The Ensemble Learning Team

At Ensemble Learning, we’re educators, champions for equity, and change managers working in partnership with school communities to leverage all the resources and relationships necessary to make schools equitable for all learners.

At the heart of our brand are three aims that guide how we partner with schools:


Lead our partners, clients, and peers in adopting proven strategies and a more holistic approach for unlocking equity in education for all students, especially English Language Learners. We model smart and effective use of data in decision-making, without losing sight of people.


Differentiate ourselves from our peers and competition in the educational equity space by appealing to the practical needs of school and systems-level educational leaders, taking a human-centered approach to designing interventions, and providing thought leadership that shifts the dominant narrative around what’s possible.


We challenge and incentivize our partners and peers to let go of any constraining beliefs or fears that would hold them back from transforming their organization, their leadership, or their programs.

We’re a trusted steward, providing a clear, actionable roadmap that instructs, influences, and inspires everyone in our communities to work together to build stronger schools that achieve stellar results for every student.

Our mission is to strengthen educational environments so that multilingual learners have access to equitable opportunities to learn, contribute, and thrive.

Daniel Velasco, EdD


Daniel leads Ensemble Learning’s strategic vision to improve school quality and remove barriers for multilingual learners.  Daniel has an EdD in Leadership and Entrepreneurship in Education from Johns Hopkins University and an EdM in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Previously, Daniel served as the President of Latinos for Education where he scaled the organization from an annual budget of $250K and 3 employees to $9M and 30+ employees during his six year tenure.  He also served as an Executive Director and later Regional Director for the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University as well as Operations Director for Teach For America.  Daniel specializes in executive leadership in education, change management, and educator development. 

Daniel is a Pahara Institute Fellow, an Education Leaders of Color Member, and a Leadership Jacksonville Fellow.  He received a commendation for national service from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2016.

Rick Rodriguez, EdD

Senior Director, Development and Strategic Partnerships

Dr. Rick Rodriguez focuses on expanding Ensemble Learning’s reach, growth, and sustainability by cultivating necessary partners and funders to make education equitable for all multilingual learners.

He most recently served as the Managing Director of Programs & Alumni at Latinos for Education, where he led national program strategy, design, and implementation of efforts focused on expanding learning opportunities and leadership capacity for Latinos for Education’s network nationwide. Rick has also previously led efforts with Houston ISD, the largest district in Texas, where he launched multiple district-wide initiatives focused on building a “Grow Your Own” approach to diversifying teacher pipelines and ensuring the workforce best reflects students being served.

As a first-generation Mexicano Americano and multilingual learner, Rick acknowledges the challenges that our students face. Barriers to success have further fueled his mission to ensure that the work is laser-focused on removing such education barriers for others.

Rick is a graduate of United Way’s Project BluePrint, Leadership ISD’s Civic Voices Fellowship, and Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Leaders Institute, and the NM Changemakers Fellowship. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from Texas A&M University – San Antonio, an M.S. in Human Resource Development, and an Ed. D in Professional Leadership K-12 from the University of Houston.

Home is now New Mexico, and the mountains are calling!

Leigh Mingle, PhD

Senior Director, Strategic Operations

Leigh supports the staff with business operations and conducts research and data analysis for partner schools. Leigh holds a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Previously, Leigh served as a data scientist and researcher for a large school district and curriculum development company. Leigh specializes in understanding motivation in education, particularly in math and science.

Amanda Volz

Operations Manager

Amanda manages internal operations ensuring staff have the tools and resources to support our partners. Previously, Amanda served as a member of operations teams in R&D, community management, and curriculum development organizations with a focus on process development and management.

Katherine Hamilton 

Senior Director, Organizational Effectiveness

Katherine ensures that projects are executed well by planning meetings, establishing relationships with partners, and developing instructional content. Katherine holds a master’s degree in education from Stanford University. Previously, Katherine served charter management organizations, managing teacher development, curriculum, and English learner programs.

Kettisha Jones, EdD

Senior Director, Partner Success

Kettisha leads the principal coaches in the approach, design and implementation of coaching. Kettisha holds a doctorate in education from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Previously, Kettisha served as the assistant superintendent of elementary education at Pflugerville ISD and a principal for Houston ISD.

Sarah Molfese

Instructional Coach

Sarah is an Instructional Coach for the Los Angeles Area supporting educators with implementing multilingual learner programming, providing coaching, and delivering professional development. Previously, Sarah served as an Instructional Coach and Academic Program Manager at Aspire Public Schools where she supported teachers and leaders develop science programming and multilingual learner supports. She also has over 20 years of teaching experience in multiple states.

James Waller

Leadership Coach

James coaches principals in leadership and instruction. James holds a master’s degree in educational administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Previously, James served as vice president of secondary student achievement for the ICEF View Park family of schools and ICEF Inglewood Middle and as principal at Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School.

Eileen Salinas

Dual Language Instructional Coach

Eileen supports teachers as they implement dual language best practices. Eileen holds a master’s degree in special education from the University of Concordia, TX. Previously, Eileen served as district multilingual specialist for Austin ISD, district language arts specialist, and a dual language educator. Eileen specializes in supporting culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional students and dual language programming.

Janelly Garza, EdD

Dual Language Instructional Coach

Janelly supports teachers as they implement dual language best practices. Janelly holds a doctorate of education in English learning from Northcentral University. Previously, Janelly served as a K-12 bilingual/ESL strategist, dual language teacher and lecturer at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. Janelly specializes in second language acquisition for multilingual learners.

Aracely Suárez

Dual Language Instructional Coach

Aracely supports teachers as they implement dual language best practices. Aracely holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Previously, Aracely served as Director of Academic Programs and Instructional Fidelity for Del Valle ISD and Principal, Dual Language Instructional Coach, and Dual Language Teacher for Pflugerville ISD. Aracely is fluent in Spanish and specializes in the needs of emergent bilinguals.

Simmons Lettre

Board Chair

Simmons is an education consultant and advises organizations on creating and scaling effective programs to catalyze public K-12 education reform. Prior to launching her consulting work, Simmons co-founded and served as the CEO of Charter Board Partners (CBP), a national nonprofit dedicated to improving charter school board governance in ways that sustain effective schools. She is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow and holds a master’s in School Leadership from the Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College.

Pablo Mejia

Board Vice-Chair

Pablo is the Vice President of Program Innovation at IDEA Public Schools and leads individualized learning across all 61 schools, impacting over 33,000 students. Before joining IDEA, Pablo worked in the Weslaco Independent School District for ten years as a teacher, curriculum facilitator, and principal. Pablo started his career with Teach for America in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Texas Pan American.

Beth Hunkapiller

Beth is a former middle school educator and administrator. She is a 19-year member of the Board of Education of the San Carlos School District Board of Trustees. She was a founder of the San Carlos Charter Learning Center and the director of the Charter School Division for the state of California. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Oklahoma Baptist University and her master’s degree from the University of Southern California.

Hector Salazar

Hector is the Executive Director of Reading Partners. Considered a key advisor and subject matter expert on account management, brand visibility, and nonprofit leadership, Hector has established himself as a true bridge-builder in the movement for educational equity. As a fervent pacesetter for mission-driven organizations, his professional efforts have landed him extensive experience in partners alongside school eco-systems to impact change. He has over a decade of experience developing, managing, and implementing programs targeted at the advancement of underserved groups. Hector received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Oakland, California’s Holy Names University.

Maria Christina R. Heredia

Maria Heredia’s work focuses on creating, expanding and supporting innovative and effective educational opportunities for K-12 and college students. She has been actively involved with charter schools and education nonprofits in California for over twenty years. Maria works at High Tech High in the dual role of Chief Operations Officer and General Counsel. She leads a dedicated operations team and supports the HTH school leadership teams in a variety of areas, including establishing and growing operational systems, strategic planning, board engagement, authorizer and stakeholder relations, and the development of policies and practices reflective HTH culture and design principles. Maria previously served as Senior Vice President of Legal Advocacy and General Counsel to the California Charter Schools Association. At CCSA, Maria expanded advocacy efforts on behalf of California charter schools, while leading an action that significantly increased the facilities available to children attending charter schools in Los Angeles.

Constanza Lafuente

Constanza Lafuente works with the Carnegie Corporation’s education program, where she supports the Leadership and Teaching to Advance Learning portfolio. Lafuente has extensive experience working in elementary and early childhood education. Prior to joining the Corporation, she worked at Bank Street College of Education, where she coached and trained teachers and school leaders implementing New York City’s Pre-K for All. At Bank Street, she also coached and supervised a cohort of math facilitators for a randomized controlled trial of an early-math curricula implemented by the social policy research organization MDRC.

Beginning her studies in Buenos Aires, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science at the Universidad del Salvador and a master’s degree in nonprofit organizations at the Universidad de San JuanAndrés. She then earned a Master of Science in public policy in Latin America at the University of Oxford before going on to obtain her PhD in comparative and international education with a discipline focus in political science at Teachers College.

Angelica Leveroni Gomez

Angelica is a Senior Program Officer with Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies  where she supports the teacher preparation portfolio. 

Angelica began her career in education as a 2007 Teach For America corps member in the Rio Grande Valley, where she taught 5th grade bilingual reading. She then spent four years in Houston, working as a middle school reading teacher, grade-level chair, and assistant principal at YES Prep Public Schools, and an additional year as a Capital Commitment Fellow at DC Public Schools. Angelica also served as the school director for YES Prep’s credit recovery program in 2015, and as a literacy specialist at Teach For America’s summer training institute from 2012 to 2014. Angelica earned her bachelor’s degree in History and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan, and holds a Masters of Science in Public Health from Harvard University and an MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez brings over 30 years of experience advising and working with businesses of all scales and stages. Alongside three decades practicing law, he has served on the boards of numerous corporations experiencing cultural change, and is a founding member of the newly-formed ESG committee of the board of Liberty Global. He is a board member of Liberty Global and Liberty Latin America. He has also served on the boards of Starz, Lionsgate Films, and Discovery Communications.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of Hartford, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, and a L.LM. from Temple University School of Law.

Ensemble Learning, at scale and influence, fosters an environment where linguistic diversity is celebrated as a foundation of unity, understanding, and empowerment nationwide.

Partners and Funders

Together, we grow strong schools.