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About Us

Board Members

Mi Escuelita’s volunteer Board of Directors is responsible for establishing the mission, goals and policies for Mi Escuelita, while ensuring that the school is well managed and financially responsible. 

To reach out to the current board members directly, email us at 


Nicole Zimmerman

Nicole joined the Mi Escuelita Board in 2021 and currently serves as President.  Her daughter Chloe is a Cometa and her daughter Emma graduated from Mi Escuelita in 2021. Nicole has worked at UNC Healthcare for the past 9 years as a physical therapist, clinical instructor, and mentor in the Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program. She is an advocate for her patients and connects those in need to resources in the community.  Nicole is passionate about  the immersive learning environment of Mi Escuelita and loves seeing the children of the school develop appreciation and respect for different cultures and languages. She is committed to her role in supporting the students, teachers, and parents of the Mi Escuelita family and helping the school flourish as a pillar of the community.


Robin Kusel
Vice President 

Robin joined the board in May 2022 and currently serves as Vice President. Robin has a son in Lunitas at Mi Escuelita and will have another son joining the Solecitos class in the fall. She works as a digital editor and content strategist and also has prior experience volunteering with various groups, including Girl Scouts of the USA and Back on My Feet, a national nonprofit that combats homelessness through the power of fitness, community support, and essential employment and housing resources. 


Mark Coupland

Mark is the current Board Treasurer and has had children at Mi Escuelita since 2017. Residing with his wife and 2 children in Chapel Hill, Mark is a senior executive at Dallas-based financial technology company GDS Link, and has over 20 years experience with capital markets, finance, financial risk management, and business development. Having managed financial analytics organizations as well as business development and sales teams, Mark has a wide range of experience contributing to the Mi Escuelita board and has assisted with committees surrounding fundraising, operations, teacher pay and more. Mark and his family love fostering community which is one of the reasons they are so passionate about Mi Escuelita. 


Andrew Ofstehage

Andrew joined the board in March 2022 and now serves as the Secretary. Andrew's son Henry is a Solecito and loves coming to Mi Escuelita to see all his friends. Prior to joining the board, Andrew had board experience as the chairman of the Wageningen Student Organisation, secretary-treasurer of the Culture & Agriculture section of the American Anthropology Association, Founder and President of South Dakota Students for Fair Trade, and President of the UNC Society of Anthropology Students. He is currently a program coordinator in the International Programs Department at NC State, but he's still a Tar Heel.


Heidi McNeilly

Heidi McNeilly joined the Board of Directors in December of 2020. Heidi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who worked for 9 years as a therapist and researcher of child development at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC. She is now employed by the Durham VA. Though she is not a native speaker of Spanish, Heidi has a degree in Spanish from the University of Miami in Florida and loves reading, singing, and speaking Spanish with her two young children.


Andrea Ortiz

The mother of 2 Mi Escuelita children, Andrea started serving on the board in 2021. Andrea is a native Ecuadorian that came to the United States in 2004. She was an Au Pair for 2 children and has since attended college locally, worked as a banker, and currently is a local Real Estate Broker in Charge for Movil Realty. She loves being part of the cultural exchange at Mi Escuelita, and seeing kids prepare to start Kindergarten with the advantage of multiple languages.


Derek Miller

Derek and his wife Jennifer joined the Mi Escuelita community in 2016. Since then, two of their children have graduated from ME and gone on to dual language programs in elementary school. Their youngest two children attend ME now, in Estrellitas and Solecitos. Derek works as a nurse educator and burn outreach & prevention specialist for UNC Hospitals. He joined the ME Board in September 2022.


Jeff Glick

Jeff joined the board of directors in November 2022. He has a son in the Solecitos classroom and another son who graduated from Cometas in 2022. He has professional experience as a software engineer, data scientist and US Army Officer. Previously, Jeff served on an advisory board for a non-profit that provides transitional housing for homeless families. Jeff and his family live in Chapel Hill. 


Gabrielle Torres

Gabi Torres joined the Board of Directors in April 2023. She is from Curacao with Venezuelan roots. Gabi does not have children at Mi Escuelita but is the proud mom of two daughters. Gabi is a behavior analyst who has worked with children and adolescents for almost 20 years in homes, schools, clinics and community settings. After owning her own therapy clinic for 10 years, she now focuses on mentoring, training, and supervising people pursuing their careers in behavior analysis. She also works as an organizational behavior management consultant for small-to-mid sized organizations, and enjoys volunteering on non-profit and professional boards. She previously served as the VP of Teachers for a cooperative preschool in Virginia. She is excited to join the Mi Escuelita board and hopes to use her experience to support the Mi Escuelita community. 


Lisbeth Hickey

Lisbeth Tengono Hickey joined the Mi Escuelita Board in April 2023. Lis is from Bogotá, Colombia. Her extended family immigrated to Brazil (25 members), and USA in Utah and North Carolina  (10 members) . Lis has not had children in Mi Escuelita, but is the proud mom of Valentina who resides in Charlotte. Lis and her husband Robert have resided in Pittsboro, NC  for 17 years. Lis was a Physical Therapist in Colombia and 1 year in Florida. When she moved to North Carolina she worked at Chatham County Schools for 10 years in the  Dual Language Program (k-5 Elementary School). She worked as Project Covid-19 coordinator for region 4 at El Centro Hispano for 1 year and at present she is working for El Centro Hispano as the Education Manager. Lis  collaborated  and committed with the community, working with children and families with diverse cultures and traditions. She understands and has compassion for marginalized populations, specifically for families, and women who have experienced poverty, trauma, and homelessness. She is committed to and understanding of the role education plays in breaking the cycle of poverty. Lisbeth is very sensitive to student’s past history and current circumstances while in elementary school, and most importantly, understands what is needed for their success.

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