Meet the Team!

Lucilla Dávila


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.

Thisbeth Sulsona Vallejo


Thisbeth Sulsona Vallejo is originally from Puerto Rico. She moved to MN in 2017 with her four kids and husband, who was transferred to the Minnesota Air Force Reserve Base.

Thisbeth attended the Pontifical Catholic University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. Thisbeth began her career as a preschool and elementary teacher and has worked in elementary education for over 16 years.

Dailys Garcia Puertas


Dailys Garcia Puertas is originally from Trinidad, Cuba. She moved to Minnesota in 2017 and currently lives in Burnsville.

She has a bachelor’s degree and a Child Development Associate credential in Early Childhood. She has worked with Pre-k children for the past three years.

Susana Zambrano


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

Patricia Scofield


Patricia Scofield is originally from el Estado de Guanajuato, Mexico. She married in 2007 and moved to Cottage Grove, Minnesota with her husband.

In 2009 Patricia began working with PreK and school age children. Patricia has been in education for 12 years and has earned a Child Development Associate in Early Childhood Education.

Carolina Marquez Rivas


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


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

Mariel Lopez-Ocotoxtle

Mariana Parada

Sophia Yira

Esmeralda pic website

Esmeralda Martinez

Michel pic website

Michel Acevedo

Maria Ines pic website

Maria Ines Manzo de Leon

Damaris pic website

Damaris Cabrera