Local Team


Meet our incredibly hard-working team members!

Amy Porter
Amy is Yspaniola's Executive Director. Amy holds an MSc in Globalisation and Latin American Development from the University of London, UK, and a Bachelor's degree in Modern Languages. Having conducted her Master's thesis research in the Dominican Republic in 2012, Amy was pleased to have the opportunity to return in 2017, bringing with her great energy and a fundraising passion to support Yspaniola's team. Amy originally joined Yspaniola as Director of Development before becoming Executive Director. Previously, Amy spent 18 months working with two NGOs which support indigenous Mayan communities in rural Guatemala. She also has four years experience with UK human rights organizations as a fundraiser and campaigner.

Julio Louis
A former graduate of our University Scholars Program, Julio now serves as Yspaniola's Director of Operations in charge of Experiential Learning and University Scholars Program. Julio graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the Technological University of Santiago (UTESA) with a degree in Tourism and Hotel Business Administration. He started working with Yspaniola in 2005 for a cultural exchange program with American students. In 2013, Julio finished a course of study in pedagogy at the American Language Partnership International Institute of English language teaching; he has since taught English in several schools throughout the Dominican Republic. Julio has been a facilitator of Service Learning programs for the CIEE Council in International Education Exchange, a study abroad program operating worldwide. He also has worked for The DREAM Project’s A Ganar program as a counselor and professor of vocational skills in the areas of Customer Service and Mathematics. In 2016, Julio founded Innobatey, a technical training and youth development program for adolescents living in batey contexts.

Alejandra Garcia
Alejandra Garcia is Yspaniola’s Academic Director. She has experience designing educational programs, teaching, and working as a facilitator in informal contexts for underprivileged communities. She has a strong passion for education and loves learning and teaching innovative educational strategies with her team of teachers at Yspaniola. She is from Caracas, Venezuela and has a Bachelor's Degree in Pedagogical Sciences from the University Católica Andrés Bello. She also specialized in Computer Education at the University of Simón Bolívar and has a Master’s in Social Community Work from the University of Puerto Rico.


Mirian Rodríguez
Mirian Rodríguez is Yspaniola’s Administrative Assistant. Born and raised in Batey Libertad, she is also currently studying Accounting at UTESA. In her course she is covering subjects such as: the basics of accounting, human resources, IT, customer service, and more. She has previous professional experience as an administrative assistant but is excited for this new role as it allows her to support her community directly.


Daniel Luis Joseph
Daniel Luis Joseph is a Junior Teacher in Yspaniola’s Learning Center. Daniel recently graduated from High School at el Liceo Vespertino Maizal, topping his class and earning the title ‘Estudiante de Máxima Excelencia’. With more than 3 years collaborating with Yspaniola on his résumé, Daniel hopes to pursue a career in child psychology and elementary education. This year he is taking a break from working at the Learning Center because he has been chosen as one of our USP scholars and is commencing his university studies.

Marisela Peña Marte
Marisela Peña Marte is currently serving as a full-time teacher in the Learning Center. Marisela is from Batey Libertad and holds a degree in education from La Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago. Prior to working in the Learning Center, Marisela was the Food Program Coordinator for the Learning Center's Food Program's pilot phase. With an intimate knowledge of the batey and a background in education and program coordination, Marisela brings essential experience and expertise to the Learning Center team.

Leidy Rodríguez
Leidy Rodríguez is our Preschool teacher. A native of Maizal, she is also currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education at La Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago (UTESA) in Mao. Leidy brings valuable knowledge and experience to the Yspaniola team.

Mayra Rodríguez
Mayra Rodriguez is currently serving as a full-time teacher in the Learning Center. Mayra, who is a recent graduate of our University Scholars Program, earned a degree in Natural Sciences Education from the Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago (UTESA) in Santiago. Mayra has been a part of Yspaniola’s programming for several years, helping students and supporting teachers in the classrooms.
Wilson Sentimo
Wilson Sentimo is currently serving as doorman in Yspaniola’s Learning Center. Wilson is from Batey Libertad and in addition to working in the Learning Center, he is a volunteer on the Youth Committee and a consistent volunteer in Yspaniola’s Summer Camp Program. Since he was young, Wilson has enjoyed showing visitors around Batey Libertad, sharing stories about the community and the changes that the batey has seen over time.

Maria Sosa
A mother of three, Toutouta began working as a Food Program Assistant in September 2017 and greatly enjoys the opportunity to interact with children in a school-based setting. She has many high hopes for the children of Batey Libertad: “I hope that they grow up to have a good future, good education, and good health.” Toutouta also supports Yspaniola as a Host Mom, welcoming students and volunteers into her home and making them feel at ease throughout their stay. In her free time, Toutouta enjoys sitting outside her house with friends and talking over a nice cup of coffee.

Local Volunteers
Yspaniola works closely with a committee of young adults from Batey Libertad to help plan and run service-learning trips. The volunteer committee also helps with outreach in the community related to the Learning Center, parent and community member inclusion, documentation, and more. The committee is crucial in achieving cross-cultural learning with our service-learning trip participants, and represents Yspaniola's efforts to facilitate the education and leadership of marginalized youth so that they can act within and advocate for their communities.
Princeton in Latin America Fellows and Interns
Yspaniola partners with Princeton in Latin America, a non-profit organization that places recent college graduates interested in international development and education with non-profits across Latin America. In addition, Yspaniola also hires talented interns to further strengthen the organization’s team and aid with specific tasks. Fellows and interns support Yspaniola’s local programs and contribute to media development, grant writing, and community outreach projects.