Culture and External Affairs Team
Traci Douglas, Director of Culture and External Affairs — 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.
Yudelca Martinez, Associate Director of Student Culture — Ms. Martinez was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She migrated to United States at the age of fifteen. She attended Gregorio Luperon High School and then obtained her Bachelors degree from Binghamton University in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Spanish Literature. After she graduated from Binghamton University, she spent a year working as a classroom leader for the Women’s Housing Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) after school program. She later spent four years working as an Advocate Counselor at the Kennedy YABC for Good Shepherd Services where she discovered her passion for working with teenagers. She then obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling from Hunter College. She is very adventurous and in her free time, she enjoys cooking different types of ethnic food, reading, and traveling around the world.
Nelly Soto, Family Engagement Coordinator — 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 the 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.