A physician by training, Daniela Grigioni began working in education as a second career after involvement with her children’s schooling raised her interest in contributing to the field. Daniela worked over 20 years for DCPS, and two years at Briya. After 8 years at DCPS central office, managing partnerships in the afterschool and summer school space, she transitioned to her current job as Executive Director of After-School All-Stars DC, serving seven Title I schools with free afterschool programming. Daniela was born in Rome, Italy. She holds a medical degree and came to the United States with her family in 1990, living in D.C. with her family.
Doris Garay is a Family Engagement Facilitator/Social Worker III for the Department of Family Services in Fairfax, Virginia. Doris holds a degree in Multicultural Adult Education from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science in Infant and Family Education/Early Childhood from Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. She has over 20 years of experience working in education and social services in the metropolitan D.C. area. Doris is a former Briya staff member.
Flor Buruca is an Advanced 1 English student at Briya and a 2019 graduate of Briya’s Child Development Associate (CDA) Program. She is from El Salvador and came to the United States in 2005. Flor’s family embodies two-generation education: her husband, Cristian, is also a Briya student and their two children attend a DCPS elementary school, where Flor is an active parent and member of the PTO. She has also served as a member of Briya’s student council and as a Briya outreach ambassador and participates in education advocacy with the DC parent organization PAVE. Flor plans to continue studying at Briya and hopes to work as an early childhood educator.
Nishit Sheth is a Business Manager at Subsystem Technologies, a Virginia-based firm that provides engineering and management services to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Nishit supports the Surveillance Services group within FAA’s Air Traffic Systems Directorate to help implement the next generation of national airspace capabilities, including future airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS-X) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B, a precise satellite-based surveillance system). Originally from India, Nishit moved to the US in 2006. Nishit received a B.S. in Economics from the University of Maryland.
Bill Bletzinger has over 40 years of nonprofit management experience in arts administration, health care, and education, with an emphasis on supporting immigrant populations. Bill’s career included serving as CFO of Mary’s Center and, most recently, as Director of Finance for Briya until his retirement in 2019. With a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA in Theatre Administration from the Yale School of Drama, Bill continues his lifelong interest in theater by studying the history of the Elizabethan stage. Bill also has an MPH in Community-Oriented Primary Care from George Washington University and is a committed advocate for immigrants’ health and well-being.
Thomas Gerkin is Compliance Manager at Whitman-Walker Health, a community-based health center in Washington, D.C., with special expertise in LGBTQ and HIV care. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, Thomas was Administration and Assessment Coordinator (and unofficial birthday cake baker) at Briya. He has been a member of the Briya Board since 2020 and serves on the Development Committee. Originally from Indiana, Thomas moved to D.C. in 2011. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in healthcare ethics from Duquesne University.
Brenda Martinez is currently a Private Deal Analyst for Amazon. In her current role, she performs contract reviews, pulls relevant data and performs analysis for leaders on her team using QuickSight. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Catholic University in Business Management. While she was still a student at Catholic, she worked during the summer and the semester at Briya as an Administrative Assistant and upon graduation became a Finance and Business Administrator.
Judy has over 30 years of experience developing, delivering and evaluating workforce education aimed at low-literacy and high-barrier adults. Today, at World Education, Inc, she directs the LINCS Professional Development Center and supports state efforts to scale and sustain integrated education and training and meet state leadership requirements in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Judy’s professional roles include classroom teacher, school administrator, state agency staff, senior policy analyst, and, most recently, work with the Minnesota Dept of Education and Economic Development where she co-designed and directed their FastTRAC education and training program.
Alejandra Sandoval is a Briya student in the Advanced 2 English class. She is from Mexico and came to the United States in 2003 without speaking English or knowing anyone except her husband. Alejandra first began studying at Briya in 2011. She has three children, two of whom previously attended Briya with her. At Bancroft Elementary School, where her children currently attend, Alejandra is a member of the Local School Advisory Team and active in the PTO, parent coffee events, and fundraising initiatives. She also participates in education advocacy with the DC parent organization PAVE. With improved English skills, Alejandra hopes to attend college in the future.
Cara Sklar is deputy director of Early & Elementary Education Policy for New America. She leads a team working on new ideas for improving children’s birth through third-grade learning experiences. Prior to joining New America, Sklar gained education policy experience working at the federal, state, and local levels. She was a federal policy analyst for Zero to Three, an education research analyst for the District of Columbia Government, and the director of research and policy for Briya. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Ji Sung assists and advises the Deputy Secretary of the Inter-American Development Bank. She has experience in communication and stakeholder engagement and works on the coordination and preparation of institutional events. Prior to her career in multilateral development banks, Ji worked in the shipping industry as a manager of a small Korean consulting firm for international P&I Clubs. Ji was a Brent Scowcroft Fellow at the Aspen Strategy Group and also worked as a political analyst at the Korean Embassy in Washington. She holds a degree from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree in communication from Johns Hopkins University.