Our Team

Dafny Irizarry
President
Dafny Joy Irizarry Ortiz is the founder and president of the Long Island Latino Teachers Association. A woman and educator with a passion for equity, justice, and inclusiveness. Ms. Irizarry has demonstrated leadership and commitment in advocating, in collaboration with community groups and educational institutions to ensure high quality education for all students. She is committed to empowering Long Island’s youth to grow educationally.Read More
Julie Burgos
Second Vice-President
Julia Burgos is a Social Worker and an Educator. Julia retired as a Social Worker in the Brentwood School District after 28 years of service. Prior to working in Brentwood, Julia also held the position of Bilingual School Social Worker for the New York City Board of Education, District 7, Bronx, NY. Currently, Julia is a Trustee on the Brentwood School District Board of Education. She is also an Adjunct Professor for the School of Social Work Read More
Michelle Marrone
Treasurer
Michelle Marrone graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Spanish Education from Manhattanville College in 2008. She continued her education at St. John’s University to pursue a Masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. She graduated with a Masters in May of 2012 and began working in Hampton Bays School District in August, 2012. She was an ENL teacher at Hampton Bays High School from September 2012 to June 2019. Read More
Cecilia Avila Young
Secretary
Cecilia Avila-Young was born in Bogota, Colombia, immigrating to the United States as a young girl. She earned an M.A. from Columbia University, Teachers College and a B.S. Degree from Queens College. She has proudly served as Secretary of the Long Island Latino Teachers Association for well over a decade. Her positive experience as a student in the public education system and the deep commitment of public-school educators she encountered, fostered a strong desire to become a teacher and to put herself at the service of others.Read More
Ricardo Campos
Scholarship Committee Chairperson
Ricardo Campos graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Spanish Education from St. Joseph’s College in 2012. He then started working for the New York City Department of Education. He worked at Brooklyn High School for Leadership and Community Service as a math teacher for three years. His mission in this school was to serve high-need students who were under-credited and over-aged. Furthermore, he was also a member of the Language Allocation Policy team where he ensured that all English language learners were provided Read More
Vicky Mejia
Mentoring Committee Chairperson
Vicky Mejia spent the last 15 years of her time with Central Islip School District, coaching and mentoring teachers in grades 1-8. Prior to that she taught for 14 years in elementary school, both monolingual and bilingual classrooms, and reading. She was trained as a Literacy Coordinator at Lesley University, and has attended the Summer Reading and Writing Institutes at the Reading and Writing Project, Teachers College, for over 10 years. She attended college in Bogota, Colombia and in the Sorbonne in Paris. She has conducted formal presentations and Read More
Fatima Lasso
Board Member
Fatima Lasso was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador where she graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the Military Polytechnical School. For several years in her native country, she worked in the aviation industry. In 2005, she immigrated to the United States with her family. Following her passion for teaching, in 2012, she obtained her master’s degree in Adolescent Education minoring in Spanish at SUNY Old Westbury College where she graduated with honors. From then on, she has worked at her alma mater as an adjunct Spanish professor. Read More
Kelly Urena
Board Member
Born and raised in Queens, NY, Kelly Ureña fulfills various roles. In addition to being a mother, daughter, friend, sister, and mentor, she is an established educator, bilingual community member and leader with a long history of advocacy and service. Self-driven, a life-long advocate for equity in healthcare and education, Ms. Ureña channeled her passion to fulfill her purpose through social work. Believing that social work is not a career but a way of life, she has grounded her work in community/family engagement, cultural responsiveness, and social justice.Read More
Priscilla Zarate
Board Member
Priscilla Zarate served as Executive Director at the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) for two years, where she serviced over 150,000 English Language Learners in 1,800 schools throughout the NYC five boroughs. As the Executive Director, Ms. Zárate led citywide initiatives including the creation, development, deployment, implementation, and monitoring of supports, resources, and services for English Language Learners /Multilingual Learners (ELLs/MLLs) across districts, field support offices, and schools. She implemented and expanded Read More
Jessica Gomez
Board Member
Mrs. Jessica Gomez has been a teacher in the South Huntington Union Free School District for 15 years, teaching 5th grade at Maplewood Intermediate. She has taught using stand-alone and side-by-side models in the district’s Dual Language Program. Mrs. Gomez received her Bachelor degree from Syracuse University in 2003 and her Master degree from Hofstra University in 2005. She went on to pursue her Bilingual Extension from St. John’s University in 2006. Through her tenure in the South Huntington School District, Mrs. Gomez has served as an integral part of its diverse language learning community. Read More
Jennifer Lopez
Board Member
Jennifer Lopez started her career as a special educator 28 years ago. She served as a bilingual special educator and was one of the first group of recipients of the Intensive Training Institute for a Bilingual Extension through Scholarship at New York University. She has since studied School Psychology at Brooklyn College and has served as a school psychologist for the last 21 years of her career. During that time, she took a special interest in positive behavioral supports, mindfulness, and breathing and meditation. She attained a degree in School Neuropsychology through the Texas Woman’s University during 2005-2007, she is currently Read More
Nicole Salgado
Board Member
Nicole Salgado is of Ecuadorian descent but was born in the United States. Having bilingual parents, since childhood she was enrolled in English as a new language, ENL, classes. During her high school years, she quickly fell in love with languages so she decided to branch out and learn Italian, American Sign Language, ASL, and French. Her passion for languages has transferred into a passion for traveling as well. Nicole has visited 15 countries which has given her the opportunity of interacting with people of different origins. In 2014, Nicole obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature with a concentration Read More