Diana has a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Education and is currently pursuing a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She worked as a nanny, PreK teacher, and Kindergarten teacher. She lived in India with a local family to teach at an orphanage, then traveled with World Vision to Zimbabwe and Ecuador to learn about their child-focused programs. She is a member of NAEYC, Texas Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Far West Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy. Both her girls attend the First Presbyterian Preschool and Elementary. She believes every child deserves an education that encourages a lifelong love of learning, care for others, and an understanding of God’s love.
Alejandra is a proud mother of two and El Paso native. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Texas State University and has continued her studies to include holistic approaches to nutrition and mindfulness. For many years her profession was in wellness, teaching dance and yoga in Santa Monica, CA. Once she had her son, her interest in child development and education grew as he grew. She moved back to El Paso when he was two and searched for a preschool that focused on learning through play, included plenty of time outdoors, and felt like a home away from home. Instantly she fell in love with First Presbyterian Preschool and the Reggio Emilia approach. Seeing her child gain confidence and thrive motivated her to become more involved with the school. This will be Alejandra’s fifth year in the First Presbyterian school community and second year as a teacher. Her intention is to create a safe environment where each child can be their unique self, explore and learn at their own pace. An artist at heart, she never misses an opportunity to let the children get creative in the classroom. She is excited to nurture their interests and foster a love of learning while growing alongside them.
Mariana has been a homemaker for the past ten years, lovingly caring for her two children and creating an environment her family could thrive in. Formerly an elementary school teacher, her love for education led her to forge a new path as a volunteer. Mariana began her work as a volunteer at the El Paso Baby Café, which involved peer counseling and serving new mothers and their babies for six and a half years. More recently, Mariana became a Certified Texas Master Naturalist. Being a Texas Master Naturalist has helped her develop her passion for the outdoors, deepen her understanding of our local ecology, and to continue service within the community. As a Texas Master Naturalist volunteer, Mariana has been able to work with the public and organizations dedicated to conservation, outdoor education, and outreach efforts. Her hobbies include gardening, cooking, buying and selling vintage wares, cycling, mountain biking, and hiking.
Head of Pedagogy/Music Teacher
In addition to being the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Neal is a certified teacher in the State of Texas, has two decades of experience teaching in both public and private schools, and holds a Masters degree in Education from
Princeton Seminary. He is currently working on his PhD dissertation through the University of Aberdeen. He has been an avid, enthusiastic musician for over 37 years, beginning with piano in the third grade, marching band and choir during high school, French horn and handbells in college, and more recently guitar, ukulele, viola, bagpipes, accordion, harp, and several very obscure instruments (for fun, google: carnyx, theremin, pibgorn, hurdy-gurdy, jouhikko). For almost a decade, he has served as the Director of Music for Faithbridge Presbyterian Church in North Dallas. He has taught many children (including my own) to play guitar, drums, piano, and other instruments. He believes EVERY person has innate musical ability and a “soul instrument” just waiting to be learned and enjoyed. He can’t wait to get our “FPE Band” underway!
Natalie has lived in El Paso with her three daughters since 2011. While she was a stay at home mom, she was also a private math tutor. She re-entered the work force first as an in-class tutor at a public school, then a philosophy and mindfulness teacher in a restorative justice program called Shadows to Light, prior to teaching 3rd and 4th grade at First Presbyterian Elementary. She enjoys spending time with her family, nature, getting to know people, and having new experiences. She has enjoyed learning about the Reggio Emilia approach and participating in its implementation at the elementary level. She has degrees in math and systems engineering and is grateful for the opportunity to now learn and grow alongside the children and staff at First Presbyterian Elementary School.
Nico has been working on their Bachelors in Biomedical Biology at UTEP and has maintained a love for art that sparked in their youth. They started their journey here at First Presbyterian Elementary volunteering and aiding in organization of school events as well as helping students with their own personal art projects during the 2020 school year. Nico officially joined the FPE staff this year when given the opportunity to to teach our wonderful students. As per the Reggio-Emilia approach, Nico encourages the students to develop their creativity while guiding them so that they may gain confidence in their own style. Nico intends to let the students find and express their voice while exploring different art mediums such as acrylic paints, watercolor, tempura, and clay. Being an artist has been an important part of Nico’s life, and they are excited to continue watching the students flourish in their individualism.
Teaching Assistant/Theater Director
Michael is an El Paso native and is pursuing a Bachelors in Graphic Design Technologies from ASU. He has several years’ worth of management and customer service experience as well as a background in sculpting and woodworking. Michael has always loved bringing new knowledge to children and has been working with them since his early teenage years, teaching kids in El Paso as well as overseas in the Philippines and China. He believes in the Reggio Amelia approach and First Presbyterian Elementaries vision for child learning and looks forward to helping grow the FPE family.
Teaching Assistant/Theater Director