ALA's Board at the 2023 Scholarship Awards Dinner & Dance
ALA Board Officers
Merisa Camacho is originally from Puerto Rico and moved to Los Angeles in 2001. She has been a bilingual educator for over 25 years and has worked in different capacities. From teaching Kindergarten to facilitating professional development for teachers on various topics. Nowadays she works for ExpandLA, a nonprofit that connects, supports and advocates for expanded learning opportunities for all youth in LA County. She has been an Alhambra Latino Association Board Member since 2016. Collaborating in various fundraising events committees and the scholarship committee. She also co-manages ALA's social media and website.
Teresa was an AUSD teacher for 37 years. In her career as an educator she has taken on many roles including: instructional aide, early childhood education aide, parent workshop presenter, curriculum writer, instructional specialist and bilingual teacher. Her passion lies in working with Latino students and parents. Teresa’s philosophy is “Si Se Puede” and she is a proponent of Alhambra Latino Association’s goals for academic achievement and cultural awareness in the community. She has been an instrumental ALA Board Member since 1997.
Karla Grijalva was born and raised in México and made California her new home in 2000. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a Master of Science in the Built Environment, with focus in Energy Efficiency and Climate Responsive Architecture. She is an Associate Principal at NAC, a Los Angeles based firm. Her work centers on civic, educational, healthcare and workplace, focussing in sustainability and interior environments. Community engagement is her flag, particularly when serving most vulnerable populations. After moving to Alhambra she wondered “where are my people?” and found ALA’s Scholarship Award Ceremony, which inspired her to support and participate in the group since 2021.
Karla loves scouting new restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, and sharing with friends and family.
Public Relations & Historian
Martin Ulloa is a high school teacher with Independence High School working with high-risk students. He has held this position since 1991. Prior to working as a teacher, he was Director of Central Los Angeles SER Jobs For Progress, Inc. The organization provided clerical job training to unemployed workers. Since 1995, he has served on the Alhambra Latino Association Board in different capacities: President, Historian, and Secretary. He is also a Board Member with the Alhambra Educational Foundation, National Football Foundation San Gabriel Chapter, and the San Gabriel Fine Arts Association.
Ms. Recendez retired from her role as Chief Nursing Officer for the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California (LAC+USC) Healthcare Network in July 2012. She held that position for 9 years and was responsible for directing the leadership and operations of all nursing services for LAC+USC Healthcare Network. She is currently Chair of the Saint Camillus Parish Council, Chair of the St. Camillus Fundraising and Development Committee, member of the Sacred Heart High School Consultative Board, and member of the Alhambra Latino Association.
Grants & Resources
Adele Andrade-Stadler has served as an advisor to ALA since 2004. She is currently a Councilwoman in the city of Alhambra. Prior to her council seat, she served 14 years on the Alhambra Unified School Board. She served as President for three terms. She grew up in Monterey Park, attended Ynez, Monterey Highlands, and Mark Keppel schools. She received her Associate of Arts degree from East Los Angeles College in Early Childhood Education, attended Cal State Los Angeles and is attending Pacific Oaks studying
Human Development. She is chair of the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services, the largest social services agency in the nation.
She serves on the Southern California Council of Governments, League of California Cities, and the San Gabriel Valley Housing Trust.
She is executive Director for Voices of Immigrant Students of Alhambra booster (VISA).
Alicia earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the California State University, Los Angeles. She is an ICC Plans Examiner and Certified Permit Technician with over ten years of experience in the Building and Safety Department. The mission of the department is to safeguard the community it serves and help preserve public health, safety and welfare through effective application of building laws and regulations. Alicia has been assigned to various local government agencies throughout her career. She is currently assigned and is proud to serve the residents of the City of Gardena as a Consultant with BPR Consultant Group, Inc. She loves to service her community and encourages others to strive for higher educational goals. She has participated in ALA's fundraising events and co-manages its social media communications.
ALA Board Members
Dr. Gabriela Noriega
Born in Puebla, Mexico, Dr. Gabriela Noriega is a first-generation college graduate and Alhambra High Alumni (1999). As Director of Experiential Learning and Career Advancement at the Southern California Earthquake Center, Dr. Noriega leads education and professional development initiatives to encourage and sustain careers in STEM. She has professional experience in the public, private, and academic sectors as an emergency manager, consultant, and executive for a nonprofit organization. Dr. Noriega earned her bachelor’s degree in Geology from CSU Los Angeles, and her Master's and Doctorate from the University of California, Irvine, with an emphasis in Environmental Analysis and Design where she studied social vulnerability to earthquake hazards.
Gina Grageda worked for the Alhambra Unified School District since 2006. For twelve years she worked in the Visual and Performing Arts Department with the elementary music teachers. Included among her many activities was the “Poetry Outloud” and Reader’s Theatre at the elementary school level which she organized. Also, while working in VAPA, and using her artistic talents, she curated the annual Student Art Contest at the ALA Dia de los Muertos Cultural Festival. She also worked in the after-school program, and in the front office at Ynez Elementary until her retirement in August, 2021. She continues to be an integral committee member in planning and organizing. Gina enjoys painting, photography, gardening and cooking.
Beda Ramírez has been an active member of Alhambra Latino Association since its inception in 1995 and has proudly worked for the Alhambra Unified School District since 1985. Beda is currently part of the staff at San Gabriel High School, a proud Matador! She is part of the PSTA, helping our Spanish speaking families. Thanks to Beda's hard work as the lead coordinator for the ALA Día de los Muertos Cultural Festival, it has been a successful event for many years. Beda has said, time and again, "I do this for our familias, we need never to forget about our roots." Her love, loyalty and dedication are vital to this organization.
Dr. Gina Chávez
Dr. Chávez received her doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice in 2013 from Loyola
Her public school teaching experience began in the Alhambra Unified School District where she taught for 8 years in the elementary grades. She then spent one year supporting a K-8 school as an Instructional Specialist. She has been the Regional Director of the California Reading and Literature Project since 1999. She maintains a connection to the field by working as an Adjunct/Part-Time Professor, a Teacher Supervisor and as an Independent Consultant.
In her free time, Dr. Chávez volunteers for various organizations, enjoys walking her dog, and is an avid pickleball player.