Cultural Family Advocates

Cultural Family Advocates

Cultural Family Advocates (CFA) support the Achievement and Integration Plan by working with culturally and ethnically diverse students, to increase and support over all participation and academic achievement. These staff members advise school staff in understanding the culture and expectations of diverse families, and serve as a liaison between the school district and diverse families in facilitating an understanding of school culture and expectations.

Learn more about our Cultural Family Advocates

Carita Green, Inclusion and Equity Coordinator
School locations: Districtwide

Professional focus: I assist with the coordination of AVID, magnet schools, the Achievement and Integration plan, Cultural Family Advocates, equity focused professional learning, the Equity Advisory Committee, elementary level academic acceleration and much more.

Personal note: I have worked for District 196 for 8 years. Prior to this role, I worked as a school counselor at Eastview High School. I currently have two children who attend one of our high schools.

Milca Dominguez, Cultural Family Advocate
School locations: All District 196 middle schools

Professional focus: I work to help students and families who need assistance navigating the school system. I also support school staff with understanding cultural and communication barriers of families. I am fluent in English and Spanish.

Personal note: I have worked for District 196 for 3 years. Prior to this role I worked as a Spanish legal services coordinator for the Volunteer Lawyers Network, where I assisted people with their family, immigration and civil law issues.

Jennifer Ernst, Cultural Family Advocate
School locations: Oak Ridge Elementary, Echo Park Elementary

Professional focus: I work to improve communication between diverse families and schools by providing information and education. I provide support to students by developing relationships that contribute to equitable education opportunities for all students. I have fun and enjoy watching children reach their highest potential.

Personal note: I grew up in the district and I graduated from Rosemount High School.  I have worked for the district for nine years.  I have a son in sixth grade at Black Hawk Middle School. Previously, I worked for several local non-profits where I supported families experiencing homelessness, high-risk preschool students, grade school children and homeless teenagers. I enjoy my role as a cultural family advocate because I get to meet students and families that live throughout our district.  I am excited to be a part of a ever-growing, diverse population.

Josefa Gaona-Pacheco, Cultural Family Advocate
School locations: Cedar Park Elementary, Echo Park Elementary and Oak Ridge Elementary

Personal note: I have worked for District 196 for 11 years. I am originally from Mexico where most my family still lives. I graduated from high school in Mexico and then came to the United States to study English and to complete my college degree. After college, I worked as a social worker and teacher assistant in Massachusetts. I also studied at Saint Mary’s University Twin Cities Campus where I obtained an education degree. I am a proud mother of one son who is currently working towards his Master’s degree in accounting in Massachusetts. 

Nimo Gedi, Cultural Family Advocate
School locations: Echo Park Elementary School of Leadership, Engineering & Technology

Professional focus: I have worked in the district for eight years as a cultural family advocate. In this role I find myself increasingly educating families, students, teachers, and administrators about not only school expectations and Somali culture, but about how to not let our differences get in the way of our goals. I am multi-cultural and trilingual, and I enjoy working in an environment that is reflective of the communities that I serve.

Personal note: I believe that the single most effective tool at our disposal for closing the achievement gap is empowering and engaging parents, as well as providing culturally responsive teaching.

Alix (Chance) Grande, Cultural Family Advocate
School locations: High schools

Professional focus: I primarily work with all high school level Latino students and families to help these learners reach academic success. I also work to guide our staff to work in a culturally proficient manner with our families.

Personal note: I am starting my fourth year with District 196.  I have previously worked in social work and public service after serving at a young age in the military. I was born in Panama and came to the United States as a teenager. My son attended District 196 and recently graduated from high school. I also have a second child in the district.

Jadee Jones, Cultural Family Advocate
School locations: Apple Valley High School, Valley Middle School, Scott Highlands Middle School

Professional focus: I work primarily with African American families and students. I aim to bridge the two way gap between families and the school system and culture. I am the point person for technology for the Inclusion and Equity Department, and I will be supporting staff training that is focused on the cultural proficiency framework.

Personal note: I grew up in Apple Valley. I am a graduate of Hopkins High School and I received my Bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State Mankato. I have worked as a cultural family advocate for 4 years. I am also the junior varsity basketball head coach and varsity assistant coach at Apple Valley High School. In addition, I am a proud husband and father of three children.

Patty Kaiser, Inclusion & Equity and English Language Learning Assistant
Location: District Office

Professional focus: I am the office support staff for Carita Green, the integration and equity coordinator, and Amy Denneson, the teaching and learning coordinator.  Among my responsibilities includes office support, maintaining a database for the budgets and ordering instructional supplies for all of the English Language Learning (ELL) teachers.

Personal note: I have worked for the district over 20 years. All three of my boys graduated from District 196.

Clara Montbriand, Cultural Family Advocate
School locations: Greenleaf Elementary, Pinewood Elementary

Professional focus: I work primarily with the Latino community. I started with the district as a full-time Interpreter-Translator and I joined the Inclusion Equity Department as a CFA shortly after I was hired. As an immigrant myself, I have a great passion for helping immigrant families adapt to a new life in the United States. I am committed to helping our students keep their heritage and home language alive and strong.

Personal note: I was born and raised in Mexico City, where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in marketing from Universidad del Valle de México. I have been married for 22 years to a District 196 science teacher and I have three teenage, biracial daughters.

Richard (Rick) Stanton, Cultural Family Advocate
School locations: Black Hawk Middle School, Rosemount Middle School, Dakota Hills Middle School, Eagan High School

Professional focus: My professional focus is to help move our district toward a path of the Cultural Proficiency Approach to help all learners and staff. 

Personal note: Prior to my role as a cultural family advocate, I worked as a special education paraprofessional for Rosemount Middle School and Transition Plus. I have 20 years of experience in education and working with young people. My career experiences span from working in juvenile detention and rehabilitation, community education, diversity and equity to teaching life skills to young people. Our learners are our future and I love working with all of them. In addition to being a CFA, I am a running back coach for Eagan High School’s varsity football team. I have a degree in diversity and community education from Metro State University, where I am currently working on my graduate degree, which is focused on educational leadership and administration. I am a proud father of three boys. I live by the motto, “Respect… Everyone… Everyday.”

Lisa Turgeon, Cultural Family Advocate/American Indian Education
School locations: I am available to work with students and staff district-wide. I primarily work with Rosemount Elementary, Rosemount Middle School, Rosemount High School, Eagan High School, Dakota Hills Middle School, Glacier Hills Elementary, Northview Elementary, Red Pine Elementary, Shannon Park Elementary and Woodland Elementary.

Professional focus: I work with Native American students and their families. I also work very closely with the Native American Parent Advisory Committee.

Personal note: I am a new staff member at District 196 this school year. For the past 7 years I worked for Bloomington Public Schools’ Indian Education Program. I am very excited to take the experience I gained during my time with Bloomington Public School to help create an impactful district program for our indigenous learners and their families. Please visit the American Indian Education web page to learn more about the program.

Kadra Warsame, Cultural Family Advocate
School locations: Cedar Park Elementary, Southview Elementary, Falcon Ridge Middle School

Professional focus: I work to bridge the cultural gap between school and families by assisting students and families to help them understand the school system. I host workshops for family nights and I provide resources. Also, I work with staff to teach and work-through cultural differences to help ensure that all students succeed.

Personal note: I have worked in the district for 9 years primarily at the elementary and middle school levels. I currently have two children, one in 12 grade and one in 9th grade, who are both attending a District 196 high school.

Jorja Valandra, Cultural Family Advocate
School locationsDeerwood Elementary, Echo Park Elementary, Greenleaf Elementary, Oak Ridge Elementary, Parkview Elementary, Southview Elementary, Black Hawk Middle School, Falcon Ridge Middle School, Valley Middle Middle School, Eastview High School, Apple Valley High School, Area Learning Center and the School of Environmental Studies

Professional focus: I work to connect students and families to their school community. I also provide education to our staff to help our staff members understand the unique needs of our diverse student population. 

Personal note: Before I worked for District 196, I worked in business and education. My favorite things to do are swimming in the river, eating Washington State fall apples and watching a track meet.