Our Board

Headshot image of Daniela Grigioni

Daniela Grigioni, Chair

Executive Director at After-School All-Stars DC

BoardChair@briya.org

Daniela Grigioni began working in education as a second career in 1998. A physician by training, she came to the United States from Italy in 1990 with young family. The more she became involved in her three children’s education, the more she realized the importance of contributing to this field. Daniela worked over 20 years for DCPS, and two years at Briya, called Education Strengthens Families Public Charter School at that time. After 8 years at DCPS central office, managing partnerships in the afterschool and summer school space, she transitioned to her current job as Executive Director of After-School All-Stars DC, serving seven Title I schools with free afterschool programming. Daniela was born in Rome, Italy. She holds a medical degree and came to the United States with her family in 1990, living in DC since with her family.

Doris Garay

Doris Garay, Vice Chair

Family Engagement Facilitator/Social Worker

BoardViceChair@briya.org

Doris Garay is a Family Engagement Facilitator Social Worker III for the Department of Family Services in Fairfax, Virginia. Doris holds a degree in Multicultural Adult Education from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science in Infant and Family Education/Early Childhood from Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. She has over 20 years of experience working in education and social services in the metropolitan DC area. Doris is a former Briya staff member.

Headshot of Flor Buruca

Flor Buruca, Secretary

Briya student

Flor Buruca is a Briya student in the Two-Generation Program and a 2019 graduate of Briya’s Child Development Associate (CDA) Program. She is from El Salvador and came to the United States in 2005. Flor started taking classes at Briya in 2012, and since has progressed from the Basic 1 English class to the Advanced 1 English class. Flor’s husband, Cristian, is also a Briya student. She has two children who attend a public DC elementary school, where she has been an active parent and member of the PTO. She has also served as a member of Briya’s student council and as a Briya outreach ambassador, and participates in education advocacy with the DC parent organization PAVE. Flor plans to continue studying at Briya and hopes to work as an early childhood educator after earning her CDA credential. She has served as a Briya board member since 2018.

Nishit (Nick) Sheth, Treasurer

Business Manager at Subsystem Technologies, supporting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Nishit Sheth currently holds a Business Manager position with Subsystem Technologies, a Virginia-based firm that provides engineering and management services to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Nishit supports the Surveillance Services group within FAA’s Air Traffic Systems Directorate to help implement the next generation of national airspace capabilities, including future airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS-X) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B, a precise satellite-based surveillance system). Originally from India, Nishit moved to the US in 2006. Nishit received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from University of Maryland. As the son of an active social worker, Nishit followed his mother’s footsteps by serving as a Briya Finance Committee member before becoming a Full Board member in 2016.

Bill Bletzinger

Retired

Bill Bletzinger comes to the Briya board with over forty years of professional experience with nonprofit management in the areas of finance, fundraising, membership database management, sales, marketing, and public relations, including twenty years in arts administration and association management, eight years in health care, and fifteen in education. In the twenty-three years professional experience in support of immigrant populations, Bill spent eight years of those years as the CFO of Mary’s Center for Maternal and Childcare and was original incorporator, board member, and spent the past ten and half years as Director of Finance and Administration of Briya Public Charter School. He retired December 31, 2019.

With a BFA in Drama as a Directing Major from Carnegie Mellon University and a MFA in Theatre Administration with a finance focus from the Yale School of Drama, Bill has a lifelong interest in theatre and drama and is currently studying the history of Elizabethan stage at home on his own. He also has an MPH from George Washington University in Community Oriented Primary Care and continues to advocate for immigrants health and well being through financial contributions and political activity.

Thomas Gerkin

Compliance Manager, Whitman-Walker Health

Thomas Gerkin is Compliance Manager at Whitman-Walker Health, a community-based health center in Washington, DC, with a special expertise in LGBTQ and HIV care. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, Thomas was Administration and Assessment Coordinator (and unofficial birthday cake baker) at Briya. He has been a member of the Briya Board since 2020 and serves on the Development Committee. Originally from Indiana, Thomas moved to DC in 2011. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in healthcare ethics from Duquesne University.

Headshot of Judy Mortrude

Judy Mortrude

Senior Technical Advisor, World Education, Inc.

Judy has more than 30 years’ experience developing, delivering, and evaluating workforce education aimed at low-literacy and high-barrier adults.   Judy is a Senior Technical Advisor for World Education, Inc where she directs the LINCS Professional Development Center and will continue supporting state efforts to scale and sustain integrated education and training and assist states in meeting the state leadership requirements set forth in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Section 223.  She has been a classroom teacher, school administrator, and state agency staff.  Her most recent job was as Senior Policy Analyst and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). Prior to that, Judy co-designed and directed the Minnesota FastTRAC integrated education and training program for the Minnesota Department of Education and Economic Development.

Headshot of Alejandra Sandoval

Alejandra Sandoval

Briya student

Alejandra Sandoval is a Briya student in the Advanced 1 English class. She is from Mexico and came to the United States in 2003 without speaking English or knowing anyone except her husband. Alejandra first began studying at Briya in 2011. She has three children, the youngest of whom is currently part of Briya’s toddler class. At Bancroft Elementary School, where her older children attend, Alejandra is a member of the parent-teacher organization and Local School Advisory Team, attends weekly parent coffee events, and has led fundraising initiatives. She also participates in education advocacy with the DC parent organization PAVE. Alejandra plans to continue improving her English and hopes to attend college in the future. She has served as a Briya board member since 2018.

Ji Sung Yang

Corporate Services Senior Analyst, Inter-American Development Bank
In her current role, Ji Sung assists and advises the Deputy Secretary of the Inter-American Development Bank. She has experience in communication and stakeholder engagement, and works on the coordination and preparation of institutional events. Prior to her career in multilateral development banks, Ji spent several years working in the shipping industry as Manager of a small Korean consulting firm for international P&I Clubs, where she oversaw cases from the firm’s Seoul office. (As a Korean who grew up in the warm tropics of Costa Rica, the move to Korea proved to be a great opportunity for her to learn more about the Korean culture and get to know her relatives.) Ji was a Brent Scowcroft Fellow at the Aspen Strategy Group and also worked as a political analyst at the Korean Embassy in Washington. She graduated from the Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University where she majored in regional comparative studies, and continued her studies at Johns Hopkins University where she obtained her master of arts in communication.

Cara Sklar

Deputy Director, Early & Elementary Education Policy at New America

Cara Sklar is deputy director of Early & Elementary Education Policy for New America. She leads a team working on new ideas for improving children’s birth through third grade learning experiences. Prior to joining New America, Sklar gained education policy experience working at the federal, state, and local levels. She was a federal policy analyst for Zero to Three, an education research analyst for the District of Columbia Government, and the director of research and policy for Briya. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Brenda Martinez

Private Deal Analyst, Amazon
Brenda Martinez is currently a Private Deal Analyst for Amazon. In her current role, she performs contract reviews, pulls relevant data and performs analysis for leaders on her team using QuickSight. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Catholic University in Business Management. While she was still a student at Catholic, she worked summer and during the semester at Briya as an Administrative Assistant and upon graduation became a Finance and Business Administrator.