Meet Our Home Visitors

LEONA ZHAO

When did you begin working at DLEC? September 2014

Home Visiting Background:

I majored in Psychology that helps me understand people’s thoughts and behaviors.  It is helpful for me to build up a good relationship with children, parents and families. I majored in Special Education which taught me more skills in supporting child learning.

Passion, what do you love about your work? 

I love my job because it is meaningful to me. I think children are important to families and societies. They are the hope and future to human beings. I am happy to help them grow into healthy and great people. In addition, I can learn more and more knowledge on child development and child education in my position.

Karen Leed - Denise Louie Education Center

KAREN LEED

When did you begin working at DLEC? March 2016

Home Visiting Background:

I have served as a Home Visitor with the Early Head Start program for several years and previously worked as an au pair for three children. Throughout my time at Denise Louie I completed my AA and have begun working on my BA.

Passion, what do you love about your work? 

I have enjoyed my time at DLEC these past few years. It’s challenged me in ways I never expected, touched my heart in profound ways, and allowed me to build connections with so many people. I’ve acquired so much knowledge about the diverse community we serve and the resilience of those in vulnerable situations. Each day is about embracing the values of equity, dignity and respect to make a difference with and for other people.

Yesenia Martin Sebastian - Denise Louie Education Center

YESENIA MARTIN SEBASTIAN

When did you begin working at DLEC? August 2018

Home Visiting Background: 

I volunteered/worked in early childcare settings and elementary schools for 5 years before joining DLEC. 

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love the opportunity to work with both parents and children of DLEC.

Gaby Grajales - Denise Louie Education Center

GABY GRAJALES

When did you begin working at DLEC? May  2019

Home Visiting Background:  

I started my Home Visitor journey  back in 2016 as an Early Learning Specialist for a ParentChild+ program. Two years later I became a Home Visitor for Early Head Start, and have served families across King County.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

The main thing that motivates me is getting to meet and learn from families. I love learning from families about their background, their culture, beliefs and traditions. I also love learning about the many different experiences parents had growing up and their approach to parenting. Last but not least, I really enjoy playing with kids!

NAISHUO SUN

When did you begin working at DLEC? January 2022

Home Visiting Background:

I received my Masters in Social Work in 2016 and specialize in working with children, youth, and families. My home visiting experience originates from my group work with immigrant families and their children. Before starting with DLEC, I worked with a community agency which provided parenting services to immigrant families in New York City.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I really appreciate the opportunity to work with the community. I love hearing about all the great successes with our families, and I am excited to work with such a supportive team. And I really enjoy playing with kids!

Ava Frans

AVA FRANS

When did you begin working at DLEC? May 2022

Home Visiting Background:

My professional background has informed my work as a home visitor. My experience as a paraeducator allowed me to support middle school students in our special needs program. I also have experience working in Early Childhood Education as a preschool teacher. Currently, I am attending the University of Washington to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Ethnic, Gender, and Labor studies. 

Passion, what do you love about your work?

What I love about my work is that it provides me with the ability to make a positive impact on the families I serve every day. I get to witness the growth and journey of these families while supporting them along the way, which is what I value the most about being a home visitor. I am so appreciative of DLEC and the commitment they have made to support our community!

EYERUSALEM GEBREMEDHIN

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2022

Home Visiting Background:

I have previous professional experience working with the early childhood population. In my most recent role, I worked in a Montessori school supporting social, emotional, and developmental milestone needs of the children.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

It has been a passion of mine to support children and families in successes and challenges.  I’m very excited to work with Denise Louie families and start this new journey!

LESLY CRUZ

LESLY CRUZ

When did you begin working at DLEC? October 2021

Home Visiting Background:

My background includes mentoring, tutoring, and supervising groups of different ages. I earned my degree in social work, studying various branches of social work and how social services work. DLEC is an example of the types of nonprofit organizations that were included in my studies.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love that I am able to be a part of a great support system that empowers family and child relationships.

LUDMILA HLAVATY-LAPOSA

LUDMILA HLAVATY-LAPOSA

When did you begin working at DLEC? October, 2021

Home Visiting Background:

While I am new to home visiting, my background is in early childhood education and development. My experience originates from preschool and private care while working with children and families as a teacher and facilitator.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

Building and fostering lifelong connections with children and families which hold the foundations of communication, acceptance, and trust.

Kelley Jo Sims

KELLEY JO SIMS

When did you begin working at DLEC? October, 2021

Home Visiting Background:

I was a preschool teacher in Montana and Seattle for ten years after getting my elementary education degree. I joined DLEC because I wanted a new challenge where I could be out of a classroom, engaging more with the wider community, while still participating in early childhood education.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I have always been interested in getting to know people’s stories and being involved in families. As a daughter of two teachers, education has always been a large part of my life. I think that a quality early childhood education program will help children to realize their abilities and build their confidence to prepare them to become lifelong learners.

DANIELA RADLEY

DANIELA RADLEY

When did you begin working at DLEC? July 2022

Home Visiting Background:
During my time as a Psychology student, I was a volunteer for the SANAR Foundation. This foundation offers comprehensive support to children with cancer and their families. I supported the hospital accompaniment program, carrying out different types of activities with the children. When I finished my degree, I came to the United States to work as an Au Pair and after that as a nanny. These jobs again gave me the opportunity to learn and interact with children and their families.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

It has been a very satisfying experience working with the children and their families, learning from them, and helping them in their learning process. I am very excited to start this new chapter in my life as a Home Visitor and continue to learn from this community.

MEET OUR HOME VISITOR MENTOR COACHES

STEPHANIE LARA RODRIGUEZ

STEPHANIE LARA RODRIGUEZ, HOME VISITOR MENTOR COACH

When did you begin working at DLEC? February 2020

Home Visiting Background:

I was a Home Visitor for 3 years prior to starting with Denise Louie. I am currently in school to get my Associates of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education, and then will move on to get my BAS in Youth Development & Behavioral Science. I have worked as a Toddler classroom, and Preschool classroom teacher, and knew that I wanted to work with families and children during my time when I lived in Cochabamba, Bolivia volunteering in an orphanage there.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love the families that I work with! I love to hear their stories and work alongside them to best support them and their kiddos!

Tania Neal

TANIA NEAL, HOME VISITOR MENTOR COACH

When did you begin working at DLEC? May 2020

Home Visiting Background:

Before coming to Denise Louie I worked in the early childhood education field for 8 years. I was a preschool teacher for 6 years, I was a Spanish teacher at my last center. In college I did a lot of babysitting, then I realized I liked working with children and families of all different walks of life. That’s how I became interested in Early Childhood Education.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love working with families, to be someone they can count on and be on their team to feel and become successful. I love watching the families evolve with the resources and strategies we bring to their home. When the families set goals for themselves, and we work to accomplish their goal, the satisfying feeling of seeing how proud families are for accomplishing their goals, is such a proud moment.

MEET OUR HOME VISITING SUPPORT TEAM

SHANIQUA HARRIS, HOME VISITOR SUPERVISOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? February 2020

Home Visiting Background:

I started my journey in the Early Childhood Education field over ten years ago. I transitioned between child care sites and child development centers before landing my home visitor position. I am finishing my Masters in Leadership and Communications with the hopes of better facilitating conversations for home visiting teams. 

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love being able to give back to my community that I grew up in when I was younger. The excitement in the parents and child are always worthwhile to experience. I love that we create that glue between health, family services and child development within our agency and outside agencies. I hope to continue with this work for as long as we can!

GRACE BERNIER, HOME VISITOR SUPERVISOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? August 2019

Home Visiting Background:

I completed my BA in History and Early Childhood Education. My previous experiences include being a Mentor with UCLA, and work in community based organizations such as Santa Barbara Food Bank.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love being a part of the journey in a child’s learning.

Lindsey Kenny - Denise Louie Education Center

LINDSEY KENNY, CHILD DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2019

Home Visiting Background:

My experience with home visiting started in June 2019 with DLEC. Prior to that, I taught preschool for 10 years in Colorado. During that time there, I worked with kids from 6 weeks to 5 years old. I also have a B.A. in Elementary Education. 

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I enjoy seeing the progress made by the family and kiddos in the program. Even better when the family sees the progress on their own and sees the change. I also like to see the process of a child learning or those parent-child learning moments. Even if it’s something small, those moments of connection and seeing parents take the lead as their child’s first and most important teacher keep me connected to the work.

Jacqueline Gonzalez - Denise Louie Edcutaion Center

JACQELINE GONZALEZ, FAMILY COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP COORDINATOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? July 2016

Home Visiting Background:

My experience begins as a long-term nanny where I had the opportunity to interact with children and their families, and began partnering up with parents to create learning opportunities. I also worked at YouthCare as a Case Aid while I completed my BA in Psychology. When I graduated, I accepted a Home Visitor position to continue serving families. After two years as a Home Visitor and the completion of my CDA in Child Development, I was excited to accept the opportunity to become a Home Visitor Supervisor.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

As a Supervisor I appreciate learning all the different ways home visiting can support families, and how we can adapt services to better meet their needs. My goal is to be the best advocate for the families and Home Visitors I serve. I really enjoy my team.

Cate Sturtevant - Denise Louie Education Cente

CATE STURTEVANT, HEALTH SERVICES COORDINATOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? March 2020

Home Visiting Background:

Before joining the DLEC team, I worked as an elementary school teacher, a childbirth educator, and a birth doula. I have a Master of Public Health in Health Services (Maternal and Child Health) from the University of Washington.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love watching parents grow with their children as they build their confidence and parenting skills.

Megan Jimenez - Denise Louie Education Center

MEGAN JIMENEZ, HOME VISITOR SUPERVISOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? January 2017

Home Visiting Background: 

After teaching abroad, I felt it was important to not only work with children, but also with their families as the family is the main teacher in a child’s life. When I found the Home Visitor position, it seemed like a perfect fit. After being a Home Visitor for almost two years, I moved into the Home Visitor Supervisor position.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love being able to witness that moment when families get to see their child learn something new or become successful at something they have been working on together. It is such a pure moment of joy, wonder, awe and love. As a Supervisor, I appreciate the wonderful team of people I get to work with each day!

SARA STAMEY, SPECIAL NEEDS COORDINATOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? August 2017

Home Visiting Background:

I’ve been working with EHS since 2018.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

My favorite thing about my job has been getting to see the growth in our children and families. I love watching them learn new things, and start to grow into their own strengths!

SUAD IBRAHIM, HOME VISITOR SUPERVISOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2021

Home Visiting Background:

I used to be a Home Visitor at DLEC five years ago. I then worked at CTC  as an FRC ( family resources coordinator). I enjoy working with children 0-3!

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love supporting my HVs and hearing all the great success with the families they serve.

 

TRISTIN PENDERGRAST, ECE COACH

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2021

Home Visiting Background:

I previously worked in childcare and did home visiting with families as a Homebuilder’s Counselor, before returning to school and getting my Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I’m excited to be in a position where I get to collaborate with home visitors and work with them on their professional development. I love seeing their passion and dedication to best serve their families and am grateful that I get to be a part of helping them make meaningful connections and improve outcomes.

VIRGINIA WANJIRU, HEALTH ASSISTANT

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2022

Home Visiting Background:

My experience with home visiting is limited but growing each day. I received my B.S in Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a certificate in Women and Gender Studies. I worked predominantly in the healthcare field until I took a position with the Peace Corps in 2019. This position sparked a deeper interest in global/public health, and preventative education/rights-based awareness as a means of self-sufficiency. I remain curious and open to learning something new each day.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I enjoy working with an organization that aligns with my interest to strengthen interfamilial bonds and promote self-empowerment and self-advocacy. The family unit is the most integral microsystem in a child’s life; from conception, the first 1000 days of a child’s life set the foundation of how well the child will thrive through life, families need support systems. Denise Louie staff take the adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ personally and have supported families in our community for over 40 years to access resources and gain mobility. I am grateful to be part of this great organization.

MEET OUR TEAM CONSULTANTS

NICOLE DEFRANK, NURSE CONSULTANT

When did you begin working with DLEC? August 2016

Early Childhood Background:

I began working as a Child Care Health Consultant in 2005. I aim to support Teachers and Home Visitors in helping children develop healthy habits.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I am passionate about physical activity, breastfeeding, and handwashing. My favorite part of working with DLEC is visiting families after the birth of a baby.

KAREN SNOWDEN, MENTAL HEALTH CONSULTANT

When did you begin working at DLEC? September 2021

Home Visiting Background:

I began my role as a consultant for Denise Louie in 2021 as part of my ongoing work as an Infant and Early Childhood therapist at Navos. Prior to working clinically with children and families, I have spent time as a preschool teacher, an adoptions worker with DCYF, and a youth advocate at a domestic violence shelter. I have a Master’s degree in social work and a background in psychology and child development.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love being able to meet families where they are and to help strengthen the relationship between parents and children. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to witness the strengths and resiliency of so many families in the community, and I am passionate about providing early intervention and supportive services for families.