Faculty & Staff
Lorena Alcayaga, Intake Specialist/Bilingual Teacher – Redwood City Classroom
Lorena Alcayaga was hired in December 2001 to teach parent participation preschool and parent education at our East Palo Alto and Clara Mateo locations. She moved to our Redwood City site when it opened in December 2008. 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. She also has taken on the role of classroom and program assistant, doing the purchasing and keeping family files up to date.
Vanessa Drebin, Assistant Teacher
Vanessa Drebin has a Master's degree in Education from UC Berkeley and a Multiple Subject teaching credential. She is the mother of four children aged 16-24. 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.
Angela Jaime, Bilingual Teacher – Belle Haven Classroom
Angela Jaime has been one of our bilingual teachers since 1993. She is responsible for teaching preschool students and parent education. She helps develop the curriculum according to standards set by the Sequoia Adult School, and she completes related administrative tasks. Before coming to Family Connections, Angela spent five years teaching primary school in El Salvador. Angela has her California State Parent Education Teaching Credential, and she continues her education in early childhood education.
Margarita Ventura, Bilingual Teacher – East Palo Alto Classroom
Margarita was hired in December 2008 to teach parent participation preschool and parent education at East Palo Alto location. She has extensive experience with Montessori preschools, and was a Family Service specialist for the County of Santa Clara. Margarita holds a California Parent Education Credential.
Betsy Carter, Volunteer Coordinator
Betsy was hired in January, 2009 to take over volunteer coordination activities. She has volunteered for Family Connections for several years, including two years as the chair of the Evening with Children’s Authors Night fundraiser. She has a BA and a Masters of Public Affairs from Indiana University.
Stephanie Moody, Technology & Social Media
A former Family Connections volunteer and Little Hands participant, Stephanie was hired in November 2010 to focus on technology and social media for the organization. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire and recently received a M.S. in Clinical Psychology/Marriage and Family Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA. Prior to Family Connections she spent 10+ years in Software Project Management and Human Resources.
Ruth Pinkus-Resnik, Education Coordinator
Ruth was hired in January 2003 to oversee the quality of our education program both for the children and the parents. She has a Masters in Family and Consumer Sciences and over twenty years of experience in early childhood development, including teaching at two local community colleges.
Marsha Quita, Program Administrative Assistant
Marsha has been with FC since August 2013 supporting our teachers and Young Scholars Coordinator and brings with her a solid co-op background as an alumni parent of Preschool Family in Palo Alto. Marsha has a B.A. in Nursing from the University of San Francisco and lives in Palo Alto with her husband and two young children.
Amelia Stone, Development and Program Administrator
Amelia was hired in November 2010 to administer the donor database, direct mail fundraising programs, donor correspondence and program data.
Aimee Swanson, Preschool Outreach Coordinator
We welcomed Aimee to Family Connections in January 2009 as our new Preschool Outreach Coordinator, focusing on our sister preschools. Aimee assists with the outreach effort for Family Connections, and is helping to develop new volunteers and corporate support for the organization. Aimee has a B.A. in History from the University California Santa Barbara. Before joining Family Connections, Aimee spent 10 years in retail and then worked for and volunteered with the City of Belmont. She has been active in fundraising and volunteering for over 20 years.
Loree Watanabe, Grants Coordinator
Loree has been with Family Connections since September 2004 and is part of the Development team. She is responsible for securing grant funding from a variety of sources. Loree has a background as a non-profit program director and has a BA degree from University of Washington.
Lynette York, Director of Finance
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, which includes payroll, audit, taxes and helping develop the annual budget. She has a Bachelors of Science in Commerce from Santa Clara University.
Miriam Yupanqui, Young Scholars Program Coordinator
Miriam joined our staff in July 2013 to head up our new Young Scholars Program. Miriam has a B.A. in Development Studies with an emphasis in Immigration Policy from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Pubilc 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 will coach, mentor and work with families and their children as they navigate the K-12 school system.
Renee Zimmerman, Executive Director
Renee Zimmerman started with Family Connections in January 2004 and is our Executive Director. Renee graduated from San Francisco State University and has a Master's Degree from the London School of Economics. She worked with children and families for over 14 years as a professional with the YMCA.
“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!”