Mary has served on the board of the Gargiulo Education Center since 2017 and was named its Executive Director in January, 2018. She has an extensive history in philanthropy. As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at Rockefeller University in New York City, she developed the foundation’s structure from the ground up, raising millions of research dollars as well as pro bono media dollars. She has sat on the board of and/or advised several foundations, including The Intrepid Museum, Fisher House Foundation, Michael Stern Parkinson’s Foundation, Fallen Heroes Funds, and Hanover Charities. Mary currently serves on the board of the Montessori Academy of Naples. As a successful entrepreneur, she owns a patent-holding company, Master Poe Innovations, and has an extensive history in the entertainment and fashion worlds. In her spare time, she works with Alzheimer’s patients.
BRENDA A. MARTINEZ
She was born in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, but grew up in Texas and at age 10 moved to Florida. After graduating high school, she got married at age of 18 and started working for GEC a year later. She stopped working for over 10 years to be with her kids and resumed worker at GEC as a part time worker to spend more time with her kids. How did she hear about the school?
“By the time I moved to Gargiulo complex, I saw the little school and I asked myself when will my kids attend? Mrs. Pamela was the director when my oldest daughter started school and that’s when she started going to Little School. GEC is a big help to all migrant families including mine; It’s a total blessing to be part of this program. I can say we are beyond blessed to be able to say my kiddos attend La Escuelita (“The Little School” in Spanish). I have 3 kids and they attend little school”.
Middle School and High School
Diane taught in New York City for 35 years, mostly students in grades K-8, teaching all subjects. She holds a masters degree in Special Education from Northeastern University with a specialization in Reading. Diane also completed 30 credits above her Masters, focusing on analyzing student data and differentiation of instruction in conjunction with Behavior Management Strategies to foster a positive and successful learning environment. In addition, Diane is certified in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, Sonday, and Wilson; both Multisensory approaches to teaching and has trained educators in these specialized techniques. Among her varied teaching assignments, she served as a mentor teacher to new teachers, taught state test preparation classes, and taught physical education/nutrition for 4 years. In her free time, Diane loves to run, and has completed 17 marathons and hundreds of half-marathons. For ten years, she coached boys and girls in track and field. She has one daughter who lives in New York. Diane brings compassion and understanding of student needs both academically and socially to the Garguilo Education Center.
Kathy has been teaching students from kindergarten through high school for over 30 years. She works primarily with the high-school students at the Gargiulo Education Center. After graduating from the University of Iowa, she obtained her master’s degree in special education at the University of Nebraska. She taught in Iowa for 17 years and has been teaching in Florida for the past 20, including 16 years at Barron Collier High School in the Collier County School District.
She is currently teaching English/reading but is also certified in Exceptional Student Education and social sciences, with endorsements in gifted education and English Language Learning.
Kathy has raised five wonderful children that are all in various stages of their chosen careers.
4th and 5th Grade Teacher
Jacqueline is an Educational Services Consultant with CORE. Jacqueline is a highly experienced math and reading specialist. She holds a Master’s degree in Education and a Curriculum and Supervisor certification from Seton Hall University, and is certified in Brain Based Learning. Ms. Colaneri has extensive experience as a classroom teacher, supervisor of curriculum and instruction, and is a national presenter. She was employed as a classroom teacher and curriculum supervisor in New Jersey schools for 34 years. For the last ten years Jacqueline has worked nationally as a consultant collaborating with district administrators and teachers to identify instructional needs, and to develop and deliver professional development to address areas of concern, including providing extensive classroom coaching. She assisted with the design, review, and delivery of workshops via train-the-trainer formats and district-level presentations in five states. As a Math and ELA content specialist, Ms. Colaneri has conducted professional development sessions to build administrator and teacher capacity in all areas of K-8 instruction and assessment. Her experience includes analysis of student data to assist in guiding classroom instruction, modeling lessons, facilitating curriculum writing committees, and supporting implementation of RTI. As a grades 4/5 teacher at Gargiulo Education Center, Jacqueline is devoted to addressing student needs, maximizing learning, and fostering a positive learning community.
2nd and 3rd Grade Teacher
Susan came to GEC in 2014 after retirement from a teaching career of over forty years. As a teacher of second and third graders at the Center she continues to delight in the challenge of each new afternoon with the students. Seeing them grow and change from kindergarten through high school has been a fulfilling experience. In her leisure time Mrs. Shelly enjoys walking, swimming, cooking, gardening, church activities, and time with her family.
Middle School/High School Mathematics & Science Teacher
Lin began teaching at GEC in 2019 following a three-decade career in secondary and post-secondary education, research, and consulting. She served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and was a 2015 Fulbright Scholar teaching in Slovenia. Lin co-edited two books, and has nearly one hundred professional publications and international presentations in the areas of mobile and elearning, instructional technology, and education policy. Prior career chapters included consulting to improve education and training programs for corporations, non-profits, and educational institutions; program administration and staff development to build educators’ capacity in data-driven instruction and technology-enhanced learning; and teaching secondary science and mathematics. Lin holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Development from the University of South Alabama, an M.A. in Instructional Systems Development from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and a B.S. in Secondary Education for Biology and General Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She holds teaching certifications in multiple states including Maryland Advanced Professional Certificates in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science, Mathematics, and Administration. At Gargiulo Education Center, Lin works primarily with middle and high school students teaching mathematics and science, but also enjoys enriching the learning experience through art and technology.
1st and 2nd Grade Teacher
Shelley studied and received her Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from the University of Delaware. She pursued a Master’s in Cardiac Rehab at San Diego State University until relocation and starting a family cut her endeavors short. Shelley has three children Jordan, Caroline and Jack. She was very involved in their schools as a substitute teacher, room parent and parent reading programs. Shelley participated in years of Vacation Bible Study, Community Bible Study for Homeschool children, taught junior high youth and confirmation classes and attended a mission trip to Zambia for Family Legacy where she sponsors several children. She volunteered every week for 5 years at Stonebridge Food Pantry in The Woodlands, TX. The pantry, an outreach of Shelley’s church, served the underprivileged in the community by providing food, clothing, school supplies, and Christmas gifts. Shelley has a heart for kids and a passion and enthusiasm for making learning fun. She began at Gargiulo as a volunteer in April.
Kindergarten and 1st Grade Teacher
Wayne is a seasoned former high school art, photo and TV production teacher who has worked over the years with students K-12. In addition to working with students here at the Gargiulo Education Center, Wayne has written a novel, a short play, and a full-length screenplay. He loves working with the children and considers it a stimulating challenge and privilege.
A new resident of Naples, Kim has been teaching both elementary and secondary education for the past 34 years in her home state of West Virginia. A cum laude graduate of WVU with a BS in Vocational Home Economics 7-12 and a MA+45 in Specific Learning Disabilities K-12 with additional endorsements in Behavior Disorders and Mild/Mod Mental Impairment, Kim has received Highly Qualified Status in the areas of English, Science, Social Studies and Mathematics and has taught in the Resource setting as well as Inclusion in the regular classroom environment. Selected as Community Teacher of the Year, she has served as a Mentor Teacher for new hires, State Dept. Teacher/Trainer of Special Education Initiatives, and recognized as a WV State Education Best Practices recipient for the “Algebra for All” program developed along with the Math Dept. Chair and duplicated across the state. She has taught Teacher Academy courses in summer programs, provided after school tutoring in her local community, and served as Scholarship Chairman for the WCEA. She is the mother of two daughters and is extremely happy to have the opportunity to be able to live near her first grandchild here in Naples, FL.
Jennine Fuentes has been teaching music and performing throughout South Florida throughout the past 15 years. She earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Florida International University in 2007 and her Master’s Degree, shortly after, from the American College of Education. She taught in general music and has been the choral director in schools throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties ranging from pre-school to high school. While she has been a cantor at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church and Saint Agnes Catholic Church for the last 8 years, she now holds the position of Artistic Director at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Naples, FL. With Saint Johns, she has performed in Italy and Ireland. Jennine is thrilled to be teaching music once a week to the youth at the Gargiulo Education Center.