Carla Poole - APC faculty

CARLA POOLE

I have been the Executive Director of Atwater Park Center since August of 2013. I am very excited to be a member of the staff of this wonderful program. I was born and raised near New York City where I was on the faculty of The Bank Street Graduate School of Education for fifteen years. I was the director of the Infant and Family and Early Intervention Program at Bank Street. I have also worked with young children and their families in a wide variety of settings such as preschools, hospitals, shelters for homeless families, and homes. I am a birth to five developmental specialist with a Master's in Early Childhood Special Education and a Master's in Early Childhood General Education.

 
kate - APC faculty

KATE CROWLEY 

I am the Consulting Occupational Therapist at APC. I began working with APC in 1998 and left for a while but loved the program so much that I returned. I am an occupational therapist with 39 yrs of experience working in a wide variety of organizations as well as with families and young children. I am also an instructor at USC in OT. I have two grown sons in their twenties whom I am very close and have two old dogs who may be over 100 in human years! When I'm not teaching at USC or working at Atwater Park Center I enjoy reading, hiking, theatre, dance, music, child development, neuroscience and working towards social justice.

 
Bertha - APC Faculty

BERTHA RODRIGUEZ

As Program Director I am responsible for all the day-to-day operations of the facility. I really enjoy the daily contact and communication with families and children and working with the agencies that refer children to the Center. I started working at APC in 1983 as a part-time bilingual secretary – no computer, fax machine, copy machine or e-maiI – I used to type all the reports with two carbon copies – reports dictated by the teachers and recorded on a cassette. Copies of the reports were made on a stenographer machine! I love working with children and families – this has been a very rewarding experience and a blessing to share all this many years serving the children and families at the Center.

I have an Accountant Degree from Mexico – and I worked in accounting for five years in Mexico and for two years with my husband after moving to California. I also worked four years as a translator for the foreign students at Glendale Community College.

I live with my daughter Diana and my grandson Edson – and there is no greater joy than being called “mom” and now “nana.” I come from a big family, I have 8 sisters and one brother – they all live in Mexico with their families – but we call each other on a regular basis and most of the time we arrange our time to take vacations together.

I love reading, dancing, cooking, baking, walking, Zumba, going to antique markets (I collect antique silver) and spending time with my grandson and my daughter.

 
Ricky - APC Faculty

RICKY GONZALEZ

I am the Lead Teacher at APC. I first came to the Center in 2003. I have extensive experience with children who have special needs, including autism, speech delay, developmental delay, hyperactivity, behavior problems, and aggression.  I have attended many workshops, training programs, and in-services, which have enhanced my knowledge of the various types of play therapy. I am also working as a behavior specialist at a well respected community agency. I make home visits to special needs children. Because I am bilingual in English and Spanish, I am grateful that I can reach a wide range of families, especially those who are not familiar with their neighborhood resources. My mission is to help as many families as possible.

I have a big family of my own, which includes my wife, a son and four daughters. During the week, I make sure my kids focus on their academics and complete all of their homework. However, on the weekends, they enjoy their time outdoors by going to the park, zoo, amusement parks and road trips. My wife and I both have numerous extended family dispersed throughout the Western United States, Mexico and Central America. Thus, during summer vacation and other breaks, we make it a point to visit as many relatives as possible. We hope to cultivate a family centered orientation among our children, while also seeing various states in all their glory. 

 

ABRAHAM LOPEZ

I enjoy working as an assistant teacher at Atwater Park Center because it is a joyful environment and children learn through play.  In 2015, I began volunteering at APC and became a member of the staff in February 2016. I attended California State University, Northridge and have a bachelors degree in Kinesiology with an option in exercise science.  In the past I worked as an EMT and an IT specialist for a local high school. After work I volunteer at a rehabilitation center specifically in the occupational therapy department. I am currently taking course work in child development from Cal State Fresno. In my free time I enjoy hiking, weight lifting and cooking. 

 
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JACQUELINE PEREIRA 

I began volunteering at APC in 2014, and became an assistant teacher in September 2016. I graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. Prior to working at APC I was a one on one aide for a child attending middle school from 2013-2016. I am also a girl's basketball coach at a local high school and during the summer I am a supervisor for the shuttle services at the Hollywood Bowl. I am currently taking course work in child development from Cal State Fresno. In my free time I enjoy playing basketball, weight lifting, and playing with my dog.

 

RYAN PARAISO

I am an assistant teacher and have been a part of the APC family, first as a volunteer and then staff member, since 2003. I graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Kinesiology. I am enrolled in the UCLA Extension Child Development Program. I am fascinated by children and the experience of being able to effectively communicate with them and engage children in different educational activities. After work I volunteer at a pediatric occupational therapy clinic to further my knowledge in the field. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and exploring the different cuisines that Los Angeles has to offer. 

 

SANTOS MUNDO

I live in El Sereno with my family. Atwater Park Center has been a part of my family for over 25 years. I began as a city youth employee at age 16 in 1991 and have been with APC ever since! The center has provided me with a variety of trainings which have helped me to grow professionally and acquire much knowledge about working with children with special needs. In my time off, I enjoy playing many sports such as basketball, soccer, and bike riding. 

 

ANA ROSA SANCHEZ

I love working with young children. I have three children of my own, who I adore. My oldest child needed speech therapy and my youngest child has a hearing impairment. I understand the importance of advocating for children and understanding the challenges that parents sometimes face.

I became a teacher 24 years ago in order to better understand child development and to help my own children. I worked in Head Start preschool for 22 years as a teacher and site supervisor where I was responsible for maintaining the quality of the educational programs. I am a proud team member of the APC staff which I joined in May 2016. I have a Bachelor's degree in Child Development and Leadership and a Child Development Program Director Permit granted by the State of California. 

 

ESMERALDA AGUAYO

I am the Teacher Aid in Room 2. I have been working at Atwater Park Center since 2008. I obtained my Baccalaureate Associates Degree in Child Development and have had the opportunity to learn even more with the special trainings offered here at the center. I enjoy my time off playing basketball and going to Disneyland.

 

JEANETTE HIDALGO

I am a floater teacher which helps me learn about all the children in the center. I first came to APC in 2007. After graduating from High School, I attended the Central University of Ecuador where I majored in Psychology. After arriving to the United States, I enrolled in Glendale Community College where I obtained my Associate in Science Degree and my certificate in Child Development. I finished my program with academic honors for outstanding achievement.

Before working at APC, I worked as a baby sitter for five years. Then I became very involved in my children's education and I became the chair person of the Atwater Head Start Program as well as the secretary of the Policy Committee of the PACE Head Start. These positions helped me learn about the policies and procedures of the pre-school. I then worked as a teacher's assistant for a year and 11 years as a pre-school teacher in a Head Start program. Their trainings enhanced my knowledge in many aspects including child development and children with special needs.

I have been married for 26 years and live in Hollywood with my husband, three sons, daughter in law, and my grandchild, Leila. When I'm not at APC I enjoy reading books, watching TV and spending time with my family.

 

PEARL CORRALES

I am the Teacher's Aid in Room 1. I have been at APC since 2006. I received training in special education at East Los Angeles Occupational Center. Before that, I worked as a supervisor at a Plastic Company for over 26 years.

I have four sons and 10 grandsons and one granddaughter who I love very much. I enjoy going out for breakfast on the weekends with them. I also really enjoy going for long walks and to the movies with my husband.

 

OSCAR PENA

Assistant Teacher. I was initially employed at APC from 2004-2008 then returned in 2010 as a teacher's assistant. My wife and I have two year-old twins!

 

MARTHA RODRIGUEZ

Co-Teacher in Room 1. I first came to APC in 2007. I have Teacher's permit and am specialized in Child Development and have attended  different trainings on issues such as Mental Health, Nutrition, and Disability Rights. Before I came to work here I was a Headstart teacher for over 16 years. I have three children who now have their own children and when I'm not teaching I like to be in nature, discover new places and spend time with my grandchildren!

 

VIOLETA RODRIGUEZ

I have been the assistant teacher in Room 2 since 2008. I am currently pursuing my degree in Special Education at East Los Angeles College. I am very passionate about working with children of all developmental abilities. To know that I made a difference in the life of a child, even for a moment, is incredibly rewarding. When I'm not working at APC I enjoy doing all sorts of arts and craft projects and painting.

 
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OLGA HERNANDEZ

I am married with two lovely children. I first came to APC in 2005. Since that time, I have worked my way through school and have accomplished many personal and professional goals. I have obtained my Teaching Credentials as well as my Associates Degree in Child Development. I feel very fortunate to work here and have the support and flexibility to have so many opportunities to grow as a professional.

 

KIRSTEN MASSER

I have been the home visit teacher at APC since 2008. I received my Bachelor of the Arts in Liberal Studies from Cal State Northridge. After I graduated, I taught preschool for over 10 years. I have 3 beautiful daughters who are very involved in show choir. My mother and one of my brothers live nearby. The rest of my family lives in the Midwest, where I grew up. I enjoy being very involved with my girls and their activities as well as reading and going to the movies.

 

DIANE CHAVIRA

I am a home visit teacher. I work one on one with children and their families in their natural environment. I have been working at APC since 2007. I am currently attending college to further my education and working towards my Associates Degree in Child Development. I have my Associate Teacher Credential as well as an Infant Toddler Certificate and a Special Education Certificate. Outside of APC, I am very close to my family. My mother is my best friend; I have a brother, two wonderful children and two beautiful nieces whom I love dearly. When I'm not helping children and their families, I like to spend my time off reading at home, cooking with my mother and playing board games with my kids.

 
matthew kennedy

MATTHEW KENNEDY

Operations/Fiscal Director

I have worked at Atwater Park Center since June, 2013.  I have worked in non-profit early childhood education for the past 15 years. As part of the administrative team, I help with the day to day program & fiscal responsibilities, including Human Resources and facility management. I am very proud to be part of such a devoted and hard-working team.  The children and the teachers are always a great source of inspiration for me.