Our Staff2019-01-22T18:15:29+00:00

OUR STAFF

Albert VarasExecutive Director
Since arriving in Omaha ten years ago, Albert became a big fan of our work and saw something special in our mission, students, and supporters. In January 2017, he was prompted by his similar values and beliefs to become the next Executive Director. Before assuming his role as Executive Director, he helped develop cutting edge career programming at Avenue Scholars Foundation. With a Bachelor’s in History from Midland University, Albert’s education and experiences have allowed him to create invaluable partnerships on his mission to provide the community with the tools needed to not only survive but thrive in their new lives and careers. Albert’s passion – to create better conditions that allow people to leverage life changing opportunities through education and resource access – continues to bring innovation and shape the future of our organization. Constantly staying involved and giving of his time, Albert serves on the boards of the Douglas County Department of Health, the Omaha Public Schools Foundation and is a former board president and avid supporter of City Sprouts. During his free time, Albert can be found with a sow and watering can in hand tending to his garden, hiking throughout beautiful landscapes, and spending time with his beloved family.
Silvia VelezDirector of Operations
Silvia has fulfilled multiple roles and helped the South Omaha community at the Latino Center of the Midlands since January 2010. With a Bachelor’s in Accounting, her education and past experiences have allowed her to go from instructor to administrator. Before joining our team she was an office coordinator, but her interest in sharing her knowledge in computing with adults and members of our community who did not know how to operate a computer or surf the web led her to her first position at the Latino Center. She enjoyed helping community members become more self-sufficient and find better jobs, but now she is able to help every department in multiple ways. Silvia loves spending her free time reading a good book, traveling the country and world, listening to music, and working out.
Tyler Wilcox, CPAChief Financial Officer
Tyler has been managing finances and enabling growth at the Latino Center of the Midlands since December 2018. With a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, his education and past experiences with our organization have allowed him to create opportunities for our organization to grow and remain a constant resource in the community. Before joining our team, Tyler was a as a financial contractor at a local manufacturing company, but his passion for helping the small business community to grow led him to the Latino Center. Tyler hopes to help support the growth of LCM and all its stakeholders including its employees and the community it serves. He loves the mission of the organization, and he believes education is the foundation of growth and all our programs are focused in some way on that key element. Tyler considers himself an outdoors person. He spends most of his free time camping, fishing, and golfing during the spring and summer months, but he also enjoys working out at the local gym.
Emilia TamayoABE Program Director
Emilia has been helping create and enhance programming for our Adult Basic Education students since she joined our team in November of 2018 . With a Bachelor’s of the Arts in Communication Studies from Bellevue University and her five years of active duty service in the US Army and an additional five years as a DOD Contractor stationed in Iraq, her education and experience enable her work with our adult students and support them in overcoming the language barriers they may face. Before joining our team Emilia was a Manager of Transportation, Operations, Enrollment & Financial Services, but her love for the Latino community and passion for motivating and leading others towards achieving their goals led her to our organization. She enjoys being in and serving the community through innovative programming. During her free time, Emilia enjoys visiting car shows, gardening, listening to music, and rides on the four-wheeler.
Viridiana AlmanzaFCW Program Director
Viridiana was introduced to the Latino Center of the Midlands through her position as the coordinator/organizer for the DREAMers Project Coalition in 2013-2014. Her familiarity the Center, and her perspective that it is a place where everyone has a passion for helping others and where staff is full of energy and has innovative ideas led her to join our team in January 2019. Viridiana earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and she is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Before joining our team, she was a Bilingual Program Coordinator at Partnership 4 Kids, but she chose to pursue the opportunity at the Center because she hopes to support our families directly though our diverse programming and seeing how their lives transform in a positive way. Viridiana believes that the well-being of an individual is an area that is imperative for everyone and that can lead to so many positive results. She hopes to incorporate her passions of learning about indigenous peoples and advocating for immigrant rights into her current position on our team. During her free time, Viridiana enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and staying involved in the community. She currently stays involved by mentoring three young ladies whom she has mentored since 2015.
Carmen ChagollaP2S Senior Program Manager
Carmen has been working in the nonprofit world and wearing many hats at the Latino Center of the Midlands since February 2014. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from Creighton University, Carmen’s education, experiences, and passion for helping others become their best self, especially women led her to our organization. Carmen enjoys working with youth in our community because she enjoys seeing how the services we offer can make a difference in their lives and the lives of future generations. Before joining our team, she was a Bilingual Liaison for Omaha Public Schools, but her willingness to give back to her community led her to the Latino Center of the Midlands. Carmen’s free time is spent dancing, listening to music, watching movies, participating in community involvement activities, and spending time with her friends and family.
Sergio RodriguezOffice Manager
Sergio has been helping manage and enhance the internal operations of our team since November of 2018. With a Bachelor’s degree in Administration from the University of Havana, his education and experiences enable him to work directly with our team to create a welcoming and efficient environment. Before joining our team, Sergio was a self-employed project manage, but his admiration of the services and work our organization offers led him to pursue a position with us. He enjoys being able to create a supportive and helpful environment that will potentially impact those in the community. During his free time, Sergio enjoys spending time with his family, grabbing a good book to read, watching interesting television shows, playing PC games, playing dominoes, and enjoying the nice weather by eating outside.
Jim CunninghamESL Construction Apprenticeship Supervisor
Jim has been helping adults in the South Omaha community with the Latino Center of the Midlands since July 2017. With a Bachelor’s of Science from Creighton University and a Master’s of Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, his education and past involvement from 2010 to 2012 at the Latino Center have allowed him to wear many hats while he has been on our team. Before rejoining our team in 2017, Jim taught locally for forty years. After his retirement, his passion for teaching led him back the Center where he worked as an ESL Instructor before becoming the ESL Construction Apprenticeship Supervisor. His past experiences have allowed him to adjust his teaching style to the cultures, ages, and lives of the students in our community. Jim enjoys working with adults and seeing the progress they can make in a short amount of time. He spends his free time birding, setting up tee times for rounds of golf, staying active through exercise and hiking the trails.
Aida LamelasGED Instructor
Aida has been helping people and teaching them important skills needed for getting their GED at the Latino Center of the Midlands since November 2017. With a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism from the University of Havana, her education and past experiences have allowed her to successfully work with adults on their journey towards earning their GED. Before joining our team, Aida was new to the area and chose to join the team to help the community and build a community for herself. During her free time, Aida enjoys pursing her passions by reading and traveling, watching TV, playing dominos, and packing her outdoor gear for a nice camping trip.
Alejandra RodriguezESL Instructor
Alejandra has been helping adult learners in the South Omaha community with the Latino Center of the Midlands since the November 2018. Her passion for teaching others and connection to the community, led her to the Latino Center. Alejandra enjoys being able to teach others English as a Second Language because she understands the difficulty and dedication that is needed to overcome language barriers in the community. During her free time, she enjoys picking up a good book, dancing to music through Zumba or other methods, and exercising through others workouts.
Alejandro ChaconHealing Circulos Facilitator & Student Advocate at Marrs Middle School
Alejandro’s search to find a place that works as a team, does things with passion and heart, and goes above and beyond to help others led him to join the Latino Center of the Midlands in September 2017. With a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Spanish from Minnesota State University at Mankato, his education and prior experience as a student liaison has allowed him to build relationships with youth and families in our community. Our work has allowed Alejandro to follow his passion of seeing others happy and helping them become successful. Although he has a big heart, he loves competing and roughing it up on the rugby field. He also enjoys playing board games, reading, drawing, listening to music, and watching movies.
Candy Jimenez-CaballeroCommunications Assistant
Candy’s search for experiences that match her educational and career goals led her to the Latino Center of the Midlands in August 2017. With a Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work and a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies with a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, her education and initiative have allowed her to go from practicum student to member of the team throughout her time here. Candy’s versatility, creativity, and passion for helping others achieve overall wellness and empowering them to follow their dreams has helped her communicate with individuals in the community to bring new initiatives to the Latino Center of the Midlands. When Candy is not in the office, she likes finding nice spots to read, spending time outdoors, kicking around a soccer ball, and heading to the gym for a lift session.
Claudia M. Lopez E. GED Instructor
Claudia was a volunteer for the Latino Center of the Midlands for a few months before becoming a GED Instructor for our adult learners in January of 2017. She earned a Master’s of Science degree in Healthcare Management at the Caribbean International University-Willemstad Curacao at Antilles Island, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the National Experimental University Romulo Gallegos at San Juan de los Morros Guarico Vzla. She joined our team because she views the LCM as a place that offers opportunities to be involved in the Latino community as well as a place where individuals can grow and enhance their skills and knowledge at a professional level. She finds it encouraging when she is able to use her past skills to connect with her beneficiaries and those in search of orientation or guidance. Claudia enjoys helping run GED programs outside of the LCM because she finds it rewarding to help others grow and gain self-confidence. She appreciates the opportunity to build relationships with individuals whom she can relate with due to similar past experiences. During her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, photography, reading, traveling and exploring new places.
Diana RogelStudent Advocate at Ralston High School
Diana was brought onto the team at the Latino Center of the Midlands towards the end of 2018 to help with the expansion into Ralston High School of our Pathways to Success program. With a Bachelor’s of Arts in Latino & Latin American Studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, her education and past experiences with the community we serve have enabled her to work well with students and help advocate for them. Before joining our team, Diana was a Fiesta Patrias Event Coordinator. Her roles as a community advocate, Latino history and culture studies student, and community stakeholder, led her to the Center since she finds it imperative to work in support of Latinos. She proudly joined the LCM family because of its mission to to enhance the lives of youth and Latino families. During her time at the Center, she has learned that working with youth requires truth and unconditional love. As a mother of two beautiful children, she has learned youth need a supportive and positive learning environments. For that reason, Diana strives to work hard everyday so she can pave a bright future for her own family and families in the community. Due to her family-oriented outlook on life, Diana enjoys partnering with organizations that are family oriented and offer positive environments for families to grow. She engages her own family in community events, such as cultural festivals, health fairs, youth centered activities, and education oriented events. During her free time, Diana loves to read, watch documentaries, and play tennis.
Erik BatlleGED Instructor
Erik has helped students reach their goal of earning their GED at the Latino Center of the Midlands since October 2016. He graduated from the University of Havana in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. After he graduated, Erik became a biochemistry instructor at the Veterinarian College in Honduras. With years of teaching experience, he decided to move and teach in the United States. Erik chose to take a position with R.M. Marrs Middle School as a 7th grade science teacher, but he wanted to find a way to help the Latino community so he pursued our position as a GED instructor. Erik enjoys working with his adult students because they are eager to learn. During his free time, he enjoys bowling and watching and playing sports.
Itzel MarquezReceptionist
Itzel, a recent graduate from Omaha South High School, has been helping community members and our organization at the front desk since November of 2018. With a passion for helping others and making sure everyone feels listened to and included, she has been able to create relationships with community members and our team to create a welcoming and inclusive environment. Itzel joined the Latino Center of the Midlands team because she likes how our mission aims to help everyone in the community not just those who identify as Latino. During her time with us, she has enjoyed the interactions she has been able to have with each person who walks in or calls and the support of each member of our team. When she is not busy managing the reception, Itzel enjoys picking up a controller and playing video games, expressing her artistic side through drawing and painting, listening to music, cooking delicious meals, working out, hiking and discovering what the world has to offer.
Leticia CrismanFamily Strengthening Coach & Cara y Corazon Facilitator
Leticia has been helping build positive and healthy family relationships with the Latino Center of the Midlands since March 2013. With a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and an emphasis in Spanish as a Second Language, Leticia’s education and experiences have allowed her to connect with families through a shared culture and love for learning. She is passionate about the history of the Hispanic culture and is constantly learning from her students. Before joining our team, she was a Language Associate in Spanish for the Elkhorn School District, but her love for the Latino community and her culture led her to the Latino Center of the Midlands. Leticia loves to spend her free time reading, listening to music, and traveling to new and exciting places.
Lupe MarquezHealing Circulos Facilitator
Lupe has been challenging others ways of thinking, providing them with support, and teaching coping skills at the Latino Center of the Midlands since September 2015. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Chicano Studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Lupe’s education and passion to help youth succeed has opened the opportunity for her to become a role model and trusted adult for youth in Joven Noble. Before joining our team, she was a legal assistant at the Law Office of Sylvia Rodriguez, but her willingness to give back to her community led her to the Latino Center of the Midlands. When Lupe is not helping youth or giving back to our community, she enjoys painting, reading, and watching Netflix.
Magda BatizHealing Circulos Facilitator & Student Advocate at Omaha South High School
Magda has been helping youth in the South Omaha community with the Latino Center of the Midlands since August 2017. With a Bachelor’s degree in Library Studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, her education and past experiences have allowed her to successfully work with youth and support them during their high school careers through Joven Noble. Before joining our team, she was an Orientation Leader/Ambassador at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, but her interest in working for an organization with a history of serving the South Omaha community led her to the Latino Center of the Midlands. Magda spends her free time riding the trails on her bike, watching her favorite musical artists perform live concerts, and settling back with a good book to read.
Mahatma LargaespadaHealing Circulos Lead Facilitator & Student Advocate at Bellevue West High School
Mahatma loves working with youth and helping them become successful men and women with an identity and appreciation for their culture. With a passion to serve others, he has become a support system for youth who may not have anyone to rely on outside of family and feels honored to be able to work with all types of families regardless of race/ethnicity. Before joining our team in October of 2014, he was a paraprofessional/mathematics tutor for the ESL department at Omaha South High School. Mahatma said the Latino Center of the Midlands caught his attention after he noticed “the Center does not seeks praise from the world, but instead seeks to serve those who are underrepresented in our community.” Searching for a place to be part of something meaningful and important, he joined the team and found staff that inspire and encourage him through their self-sacrifice and similar passion to help others. During his free time, Mahatma enjoys spending time and playing with Loki – his dog, biking, playing guitar and bass, going to the movies, and expressing his creativity through painting, drawing, and finding awesome pens to use.
Maria RamseyLiteracy Instructor
Maria has been volunteering and helping the Latino Center of the Midlands accomplish our mission for many years, but became the literacy instructor in September 2017. With certifications and an associates in ESL and Art from Metropolitan Community College, her education and prior experiences with our organization have allowed her to help the Latino community directly and indirectly. She is passionate about helping others and enjoys when her students tell her that they appreciate and are happy with the way she teaches her class. During her free time, Maria enjoys dancing, cooking, oil painting, and picking up a tennis racket to play tennis.
Octavio SordoGED Instructor
Octavio has been teaching our community in multiple positions at the Latino Center of the Midlands since October of 2007. With a Master’s degree in World Languages and Bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Biology, his education and his passion for helping the community have made him a versatile instructor. Before joining our team, he taught locally, but Octavio’s family history encouraged him to join our team since his family members had worked for the Latino Center in the past. During his free time, Octavio enjoys sports and continuously learning by studying.
Rosana PerriFCW Lead Program Assistant
Rosana has been a constant figure at the Latino Center of the Midlands. Her strong belief in the mission and the Latino Center as an organization led her to join our team in August of 2007. Rosana has worn many hats within the Center and with her certification as a Commercial Secretary, she started off in our organization as the receptionist and is now the FCW Lead Program Assistant. Her constant dedication to her community and joyful spirit has enabled her to help a multitude of individuals throughout the Omaha Metro. Before joining our team she was a receptionist at a hotel and served as a secretary at an insurance office. Rosana loves working with the community the Center serves, and she is passionate about helping others and strives to find the best services for those who step in the door. During her free time, Rosana enjoys picking up a good book to read and taking time to meditate.
Yicel HernandezESL Instructor
Yicel es una de nuestras instructoras más jóvenes en el Latino Center of the Midlands, pero eso no le impide ayudar a nuestros estudiantes a superar las barreras del idioma enseñándoles inglés. She joined out team in May of 2018, and she currently attends the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language and Literature with a Spanish concentration and business minor. Before joining our team, she was an instructor at a daycare. Her passion for supporting others with their needs and helping our community led her to our organization because she views it as a great opportunity to connect with her community, especially the Hispanic/Latino individuals. Yicel finds joy in giving others the opportunity to advance in their lives because they have learned the English language. During her free time, she enjoys playing tennis matches, picking up a good book, and helping others through volunteerism.
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