Families In Schools was created in 2000 to focus on family engagement as a critical component of school reform and improved student outcomes, in particular for students from low-income families and communities of color. Consequently, we provide programs and professional development that cultivates authentic parent engagement by building the skills, knowledge and confidence of both parents and staff on how to work together.
The Role of the Training Consultant: The Training Consultant serves Families In Schools by providing exceptional training support and customer service to our clients who include school and district-based teachers, parent liaisons and administrators, as well as other school and community-based organizational (CBO) staff.
Danielle C. Lara
Danielle C. Lara, MSW is a Leadership Coach and Team Development Consultant helping individuals and nonprofit organizations recognize and leverage their strengths, in order to become better leaders and stewards of their mission.
Having a previous career in biotechnology management, Danielle designed and implemented quality assurance measures to improve efficiency for a fast-growing biotech company, while cultivating a positive workplace environment alongside her team.
She continued to refine her skills in leadership and team development while serving as president for an on-campus student group at the University of Southern California (USC), where she recruited executive board leadership and promoted events and activities to increase membership by 20%. Additionally, she has served as a consultant for various nonprofits, including the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and University of Southern California, in order to improve operations, fundraising, marketing, facilitation and training.
Through a holistic lens and a growth mindset, she is committed to equity and inclusion and conducts her work in a way that ethically promotes and elevates underrepresented and historically silenced individuals, groups and communities. She is guided by the following core values in work and in life: Equity, Service, Leadership, Justice, and Liberation.
Danielle has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California.
Joe Smith’s life experience allows for a unique approach to understanding people, cultures, and the demographics that impact education. A husband and father of five, Joe Smith is best known as LineBackerDAD. Joe aims to engage schools, districts, parents, and stakeholders with the highest passion and integrity. Joe places a unique emphasis on intentionally engaging fathers and father figures. It is Joe’s humility and great skill to effectively engage, train, and inspire stakeholders and communities, expanding how parent engagement is practiced.
Lucy G. Muñiz
My name is Luzelena (Lucy) G. Muñiz I was born and raised in the Coachella Valley. I attended UC Santa Barbara earned my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Spanish. I continued on to the University of Southern California to earn my Master in Social Work. I currently reside in Indio; a place I have always home. After attending college and beginning my career in the Los Angeles area, I made the decision to return home and serve the community where I grew up. I am currently employed full-time as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker within the medical field helping individuals with chronic illness.
I was blessed with mentors and family support in pursuing higher education and my goal is to assist parents and students identify their own support system. As an employee of FIS, I am able to share my own experiences and provide students and parents with skills and traits they can use daily to achieve success. I have been with FIS as a part-time employee for 8 years in an array of different roles: college workshop facilitator, coordinator for community engagement campaigns, facilitator for parent and student focus groups in assessing the needs of their schools, and as a professional development trainer for schools districts and community-based organizations. I have enjoyed every one of those roles as I am able to connect with individuals that share a common goal of wanting lifelong success for students. I am able to observe the level of commitment from different capacities; parents, teachers, counselors, principals, and mentors. As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the emotional component of having support from parents and community to help the students achieve their goals.
Martha Castillo is a first-gen maverick turned edupreneur. Her mission is to equip students and leaders with the tools necessary to close the equity gap in education. As a former special education teacher and college readiness counselor for the most underserved students in The Bronx, NY, and Los Angeles, CA she is aware of the challenges first-gen students face when transitioning
to college and has dedicated her career to helping underserved students receive the guidance and resources necessary to successfully achieve their educational goals. Martha earned her bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of La Verne and her M.S. E.d in education from The City College of New York. As a first-generation college student, diagnosed with a learning disability while attending community college, she is familiar with the challenges
first-generation students face when transitioning to college. Martha has dedicated her career to helping underserved students receive the guidance and resources necessary to successfully achieve their educational goals. By continuously building relationships with fellow educators and members of the community she strives to provide the best tools and practices available to help students and leaders thrive.
Nasario Vasquez Jr.
Nasario Vasquez Jr. is a Program Coordinator for a TRIO-Talent Search project at California State University, Dominguez Hills serving middle & high school students learn the ins and outs of the college admissions process and support their family attaining an understanding of the importance of creating a college-going culture at home, serving the communities of South Central Los Angeles, Watts, and the South Bay.
Additionally, Nasario has been involved with Families in Schools for over 3 years and was the recipient of the Excellence in Parent Engagement Award from FIS in 2018. He now serves as a Trainer and Facilitator for the organization.
Nasario is also pursuing a master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles, in Latin American Studies. He obtained a B.A. from CSULA in Spanish in 2019, after transferring from community colleges. He is also a father of two kids and is navigating pre-school with his eldest son.