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Melissa Mendoza

Melissa Mendoza is the principal at the Sandra Cisneros Campus. Prior to joining Camino Nuevo, she taught in bilingual kindergarten and first grade classrooms and served as a bilingual coordinator and intervention teacher at a Los Angeles Unified school in MacArthur Park. She joined Camino Nuevo as a founding teacher at the Sandra Cisneros Campus and later served as the assistant principal for three years before becoming the principal. Melissa graduated from UC Santa Barbara with dual bachelor degrees in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She received her teaching credential and master's degree from UCLA. She also completed her Tier I and II administrative credentials at Cal State University Dominguez Hills. When she's not at school, Melissa loves to travel and spend time with her family. 

Kenia Hernandez
Assistant Principal
of Instruction


Ellie Franco 
Assistant Principal of Instruction

As assistant principal of instruction, Ellie is responsible for ensuring that all students are receiving high-quality instruction that will help them become literate, critical thinkers, and independent problem solvers who are agents of social justice. She works closely with the principal to ensure the school’s strategic plans and goals are met. Prior to joining the school's leadership team, she was a fifth-grade teacher for seven years with the Los Angeles Unified School District. At the Sandra Cisneros Campus, she has been a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher. Her professional experience also includes being a Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment support provider, grade-level chair, Association of Equipment Management Professionals program facilitator, a member of the Teacher Leadership Team, a member of the Camino Nuevo Ethnic Studies Coalition, and facilitator of the G.I.R.L.S. Club on campus. Ellie earned her Bachelor of Arts and Bilingual, Cross-Cultural, Language and Academic Development teaching credential from San Diego State University, and a Master of Arts in New Media Design and Education at California State University, Los Angeles.

Emmanuel SotoEmmanuel Soto
Assistant Principal 
of Student Supports

As assistant principal of student supports, Emmanuel (Alex) is responsible for the development and execution of a robust plan to align instructional practices and school programs to a “whole child” approach that builds a strong foundation for student achievement while building positive school culture as he works with students, families, and other stakeholders.  He also works closely with the leadership team to support teachers with data-driven instruction in mathematics. Alex is a founding teacher at Cisneros and prior to his transition to the leadership team, he taught 6th grade mathematics, science, and an architecture elective at Cisneros. He is a facilitator of the BOYS group on campus which is a space for adolescent boys to discuss, challenge, and redefine what it means to grow up as a young man in our community.  Alex grew up in South Central Los Angeles and graduated from Berkeley with a degree in Architecture and a minor in Education. He received his teaching credential and masters degree in Education from UCLA where he received the Stone Foundation Fellowship Award.  When not at school, Alex enjoys spending time with his family,  working on cars, practicing photography, and camping.

Daisy Aguirre
Student and Family Services Coordinator

As the student and family services coordinator, Daisy works closely with students and families providing educational parent workshops, case management and coordination of referrals to other support program and services for families in need while facilitating other parent engagement activities to ensure student academic success. Daisy is a founding member of the Sandra Cisneros Campus since it opened its doors in 2011. Previously, Daisy worked with youth for the Boys and Girls Club in Long Beach and was a Region Director for Bienestar Human Services overseeing Youth and HIV/Prevention Social Services serving at risk communities of color in Long Beach, Hollywood and Van Nuys. She has over 10 years’ experience advocating for underserved communities and helping build strong community relationships. Daisy completed her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Spanish at California State University, Long Beach. Daisy is also a proud parent and when she’s not at school, she enjoys spending time with her kids and family.

Haysha Maldonado
School Operations Manager

As the school operations manager, Haysha is responsible for ensuring the Sandra Cisneros Campus operates safely and smoothly. Among her many duties, Haysha oversees management of facilities, cafeteria and main office operations, budget spending, and state testing. During her time at Camino Nuevo, Haysha has held many positions: from kindergarten instructional aide to operations coordinator to special education services and records clerk. These roles have allowed her to have a better understanding of the school and the community she serves. Haysha graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor's degree in English Literature. When she is not working on spreadsheets, Haysha enjoys horseback riding, reading books and practicing meditation.