Las Américas ASPIRA Academy

Executive Board

2018/2019 PTO Board
President:  Melissa Espinal

My name is Melissa Espinal. My daughter Brianna (15) graduated 8th grade with Aspira's class of 2017 and is going into her 2nd year of the Cambridge University Program at Newark High School. My daughter Vanessa (9) is entering 4th grade at Aspira and is truly my mini-me in so many ways. When I'm not being my kids' personal Uber driver, I have a full time job as a Product and Service Delivery Manager at a local IT firm. I have been married for 21+ years. We have 2 dogs, both rescues, and my kids will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about them.

I'm proud to be a part of this board of amazing people. They are full of ideas and we just need you all, our membership, to help us turn it all into reality!


Vice President: Vanessa Roche Gallaher

Hello. My name is Vanessa Gallaher and I am one of the Vice presidents of the PTO this year. I have 7 very active kids who keep me busy. My oldest 2 are in high school. The next 4 are at Aspira in 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 1st grade. My youngest will be in preschool this year and attend Aspira next year. I have been involved with PTO since my oldest was in preschool. My children call me a career volunteer because I love to help out. I teach preschool age kids a few mornings a week at church. After school you will find our family on the football or baseball field, swimming, hiking, arguing over a board game, or enjoying a marching band competition or band concert. I am looking forward to the great things that will happen at Aspira this year.


Vice President: Karen Contreras

My name is Karen Contreras. I am 34 years old. I am from Perú. I came to the United States when I was 15. I lived in Paterson, NJ for 5 years. I moved to Delaware in 2005. I miss my family back in my country soooo much!!

I have twin girls, Arianna and Valeria, who currently attend ASPIRA Academy. They will be in 4th Grade this year. They are very excited!!

This is my 4th year working at ASPIRA and I love it! I am currently the HR Manager. Working at ASPIRA has given me a lot of opportunities and I am thankful for that. We are one big family.

I can't wait to bring new ideas to our new PTO. Thank you!


 Treasurer: Erica Chavez

Hello everyone! My name is Erica and here is a little bit about your new treasurer. I was born in Honduras and came to California when I was 14. Then I came to Delaware when I was 26, and I have been here for 6 years. California was fun, but I like the silence of Delaware. I am blessed with my family. My husband Samuel, my daughter Ellie, who started kindergarten last year at Aspira, and is now a 1st grader (time flies), and my son, Samuel Jr. who is 3 and will join Aspira soon. We have a dog, Barbie and a hen, Rosy who are also very important members of our family. I am a Pharmacy Technician, but I am a stay at home mom for now. I hope I come back to the pharmacy world soon, but I enjoy spending time with my kids and not missing anything. I joined The PTO because I am kind of new to Aspira and I want to be more involved. I look forward to an amazing year!!!


Social Media Secretary: Lorrie Jackson

Hello everyone!🖑 I am your Social Media PTO Board Member🤳! You'll be seeing me a lot on here🙃

I am in early childhood education and currently work in a small children's center. 🍎
I am pursuing a second masters degree in Educational Technology📚 and run an online business 💼.

I have 3 children: Madigan is in 3rd grade this year, Declan is in Kindergarten, and Morgan is just turning 2. #ourjackson5
Last year was our first year at ASPIRA! My children enjoy the after school activities and special events, we try to attend everything and help out however we can.

I was born in Newark DE and have never left, a #trueblue #bluehen and a #doubledel with my husband Vinny (also a DE native).
I enjoy reading and watching Netflix. I enjoy seeing movies and going to the theatre🎭. I pretend to enjoy running but love swimming🏊. I am also a foodie and enjoy good food (eating out and cooking it at home). I like traveling and hope to do it more.

My family and I love the beach 🏖 We are always going to community events🎪, museums🖼, parks🌳, farms/orchards🐐, and looking for fun things to do together.

I am looking forward to working with everyone to make this a great year for our children and our school.


Recording Secretary: Ernie McGrath

A little about your recording secretary. My name is Ernie McGrath I have two children in Aspira, a son going into second grade this year and a daughter in the preschool. You can usually find me working at the school on the facilities team or spending time with my children on some adventure. I’m very active with my son’s Cub Scout pack which I enjoy very much. I joined the PTO because I feel that it’s an incredible organization that can benefit the students education and school experience in enormous ways and I wanted to be a part of and support that effort. We have a lot of amazing ideas for this year and I can’t wait to get started and meet everyone at the meetings and events.


Fundraising Secretary: Ana Viscarra-Gikas

A little about the new PTO board’s fundraiser chair: (un poquito sobre la encargada de la planificación de recaudación de fondos de Amigos de Aspira)

I am a Salvadorean full-time working mom and wife. I love to travel, eat, watch movies, and sleep, all activities that are happily limited by my two daughters and my 18 years as a teacher. My 7 year old, Demi, will start 2nd grade at Aspira and my 4 year old, Camila, will join her big sister in Aspira next year. My husband, Panos, is Greek and we will celebrate our 10th anniversary this year. I teach Spanish to 6th grade and high school students at Conrad schools of science. As both a mom and a teacher, I’m passionate about education and that is why I decided to join our PTO where I hope to share that passion with our Aspira family. I look forward to meeting and working with many of you!

Soy una madre salvadoreña que trabaja tiempo completo. Me encanta viajar, comer, ver películas, y dormir: actividades que están felizmente limitadas por mis dos hijas y por mi trabajo como maestra. Mi hija de 7 años, Demi, comenzará segundo grado en Aspira y mi hija de 4 años, Camila, seguirá a su hermana mayor el próximo año en Aspira. Mi esposo, Panos, es griego y este año celebraremos 10 años de casados. Soy maestra de español el la escuela de ciencias Conrad. Cómo madre y maestra, tengo una gran pasión por la educación y es por eso que decidí unirme al PTO, donde espero conocer y trabajar con mucho de ustedes.