Orlando D. Morales, Esq., President
Orlando D. Morales, Esq. is an attorney duly admitted to practice law in New York State specializing in transactional real estate law with over 12 years of experience. He currently manages the Law Offices of Morales & Associates, P.C., a law firm representing lending institutions, purchasers and sellers of real property, cooperatives and condominiums throughout all five boroughs of New York City and Long Island. In addition, Mr. Morales is an Adjunct Professor for the Department of Puerto Rican & Latino Studies at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He obtained his Bachelors Degree in U.S. & Latin American History from State University of New York at Albany and his Juris Doctorate from St. John’s University School of Law. In 2012, Mr. Morales joined the Board of Directors of The Friends of Thirteen, Inc./WNET/PBS. He is very active in the Puerto Rican/Latin@ community as a Board Member of El Instituto de Puerto Rico, the oldest Puerto Rican civic organization in New York City and a member of the Friends of Puerto Rico Initiative at the United Nations.
Maribel Cordero-Garcia, Secretary
Maribel Cordero-Garcia is currently the Coordinator of the Student Assistance and Referral office at Brooklyn College. She has extensive experience in New York City’s Department of Education as a former classroom teacher in Bushwick and the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Prior to becoming a teacher Ms. Cordero-Garcia earned a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies at SUNY Albany. She also earned a Master’s of Science for Teachers at Pace University as a member of The New York City Teaching Fellows Program.
Mostly Ms. Cordero-Garcia joined the Dr. Pantoja Board as part of creating consciousness and opportunities for young Latinas like her two daughters Leila and Liliana.
Francis K. Rivera, Board Member, Chair of the Technology Committee
Francis K. Rivera is a graduate of CUNY's Hunter College with a degree in Communication Studies. Throughout his professional career Francis has been involved in start-ups and multinational corporations performing technology, communications and strategic roles. Francis provides input, guidance and maintenance of DAPFs technological outreach. Francis is available and willing to assist, mentor and discuss technology with interested DAPF candidates. He is currently a Digital Strategist at an influential Strategic Communications agency.
Jose Eduardo Vazquez, Board Member, Chair of the Scholarship Committee
José Eduardo Vázquez Bonano is the Chairperson of the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship Scholarship Committee. He was born in Puerto Rico and currently resides in New York City.
José is a multi-disciplinary artist and professional licensed hair stylist. He attained a Bachelor’s Degree at Brooklyn College with a double major in Art & Puerto Rican/Latino Studies. Jose participated in the College’s SEEK program, made Dean’s List, graduated Cum Laude and was inducted in the Golden Key International Honors Society and Chi Alpha Epsilon Honors Society.
In addition, José attained an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Photography from Kingsborough Community College (KCC). He graduated with honors and was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi.
Jose is an active fine artist and has shown at various galleries including at an Art Exhibition that benefited AIDS International.
Digna Sánchez, Founding President
Digna Sánchez is Assistant Commissioner/EEO Officer for the NYC Department for the Aging. She has over 35 years of experience in the social service/education/not-for-profit arena. Ms. Sánchez’s varied experience has included award winning work in the development and launch of “Sesame Street A is for Asthma” while Vice President for Community Educational Services at Children’s Television Workshop during the 1990’s.
She has been involved in the development of many organizations and efforts that have served the needs of children and families. In 1963 while a junior in High School, she joined Aspira, which had been founded in 1961, and was headed by Antonia Pantoja. Ms. Sánchez was a founding Board Member of the following organizations: MADRE, an international women’s solidarity and humanitarian aid organization in 1983, the Hispanic AIDS Forum in 1985, and the Violence Intervention Program in1989. She has a BA in Sociology and a Masters in Urban Affairs from Hunter College. She is the proud mother of Belisa Alvarez, a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico who resides in San Juan.
Dr. Wilhelmina Perry, MSW, PhD
Melinda Vélez is Chief of Staff for City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Crecensio Morales is a Bilingual School Counselor at Long Beach High School in Long Island. He is a longtime activist and advocate for equity and access in higher education. Mr. Morales has delivered presentations on education issues affecting Latino youth to federal and state legislators, college presidents, and New York City principals and community organizations. He has served as faculty advisor of the ASPIRA club at Long Beach High School in Long Island for 18 years. Mr. Morales has held the following positions: ASPIRA Deputy Director for Programs, Director of Student Support Services at CCNY, and Boricua College Admissions Representative.
He holds a BA from Brooklyn College, a M.S.Ed. from Bank Street College of Education, and New York State and City Departments of Education certifications and licenses in School Counseling and Bilingual School Counseling. Mr. Morales is a Brooklyn native of Puerto Rican heritage and a Vietnam veteran.
Jeanette Martinez, LCSW, is a New York State licensed clinical social worker who currently works for the New York City Department of Education. Ms. Martinez possesses over twenty years of diverse work experience in the fields of education, mental health, community relations and administration maintaining a cross systems perspective and a central focus on education throughout.