LEAP, c/o St. Luke's Episcopal Church

1737 Hillandale Road

Durham, NC 27705

p: 919-286-2273

f:  919-416-9529

LEAP Staff

Yessica Alvarez,
Nuestra Escuelita Teacher
I am currently working at Nuestra Escuelita in the Spanish-speaking classroom. I have been with the LEAP program since 2013. I have worked in childcare centers in the Head Start Program and other non-profit institutions. These organizations have helped me gain much experience in working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. I am currently working on enhancing my early childhood education background. Working at LEAP allows me to support the Latin American children into maintaining their native language.
Leigh Bordley,
Executive Director


Becoming the director of LEAP has been a great adventure for me!  This position has given me the opportunity to work on so many issues I'm interested in - education, childhood development and immigration to name a few.  Since I received my Masters in Social Work in 1986, I have worked with a variety of social justice organizations. Immediately before I joined LEAP in 2012, I had founded and led Partners for Youth, a mentoring program dedicated to supporting young people striving to complete high school and prepare for college and careers. I served as a member of the Board of Education for Durham Public Schools, 2008-16.

I have three children who think they are grown (ages 19-25). I love spending time with the kids who attend LEAP and learning to speak Spanish!! 


Dalia Gheiler,
Nuestra Escuelita Teacher Mentor and Preschool Curriculum Coordinator

I have been involved in early childhood for more than 25 years. My passion for young children lead me to pursue a masters degree in early childhood education. I have been fortunate to have been able to work with young children and their families in a variety of settings and with diverse populations. During my last 10 years in Minnesota, I specialized in teaching in a laboratory-model school in a multiage classroom, where I also trained teachers pursuing their early childhood teaching licenses. I continue to keep updated with the latest research and trends in the field while I keenly observe, reflect, and integrate these understandings in ways that are appropriate for our school, our families, and children. After more than 25 years working in the preschool classroom, I am delighted to be part of the “Nuestra Escuelita” community and bring my expertise in the fields of early childhood, dual-language learning, teacher training, and curriculum development. These days, you can find me observing in the classrooms and luckily quite actively involved in both of our classrooms on a daily basis.

“I believe in the importance of connections and the power of relationships. I trust  the children's endless abilities and infinite potential. As teachers, we must identify each one’s uniqueness and be able to allow and support its development. I believe in children's right to develop to their fullest potential and believe that it is my responsibility to make sure that this takes place."

Ann Sotolongo,
Nuestra Escuelita Teacher

I was born and raised in Illinois and graduated from Cornell College with a degree in history. After graduating, I became a Registered Nurse and worked in ICU for 9 years before retiring to raise my family.
I live in Durham with my husband, dog, and kitty. I have 3 grown children. In my spare time I like to jog, bike and read.
I began my 12 career as a pre-school teacher in 1999. I spent my first 1 1/2 yr as an assistant for 2 and 3 year olds, then transitioned into a lead teacher role which I throughly enjoyed.
I am passionate about working with pre-schoolers and their families and I am very excited to join Nuestra Escuelita. 

Jan Lamb,
Tutoring Coordinator
I am excited to be the Tutoring Coordinator for LEAP.  I served on the LEAP Board from its inception and feel its mission and work are vital in the Durham community. I initially worked with adults in an ESL program but agreed that focus on the children was the better use of resources.  Literacy tutoring was one of the key features that drew me to LEAP.  I have taught reading to students with learning differences for 40+ years in public and independent schools, the last 32 at The Hill Center in Durham. I have taught students of all ages as well as teachers in professional development programs.  As a deacon in the Episcopal Church, much of my work is in the Latino community.  I look forward to watching LEAP grow!