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Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES)

Montgomery County Public Schools


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Program Staff

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Karen Callender, Director
Germantown Campus

Office phone: 240-567-2022

Karen Callender has more than 20 years experience in planning, developing, and managing programs within multiple areas of student services. She developed the “College Now Program” at the City College of New York, a college readiness and dual enrollment program in conjunction with New York City public high schools working with high school students at all levels in preparation for college. She has been a director of pre-college programs, admissions, freshman year programs, academic advising and assessment.  She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from The City College of New York and a master's degree in higher and adult education from Teachers College, Columbia University.  Her passion and commitment to increasing college readiness and college access for students underrepresented in higher education is evident in her previous and current work.

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Damien Robinson, Ed.D
Assistant Director

Germantown Campus

Work cell phone: 240-688-0174
Office phone: 240-567-6976

Dr. Damien Robinson brings over 12 years of experience in education to his role as the ACES Assistant Director. Previously, he served as an ACES Academic Coach for Seneca Valley High School.  Prior to joining the ACES program, Dr. Robinson served as a Director of Special Education. He has devoted his life to creating opportunities for underrepresented students to earn a college degree and become productive citizens in society.  He has earned a bachelor of psychology from Howard University, a masters in multi-cultural counseling from San Diego State University, and a doctorate from San Francisco State University in educational leadership.

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Kalecia Baity, ACES Academic Coach
Gaithersburg High School

Work cell phone: 240-688-0276
Office phone: 301-284-4633

Kalecia Baity is a passionate educator who strives to bring hope and encouragement to the hearts of adolescents and young adults through providing responsive and relevant resources to ensure all individuals become college graduates and future leaders.  Her diverse interests include mentoring adolescents, reading inspirational books, and exercising with loved ones. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Virginia State University and a master of education degree from Bowie State University.

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Kimberly Bloch-Rincan
Engagement Coordinator
Germantown Campus

Office phone: 240-567-2157

Kimberly Bloch-Rincan is a community organizer with over 20 years of experience in education/training and community outreach in the non-profit and educational sectors. Prior to joining Montgomery College, she spent over a decade working for Montgomery County Public Schools in the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships serving as a Partnership Manager and the Student Service Learning Coordinator. Her responsibilities included coordinating large-scale volunteer initiatives, maintaining the district's Student Service Learning Program, organizing parent engagement activities, and building community partnerships. Kimberly also has experience working with local non-profit organizations such as IMPACT Silver Spring, Catholic Volunteer Network, and Ayuda, Inc. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in communication and a master of arts degree in social justice and intercultural relations.  

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Theresa Bohs, Program Support Coordinator
Germantown Campus

Office phone: 240-567-2023

Prior to joining Montgomery College's ACES program, Theresa worked for a biomedical association and most recently as an Instructional Data Analyst with Montgomery County Public Schools. She attended Montgomery College and then transferred to Frostburg State University. She earned a bachelor's degree in social work.

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Stuart Bowen, ACES Academic Coach
Rockville Campus

Work cell phone: 301-775-1213
Office phone: 240-567-4436

Stuart Bowen has supported under-served student populations in the DC metro area for more than 7 years. He recently served as a Retention Counselor for the Pathway to the Baccalaureate program at Northern Virginia Community College's (NOVA's) Alexandria campus. After transferring from Anne Arundel Community College to St. Mary's College of Maryland, he earned his bachelor's degree in English language and literature. He went on to earn his master's degree in education and human development with a focus in community counseling from The George Washington University. He looks forward to bringing his diverse skill-set to the ACES Program.

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Monica Burgos, ACES Academic Coach
John F. Kennedy High School

Work cell phone: 240-863-8165
Office phone: 240-740-0111

Monica Burgos worked in the Washington Metropolitan area’s local communities in various capacities. She has served as a Mental Health Therapist in many local community non-profits, as well as provided teaching and academic advising services as an Adjunct Professor/Counselor at Montgomery College. Her work includes serving at-risk, gang involved, and incarcerated youth through individual and family therapy. She brings years of experience as a clinician and Program Manager. Monica utilizes a therapeutic model for healing and self-empowerment through cognitive behavioral therapy. Monica earned her bachelor of science degree in family studies from the University of Maryland, College Park and her master's degree in social work from Catholic University of America.

Desarai Cabrera

Desarai Cabrera, Administrative Aide III
Germantown Campus

Office phone: 240-567-2168

Desarai Cabrera joined Montgomery College's ACES program highly motivated to use her skill-set to support the program and the young people it serves. Previously, she worked as a Human Resources Manager for SPS Consulting. Ms. Cabrera received her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Salisbury University.

Amani Dadzie  

Amani Dadzie, ACES Academic Coach
Einstein High School

Work cell phone: 240-863-8075
Office phone: 240-740-2700 ext. 1050

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Smith College, Amani worked as an Admissions Counselor at Delaware State University and an Assistant Director of Admissions at Capitol College. During her time in higher education, she mainly worked in urban areas with high populations of minority students. Recognizing the need for college access in these areas, she pursued and earned a master's degree in school counseling from The George Washington University where she learned many aspects of counseling including: multicultural, career, personal/social, and counseling students with special needs. She then worked as a College Advisor in two District of Columbia public schools helping first generation, underrepresented students, and their parents through the college admissions process. Amani has lived in three different countries and is well traveled.

Gina Marrazza

Gina DiMedio Marrazza
Arts and Culture Coordinator

Work cell phone: 240-270-8455

Gina DiMedio Marrazza has had a multi-faceted career as a collaborative pianist, teacher/faculty member, and arts administrator. She has held faculty positions at American University and Duke Ellington School of the Arts. As an arts administrator, Gina dedicated 17 years to the Levine School of Music in various administrative positions, and was Director of its Maryland Campus for 10 years. Gina was also the Founding Director of Rowan Prep, a community school of music at Rowan University. She was Executive Director of Young Artists of America at Strathmore and currently serves as the Associate Director of Education and Outreach. She received her B.M. in piano from the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts and her M.M. in Chamber Music and Accompanying from The Catholic University of America.

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Sharon Grey-Coker, ACES Academic Coach
Rockville Campus 

Work cell phone:301-775-1263
Office phone: 240-567-3894

Sharon Grey-Coker, a native New Yorker, is a lifelong advocate of student academic success leading to college and career readiness. As a first-generation college student, Sharon earned a bachelor of science degree in organizational management from Washington Adventist University and a master of education from Tiffin University. She served as a regional manager for Randstad performing staffing and workforce solutions, a job readiness and training consultant, and a program administrator for the Washington Adventist University (WAU) One Step Away degree completion program. While at WAU, Sharon developed the Build Your Brand program to help support both traditional and non-tradiional students with career development and planning. Sharon is a member of the National Career Development Association (NCDA), the Maryland Career Development Association (MCDA) and NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in High Education. In addition, she is certified as a Career Development Facilitator (CDF).

Melissa Gudiel

Melissa Gudiel, ACES Academic Coach
Paint Branch High School

Work cell phone: 240-676-6007
Office cell phone: 301-388-9920 ext.1032

Melissa Gudiel, daughter to parents from El Salvador, is a first-generation college student. Melissa attended American University in Washington, DC where she received her BA in Spanish language and area studies and later received her MA in higher education and student affairs from New York University (NYU). Melissa is passionate about education and ensuring that all students have the resources and support needed to attend college. This passion has inspired her work, both at the institutional and non-profit level.

Prior to joining the ACES team, she worked as the Post-Secondary Success Program Coordinator at the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, DC where she supported currently enrolled college students with their first-year experience, as well as assisted local youth and families in navigating the college admissions process. During her graduate studies, she served as an advisor for students interested in studying abroad or participating in exchange programs at NYU. Additionally, she has served as a High School Program Manager where she developed and facilitated weekly after school sessions for girls with a focus on leadership, community engagement and college readiness. In her free time, Melissa enjoys cooking, visiting museums, traveling and spending time with her loved ones.

ACES Coming Soon

Cedric Jennings, ACES Academic Coach
James Hubert Blake High School

Work cell phone: 240-687-0654
Office phone: 240-740-1390

Cedric Jennings has over 13 years of experience in social work, education, and public administration. He has a deep passion for serving underrepresented populations. Cedric has served in various roles in direct services and management within non-profit organizations, local government, and higher education. His expertise is in creating youth development and enrichment programs for diverse youth populations. As a first-generation college graduate, Cedric is passionate about educational access and has significant experience developing and managing pre-college programs that serve diverse first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented youth populations. Cedric holds a bachelor of arts degree in educational studies from Brown University, a master of education in human development and psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a master of social work degree from the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor.

  Traci Johnson

Traci Johnson, ACES Academic Coach
Seneca Valley High School

Work cell phone: 240-454-2245
Office phone: 301-353-8020

Traci Johnson, a native New Yorker, received her Master's Degree in guidance and counseling from New York University. After graduating from NYU she began her professional career by providing programming and educational opportunities for students with disabilities in the New York Public School system. She served as a College Advisor for the DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) for the past 9 years, where she assisted underrepresented and first-generation college students with matriculation into post-secondary school, ensuring students had access to the educational opportunities and guidance needed to be successful in the college setting. As a health enthusiast, personal trainer, and Zumba instructor, Traci hopes to teach students the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, which will also help them reach their educational aspirations.

Brenda Lantz

Brenda Lantz, ACES Academic Coach
Germantown Campus

Work cell phone:240-688-6745
Office phone: 240-567-2141

Brenda Lantz is a first-generation college student from Pennsylvania.  She earned a B.S. in Secondary English Education and a M.Ed. in School Counseling from The Pennsylvania State University along with post graduate credentials in School Administration and College Counseling from Shippensburg University and UCLA.  She is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Prior to joining the ACES team in 2014, Brenda served as a high school counselor for 17 years, where she initiated many college, career, and student success initiatives and served in leadership roles.  In her free time Brenda enjoys riding horses, teaching riding lessons, practicing mindfulness and yoga, learning new things, spending time with family and friends, and going on road trips. 

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Andres Maldonado, ACES Academic Coach
Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus

Work cell phone: 240-688-6808
Office phone: 240-567-1306

Andres Maldonado received his bachelor’s degree in business management and his master's degree in higher education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. As a graduate student, Andres worked for GMU's Office of Student Involvement and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education in various capacities. In 2009, he served as an intern with Indiana University's (IU) Residential Programs and Services through the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I) Internship Program. He worked specifically with Indiana’s Groups Program, a federally funded bridge program that recruits first-generation college students to IU to help them transition to college and succeed academically.

Prior to working at Montgomery College, he served as a First Year Advisor at Northern Virginia Community College and as a Program Coordinator for the Posse Foundation, a nationally recognized student development program and leadership merit scholarship opportunity for students in the DC Metro Area.

Migdalia Maldonado 
Migdalia Maldonado, ACES Academic Coach
Springbrook High School

Work cell phone:  240-393-0087
Office phone:  301-989-5183

An import from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Migdalia Maldonado is a mental health clinician with almost 10 years experience in higher education.  Prior to moving to Maryland, her clinical experience ranged from children and families to those suffering from drug abuse.  Migdalia earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Florida International University and her master's degree in mental health counseling from Nova Southeastern University.

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Stéphanie Mbella, PhD
ACES Academic Coach

Wheaton High School

Work cell phone: 240-688-0364
Office phone: 301-321-3326

Prior to joining Montgomery College, Stéphanie Mbella served as a Special Education teacher in a high school setting. Fluent in French and English, her diverse interests include reading, writing, volunteering, and traveling. She earned her PhD from Howard University in Washington DC.

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Jose Medrano, ACES Academic Coach
Montgomery Blair High School

Work cell phone: 240-688-0330
Office phone: 301-649-2809

Jose Medrano was born in Nicaragua and was raised in the state of Maryland since the age of seven. He graduated from High Point High School in Beltsville, MD and later obtained his bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a focus in business from the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to joining ACES, he worked with the Teenage Parenting Programs of the Arlington Public schools, while earning his master's degree in school counseling from Trinity Washington University.

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Brad Pabian, ACES Academic Coach
Northwood High School

Work cell phone: 240-688-0467
Office phone: 301-649-8088 ext. 1090

Brad Pabian’s background includes over 15 years of Counseling experience and two masters degrees in school counseling from George Mason University and counseling psychology from Loyola University. He comes to Montgomery College after serving in the role of School Counselor for 8 years in both Fairfax County Public Schools and Anne Arundel County Public Schools. During that time, he developed programs that empowered minority youth to attend college as well as led professional development programs with teachers on achieving racial equity in education. He has studied abroad extensively in both Spain and Costa Rica and is bilingual (Spanish/English). He has also published a short, personal narrative in the book Social Justice Counseling: The Next Steps Beyond Multiculturalism(2011).

Andrea Rodriguez

Andrea Rodriguez, ACES Academic Coach
Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus

Work cell phone: 240-676-1713
Office phone: 240-567-5705

Andrea Rodriguez was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. As a daughter of immigrant parents from Ecuador and Uruguay, she is a first-generation high school student whose first language is Spanish. She pursued her bachelor of science degree and then her first master's degree from SUNY Brockport in upstate New York, while serving as the College Counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program. She's held different positions in the post-secondary sector including Event Coordinator, Bilingual Admissions Advisor, Executive Coordinator, and most recently as the Director of Student Affairs. She later pursued a second graduate degree, a master of education from The George Washington University in higher education with a focus on student affairs.

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Jeanette Rojas, ACES Academic Coach
Rockville High School

Work cell phone: 240-997-0983
Office phone:301-517-8108

Jeanette Rojas is half Salvadorian and half Colombian, born in New Hampshire and raised in Maryland. She speaks Spanish and English. She has worked as a Mentor/ESOL Teacher with the Adult ESOL and Literacy Grant Program at Montgomery College, as Director of the Parent Institute for Quality Education, and as a Programs Manager for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. She has a master’s degree in education and human development from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Maryland. Jeanette enjoys spending her free time outdoors with her husband and two children.

Tiffany Shaw

Tiffany Shaw, ACES Academic Coach
Watkins Mill High School

Work cell phone: 240-495-5584
Office phone: 301-284-4424

Tiffany Shaw is excited to provide academic and student support services to the ACES students attending the high school and helping them understand the many benefits of the program. She has worked in college access for the past eight years with the DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) as a high school student advisor. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology from St. Mary's College of Maryland and a master's degree in counseling from Trinity Washington University.

  Terre Thomas

Terré Thomas, ACES Academic Coach
Clarksburg High School

Work cell phone: 240-688-1440
Office phone: 301-444-3073

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Currently moonlighting as an American Sign Language Interpreter, Terré moved to South Korea to teach English to children, ages 3 to 17, for a year after earning her bachelor's degree from McDaniel College. Upon her return, she earned her master's degree from Nova Southeastern University in Cross Disciplinary Studies and accepted a position as an Admissions Counselor at Mount St. Mary's University. She later accepted a job as Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions at Trinity Washington University. Terre decided she would return to undergraduate admissions realizing she wanted to make sure students in the Washington Metropolitan area had the proper academic and personal support.  In 2012, she earned the position of Recruitment and College Access Coordinator at Montgomery College. This professional decision solidified her desire to work with "at-Promise" youth to encourage them to pursue higher education.

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