Academic Officer of the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) in Wisconsin, one of the largest urban technical colleges in the US. During his twelve years at MATC, where he served as Assistant to the President, Associate Dean of Pre-college Programs, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Director of Research, Planning and Development. He previously served as VP and Dean of Faculty at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. 
Over the years, Dr. Báez has taught and worked in the public schools, two-year colleges, at a major research university (UW-Milwaukee), directed community-based alternative schools, and conducted research in the field of education. In addition, he has worked with parent involvement in schools; Latino race relations and ethnic collaboration; bilingual/multicultural education; ESL; at-risk youth issues; adult learning; and school reform issues for large urban school districts.
He has also been involved with major bilingual and desegregation litigation for community resource groups and plaintiff’s attorneys as well as conducted extensive program development and matters of school law.

John P. Bellassai, JD, possesses extensive experience working with Federal, state and local government agencies—drug and alcohol treatment and prevention providers, courts and community corrections agencies, public housing authorities and their resident councils, community development corporations and community health clinics—as well as with numerous community-based organizations around issues of public health, mental health, substance abuse, housing, community development, and law and justice.

     Over the past 35 years, he as managed a number of multi-million dollar and multi-year technical support and clearinghouse projects for a variety of Federal agencies that include managing peer reviews on competitive agency grant submissions and the delivery of T-A to select audiences of public housing, public health, and juvenile and criminal justice practitioners in over 30 states. Work performed has also included key informant interviewing, focus group facilitation, and question preparation as well as program evaluations.

     He has authored or coauthored over 35 published articles, monographs, journal articles and reports, and has served as a panelist and workshop presenter at over 40 national conferences. He has been very active in a variety of nonprofit associations at the governing board, task force and committee levels.

Frank Besag, Ph.D. Dr. Besag is statistician and former professor of educational research methods and statistics at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. He has been greatly involved in the field of educational assessment and evaluation for over 30 years. He also was consultant to the evaluation of the Comprehensive School Reform Development Program (CSRD) and statistical consultant to the Urban Systemic Program evaluation with funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Besag is author of the popular book on statistics entitled Statistics for the Helping Profession that was published in 1986.

Heather Biggers, M.A., Ms. Biggers has served as coordinator for all development of cultural competence in mental health and substance abuse for the Franklin County Mental Health Board and now is a business consultant. Ms. Biggers is trained in the field of technology and has excellent communication skills. She has also conducted social work abroad and has extensive experience in the development and evaluation of social programs. She has more recently founded her own firm that provides direct services in similar areas out of Columbus, OH and Midwest.  

Luis Burgado, prior to getting his Bachelors in Marketing, Luis was active in multiple industries such as accounting, acquisitions, contracting, fitness and retail industries. He attended culinary arts school, prior to serving with the U.S. Marines for nearly 12 years. He subsequently applied this knowledge to design, strategic branding and video production. Honoring the beliefs of Dr. Edward Deming, Luis believes that a business brand begins and ends with a drive towards excellence, as applied to clients such as Gold’s Gym, C U CLEAR, Somatic 360, The Carmichael Consulting Group, and Platinum Performance, Inc., to name a few. His Motto is simple: “Think Big!”

Rosa Castro Feinberg, Ph.D.  Dr. Feinberg is professor of education at the College of Education, Florida International University. Starting out as a high school teacher in 1960, she became a research professor at the University of Miami and policy consultant to the Ministry of Education in Spain (1990) and was a former evaluator for education with the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Dominical Republic, Guatemala, and Honduras (1978-1988). She has also played an important role in educational policy formation as Associate Director of the National Origin Desegregation Assistance Center for the Southwestern States (1977-1980) and Director, Institute for Cultural Innovation, University of Miami (1988-1990).

     Dr. Feinberg has published more than 100 articles, papers, chapters, and monographs in the field of education. Her recent book, Bilingual Education: A Critical History was released in 2002 and has received distinguished recognition by the National Association of Bilingual Educators. Over the past 30 years, she has appeared as an expert witness at more than ten court cases across the country, ranging from school desegregation to discrimination and college placement.

Anthony Tony) Colón, Ed.M.  Mr. Colón has been most influential in increasing recruitment and professional development opportuni-ties for minority educators. From the classroom to the boardroom Colón has used his extensive leadership experience to forge strategic partnerships and raise awareness for education reform among a broad-based audience.  

     Tony has extensive school administration and teaching experience. He has served as a teacher and administrator for various elementary, middle and high schools, including Director/Principal of both the Oakland Charter Academy and the Beacon School in Oakland, CA and Director of Special Education at Community School District 10 in New York City. He also served as Vice President of the Center for Community Educational Excellence at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest constituency-based Hispanic organization in the U.S., where he raised over $40 million dollars.

     From 2005 to 2007, he served as Senior Manager for Education Investment Strategies at Fight for Children (FFC), a Washington, D.C.-based, local, nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing urban youth for post-secondary education and careers. 

     Mr. Colón currently serves as Chairman of the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, Vice Chair of the DC Public Charter School Board, and sits on the boards of various other school and local and national education organizations.      

Cathy David, M.Ed., with specialty in educational leadership, she has over thirty years of experience in the field of education, having recently retired as Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction at the Alexandria City Public Schools in Alexandria, VA. Prior to that, she served as counselor, teacher, and principal at various schools. As a veteran educator, she currently consultants across the country and has been involved with ICI on various projects, ranging from curriculum development to school reviews and assessment.   

Janet B. Forbush, M.A.  Ms. Forbush is a program specialist in the area of juvenile justice, youth mentoring, and program development among young people. Formerly with ITT, she is now a special consultant to ICI, Inc. and actively working with Dr. Noboa-Ríos and the evaluation team in the Latino youth offender reentry program for the Urban Minority Alcoholism and other Drug Abuse Outreach Programs in Cleveland, OH.

Jill Hawk, Ed.D., received her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She recently retired as Superintendent of the Community High School District 155 in Crystal Lake, IL. Prior to that, she was director of curriculum at the district and assistant superintendent for curriculum & instruction as well as former principal at several schools and founding director of the Regional Learning Center & Regional Attendance Cooperative in Rockford, IL. She has also taught at three universities: University of IL; Northern Illinois Univ; and Webster University. She currently works as free-lance consultant and directs seminars in collaborative leadership in the formation of school leaders through an academy she has developed. 

Diana Hernández-Azcoitia, Ed.D., has served as a teacher and principal in various schools in the Chicago area, including Kelvin Park High School, where she realized a major turnaround during a five-year period that brought her significant attention. In addition, she has also served as an educational consultant, professor, and Dean of Education at North Park University. Now retired, she works as education consultant and facilitator.

Lynda Kale, M.A., with more than twenty years of experience has been a former teacher, instructional coach, school administrator and Assistant Principal with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Fairfax County School District in VA and overseas. Co-author of the book, I Can Read, she is an expert in reading and literature. Her contributions in education are well valued by practitioners, as she constantly coaches on curriculum instruction and writes articles on best practices. She is currently completing another book on reading and literacy.

Dawnne LePretre, M.S, as writer of curricula as well as educational trainer and science teacher, she has high expertise in science curricula, with a Master’s of Science Education from IIT (2013). She conducts planning, writing, and training on content, curriculum, and program development for a company that develops science curricula. In addition, she worked as science curriculum developer with ICI, Inc. (2012).

Ester Johanna de Jong, Ed.D., from Boston Univ., Dr. de Jong has co-authored and/or contributed chapters in six books on literacy as well as sole author of the book, Foundations of Multilingualism in Education (2011). She is a nationally known figure in literacy, language and cultural studies and holds an M.A. in language and literature studies from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Ester speaks four languages and has been an instructor in language studies at the following universities: Harvard, Simmons College, University of FL, Framingham State College, Boston University and the University of Niamey in Niger.

E. Maia Kling, Ph.D., is bilingual and works in the field of education providing assistance in program development, and curriculum and instruction. As a former university instructor and administrator in program development in an inner-city school district, Dr. Kling received her B.A. from Smith College, Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Ph.D. at George Mason University. She is well versed in qualitative research methods and educational measurement in the assessment of curriculum and instruction, bilingual/ESL instruction, professional development, and special programs for at-risk students. 

Clemencia Maria Livia, M.A., has more than twenty years of experience as a Spanish interpreter and trainer translator, program manager, and consultant. Areas of expertise include: legal, medical, commercial, and educational issues. Fluent in Spanish and English, she also reads/understands Italian, French and Portuguese. She is a Court Certified Interpreter in the States of DC, Maryland and Virginia; member of the Metropolitan Area Court Interpreters and Translators (MACIT) and of the National Association of Judicial Interpreters and Translators. As member of Partners of the Americas, she is a former Kellogg Foundation Fellow in International Development.

Rich Johnson Martínez, M.A., has over 30 years of experience in the field of housing and human relations. As an accomplished facilitator, trainer and distinguished organizational development practitioner, his expertise is widely sought by both corporate and public entities. He specializes in change management, capacity building, and housing and economic development. Clients include Development Training Institute (Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Program), US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), National Center for Housing Management, Texas Department of Community Affairs, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (HRC), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
     Mr. Martínez co-founded the National Hispanic Housing Coalition in Washington, DC, a national nonprofit with a network of 600 community based organizations in 20 states and Puerto Rico. He has served as: Executive Director of the Contra Costa County Housing Authority in Northern California; Chief Operating Officer for the San Antonio Housing Authority in Texas; PD for the  NCHM Career Development and Training Inst. (DC); Chair of the CA Housing Authority Risk Management Association (CHARMA); and served on the Board for  Partners for Livable Places (DC).

Hector Meléndez, MBA, is a seasoned Corporate Executive with more than 30 years of domestic and international experience in consumer marketing, consumer/industrial products and economic development. Expertise includes strategic planning, financial planning, program design, and plan implementation. Extensive background is that of project evaluation, advertising, media placement, promotions, product development, public relations, market research and budgeting. He was former Sub-Administrador de Fomento in New York City where he was responsible for all International Operations. During his tenure, his organization was responsible for 230 service and industrial projects that generated over 28,000 jobs with a payroll of $295 million and $620 million in capital investment. He holds a BA from Catholic University, financial designation Series 6 and 63 license; and has completed the Strategic Marketing Program at the Business School at Harvard University.

Richard Njoku, Ph.D.  Dr. Njoku is an evaluation and statistical expert in youth programs across the Nation. As a former project officer at the Cleveland Foundation, he currently works as social policy analyst with various programs in the U.S. and abroad, primarily Nigeria. He has worked extensively over the past 15 years in the areas of mental health, substance abuse prevention and intervention, criminal justice, and education. During the past five years, he has worked in research in various fields, including work with incarcerated youth and adult reentry programs across the Midwest.

María I. Noboa, is special consultant on IT and cyber-security. She is currently working on technology that provides secure systems in the education industry to ensure unique ID imprints with secure cards and capillary imprints for special user access. 

Celia Pérez, CPA, works with ICI, Inc. as bookkeeper/accountant. She is also Chief Accountant with several other firms in the retail and merchandising arena.  

Hermán A. Serrano Jiménez has over 33 years of experience in the Information Technology (IT) arena as well as in the technology of instructional systems and learning systems management. He has worked for Blackboard, Inc. for over 10 years delivering strategic consulting services, implementation and planning engagements as well as training and online workshops with over 200 institutions and organizations globally. He has also presented lecture series and designed workshops for global, national and regional conferences like Educause, CCCU, Blackboard’s CIE, among others. Breadth of experience also includes works as a senior solutions (product) manager for SIS companies as well as serving as chair of computer science departments and director of technology at both the university and high school levels. As senior level educational software consultant, he has helped institutions identify areas for improvement, adaptation and growth by creating efficiencies and greater effectiveness for operations that best align organizational strengths with strategic goals and missions.

Judy Stoehr, Ed.D., former teacher and principal, is an educator and international keynote speaker, consultant, and coach on topics such as brain-based teaching and learning, differentiation, response to intervention, professional learning communities (PLCs), literacy, curriculum mapping, among many other topics. She assists schools in implementing curricular and organizational change in the creation of effective schools for the 21st century.
Judy has co-authored Integrating the Curricula Through the Multiple Intelligences, Getting Started: Projects for the Integrated Curriculum, Music Expressions™ textbook series, and, most recently, PLCs, DI, & RTI: A Tapestry for School Change. The children’s musicals she created have been performed in schools throughout the country and around the world.

Catherine Sugrue, M.A., with a degree in curriculum and instruction and as former teacher and principal, she is also experienced as an educator with considerable expertise in school management at the elementary, high school, and adult education levels. As recipient of several distinguished awards in education, she has high expertise in school management and education policy, having worked as VP of Educational Services for Edison Learning; Director of Resource and Issue Management with the Office of New Schools, Chicago Public Schools (CPS); Management Support Director at CPS, where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of 44 schools; and more recently with the management of the closing and opening of schools at CPS—both charter and public. 

Other Associates

Stephen Aporta, MBA, is a seasoned business leader and methods-driven career executive of business transformation efforts in over ten industries. His cross-industry career has provided him with extensive experience in three major functional areas: finance, strategy and technology which he has leveraged effectively in each opportunity to add value in both public and private sector engagements. Being trilingual, his experience is both domestic and international, having been born and raised in Colombia and later Argentina and with extensive work experience in South America for a large part of his professional career, including Brazil.

Tomás Esterrich, CPA, has over 47 years leading and managing organizations, including 20 in the U.S. Army as Finance Officer, Comptroller and Foreign Area Officer (Latin America and Spain), and 27 years as Entrepreneur and Chief Executive in private and not-for-profit organizations at national and international levels. He served our country with distinction, fulfilling a variety of prominent military roles all over the world.
     After retiring as Lt. Col., he served as senior finance and administration director for Bromon Aircraft, Chase Manhattan Bank, Luis Acosta, Nestlé, MicroTech, E-Infosol and Inergix. For 12 years, he was the Founder, President and CEO of T.E. Systems, a SBA 8(a) certified and service-disabled, veteran-owned, small business management consulting firm established in Vienna, Virginia. He also served as senior strategic consultant at Toffler Associates, specializing in the 18 infrastructure protections sectors for Homeland Security. 
He was a key player in the rapid financial growth of MicroTech by developing and implementing financing strategies as well as banking relationships and a dynamic organizational finance and accounting structure, culture and services support to the organization. He led the efforts in its facilities growth strategies in VA, NC and AL, including the construction and build-up of the Huntsville Office. He also led the modernization of MicroTech’s finance and accounting systems. For his distinguished service, he received the Chief Financial Officer of the Year Award from Latinos in Information Science and Technology Association (2009), Washington Business Journal (2010), Smart-CEO Magazine (2012); and as a finalist for the Northern Virginia Technology Council (2010 and 2011), and Virginia Business (2011).
     He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of PR and holds a Master of Science degree in Logistics Systems Management from USC.

Matilde E. Vallejos, Ed.D., has served 38 years in the field of special education and K-12 general education. She is an expert in bilingual-special education, parent engagement, survey and test development, and programs designed to work in urban settings. She was a founding member of the Bilingual Assessment Team in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS); has served in various capacities with the National Education Association (NEA) and has extensive experience in working with federal, state and local government agencies in a variety of capacities. She also teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and at the Ana G. Mendez Dual-Language University in MD. In addition, she worked in the Division of Student Services at MCPS.
Her experiences range from working with low-income immigrant families to that of advocating at the highest government levels for the civil rights of Latino children and their families. Her research has concentrated in advancing the theory of acculturation and its impact on Latino families and school engagement. She is also an alumnus of the Fulbright Exchange Program in Argentina, working with schools in poor urban settings, where she conducted extensive staff development and research.
She graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park as the first Hispanic special educator and received a Master’s Degree from George Washington University in DC, working with emotionally-disabled adolescents. She graduated from Johns Hopkins Univ. with a degree in special education in the Leadership for Urban School Reform Program.

José Luis Villamil Casanova, J.D., graduated from the Univ. of Puerto Rico (UPR) in 1976 Magna Cum Laude, BA in Business Administration and Accounting Major. In 1979, he completed his JD, Magna Cum Laude from UPR and admitted to law practice in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on November 1979.
Early in his career, José Luis worked as lawyer for PR’s Legal Services. Later he joined the Commonwealth of PR Dept. of Justice as legal counsel serving in Tax Matters Division and Opinions & Legislative Division assigned to provide the Justice Secretary with legal counsel in aspects related to tax opinions and evaluation of law bills.
In private practice, he worked as partner, Laventhol & Horwath Law Firm, as tax manager, and since 1994, as sole law practitioner in corporate and tax law. Among legal consulting work performed, he has been external consultant for the PR House of Representatives re. Puerto Rico’s Code of Internal Revenue of 1994; later regarding Tax Reform of 2006; subsequently as General Counsel in the tax arena as well as external consultant to various legal and accounting firms across the Island.