Meet the Team!

Lucilla Dávila

Founder

Originally from San Juan Puerto Rico, Lucilla Dávila was raised bilingual in English & Spanish. She moved to Minnesota 25 years ago and has made Woodbury her home for the past nineteen years. Her two children currently attend Woodbury Public Schools.

With nearly 3 decades in the field of education, she has been a pioneer when it comes to creating, developing, and designing educational programs that address language acquisition, immersion/bilingual students, and all students’ academic needs and cultural-linguistic approach.

Lucilla holds her K-12 Superintendent Licensure from the Minnesota State University, Mankato, K-12 Principal Licensure from Saint Mary’s University, Twin Cities Campus and a Master of Education in Second Languages and Cultures & Spanish & ELL (K-12), from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and a Bachelors of Arts & Education from the University of Minnesota, College of Education.

Melissa Thaemert

School Director

Melissa is originally from Minnesota and has been in education for 24 years as an Elementary Teacher, Instructional Coach, and Administrator. Melissa currently lives in Bloomington with her family.

Melissa holds her Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership/K-12 Principal licensure from St. Thomas University, Master of Education in Professional Studies and Adult Learning from Capella University, and Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Concordia University St. Paul. Melissa has been an Elementary Administrator for the past nine years in the public and private sector.

At Alma Flor Ada Spanish Immersion Early Learning Academy, Melissa is the School Director and supports the day to day operations and management at AFA as well as supporting the needs of our families.

Juliana Capdevila

Parent Engagement Manager & Assistant Director

Juliana Capdevila is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

She moved to Woodbury, Minnesota 19 years ago with her husband and her two daughters.

Juliana has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and she has worked in the nonprofit sector, “empowering” Latino families, as well as in assisting and relocating of families moving to Minnesota from abroad. In addition, Juliana has worked for 3M in the area of business management for more than seven years.

As Alma Flor Ada’s Spanish Immersion Early Learning Academy Parent Engagement Manager, Juliana’s work is instrumental and is at the forefront collaborating with our AFA families and our committee at large.

Tamara Ramirez-Torres

Director of Culture, Language & Curriculum

Tamara has more than 40 years of experience in immersion education, beginning her career in Puerto Rico where she taught for over 2 decades before moving to Minnesota. She spent 13 years in the St. Paul and Minneapolis Public School Districts and has spent the past 5 years at El Colegio Charter School.

Throughout her career, she has taught all grades from pre-school to high school. She is a current board member of El Colegio serving her fourth year. She has served on the MTLE (Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination) review panel for the past 4 years. As the Director of Culture, Language & Curriculum at Alma Flor Ada, Tamara collaborates & supports an enriched cultural environment for all our learners.

Malenny Fernandez Calderon

Teacher

Malenny Fernandez Calderon is originally from Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. She moved to Minnesota in 2019 with her husband and 2 daughters. She currently lives in Woodbury. She has a bachelor’s degree and a Child Development Associate credential in Early Childhood (CDA). She has worked with children for the past three years.

Lina Angarita

Teacher

Lina Angarita is originally from Bucaramanga, Colombia. She moved to Minnesota in 2019 with her family. She currently lives in Woodbury. She has a bachelor’s degree in education and a Child Development Associate credential in Early Childhood (CDA). She has worked with children for the past 5 years.

Susana Zambrano

Teacher

Susana Zambrano has a bachelors degree in Pedagogía(Pedagogy) from the Instituto Michoacano de Ciencias de la Educación. In Mexico, she worked with children from the ages of 3 years old to 12 years old for 11 years. She has worked as the lead teacher with preschoolers in the past three years. She has lived in New Port, MN, with her family for the past few years. She is originally from Michoacan, Mexico.

Susana Zambrano

Maria Ines Cerra Castaner

Teacher

Mariaines Cerra Castaner is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She moved to Minnesota with her husband and 2 dogs in 2023. She has a bachelor’s in arts, a certificate of teaching English as a Second Language, and a master’s degree in Pre-school and Elementary school curriculum. She has worked with children for over 24 years.

Carolina Marquez Rivas

Teacher

Carolina Marques Rivas is originally from Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. She moved to Minnesota in 2016 with her husband and daughter. 

Carolina graduated from Instituto Universitario de Tecnología Pedro Emilio Coll with a bachelor of science degree in education. Carolina began her career as a Kindergarten teacher in Venezuela and has worked in education for over 16 years.

Carolina Marquez Rivas
Daniela pic website

Daniela Garcia

Teacher

Daniela Garcia is originally from Durango, Mexico. She moved to Minnesota with her family 10 years ago.

While visiting a preschool, she fell in love with the thought of being a teacher in early childhood education. Daniela obtained her Child Development Associate certificate and has taught for the past 3 years.

Support Staff

Lilian Aragon

Enjoys hiking, exercise, and crafts

Esmeralda pic website

Esmeralda Martinez

Enjoys spending time with her family and traveling

Sophia Yira

Enjoys playing the piano and cooking

Michel pic website

Michel Acevedo

Enjoys crocheting, walking around the lake, and spending time with her family

Maria Ines pic website

Maria Ines Manzo de Leon

Enjoys going to the movies and skincare

Damaris pic website

Damaris Cabrera

Enjoys reading, drawing, hiking, and playing video games

Yolanda Castaneda

Enjoys hiking, painting, and spending time with her family

Maria Rosaura Lozano

Enjoys reading , spending time with her family and cooking

Ana Consuelo Maldonado

Enjoys dancing, cooking, and Yoga