Maria Zapata 2015-12-15T20:56:07+00:00

Family Engagement Manager

Maria is never really sure about what to say when people ask her how long she’s been working for Conexión Américas. She started as a volunteer and intern before officially joining the team as the Family Engagement Manager.

Born in Colombia, Maria moved to New Jersey in 1999 and then to Nashville in 2014 to pursue her Masters of Education in Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies.

Coordinating the Parents as Partners {Padres Comprometidos} program, Maria helps parents to navigate the U.S. school system and advocate for their child, supports the amazing group of Latino parent facilitators, makes sure the kids in childcare aren’t using crayons as their mid-morning snack, and figures out just how many program materials she can carry without dropping the sugared breakfast bread.

Her role at Conexión Américas means justice to Maria. She feels like she is coming full circle and giving back for all the sacrifices her own parents made when they immigrated to give her educational opportunities.

Her parents offered endless support as best as they could, without knowing the school system. Helping other parents as they do that for their children feels very fulfilling to Maria.

She loves that at Conexión Américas she has found a place that values her culture, language and passion for educating and encouraging Latino parents to empower themselves, their children, and their community.

At home, Maria is able to eat a super-human amount of her mom’s empanadas, who makes them extra-small so that she can eat up to 15 at a time.