Executive Team
Drew Furedi
President and Chief Executive Officer

DrewDrew has more than 20 years of experience working in and managing school systems and non-profits. He spent the last six years in various leadership roles with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), most recently on district-wide efforts to develop and implement new technologies. While with LAUSD, Drew also served on Superintendent John Deasy’s leadership team where he oversaw human capital strategies and programs, including the launch of a new division focused on talent management, new educator evaluations, and a variety of teacher professional development initiatives.  He also managed multi-million dollar federal, state and privately funded budgets.

Prior to his work with LAUSD, Drew led the Loyola Marymount University Family of Schools, seven LA public schools supported by Loyola Marymount University serving approximately 4,500 students. During Drew’s tenure, academic performance as measured by state testing increased in 6 of the seven schools; graduation rates climbed; and algebra readiness improved across the board. Before leading the Loyola Marymount Family of Schools, Drew was a Partner with The New Teacher Project where he directed a nationwide effort to attract teachers to urban and rural school districts that were difficult to staff, netting more than 10,000 teacher applicants. Drew began his career as a teacher in Baltimore Public Schools as Teach for America corps member.

Drew holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCSB, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from USC and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University.


Josh Ciszek
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

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Josh Ciszek joined Para Los Niños in July 2012 to guide the organization’s commitment to measurable quality in all community programs and internal operations. Josh comes to us from a unique background of business consulting and practicing mental health. With Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), he provided strategic information systems consulting to some of the largest healthcare companies in the world. With Kana Software, he went on to provide strategic consulting to both small and Fortune 500 companies on customer relationship management (CRM). At Psomas & Associates, he worked with cities, counties and regional utility agencies on geographic information systems. All of these experiences contributed to his focus on measurable, meaningful outcomes.

In 2004, Josh changed careers to focus on his passion for practicing mental health. He has served the Los Angeles community in both private practice and community-based services. His understanding of business, community-mental health regulations, clinical practices and information systems has supported his ascension into leadership positions with some of the most successful agencies in California.

Josh holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Southern California and a master’s in clinical psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles.


Camille Gonzalez
Chief Financial Officer

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 3.52.47 PMCamille is a senior accounting and financial management executive with more than 20 years of experience in finance and operations management within small and multi-billion dollar organizations, non-profit and for profit business entities. Her experience includes serving as Chief Financial Officer at KCET, and Controller at KCAL-TV. A Maryland native, Camille has called L.A.’s San Fernando Valley home for over 20 years.


Angela Capone
Vice President of Early Education

AngelaAs Director of Early Education, Angela will be the driving force in continuing Para Los Niños’ history of achievement by preparing inner-city preschool and pre-K students to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. In addition, she will be instrumental in supporting families with referrals as an added resource for the success of their children.

Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Angela was Senior Program Manager at Southwest Head Start in Phoenix, Arizona, where she was Site Director for EDUCARE Arizona and was responsible for supervising Child Development manager and overseeing the curriculum for Southwest’s 52 Head Start Preschool/Early Head Start classrooms. In addition, she was a faculty member with the Harris Infant-Toddler Mental Health Training Institute, a graduate level training for Infant/Toddler Mental Health Clinicians, Early Childhood professional and Family service professionals.

Angela has a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education from Pennsylvania State University, a Masters in Special Education from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and a B.S. from Westfield State College in Westfield, Massachusetts.


Andy Herod
Vice President of Student and Community Services

AndyAndy joined Para Los Niños in August of 2009 as Clinical Program Manager of Family Preservation. Today, he serves as the Director of Family Services and is responsible for managing all administrative, programmatic and financial aspects of the Family Service division, including developing and implementing strategies to ensure programs are addressing community needs.

Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Andy worked as Manager of Residential Services for Boys Continuum, Peninsula Village, a Residential Treatment center for treatment resistant
teens, where he provided clinical leadership and directed over 60 employees through co-facilitating and directing multi-disciplinary treatment teams.

Andy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Biola University and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Psychology. Andy is also a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT).


Patrick Sinclair
Vice President of Development and Communications

PatrickPatrick Sinclair joins Para Los Niños after more than five years with the Partnership for Los Angles Schools, where he established the communications and external affairs function, managing all aspects of brand, media, public affairs, internal communications, development events and major funder stewardship.  Prior to his work with the Partnership, Patrick spent more than two decades working with nonprofits and major public affairs and communications firms. He began his career with the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson in New York and subsequently worked for a variety of public affairs firms where he served clients such as the Hong Kong and Dutch governments and numerous corporations. Sinclair moved to Los Angeles in 1995 where he assumed the role of Executive Director for Progress LA, a nonprofit initiative launched by then Mayor Riordan to reform the city’s land use process. Since then, Patrick has committed his career to working with children, establishing an after school program for low-income immigrant children in Madrid, Spain, before joining the Partnership schools. Patrick is a graduate of New York University and holds a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Senior Management
Brenda Aguilera
Director of Community Transformation

IMG_2587Brenda Aguilera is the Director of Community Transformation within our Student and Community Services, an effort to improve the well being and development of parents, families, and young children in Central Los Angeles.

As Director, Brenda facilitates communication and cooperation among the community organizations, parents, local residents, government agencies, and others involved in the Best Start Metro LA program. Brenda has been involved with Best Start since 2011. Previous to joining Para Los Niños, Continue reading…


Sherry Berg
Director of Zero to Five Services

1 Sherry is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a specialty in infant mental health.  Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Sherry served as an Associate Director at Hollygrove, the Los Angeles division of EMQ FamiliesFirst, where she developed and oversaw the operations of both the clinical training  and the community based mental health program for 0-5 year olds.  In her role at Para Los Niños, Sherry’s focus is on growing the clinical capacity of the mental health program to meet the needs of the children and families who attend the early childhood programs.  A great emphasis will be placed on a team approach in providing integrated services to the children within the ages of 0-5 years old.

Sherry has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco and a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco.  She is a post graduate fellow from the Napa Infant –Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Certificate Program and is endorsed as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health in Sacramento, California.


Chris Coyle
Director of Special Education

On the WebsiteChris Coyle has worked as a Special Education administrator and Speech and Language Pathologist in Los Angeles for the past 10 years. Most recently he served with a non-public agency Total Education Solutions as the Director of Speech and Language therapy.   His duties included the management of a behavioral, speech, occupational and physical therapy clinic in the Westlake area as well as supervising the provision of speech and language therapy for the Compton Unified School District.

Chris began his professional career in the Philadelphia Public School District as a bilingual Spanish kindergarten teacher.  While teaching, Chris was invited to participate in a research project evaluating narrative language development in bilingual Spanish speaking children ages 4 – 7. The narrative study project lead him into the study of communication disorders focusing on school age children. Chris comes to us with an understanding of the unique needs presented by students, families and professionals served by Para Los Niños.  His skill set will allow him to lead us through the implementation of programs focused on supporting students with special needs and their peers. Continue reading…


Oliver DelGado
Director of Communications & Marketing

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.48.00 AMOliver DelGado joined Para Los Niños in September 2015 as Director of Communications & Marketing. In this role, he is responsible for the public relations, branding and external affairs for Para Los Niños.

Oliver’s background spans an array of impressive communications industries including corporate entertainment, city government and non-profit. Prior to joining Para Los Niños, he served as L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s sole bilingual communications specialist– focusing on the city’s global brand and leading innovative campaigns boosting municipal services (Metro, LADWP, etc.) and homeland security policies.

Prior to his close work with Mayor Garcetti, Oliver held external relations roles with then Councilmember Garcetti’s Council District 13 office and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools– Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s cornerstone initiative aimed at improving public education on the east and south sides of the city. In 2016, Mayor Garcetti appointed Oliver to the Central Area Planning Commission, a board overseeing the city’s planning, land-use and real estate development in Downtown L.A.,  Greater Wilshire Corridor and Hollywood.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Oliver attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a merit scholarship, where he studied journalism and mass communication.


Cecilia Hernandez
Director of Extended Learning

IMG_2047croppedCecilia joined Para Los Niños in November, 2009 as a Site Supervisor in the SAYS department. She later became a Site Administrator and moved on to Program Manager of After School Programs. Today she serves as the Program Director of After School Programs. In this position Cecilia’s responsibilities include; overseeing daily operations of all charter after school programs, developing and implementing strategies to ensure programs are addressing community needs, and overall accreditation and quality effectiveness within the after school programs. She also provides direct supervision to the after school program supervisors and is responsible for ensuring program compliance and reporting procedures for both government and private contracts.

Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Cecilia held various positions within LA’s BEST After School Enrichment Program and LAUSD. Cecilia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development with a specialization in Youth Agency Administration from California State University, Los Angeles and a Master’s degree in Education from Pacific Oaks College. Cecilia has over 10 years of experience in the after school field. As a product of after school programs, Cecilia understands the importance of providing quality programs, how essential extended learning opportunities are and the benefits they bring to our children and youth.


Edith Medina
Director of Human Resources

edithEdith Medina, Director of Human Resources, began her work with Para Los Niños in 1989. She began her professional career in the insurance industry and discovered Para Los Niños as she searched for a meaningful way to contribute to the community. Edith oversees the human resource department, and addresses issues such as recruitment, orientation, professional development, benefits, employee relations, compensation and payroll. Crediting the powerful impact of Para Los Niños, she enjoys seeing firsthand how the organization enriches the lives of its clients, as well as its employees.

A native of El Salvador, Edith was born in La Libertad and moved to Los Angeles with her family at the age of 11. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and has completed coursework toward a certificate in human resources management through UCLA Extension. She is a member of Professionals in Human Resources and an active member in the community. Edith resides in North Hills with her husband and their two children.


Blanca Medrano
Director of Operations and Procurement

Blanca

With over 10 years of operational experience, Blanca is responsible for developing and implementing PLN company policies and control procedures for all purchasing, contracting and procurement practices. Blanca joined PLN in 2007 as the Operations Manager and is currently training in the field of strategic negotiations. Before joining PLN she worked for Hoy, a Tribune newspaper publication. Blanca lives in East Los Angeles with her husband and three children.

 

Sandy Mejia
Principal, Charter Middle School

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.55.06 AMSandy Mejia comes to Para Los Niños with a decade of experience working in charter schools, most recently at the Alliance for College Ready School. She opened the first Alliance Middle School as one of their founding English Language Arts teachers. At Richard Merkin Middle School,  she spent nine years as a teacher and three years as an assistant principal. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in political science and English from from the university of Southern California and a Master’s in education from Pepperdine University.  Sandy is committed to working with students in finding their path to success via education. Thorough out her professional experience Sandy has worked with various student populations that have allowed her to witness the different levels of success that are possible when staff members build positive relationships with students.


Jorge Orozco
Director of Youth Workforce Services

jorgeJorge Orozco joined Para Los Niños in February 2005, working in Youth Workforce Services. He began as a Program Coordinator, later became an Employer Specialist, and in May 2008, was promoted to Director of Youth Workforce Services. In this position, Jorge’s responsibilities include: overseeing daily operations, ensuring that all contractual obligations are completed in a timely and effective manner, conducting site visits to monitor contract compliance and quality of services, and serving in the Equal Opportunity Compliance Unit for Para Los Niños and Power of One. He also provides direct supervision to Youth Workforce Services staff, is responsible for all reports to government and private contracts, and monitors subcontractor activities and services to ensure quality effectiveness. Continue reading…


Jennifer Ralls
Director of Outcomes and Community Impact

2Jennifer Ralls, Director of Outcomes and Community Impact, joined Para Los Niños in 2007, managing data and evaluation processes for a child abuse prevention and family wellness program. She is currently responsible for developing systems across Para Los Niños that capture program outcomes and demonstrate the impact of Para Los Niños services in the community.

Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Jennifer worked for the California Governor’s Office and UCLA’s Teacher Education Program. In these roles, she wrote legislation and provided strategic analysis and leadership over programs aimed at promoting community service, social justice, and equitable opportunities for children and families living in California. Continue reading…


Geovanni Rivas
Director of Information Technology

GeoGeovanni Rivas, Para Los Niños’ Director of Information Technology (I.T.), began his career at Para Los Niños in 2000, and has since held several positions, within the I.T. capacity, including Network Administrator and Manager of I.T. He has been the project leader for most of our I.T. projects, such as WAN/LAN design and implementation, as well as previous data storage upgrades, and our datacenter design. He has a certificate with Microsoft MCSE, Cisco CCNA, and a Graduate Certification in Information Technology Management from University of California, Los Angeles.

Judi Stadler
Director of School Age Services

IMG_3413Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Judi worked at Hollygrove, the Los Angeles division of EMQ FamiliesFirst, as an Associate Director over the Outpatient and Therapeutic Behavioral Support Services (TBS).  In this role, Judi helped the region develop a school based program providing Mental Health services to seven LAUSD elementary schools.  Often schools were the place where symptoms and behaviors were identified and played a large role in the referral process to mental health services.  Her focus was developing strong collaboration between the therapists, parents, principals, and teachers and decreasing the stigma of mental health services.  Continue reading…


Jimmy Urizar
Director of Family Preservation

croppedIMG_3503Jimmy joined PLN in May of 2011 as the Clinical Program Manager of Family Preservation.  His responsibility included managing the daily functions of the Metro North and Wateridge contracts and providing clinical supervision to the Family Preservation staff.

Prior to working with PLN, Jimmy worked at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, where he provided clinical services in the CalWORKs program to individuals and families receiving financial assistance through DPSS.  Clinical services were aimed at reducing symptoms in order to increase employment readiness.  In addition to carrying a caseload, Jimmy was responsible for implementing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy interventions in order to increase clinical capacity as well as to increase client engagement.  Jimmy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, at Irvine and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University.  Jimmy is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist and is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) as well as the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT).

Yamileth Villanueva
Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations

YamiYamileth Villanueva joined Para Los Niños in February 2013 as Director of Foundation Relations. In this role, she is responsible for the strategy, cultivation and stewardship of foundation giving for Para Los Niños.

Yamileth has an impressive background in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Yamileth was a program officer with the California Community Foundation for five years, where she oversaw the foundation’s affordable housing portfolio and initiatives designed to ensure that low-income families and individuals have safe, affordable places to live. Earlier, Yamileth served as the Director of Homeownership Programs at the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) for five years. In this capacity, she was responsible for overseeing five distinct programs, including homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention, and financial literacy. Before working at ELACC, Yamileth was a researcher, parent organizer and program coordinator at the Community Coalition in South Los Angeles, where she organized parents to advocate for their children and improve the conditions in their schools.

Yamileth earned a Master of Arts in Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in Education and Latin American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.