Maria Guadalupe Martinez
Founder and Executive Director
Maria Guadalupe Martinez, known to her friends and colleagues as Lupita, was born and raised in Mexico City. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Tourism Management from the “Instituto Politécnico Nacional” (Mexican National Polytechnic Institute). After graduation, Lupita was involved in a range of educational settings in Mexico from high school teacher to college professor where she taught Hotel Management for 3 years. For the past 17 years, she has dedicated herself to bettering communities through education in New York City. In 2013 she founded CREA to fulfill her vision of increasing access to education for adult learners from the Latin American and Mexican communities of East Harlem.
Is a water researcher and consultant. She is originally from Celaya Gto, Mexico and she is passionate about education, science, the environment, and dancing.
Member of the Little Sisters of the Assumption since 1973, presently serves in Leadership as Coordinator of the U.S. Territory. A singer-songwriter, Annette is convinced that the universal language of music is a unifying and uplifting force. The belief in each one’s potential and capacity to rise motivates her to join with others who desire to transform and unite our world to live in One Heart and One Family.
Originally from Veracruz, Mexico. She has lived and worked in the East Harlem community for over 25 years. Her parents always taught her that education should be a priority, a human right, but unfortunately not everyone receives it. She admires the effort of adults who pursue an education and at the same time she is inspired by the commitment of all CREA collaborators. She is glad to share her years of experience in marketing and fundraising with CREA.
Has been a nurse for over 40 years, having earned her BSN from Lehman College/CUNY and MSN from Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing graduate program. Now retired, she worked in a variety of community health positions, including the last 10 years of her career with Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service in East Harlem. She has had, and continues to have, the privilege of learning and growing with strong and hopeful families in East Harlem, no matter how complex their situations. This is a cherished, mutually enhancing, experience. It is an honor and I am most grateful to be a part of CREA.
After growing up in Connecticut in a close-knit Catholic family, she entered the Sisters of Mercy 62 years ago. Suzanne’s life has been varied since then, including teaching, nursing, and pharmacy in various place such as 13 years in Nicaragua and most recently, 26 years in New York City. At the Little Sisters of Assumption Family Health Service in East Harlem, Suzanne provided public health nursing with Hispanic immigrant families, especially with mothers and babies. This has been the most treasured part of her life. Her passions include immigration, climate, racism, wherever we find injustice, hatred, and devastation, wherever families cannot live life.
For more than 25 years, Marguerite Lukes, Ph.D has focused her work on improving public schools and community-based programs serving migrant and refugee children, youth and adults. She is Director of Research and Innovation at Internationals Network for Public Schools, the only US national network of public schools designing innovative educational programs for immigrant youth. Marguerite has been a classroom teacher, program director, curriculum developer, program evaluator, university faculty member, and researcher. She works directly with NGOs to enhance educational equity for migrants and refugees. Her applied research focuses on educational pathways of migrant youth and the intersections of race, language and migration. Marguerite is on the advisory board of the international research project TraMiS, led by University of Bremen in partnership with the German National Teachers’ Union and German Ministry for Education to explore policy innovations on transnational student mobility. Marguerite is also a member of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) and the American Educational Research Association, and submits editorial reviews regularly for Bilingual Research Journal and Urban Education. Her scholarship and research on second language learning, literacy, and the education of immigrant populations has appeared in International Multilingual Research Journal TESOL Quarterly, Journal of Latinos and Education, Urban Education, Teachers College Record, and Rethinking Schools. She speaks Spanish, German, Italian and English.
Has extensive experience in the management and delivery of human services in New York City. He stepped down as the Executive Director of Goddard Riverside Community Center, a highly regarded New York City settlement house, in February 2017 after a career spanning more than four decades. Prior to accepting his first job at Goddard Riverside, he completed a two-year Peace Corps assignment in Colombia, South America and is fluent in Spanish. Russo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Brown University and an MS in Social Work from Columbia University. He has participated in numerous panels and discussions on the value of multi-service community-based organizations, the benefits of supportive housing, and the impact of non-profit mergers. He is a fierce advocate for building strong communities to combat poverty and address issues of inequity, and has a keen interest in mentoring the next generation of non-profit leaders.
MSW, is a retired social worker whose career started in East Harlem. She was an instructor at both Hunter College and Columbia Schools of Social Work, consultant to many community based agencies, and maintained a counseling practice. Special interest areas include addictions, mental illness, gender and sexual identity.