Culture and External Affairs Team
Ms. Douglas joined MESA in 2016 as the Founding Director of External Affairs and is now MESA’s Director of Culture and External Affairs. She entered the field of education in 2006 when she moved from New York to Philadelphia to be a social-emotional teacher with Mastery Charter Schools. Prior to that, she practiced law in NYC for several years, and spent most of her legal career as a public defender, specializing in criminal defense and delinquency cases in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Before teaching, Ms. Douglas ran an after school program for at risk youth at The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. It was this experience that drew her from the practice of law and led her to work in charter schools. Ms. Douglas was the Founding Director of Operations at DREAM Charter School in East Harlem and held other leadership roles at charter schools in Brooklyn. She holds a B.A. in economics from Howard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. When Ms. Douglas isn’t recruiting new students and staff, developing community partnerships and planning schoolwide events, she is spending quality time with her family and perfecting her yoga poses.
Ms. Soto was born and raised in the Dominican Republic where she attended the University Autonoma of Santo Domingo and received a degree in cinematography. She later moved to the United States and is a resident of Bushwick. Ms. Soto is a fluent Spanish speaker and provides much of MESA’s translation services. She has two sons, Aaron and Steven, who are honorary MESA Warriors.