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 mama of two, El Paso native, and artist at heart with a love for nature. She graduated with a B.S. 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 children, her interests in child development and education grew as they grew. Instantly she fell in love with First Presbyterian Preschool and the Reggio Emilia philosophy as a preschool parent. Seeing her children thrive inspired her to become more involved with the school. Alejandra is excited to be part of First Presbyterian Elementary as a parent and assistant teacher.
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!
Pratima has a master’s degree in Indian languages and English Literature and at present, she is pursuing a MA in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Educational Technology. She worked as a primary school teacher and visiting lecturer in India, a bi-cultural instructor in Australia, an elementary school teacher in Japan. In the US she began to involve herself to cultivate her interest in being a volunteer, substitute teacher, and reading-math tutor in EPISD. She believes education is a lifelong process, it is a journey, and to be on the path to gain knowledge and earn life living experiences is itself a reward. She respects the individuality and uniqueness of every human being and believes that every child is special. She invites creativity inside and outside the classroom and encourages the quality to be aware of every moment of life that can lead a teacher and children to a distinct way to live and experience life.
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 4th and 5th 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.