The Carlos Rosario School’s Board of Trustees is composed of eleven diverse, committed members who are passionate about supporting our students in achieving their dreams and our staff in fulfilling the mission of the School. Members bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to their oversight role, and in many cases unique perspectives on the immigrant experience. Serving on the Board is purely voluntary, and we are immensely grateful for the time that our members dedicate on top of their professional and personal lives. The Board oversees the business and affairs of the organization and has a fiduciary responsibility for the School. For example, in terms of key functions, the Board is responsible for ensuring the School is in compliance with all charter school regulations and approving the annual budget.
Patricia Sosa, Board Chair
Director for Latin American Programs
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Patricia Sosa brings extensive leadership experience at nonprofit organizations and federal agencies to her role as chair of the Board of Trustees. She also serves as a member of the Board’s Governance & Nominating Committee. Born in Puerto Rico, Patricia moved to Massachusetts as a young adult for undergraduate studies and then to Washington, DC for law school. Throughout her career, she has been a staunch advocate for communities of color on a variety of economic and health issues, including welfare reform, HIV/AIDS, tobacco control, food policy, and road safety.
“I serve on the Board because I believe that the way the Carlos Rosario School promotes global interaction, with people from different backgrounds interacting and coexisting, is the formula for saving the world.”
Brahim Rawi, Vice-Chair and Student/Alumni Member
International Finance Consultant
Born in Morocco, Brahim Rawi is a proud graduate of the Carlos Rosario School’s ESL and Office Training programs. While enrolled, he was actively involved in the student government, serving as treasurer and vice president. With the support of a scholarship from the School, he attended bank teller training, starting him on the finance career path. He is currently the vice-chair of the Board and a member of the Finance & Development Committee, contributing his extensive expertise in the banking sector. He is fluent in Arabic, French, Spanish, and English.
“I serve on the Board because I feel it is my duty to give back to the community. I want to make sure what I learned over the years can help our students, and that they do the same for someone else in the future. I want to keep the chain of learning going.”
Margaret Yao – Secretary
Senior Advisor for Leadership Development
Margaret Yao serves as the Board’s secretary and is a member of the Governance & Nominating Committee, Strategic Planning & Oversight Committee, and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Taskforce. She brings extensive experience in management and organizational change from her career in the nonprofit and federal government sectors, as well as leading her own consulting firm for many years. As the daughter of Chinese immigrants who were supported by caring community members upon arrival to the United States, she is committed to giving back to others and has a long-standing passion for literacy development with English language learners.
“One of the joys of being part of a learning community is seeing students’ desire to learn and grow, no matter what age or circumstances. The richness of their backgrounds, the varied perspectives they bring, and the motivation to educate themselves is truly inspiring to me.”
James Moore – Treasurer
CapGenic Advisors, LLC
James (Jim) Moore is a native Washingtonian who is deeply committed to helping adult immigrants acclimate to life in the United States. He brings more than 25 years of marketing, sales, and business development experience to his work on the Board. Jim serves as the Board’s treasurer and is a member of the Finance & Development Committee, both of which are critical roles for ensuring the financial health of the School. He also serves as chair of the Board’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Taskforce.
“What inspires me most about the School are our students. They provide an example to both native-born citizens and immigrants of how to come to this country and best extract the benefits of being here, including opportunities for education, improved living conditions for families, and personal growth and self-improvement around career development. Then they demonstrate how best to pay it forward. This inspires me to try to help in any way I can.”
Yeshimebeth T. Belay (Mama Tutu) – Member
Founder, Ethiopian Yellow Pages
Mama Tutu was born in Ethiopia and came to the United States as a young adult to attend university in Louisiana. After graduating, she moved to Washington, DC and created the Ethiopian Yellow Pages, a central hub of resources and information for the region’s large Ethiopian community. Her background in business management and immigrant inclusion is integral to her role on the Board, where she serves as a member of the Governance & Nominating Committee. Mama Tutu also helped establish the Carlos Rosario School’s new partnership with CTTI, a counterpart school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that prepares students for careers in the tourism and hospitality sectors. This partnership is a primary element of the District’s sister city agreement with Addis Ababa.
“I serve on the Board because it is very important to me that adult immigrants have a specialized place to learn, offering high-quality education, supportive services, and caring staff to help students achieve their dreams. People look up to me as a community leader, and I feel good connecting them to the School, knowing they will have the chance to be a part of this special place and will encourage others to do the same.”
Francisco Ferrufino – Student/Alumni Member
Francisco Ferrufino immigrated to the United States in 2007 from El Salvador and is a proud graduate of the Carlos Rosario School’s ESL, Culinary Arts, and GED in Spanish programs. While enrolled at the School, he was an active member of the student government. He has worked as an executive chef at several prominent DC restaurants and now owns his own establishment, Taco City, in the Navy Yard area of the city. Francisco is a member of the Board’s Strategic Planning & Oversight Committee.
“What inspires me about the School are the various pathways available for entering to learn a new language, with so many different ESL class levels and support from teachers, paraeducators, and tutors. The School makes you feel supported even when you’re scared. All the resources you need to learn are available here. This inspired me to not stop learning and to keep going.”
Allison R. Kokkoros – Member
Chief Executive Officer
Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School
Allison Kokkoros is an educator and an ed-entrepreneur at heart who believes in the transformative power of adult education for learners, their children, the workforce, and our society. She brings 20+ years of experience in adult education and immigrant integration to her work at the helm of the Carlos Rosario School. Under her leadership, the School has grown to serve more than 2,500 diverse students annually and expanded to offer new programs and services including Bilingual Teacher Training and the Puentes Exchange Programs with counterpart schools in El Salvador and Ethiopia. Allison serves on the Board’s Strategic Planning & Oversight Committee, and as an ex officio member of the Board, supports all committees and the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Taskforce.
“I am proud to lead an extraordinarily dedicated and compassionate team. Together we are building upon the foundation of excellence at our School and adapting to meet the community and regions’ needs now in 2020/21 and going forward. For me, a fierce commitment to results for our students in an environment of love and respect is what excellence looks like at the Carlos Rosario School.”
Bo Pham – Member
Deputy Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery, and Waste Programs
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Bo Pham brings over two decades of leadership experience at a federal government agency to his role on the Board, where he serves on the Strategic Planning & Oversight Committee. Bo was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States when he was eight years old, where he and his family made Maryland their new home. Bo is passionate about giving back to the community, and over the years has volunteered with local nonprofits as well as served on the boards of several other organizations.
“I serve on the Board because I wanted to be closer to the immigrant community and part of an organization that provides direct services. As an immigrant myself, when reflecting on my own family’s experience I wish my mom had the benefit of a place like the Carlos Rosario School when we first came to this country. The infrastructure of the School and sense of community here is unparalleled.”
Vilma Rosario has been a part of the Carlos Rosario School family her entire life, as she is the daughter of our original founder and school namesake. Born in Puerto Rico, her commitment to social justice began during childhood in Washington, DC through witnessing the challenges faced by immigrants in her community. This influenced her career as a civil rights activist, focusing on issues such as access to translation services, housing displacement, and discrimination in the election system. Vilma serves on the Board’s Governance & Nominating Committee, as well as the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Taskforce.
“What inspires me the most about the School is the positive energy that is displayed by the faculty and students. Whenever I visit classrooms, it is beautiful to see the sincerity of the teachers as they are explaining the lessons and the interest demonstrated by our students to learn.”
Hector Torres – Member
Absolute Hospitality (Former: Executive Vice-President, Capital Hotels)
Hector Torres brings extensive leadership experience in the hotel and hospitality sectors, along with a long-standing passion for the arts as a painter, theater patron, and newly appointed commissioner for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He is a member of the Board’s Finance & Development Committee. Hector also serves on the Culinary Arts Academy Advisory Committee, where he has supported enrollment expansion and helped develop the state-of-the-art kitchen facilities at the Sonia Gutierrez Campus.
“The work of the Carlos Rosario School is vital. I feel an innate regret that there aren’t more programs like this in the country focused on adult education. The School inspires me because it provides a transition for people to grow and become their very best. As a long-time DC resident, I have witnessed how Carlos Rosario School graduates have optimized their own particular dreams.”
Johan Uvin – Member
(Former: President, Institute for Educational Leadership;
Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical,
and Adult Education (OCTAE); U.S. Department of Education)
Johan Uvin contributes deep expertise in adult education and workforce development to his role on the Board. During his career, he has taught ESL to immigrants and refugees, held leadership roles in state and federal agencies, and most recently, headed a national nonprofit. Johan was born in Belgium and came to the United States as a young adult for graduate studies. He serves on the Board’s Finance & Development Committee, Strategic Planning & Oversight Committee, and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Taskforce.
“The Carlos Rosario School model and the way it is being implemented is something that should be available in all communities to all immigrants and refugees. Throughout my career, I have visited hundreds of adult programs across the country, and currently, there is no other school that is so effective in working with immigrant and refugee learners.”
Photographs: Rodney Choice/Choice Photography