• Staff Biographies/ Biografías del Personal


    Dr. Brad Sterner, Acting Executive Director
    Elana Nashelsky, interim Dean of Students
    Melissa Turner, Office Manager, joined Vida Charter School in August 2014, Ms. Turner is delighted to be part of this wonderful school! She is originally from Gettysburg, having been born, raised, and graduated from Gettysburg High.  She earned a BA in Psychology with a Minor in Spanish from St. Francis University in Loretto, PA and is currently in the process of being accepted into an MBA program with the University of Phoenix.  Her career has spanned over 16 working with children on some level whether directly or indirectly while working in the mental health field before coming to Vida. She feels that Vida students are the best part of her work day and she enjoy their smiles, personalities, and the joy they bring to the school. Ms. Turner shares that no one ever believes her when she tells them she's am shy, but that it's the truth...or at least it was. She loves engaging others in conversation about anything.  You can usually find Ms. Turner spending time with her family (this includes her dog Oliver) and friends, or connected to her Kindle where she is determined to read all 9,835 books and counting, that she has on it. Her favorite sports teams are the Michigan Wolverines (Go Blue!), Boston Red Sox, and Philadelphia Flyers. Somewhere out there, she is  still holding out hope for the Chicago Bears.        


    Mary Cañedo, kindergarten and 1st grade English/Spanish Language Arts—Cañedo obtained her Bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.  She earned a Master of Science degree in Science of Instruction and Curriculum and a Pennsylvania Elementary Education teaching certification from Drexel University. She holds an ESL Program Specialist certification from Penn State University. She has 19 years of teaching experience in K-8th grade.  Mrs. Cañedo is an adjunct professor at Dickinson University preparing teacher candidates. Cañedo taught first grade bilingual in Texas and was the lead bilingual teacher for a team of 8 teachers. She piloted Project Success, the first bilingual curriculum for the Garland Independent School District (Texas) and coached a team of fifth graders in Spanish essay writing for University Interscholastic League (UIL). The team won third place! Cañedo joined Vida for the 2013-14 school year. Her hobbies are ballroom dancing, reading, biking and bird watching. Her favorite book of all time is Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Her favorite movie is Rudy. Her favorite football team is Navy.

    • Mary CañedoEspañol Kínder y 1o grado Inglés/Español Artes Lingüísticas- Cañedo obtuvo su Bachillerato de la Universidad St. Mary en San Antonio, Texas.  Ella recibió su Maestría en Instrucción de Ciencias y Currículo y su certificado para enseñar lo obtuvo de Drexel University. Ella tiene una licenciatura en el Programa Especializado de ESL de la Universidad de Penn State. Tiene 19 años de experiencia en la enseñanza en los grados de K-8.  La Sra.  Cañedo es una profesora de la Universidad de Dickinson donde prepara a los candidatos a maestros. Cañedo enseño primer grado bilingüe en Texas y fue la maestra líder para el equipo bilingüe de 8 maestros. Ella condujo lo que es el Project Success, el primer currículo bilingüe para el distrito escolar de  Garland Independent School District (Texas) y dirigió a un equipo de quinto grado en los ensayos de escritura de Español para University Interscholastic League (UIL). ¡El equipo ganó tercer lugar! Cañedo se unió a Vida en el año escolar 2013-14.  Sus pasatiempos son el baile de vals, leer, salir en bicicleta y observar aves. Su libro favorito  es Walk Two Moons por Sharon Creech. Su película favorita es Rudy. Su favorito equipo de fútbol es el Navy.

    Víctor M. Fonseca Guerrero, Science 4th, 5th & 6th grade Spanish, was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He studied at the "Escuela Normal de Jalisco" to be a primary school teacher, then at the "Escuela Normal Superior de Jalisco" to be a Science Teacher for middle and high school. At the same time he pursued a degree in Biology from the University of Guadalajara in 1986. Then, in 2001, he completed a Master’s in Education at the Postgraduate Office, Jalisco’s Ministry of Education. For 30 years, Fonseca was a primary teacher, as well as a middle school and high school teacher. He was also a pedagogic assistant of the school of supervision for 10 years and an Evolutionary Psychology and Childcare professor at Escuela Normal de Jalisco (1990) and a professor of Educational Assessment and Curriculum Design at the Escuela Normal Superior de Jalisco (1992-2001). He also served as a school principal and supervisor of schools. Fonseca retired as a teacher in Mexico in 2008 and joined Vida Charter School in February 1, 2010. Before Vida Charter School, Fonseca was the representative of Jalisco’s Department of Education to Migrant Program Teachers Exchange Mexico-USA for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 in Pennsylvania for the summers of 2004, 2005, and 2007. He has three children, Monserrat, Victor Jr., and Jose Manuel – and two beautiful granddaughters, Ximena and Carolina. He loves reading, music, and culture worldwide. His favorite sports are football, soccer, and baseball.

    • Víctor M. Fonseca Guerrero, 45y 6grado Ciencias Español, nació en Guadalajara, Jalisco, México. Él estudio en la Escuela Normal de Jalisco para ser un maestro de primaria, después estudio en la Escuela Normal Superior de Jalisco para ser un maestro de ciencias de secundaria y preparatoria. Al mismo tiempo obtuvo el licenciado en Biología por la Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Guadalajara en 1986. Después, en el 2001, completó su maestría en Educación en el Instituto de Posgrado, Secretaría de Educación Jalisco. Por 30 años, Fonseca fue maestro de primaria, secundaria, y preparatoria. También fue asistente Técnico-Pedagógico de Supervisión por 10 años, y profesor de Psicología evolutiva y Puericultura en la Escuela Normal de Jalisco (1990) y profesor de Evaluación Educativa y Diseño Curricular en la Escuela Normal Superior de Jalisco (1992-2001). Fue Director de escuela y Supervisor de las escuelas. Fonseca se retiró como maestro en México en el 2008 y comenzó en la escuela Vida Charter el 1? de febrero del 2010. Antes de estar en la escuela Vida Charter, Fonseca participó como Representante de la Secretaría de Educación Jalisco al Programa Migrante, Intercambio de Maestro México-USA para Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 en Pennsylvania durante los veranos del 2004, 2005, y  2007. Él tiene tres hijos, Monserrat, Víctor Jr., y José Manuel- y dos lindas nietas Ximena y Carolina. Él disfruta de la lectura, la música, y la cultura mundial. Sus deportes favoritos son, el fútbol americano, fútbol, y béisbol.
    Alejandra Garibay,  Kindergarten English/Spanish, is a California native but has lived in Pennsylvania since 2012.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies at Georgetown University and received her teaching certification at West Texas A&M University. Ms.Garibay has her elementary certification in Texas, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. She is very excited to start her first year at Vida Charter School.  Prior to Vida, she taught Pre-K through 5th grade ESL/Bilingual students, kindergarten, and worked as a case manager. During her free time, she enjoys participating in different activities with her son, spending time with family and friends, listening to music, and traveling.
    • Alejandra Garibay, Inglés/Español Kínder, es una nativa de California pero ha vivido en Pennsylvania desde el 2012.  Ella recibió su bachillerato en Sociología con una especialización en Género y Estudios Femeninos en la Universidad de Georgetown y en West Texas A&M University recibió su certificado para enseñar. La Srta. Garibay tiene su certificado para escuelas primarias en Texas, Maryland y Pennsylvania. Está muy entusiasmada de comenzar su primer año en la escuela Vida Charter. Antes de Vida, ella enseñó a estudiantes bilingües/ESL de  Pre-Kinder hasta 5o grado y también trabajó como administradora de casos. Durante su tiempo libre, a la Srta. Garibay le encanta participar en diferentes actividades con su hijo, pasar el tiempo con su familia y amigos, escuchar música y viajar.
    Mery Kerrison, Kindergarten Spanish, was born in the Dominican Republic. When she was in the third grade, she moved to York, Pennsylvania with her family where she continues to reside. She studied Early Childhood Education at York College of Pennsylvania and received her Bachelor’s degree and teaching certification in May of 2015. She began her career as a first grade gifted teacher in a private school in York and is now part of our Kindergarten Team here at Vida. Before getting her certification, she gained experience with children teaching Sunday school at her church and worked at the YMCA and YWCA of York throughout her college years. In her free time, Mrs. Kerrison enjoys spending time with her family and friends and traveling with her husband.

    Elana Nashelsky, 4th, 5th & 6th Grade English, is a graduate of the University of California - Berkeley, where she studied Social Welfare and Education, and of Mills College, where she earned a credential in Secondary English and Social Science instruction. Prior to coming to Vida Charter School, Ms. Nashelsky taught history at a bilingual middle school in the Berkeley, California, and English Learners in Augusta, Maine. When she is not teaching, Ms. Nashelsky loves spending time with her dog, writing stories for her students, and elaborate cooking projects.  

    Tania Reyes, First Grade Spanish, is a native Spanish speaker and has been teaching since 1994 as a Special Education and Spanish teacher K-12.  At Vida she taught one year of Kindergarten and 4 years in First Grade.  She loves children and enjoys different cultures. In her classes, she tries to dedicate her time and energy in making a positive impact in the lives of the children who she teaches. Working in a bilingual dual-immersion program has been a dream job for Reyes, and she began at Vida in 2010. She incorporates art, music, role-playing, yoga, culture, social justice, technology, collaborative learning strategies, reflections, morning meeting, and emotional skills for conflict management in her classes.

    During these years she represented our school as a presenter in two National Conferences (NABE and La Cosecha). She has also been trained as a Responsive Classroom teacher; thus, she’s been using this teaching approach for the last 4 years in where she tries to emphasize social, emotional, and academic growth as equally important aspects. 

    • Tania Reyes, Primer grado Español, es una parlante nativa del español y ha estado enseñando desde 1994 como una maestra de Español y de Educación Especial K-12.  En Vida ella enseño un año en  Kindergarten y 4 años en Primer año.  Ella ama a los niños y disfruta de las diversas culturas. En sus clases, ella trata de dedicar el tiempo y la energía en hacer un impacto positivo en las vidas de los niños quién ella enseña. Trabajar en un programa de doble inmersión bilingüe ha sido un trabajo ideal para Reyes. Ella comenzó en la escuela Vida en el 2010. Ella incorpora el arte, la música, los juegos de roles, la cultura, yoga,  la justicia social, la tecnología, las estrategias  de colaboración para el  aprendizaje, reflexiones, reuniones en las mañanas, y el desarrollo de las habilidades emocionales para resolver conflictos en sus clases. Durante los años que ha estado en Vida, ella representó a la escuela como presentadora en dos Conferencias Nacionales (NABE y  La Cosecha). También,  ella adoptó hace cuatro años el enfoque Responsive Classroom como su filosofía de enseñanza y trata de enfatizar el crecimiento social, emocional, y académico como aspectos igualmente importantes.
    Specialist Teachers/ Maestros de Especialidad
    Paulino Contreras, Music & Movement Teacher 
    Melissa Maneval, Art,  English, graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education.  Since graduation, she has also obtained 23 credits of graduate or undergraduate courses from Virginia Commonwealth University, West Virginia University, Harrisburg Area Community College, and Mansfield University.   For the past 12 years, Melissa has been teaching Art at public schools in various states including Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. This is her 2ndyear teaching at Vida and she is happy to be back in Central Pennsylvania, where she was born and raised.  Her hobbies include camping, hiking, kayaking, and skiing. 
    • Melissa Maneval, Arte, Inglés, se graduó de la Universidad de Penn State con un bachillerato en Educación de Arte. Desde su graduación, ella ha obtenido 23 créditos de cursos de grado y posgrado de las siguientes universidades: Virginia Commonwealth University, West Virginia University, Harrisburg Area Community College y Mansfield University. Por los últimos 12 años, Melissa ha estado enseñando la clase de Arte en las escuelas públicas de varios estados, incluyendo Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, y West Virginia. Este es su segundo año escolar enseñando en la escuela Vida y está feliz de regresar al centro de Pennsilvania, lugar donde nació y creció. Sus pasatiempos incluyen, ir de campamento, practicar el senderismo, el kayak y esquiar.
    Jessica Malone, School Counselor, School Counselor, grew up in Gettysburg, PA and after several years living in Milwaukee, WI, Washington, DC and Arlington, VA, she returned to Gettysburg to pursue her goal of becoming a school counselor. She earned her M.Ed. in School Counseling in 2006 from Shippensburg University; and has her Pennsylvania Elementary and Secondary School Counselor certifications, is a Nationally Certified Counselor and a Pennsylvania licensed Behavior Specialist. Prior to joining Vida Charter School in August 2016, she spent 6 years as a Behavior Specialist Consultant/Mobile Therapist working with students, families, schools and community agencies within Adams County. In her free time, she enjoys being creative, playing outside and spending time with her family, friends and dog, Duke.
    Belinda Ray, Response To Intervention Teacher

    Classroom Assistants/Asistentes

    Ester Estrada, Classroom Assistant
    Monsterrat Fonseca Estrada, Classroom assistant, she was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Science and Strategies from UNIVA (Universidad del Valle de Atemajac) in 2004. She worked as a college professor in Universidad de Especialidades in Mexico, teaching communication theories, editing, social communication, and political marketing, among other subjects, for 5 years. She also taught English as a Second Language in Guadalajara, Mexico for an additional 8 years. In 2013, she began working for the Migrant Program in Pennsylvania as an English as a Second Language instructor. She has worked with the agricultural and Hispanic community in Adams County through the Penn State Extension office, a position that she still currently holds. She is also a part of the AHRMA association, which works for the human rights of the migrant workers in the area.
    • Monsterrat Fonseca EstradaAsistente de Maestros, Nació en Guadalajara, Jalisco, México. Es licenciada en Ciencias y Técnicas de la Comunicación egresada de UNIVA (Universidad del Valle de Atemajac) desde 2004; trabajó como docente universitaria en Universidad de Especialidades en México impartiendo las materias de Teorías de la Comunicación, redacción, comunicación social y marketing político, entre otras por más de 5 años y 8 años más como maestra de inglés como segundo idioma también en Guadalajara, México. En 2013 trabajó por un año para el Programa Migrante en Pensilvania como instructora de inglés como segundo idioma; durante los últimos dos años y hasta la fecha, trabaja con la comunidad agrícola e hispana en el condado Adams a través de la oficina de extensión de Penn State y también es parte de la asociación AHRMA, que trabaja en pro de los derechos humanos de los trabajadores migrantes en el área.
    Cesar Perez, Classroom Assistant, runs groups and one-on-one sessions, in Spanish and English, with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade children. Perez worked for four years as an afterschool tutor for Cinci After School Program in inner-city Cincinnati, Ohio. During his last two years, he worked as lead tutor for two  schools. He studied Spanish at Centro Lingüístico Maya in Antigua, Guatemala, and he is currently finishing up my bachelor’s degree online through God’s Bible School and College. In his spare time, he  volunteers at a local Hispanic church as their Youth Director. He also enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing his guitar and ukulele and taking care of his beautiful golden retriever, Samson. 

    Mrs. Rufi Syed Instructional Assistant Teacher, Kindergarten English, has her Bachelor’s Degree from Punjab University.  She has been working in education for over 30 years. She has lived and worked in different countries and knows different languages. Mrs. Syed also have a Yoga certification from Pakistan, and has education in Homeopathic medication. Rufi is the mother of five men, four of whom are married. In her free-time she enjoys cooking, knitting volunteering, traveling, and spending time with her family.
    • Mrs. Rufi Syed, Asistente de Maestros, Kinder  Inglés, tiene un bachillerato de la Universidad de Punjab. Ha estado trabajando en la educación por más de 30 años. Ella ha vivido y trabajado en diferentes países y habla varios idiomas. La Sra. Syed también tiene un certificado en Yoga de Pakistán y una educación en medicamento homeopático. Rufi es madre de cinco hombres, de los cuales cuatro están casados. En su tiempo libre, ella disfruta cocinar, tejer, ser voluntaria, viajar y pasar tiempo con su familia. 
    Claudia Vera-Lúa, 4th, 5th, 6th grade Classroom Assistant. She received a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Albright College, Reading PA. Then worked at Wellspan Community Health of York, PA assisting Hispanic families with various health insurance applications and organized a health forum in English and Spanish to educate women on heart health problems while at the same time providing community resources. She then worked for 4 years as a Student Support Specialist Assistant for the 21st Century/LIU 12 Migrant Education Program assisting high school students from 4 different school districts with college applications, leadership programs and afterschool program activities and assisting their parents with school related translations/interpretations. There, she also became a committee member for the Lights On Afterschool annual event, representing 21st Century/ LIU 12 Migrant Ed. Program for 3 years. She joined Vida in April of 2014 as a teacher's assistant for kindergarten then moved to assist 4-6th grade. She is also a part-time interpreter/translator for Vida Charter School and LIU12. She enjoys being bilingual and learning from others.
    • Claudia Vera-Lúa, 45y 6grado, Asistente de Maestros. Ella recibió un Bachillerato en Biología del colegio de Albright College en Reading, PA. Después trabajó en Wellspan Community Health en York, PA asistiendo a las familias Hispanas con varios formularios para seguro médico y organizó un foros de salud en inglés y español donde educaba a las mujeres sobre los problemas cardiacos mientras proveía recursos comunitarios. Ella después trabajó por 4 años como Asistente Especializada en Apoyo Estudiantil para el programa Siglo 21/LIU12 Educación Migrante asistiendo a los estudiantes de la preparatoria de 4 distritos escolares con las inscripciones para la universidad, programas de liderazgo y actividades en el programa después de la escuela y asistiendo a los padres con interpretaciones/traducciones relacionadas a la escuela. Ahí, ella también se hizo parte del comité del evento anual llamado Lights On Afterschool, representando al programa Siglo 21/LIU12 Educación Migrante por 3 años. Ella comenzó en la escuela Vida en abril del 2014 como asistente de maestros en kínder y prosiguió a asistente de 4-6o grado. También es interprete/traductora de tiempo parcial para la escuela Vida Charter y LIU12. A ella le encanta ser bilingüe y aprender de otros.