Charlotte Baer is a lifelong educator who has worked in many adult education settings, developed school curriculum, and taught at the university and high school levels. She first became involved in adult education in Boston where she worked with the Massachusetts State Department of Education, supporting ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners and creating curriculum frameworks to inform adult education standards. Charlotte came to D.C. as a consultant in 1998 and provided support to nonprofits offering adult education. Prior to Briya becoming a charter school, Charlotte monitored class structures and outcomes, visiting several times a year to check progress. She volunteers at two public gardens in the city.
Stuart Butler is originally from the UK and has over 40 years of experience in US public policy research, writing on health care, education, housing, and other social issues. Stuart served six years on the Mary’s Center board, including as board chair. He also serves on the board of the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, which seeks agreement among people and organizations that disagree about policy topics. Stuart holds a PhD in American history from St. Andrews University in Scotland.
Alejandra Sandoval is a Briya student in the Child Development Associate 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.
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.
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.
Brittany Pope serves as Economic Security Supervisor at Bread for the City, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC, which provides comprehensive services to DC residents living with low incomes, while also striving to help them develop power to determine the future of their own communities. She leads the Economic Security team, which focuses on coordinating, supporting, and advocating for guaranteed income projects and policy change. Prior to joining Bread for the City, Brittany was a Student Services Coordinator at Briya. This enriching experience inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in Social Work from Catholic University, with a concentration in Social Justice and Change. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Brittany believes in uplifting the residents of our city and striving for a just society for all.
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.
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.
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.
Jennifer Huang is a Finance Lead under the New Market Division for EdOps. With experience in financial reporting, internal control, budgeting and facilities accounting, she currently performs as an outsourced CFO for a portfolio of 5-8 schools across the national finance team client base. Prior to her current role, she had worked closely with Briya, as a Finance Specialist at EdOps, for almost 8 years. She holds a master degree in accountancy from George Washington University.
Dimelsa Zelaya is from El Salvador and came to the United States in 2002. She is a mother of three, Katerin (19), Alejandro (7), and Adam (3). Adam attends the pre-K class at Briya. Dimelsa started taking classes at Briya in 2017 to improve her English in order to become a US citizen and complete the NEDP program. She became a US citizen in December 2022 and in June 2023 she graduated from the NEDP program. Her plans for the future are to find a job, save money and go to college in order to become a social worker to help her community. Dimelsa has participated in different activities around the city representing Briya and she is also part of Briya Voices for All, a student advocacy group at Briya.