Meet The Team
Founder & President
Isabel was born in Ecuador. She has four children and two grandchildren. She has lived in Contra Costa County for the past thirty-seven years and is proud of her roots as well as being a Contra Costa resident.
Isabel has worked and volunteered across many systems and organizations, including the school system. Isabel retired from Mt. Diablo Unified School District in 2021 after nineteen years of service. For twelve years as a Child Welfare and Attendance Liaison, she became intimately aware and involved with families’ personal challenges to succeed within the school system. Isabel, through her passion “to serve” and from her own immigrant experience, saw the pattern of immigrant families struggling to connect across school sites, particularly for Spanish-speaking. She created opportunities for parent involvement, increased knowledge of school protocols, and empowerment.
As a community liaison for the Mt. Diablo School District, she had opportunities to learn and experience the school system across various school sites. From a District level, she had the capacity and resources to collaborate across Mt. Diablo’s large school district and was able to amplify her role by connecting families with the services they needed. She has always continued to develop ways to bridge the gaps to meet the needs of individuals and immigrant families. It is with this commitment and heart that led her to create a non-profit named GANAS Community Organization to keep serving her beloved immigrant community and other disadvantage communities.
Rosa L. Armendáriz is the Dean of Student Equity and Engagement at Diablo Valley College (DVC). Her career has focused on improving educational outcomes for students and social and racial justice issues in California by working in private philanthropy, non-profits and colleges/universities. Before coming to DVC, Rosa was a Faculty member in Education at Los Medanos College (LMC). Over the ten years at LMC, she served in various leadership roles including Director for two Title V Hispanic-Serving Institutions Grants from 2006-2015. She previously served as the Executive Director of the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) in Oakland. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the California Rural Legal
Dr. Judy Castro
Dr. Judy Castro is the Associate Vice President, Partnership Development and the Hispanic Serving Institution Grant Project Director at Pacific Oaks College. She co-wrote the Hispanic Serving Institution grant obtaining a 2.5 million dollar award from the Department of Education in 2020. The grant will support Undergraduate students attain their degrees through a variety of student services: dedicated bi-lingual staff, a lending library for books, computer devices, academic advising and more.
Her consulting business, JCastro Consulting focuses on Leadership development, customized in-house training which include Diversity Strategic Planning, Communication, Project Management to name a few.
With over twenty-five years of leading organizational teams to achieve their strategic objectives, Dr. Castro’s core competencies include leadership development, project planning, team building, and conflict resolution. Dr. Castro has help organizations, domestic and international, come to understand that leadership can also be developed by strengthening the connection between, and alignment of, the efforts of individual leaders and the systems through which they influence organizational operations.
Dr. Ruth Fernandez
Dr. Ruth Fernández immigrated to the US from El Salvador when she was 17 years old with her two siblings and parents. As a newcomer, she attended high school in San Francisco and attended the San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA). After high school, she attended the University of California at Berkeley where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Economies of Industrialized Societies. In 2019, she earned her Doctorate degree from Mills College of Oakland in Educational Leadership, with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. She also has a Master’s Degree in Leadership from St. Mary’s College of California.
Ruth’s professional background includes over 20 years of experience working with diverse stakeholders in public education, philanthropy, and the human services and policy sectors. She is proud of her cultural heritage and her immigrant experience in the US. This for her is a source of inspiration to give back to the Latino community and fuels her passion for community work with immigrant communities; especially first generation high school and college students seeking to make their dreams a reality.
Currently, Dr. Fernández is the Executive Director at First 5 Contra Costa where she combines her knowledge and experience working to advance integration and coordination of early childhood services. Prior to her role at First 5 Contra Costa, Ruth worked at the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) for over 12 years managing and coordinating countywide early childhood educational services for child care providers, preschool teachers, and administrators.
As Contra Costa residents since 1997, Ruth and her husband live in Concord and are proud contributors to the County’s human services sector helping communities most in need.
Kathy was born to Puerto Rican parents in NYC where she was raised. She started her professional career as an accountant and worked as a CPA both in public and private practice.
After 12 years in accounting, she went back to school and got her teaching credential, where she found her passion and purpose. She worked for Mt. Diablo Unified School District for 25 years and retired in June, 2020.
Kathy has been married to Jim for 35 years and has two adult children, Cory and Danielle, who live close by. She feels honored to be of service to the GANAS Community Organization.
T'Nesia "TJ" Hurley
T’Nesia “TJ” Hurley professional career spans 24 years in public education. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended public schools in Oakland and Los Altos. I realized early in life that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children. I attended UC Berkeley upon graduating from High School where I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology. I attended the University of San Francisco for my Master of Arts degree and credential certifications. My professional experience includes serving as an Elementary Teacher, Elementary Principal and Director of Elementary Educational Services in several Bay Area school districts. I currently serve as the Chief Business Officer/ Assistant Superintendent for Business for a rural school district in Northern California. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, hiking, gardening and reading.
Jonathan Roselin has been a strong advocate for providing essential services for Latino students and families for many years. He recently retired after serving 36 years with the Mt. Diablo Unified School district. He taught students with special needs for 15 years and was an administrator for 21 years including being the Vice Principal for Concord High School, Principal at Pleasant Hill Middle and Riverview Middle Schools, Administrator for Equity and Disproportionality and Assistant Director of Student Services and College & Career and Adult Education. Jonathan possesses a Juris Doctorate and is a member of the California Bar Association.