The following showcases our current Board of Directors. We pride ourselves in having a Board that will guide Professional Learning US as a Non-Profit in a direction that meets the needs of any participant and focuses on best practices for adult learning. We recognize that our Board of Directors will adapt and grow as the needs arise. We value their background, guidance, and commitment to PLUS.
Andrew Vega - Chairperson
Andrew Vega serves as a Senior Associate Partner on the Racial Equity Team at NewSchools Venture Fund. In his role, he supports a portfolio of leaders of color running early-stage education organizations through developing an applicant pipeline, designing communities of practice for learning, and providing direct coaching. Prior to joining NewSchools, he served as a high school principal with Alliance-College Ready Public Schools, leading the turnaround of a high school campus in South Los Angeles. Andrew began his career as Teach for America corps member in Los Angeles, teaching high school English with the ICEF Public Schools, before moving to Boston. He spent seven years with the Boston Public Schools as a middle school English and ESL teacher and principal of a special education inclusion elementary school. The son of a Mexican immigrant and migrant farmworker, Andrew’s passion for racial and educational equity is rooted in his family’s story. Andrew has served on advisory councils for the Achievement Network, The Boston Foundation, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in addition to participating in the Teach Plus Teaching Policy and America Achieves Fellowships. He holds a BA from UCLA and MA from Loyola Marymount University. Andrew is also an alumnus of the Lynch Leadership Academy at Boston College and the National Principal Academy Fellowship at the Relay Graduate School of Education.
A lifelong educator, Andrew’s philosophy of education stems from his subscription to Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development. He firmly believes all people learn best when they can independently explore both abstract and concrete phenomena with the appropriate tools to help them get there. These tools exist in schools and in life, whether it be a graphic organizer to support a student’s deconstruction of a math problem or a manager in a workspace providing work samples to a direct report to inform expectations for the final product. Andrew believes it is essential that students and adults alike are equipped with the supports they need to learn independently in order to make the learning fastest and at its most lucid. Even more-so, it is essential for the space to reflect on the learning–our ability to process the experience of using tools to learn makes for an even deeper understanding of the concept or skill.
Alex Batista - Vice-Chairperson
Alex Batista comes with years of professional experience, activism, and leadership on a global scale. Currently, Alex works for United Airlines as a Flight Attendant. In this role he is a mentor, trainer, and service provider to other colleagues, staff, and passengers. United Airlines has a mission to create an inclusive work environment, characterized by dignity and respect, that empowers every employee to serve the global marketplace and contribute to our success. Alex embodies their mission and makes impacts daily. Alex, professionally has also been an International Service Manager, where he has supported the growth of people and companies globally. His professional experience has taken him worldwide and supported his passion for cultural awareness, languages, diversity, equality, and supporting communities. He is driven and comes with a growth mindset to support all in their endeavors, and is an asset to the Board of Directors at PLUS.
Alex values learning by experience–through branching out and taking risks that inform how you might approach challenges or successes differently next time. He values relationships and perspective-taking in order to best inform how we navigate the world over time, increasing accountability to take ownership of our learning as we age. Having traveled all over the world, Alex also recognizes how the nuances of individual cultures inform how they learn and the experiences different countries offer toward the development of their citizens. The constant, however, is accountability. He believes all learners eventually must take ownership of how and what they learn and apply it accordingly.
Marco Velastegui - Treasurer
Marco Velastegui has over 15 years experience as a Human Resources professional in the public and private sectors. In his tenure he has overseen the full spectrum of HR responsibilities and competencies such as Recruiting, Staffing, Benefits Administration, Performance Management, Employee Recognition, Labor Relations, Change Management, Training & Development, Financial Supports, and Legal Compliance. His primary focus and the connective thread through all his work has been employee engagement and employee assistance. Marco has a proven track record of fostering internal growth and recognizing and developing in house talent. Marco’s approach to HR has always been “How do we turn HR into a resource for the Humans that work here, instead of viewing the humans as a resource for the work?” In 2015 Marco received both his Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute, and his Masters Certificate in HR Management and Development from Villanova University.
Marco’s philosophy of learning can be narrowed down to three simple points. First, Learning must be tailored to the learner. Great care must be taken to ensure that lessons and teachings are created and developed with the unique needs of the learner as the priority. Effort must be made to understand the student’s needs. Second, learning must lead to generalization, the ability to use skills the student has learned in new and different environments. Finally, Accessibility: Learning must meet the needs of multiple and varied populations. While some of these points may seem contradictory or divergent Marco believes that a successful organization is one that is able to balance and nurture these ideals.
Dianna Avery - Secretary
Dianna Avery has been an Administrative Assistant for 20 years in Education. Dianna started out with assisting administrators managing their daily scheduled events, preparing course materials, scheduling meetings, being a client liaison, assisting and supporting staff, and was a key to her administrators success. Dianna is currently managing over 12 administrators with a number that is continuously growing. This has included the adaptation of her role to embody new skills, training, onboarding, professional learning, and online course development and support. During the pandemic, Dianna took on the role of supporting staff with their ability to work remotely and has ensured everyone was successful in their positions. She knows that every day is a new day to learn more and professionally grow in my work life and in my personal life. Dianna also has vast experience in working with accessibility and access for all, as she has assisted both professionally and personally for those that need supports. She is an advocate for equal access and the rights of all. Dianna is an asset to the PLUS Board of Directors by bringing her numerous years of experience, attitude, support, and knowledge to the table.
Dianna believes that every day is a new day to learn more. Even the smallest newly learned details can greatly improve the overall experience. The key is making sure that you recognize the details and how they can impact your professional and personal growth.