Meet the Navigators Connecting Healthcare and Education

Our team brings years of experience in teaching, instructional leadership, special education, and family support.

Here at EdNavigator, 2023 was a year of Big Changes. We wound down our longstanding employer partnerships, and moved entirely to working with pediatric healthcare providers to reach communities most in need of education support. Today, we’re connecting with families in Boston, Oakland, and Washington, D.C. through referrals from their pediatricians.

When a healthcare provider identifies a family facing a challenge related to school enrollment, the special education process, or accessing other in-school support services for their child, they’ll refer the family to our team. The family doesn’t have to do anything except answer the phone: a Navigator will call them directly, communicating in the family’s primary language (our team is fluent in Spanish, and will use interpretation services as needed to support other languages). Navigators ask questions, listen to the family’s concerns, and work with the family to make a plan for how we can help.

Today, we wanted to introduce you to the people behind the navigation:

Victoria Paulino, our Director of Navigation, is a former middle school teacher who joined EdNavigator in 2018. In 2021, Victoria spearheaded our pilot partnership with East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, and she has been leading our pediatric navigation services ever since.

“For a lot of families, if they speak a language other than English, they are not getting the information they need to make informed decisions about their children’s services. That’s a problem. If you don’t know what supports your child is receiving or could be receiving, you don’t even know what to advocate for. Our real work is about connecting the dots.”

Gabriela Corsa began her teaching career as a special education and mathematics teacher in Colorado, and also taught visual arts for grades kindergarten through fifth in Florida. She joined EdNavigator in 2022.

“Too often, schools don't see parents as partners—and parents feel like they are unable to break the barrier to act as such. As Navigators, our role is to help parents understand their rights and aid in the communication—and often relationship-building—between families and school. I think we can help schools recognize the challenges our parents face, and also help parents understand that school staff are stretched thin and in crisis. If we can work toward encouraging empathy and communication, I think it would build a lot of trust between schools and families.”

Alex Gordon taught middle school life skills for self-contained special education classrooms and coached Special Olympics teams. He also has experience working as an Early Intervention Specialist and leading special education teams to ensure documentation and supports are in compliance. Alex joined the EdNavigator team in 2023.

“Through my work with students with significant special needs, I’ve always had a closer connection with families than other teachers might, and I love that. You’re working as a team. I love being able to advocate for students, and work with parents who might not know anything about how the education system works. We’re not here to just point out what’s not working for students—we’re actually here to empower parents to help their children do better.”

Before joining EdNavigator in 2023, Ashly Marmol served as the Special Education Coordinator at a middle school in Silver Spring, MD, where she managed both the inclusion program and the self-contained school community-based program. Prior to that, she taught middle school special education math. Before teaching, Ashly worked as a Foster Care Case Planner in New York City, supporting families and foster parents in navigating the foster care system. She also has experience working as a Teaching Assistant and Behavior Technician for an Early Intervention Center, and providing in-home Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children ages 5-12.

“The biggest challenge we’re facing is addressing families’ educational needs despite the systemic barriers in education. Ongoing changes in the education system have added complexity to devising the best strategies for our families, and many of them face additional daily challenges, further complicating the situation. My goal is to always make sure our families feel empowered and supported throughout every single step of the process.”

Isabel Romero has held positions as a special educator, early intervention developmental specialist and consultant, and evaluation team leader in Massachusetts, where she is originally from. Most recently she provided training and professional development coordination for the early intervention program at UFHealth, the University of Florida health system.

“There’s a real urgent need for effective communication and partnership between families and schools. The best outcomes occur when everyone is working together as a team. It’s our shared responsibility to increase family engagement—to make sure parents understand their rights and feel empowered to participate in their child’s education, and also for schools to make sure parents feel welcomed and that information about their children is accessible for them.”

Ivette Rubio has supported students and families in education for over ten years. She assisted PreK-4th grade classes, tutored K-6th grade students, taught middle school math and science, developed college and career programming, mentored high school students, and engaged in education advocacy. Ivette has worked in private, public, and charter schools in Southern California and Boston.

“This work is personal for me in some ways, because my parents were immigrants, and my mom grew up in a school system where her parents didn’t speak the language. It’s an emotional thing, to be able to help families whose experiences are similar to my family’s experiences, and to help build that bridge. There are a lot of people in schools doing their best on behalf of children. And families are doing their best, too—they have a clear vision of what they want for their kids and they are doing everything in their power to get that. But when so much of the process is new, especially for families who are new to the country, even when everything does get translated, it isn’t enough to make sure families fully understand what’s going on. We need more checks for understanding in the process to make sure families have a chance to ask all their questions.”

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