Amanda Altman (she/her/hers), comes to ESF with a background in adult education, labor and community organizing and organizational development. Amanda started her career over 14 years ago as a labor organizer and then worked as the lead organizer for a large labor-community coalition that was successful in winning the first legally enforceable Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) in New York City. Amanda has spread her passion for popular education as an Education Director for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and as a consultant for non-profits and unions. Amanda has a Masters from the CUNY Graduate Center where she did her thesis research on participatory adult education. Amanda is thrilled to bring her experience as a popular educator, adult educator and lead organizer to support family child care providers in California build their historic, worker-centered training fund.
Jessica Cuevas, (she/her/hers), Tuition Assistance Coordinator
Jessica was recently hired as the Tuition Assistance Coordinator for SEIU Education and Support Fund in California. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Chicano/a Studies with a Social Policy emphasis, as well as a minor in Education and a minor in Community Development, at the University of California, Davis in 2017. She decided to pursue graduate studies and earned a Master of Science in Human and Social Services, with a specialization in Family Studies and Interventions, at Walden University in 2020. Before joining ESF, she worked and volunteered for local social services agencies, including affordable housing, civic engagement, supportive housing, child care, food access, and care management. She developed experience working with the diverse populations in California, specifically in Sacramento, Woodland, Davis, and her own hometown of Los Angeles.
Jessica is passionate about social services and working in collaboration with marginalized communities. She is very excited to work with family child care providers throughout California, and is motivated to support and empower individuals in achieving their professional and educational goals. She strives to be an advocate for underrepresented communities and practice a people-centered approach in her work.
Jessica was born and raised in Southeast Los Angeles in Southern California. She has lived in Northern California, in the Sacramento and Davis area, for about 9 years. She enjoys reading, going on walks through the neighborhood or local walking trails with her 10-year-old dog Leila, scrapbooking, and watching horror and sci-fi movies. She loves taking day or weekend trips to San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Santa Cruz, and Big Sur. Lately, she has been on a mission to learn all of her mom’s recipes, while putting together a recipe book of all her traditional Mexican dishes.
Kayla Gibbs (she/her/hers), Administrative Coordinator
Kayla Gibbs joined ESF in January 2023 as the Higher Education Administrative Coordinator. Prior to joining ESF, Kayla worked in the training and development sector, where she facilitated, coordinated, and implemented inclusive onboarding and training experiences for new hires.
She is passionate about education and ensuring marginalized communities and workers get the training and education they need to be successful in their career. Kayla values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and believes it cultivates social change. She aims to support ESF’s mission by supporting and empowering childcare providers as they pursue professional development opportunities.
Kayla holds a B.S. in Psychology from William & Mary. In her free time, she enjoys reading books, traveling, trying new vegan recipes, tending to her plants, and spending time with her family and friends.
Edna Marquez (she/her/hers), Training & Professional Development Manager
Edna Marquez has recently joined SEIU Education and Support Fund as a Training
Program Manager. She has an extensive background in the child development field.
Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education
and a Master’s Degree in Human Behavior. Edna is very excited to continue to support
the family childcare providers community in the state of California.
Her most recent career experience includes being a YMCA CRS Quality Support
Specialist and Coach for Family Childcare Providers. She also shares her knowledge
and experience as an instructor at Southwest Community College and Mira Costa Community College. With over 25 years’ experience in a variety of roles, she has a well-
rounded understanding of this field and an array of techniques to share with her
students and peers. Edna has hands-on experience in the world of family childcare
providers by having served her local community as one for over 10 years.
Edna’s career focus has been the study and training of childhood education. She loves to work with a diverse group of people where many opinions and different levels of experiences can be shared and learned from. Edna is committed to finding new and
improved services and programs for childcare providers and the families they serve. Her desire to improve their lives is her constant self imposed challenge, as well as her
passion and the drive which makes her a perfect fit for her current position as Training
Edna Marquez is the mother of three sons (twins 33 years old and 30 years old) and
has been blessed with 8 grandchildren. Any free time she can find, she will devote to
her family, spending time with close friends, going for walks by the beach, and traveling
Gema Ortiz (she/her/hers), Provider Training and Support Coordinator
Gema has recently joined SEIU Education and Support Fund California as the Provider Training and Support Coordinator. Before joining ESF she worked in the labor movement. Her organizing career began with SEIU International, one of the assignments during her time with SEIU International was to organize the childcare providers campaign in San Jose, CA alongside SEIU local 521. She continued in the labor movement, had the opportunity to grow as an organizer with SEIU-UHW Worked on a Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign for Dialysis workers. Oversaw Ventura County, with 25 Dialysis clinics and over 500 employees. With UAW local 5810 she oversaw the UCI campus, which includes the medical centers, about 574 researchers. With SPEEA she had the opportunity to help organize Boeing engineers. In addition, she has enjoyed working with kids in a school setting as a Paraeducator providing support in and out of the classroom as well as a camp counselor. Overall, she values building relationships with those she is of service to.
Social Justice is a priority for Gema, as a result of her academic studies, unique learning experiences, and direct work with the labor movement. These have instilled in her a strong desire to make a difference. She wants to help improve lives, advance our community and inspire the same passion in others. Gema invites others to find their voice, develop skills for transformation and understand who they are called to be. She is excited to continue her work with childcare providers through California and provide support to improve the working conditions and lives of providers through education and professional development.
Gema has lived most of her life in Southern California and earned her B.S in Psychology from University of San Diego. She enjoys attending concerts, dancing, reading, exploring the outdoors such as hiking, a nice sunset at the beach and traveling.
Johana Rodriguez (she/her/ella), Program Coordinator
Johana joined the ESF team in 2022 and currently works as Program Coordinator for the Child Care Providers United (CCPU) Training Fund. In her career, she has carried different roles in education and has gained experience across various organizations, particularly non-profit organizations, working with low-income households and providing case management and emergency housing. These experiences have given her a diverse perspective and allowed her to act with empathy and understanding around various populations. She is an advocate for human rights, gender equality, victims of domestic violence and underrepresented communities.
Having a passion for early childhood education and with her experience as a teacher, her goal at ESF is to create and strengthen programs through collaboration, that provide training of the highest quality, improve the well-being of children, and enhance educators’ skills.
Johana studied Psychology and Marketing in her native Colombia. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Spanish and Psychology from the University of Texas. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, puzzles, watching funny movies, attempting to cook new recipes, and spending time with her family.
Rebecca Todaro (she/her/hers), Administrative Project Coordinator
Rebecca joined SEIU Education and Support Fund as an Administrative Project
Coordinator in 2022. She holds a BS in Political Communication from Emerson College, where she focused her studies on environmental and food justice. Before joining ESF,
Rebecca worked in the entertainment industry, where she saw firsthand the power of
workers advocating for fair and safe labor practices. As the daughter of a teacher and
service industry worker, SEIU-ESF’s mission is close to her heart. She is enthusiastic
about the Education and Support Fund’s commitment to providing adult educational
opportunities in a way that centers workers’ voices. She enjoys exploring the outdoors, watching movies, and tending to an ever-increasing collection of craft projects in her free time.
Peggy (she/her/hers), joined the SEIU Education & Support Fund team in 2020. She is the program manager for the CCPU Training Fund’s “Educator-Led Communities of Care” (ELCC).
Before joining ESF, Peggy worked as a labor organizer with several different SEIU Locals: supporting CA State public sector employees; building a new union among private sector caregivers; organizing gig economy workers, and supporting the incredible movement of California’s Family Home Child Care Providers. Among her proudest professional achievements includes working for SEIU Local 99 and Child Care Providers United in the summer of 2020–when CCPU childcare providers won their historic public sector union election!
Peggy is passionate about workers standing side by side to demand the respect they deserve, while they improve the lives of their families and communities at the same time! Peggy was drawn to ESF’s mission of providing worker-centered professional development. It is the women and men doing their jobs each day who know exactly what resources are needed to advance their careers, their industries, and how to positively impact society. At ESF, working people are treated as the experts and central decision-makers regarding their desired training and development opportunities