image image

Be a part of Family Connections

Faculty & Staff

Our Teachers

Lorena Alcayaga, Case Coordination Supervisor and 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 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.

Laura Ambrose, Bilingual Teacher – Redwood City Classroom
Laura Ambrose was hired in August 2015 to work with infants and toddlers and their parents in the Nurturing Families program in Redwood City. She has been a Family Connections parent since 2014 and still attends with her son Samuel in the Redwood City preschool class. Laura earned a Master of Science degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from the State University of New York in 2008 at Buffalo and has been working with students with special needs for 5 years. Laura is currently pursuing her Child Development Supervisor permit.

Vanessa Drebin, Assistant Teacher
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.

Angela Jaime, Bilingual Teacher – Belle Haven Classroom
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.

Yadira Mederos de Cardenas, Parent Recruiter and Bilingual Teacher – Redwood City Classroom
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 college credits working towards her Early Childhood Education teacher permit.

Margarita Ventura, Bilingual Teacher  – East Palo Alto Classroom
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.

Our Staff

Betsy Carter, Volunteer Coordinator
Betsy Carter was hired in January 2009 to take over volunteer coordination activities. She has volunteered for Family Connections for many years, including serving for two years as the chair of the Evening with Children’s Authors Night fundraiser. Betsy has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University.

Arely Huitron, Registrar
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.

Stephanie Moody, IT Support
A former Family Connections volunteer and Little Hands participant, Stephanie Moody was hired in November 2010 to focus on technology.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire and a Masters of Science in Clinical Psychology/Marriage and Family Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University. Prior to Family Connections, she spent over 10 years in software project management and human resources. Stephanie also serves as a consultant on case coordination, given her marriage and family therapy background.

Ruth Pinkus-Resnik, Program Director
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.

Marsha Quita, Program Administrative Assistant
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.

Suzie Sheedy, Development Director
Suzie Sheedy has been with Family Connections since September 2015 as the agency’s first full-time Development Director. She oversees all strategic development, fundraising, grant writing, social media, marketing and public relations for Family Connections. Suzie has almost two decades of fundraising experience and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). Suzie received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a Business Minor from St. Mary’s College of California.

Amelia Stone, Development and Program Administrator
Amelia Stone was hired in November 2010 to support development efforts. Her responsibilities include administering the donor database, managing direct mail fundraising programs, corresponding with donors, and managing program data. Amelia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Carleton College.

Adam Tarnoff, Executive Director Adam Tarnoff joined Family Connections in March 2016. He launched his career as an educator, researcher, and program lead for various science education centers, including the NASA Center for Education Technologies and the Center for Science and Math Education at Loyola University Chicago. Adam then served as the Director of Education for the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, directing the strategic growth for his department with responsibility for fundraising, staff leadership and program development. Immediately prior to Family Connections Adam worked as a nonprofit consultant in the SF Bay Area. Adam serves on the Board of the Amandla Charter School since 2010 and was the Chairman of the Board for four years. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Pomona College and a Master’s Degree from Northwestern University.

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, Young Scholars 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!”


Margarita Herrera, Family Connections parent and mother of two children 8 and 2.5 years old