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. Board 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 to the School in addition to 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.
James Moore – Board Chair
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.”
Hector Torres – Vice-Chair/Treasurer
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.”
An education research and policy expert, Robbie Dean comes to his role with extensive international experience. Robbie provides global support on Teach For All’s approach to research and evaluation, manages the organization’s portfolio of external research and measurement on teacher leadership and student outcomes, and leads learning experiences and events to support data and impact staff across the global network. Based in Washington, DC, Robbie began his career as a bilingual education teacher with Teach For America in Dallas, Texas and taught Spanish language in Spain.
“I serve this board based on my experience as a former bilingual educator working in an international context. I strive to help the school to continue to thrive and to innovate to support students for an evolving and better future.”
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.”
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.”
Ana Mejia is a Carlos Rosario School graduate from ESL, Culinary Arts, IT Fundamentals, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Programs. She also has been an active and involved member of the student government. Originally, a Certified Public Accountant from Honduras, Ana worked at financial institutions in her home country for seven years. She focused on international currency, customer service, identifying laundered money, fraud transactions and documents.
Ana is currently working as an Executive Administrator in a non-profit based in Washington DC and providing administrative services to the farmers market manager at the University of District of Columbia – UDC VAN NESS. She is running her canning/food business called Mena’s Boys Gourmet at the UDC VAN NESS Farmers Market. She is also a consultant offering services to chefs, educating in culinary basics.
“I would like to give back to the community because I have been a student for many years and all that I have learned has had a great impact in my life, for the better. The Carlos Rosario School has impacted the community enormously because it provides many immigrants access to better opportunities, salaries, improved family life quality and their confidence.”
Giovanni Delfino brings outstanding experience in organizational management, business development, analysis of market behavior, consumer behavior and decision-making, and economic policy to his role on the Board. Originally from Lima, Peru, Giovanni was introduced to the Carlos Rosario School through his career in business development consulting and work supporting Hispanic development organizations. He has worked as a consultant, published an informational platform for business news and insights, and produces periodic business news shows and segments for radio, television, and digital media.
Giovanni graduated from Montgomery College with an associate degree in Business Administration and International Business. He continued his education at the University of Maryland Global Campus obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Political Science. Giovanni also continued his education on Risk and Opportunity at the World Bank; a Scrum Master Certification; and Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies, at University of Maryland.
“I serve on the Board because I feel aligned to the mission and inspired to do more for our community. The work of the school is important because it contributes to the development and integration of the immigrant communities to the DC economy and job market.”
Teresita Retana Piedra – Member
Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School
Teresita Retana Piedra is a proud student of the Carlos Rosario School from Costa Rica. She has been living in the District since 2018. Currently, Teresita is enrolled in the Bilingual Teacher Assistant Program, and she is proud to be serving on the board of the School that opened its doors to her and has had a profound impact on her personal life and the community at large.
“We (students) need to be present, it’s very important to participate. My intent during my time as Board Member is to be a good student representative, know more about the school and to share my support in everything that is possible.”
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.”
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.”
Larry Villegas – Member
Photographs: Rodney Choice/Choice Photography