ELAC College Campus

Faculty & Statff

Meet our Faculty & Staff

Marcia Cagigas Portrait

Marcia Cagigas, Director

I began working at the East Los Angeles College Child Development Center in 1981. I wore many hats before being selected as the Director of this amazing program, including teacher assistant, coordinator of the food program, manager of the State Preschool Grant, substitute teacher, and teacher. In all of my years working in the field of early education, what stands out are the children, family, students, and staff that I have had the pleasure of working with.

I am an alumni of East Los Angeles College (A.A.), California State University Los Angeles (B.A. in Child Development), and the University of LaVerne (M.S. in Early Childhood Education). I take pleasure in learning new and exciting ideas and concepts, as well as meeting and getting to know professionals early childhood education.

Working at East Los Angeles College has provided me many opportunities to grow professionally and personally. The community, Campus faculty and staff, and children and families continue to bring joy to my life. 

Jacqueline Zavala Portrait

Jacqueline Zavala, Vice Director

I am proud to join the East Los Angeles Child Development Center with over ten years of experience in the field. As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the importance of education as a means of advancement. I have a B.A. from California State University Northridge and an M.A. degree in Education with an option in Early Childhood Education from California State University Long Beach.

Prior to joining East Los Angeles College, I served in various capacities in the field of early childhood education, both as an educator and administrator. Most recently, I worked as an Early Education Coach for Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP). I also worked as an Early Demonstration teacher at UCLA Lab School and served as a mentor teacher for UCLA practicum students. In addition, I was the site supervisor at Para Los Niños Child Development Center located in South Los Angeles.

I embrace working with students, families, and teachers from diverse academic, socio-economic, and ethnic backgrounds. As the Vice Director of the East Los Angeles Child Development Center I am committed to continuing to provide a high quality learning education program that is culturally responsive to students, parents, and the community at large.

Jennifer Jarman Portrait

Jennifer Jarman, Teacher

I grew up locally in Bell Gardens, CA, and I have been working in the Child Development field for 30 years. I started my career as a practicum student at the East Los Angeles College Child Development Center, where I taught for several years before going to Downey Adult School to help administer and oversee the successful daily operations of the child care center. I also taught child development classes to high school students at both Downey and Warren High School. I then taught at Los Angeles City College for three years. I returned to East Los Angeles College in 1999, where I have happily been since.
My husband and I are passionate advocates for children and families in the foster care system. 

We volunteer as part of the Regional Community Council that seeks ways to recruit foster families-with the goal of keeping children connected in their own communities and schools.

I was recently invited to be on the Director's Advisory Council for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. My husband and I are raising our five children-all of whom were adopted from foster care.

I enjoy researching a variety of interests regarding child development and education. My most recent focus is the attainment of proprioception as an indicator of reading readiness. I take every opportunity to encourage parents to advocate for their children.

Nancy Duran Portrait

Nancy Duran, Teacher

I was born and raised in East Los Angeles. I have over 12 years of experience working in the field of early childhood education. My passion for the child development field emerged in 2002, while I was a student at East Los Angeles College taking my first child development class.

I received an Associate of Arts degree in Child Development from East Los Angeles College. I have also earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Child Development from the University of Lavern and a Master's degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College.

As an educator of young children I enjoy empowering my students and preparing them with the skills they will need to be successful in school and throughout life. 

I am a mentor teacher for practicum students interested in pursuing a degree in early childhood education. I have also worked as a Home Base Educator and Family Advocate at Volunteers of America Children's Services Division. 

Aurora Navarro Portrait

Aurora Navarro, Teacher

I was born and raised in Boyle Heights. I began working at the East Los An geles Child Development Center in 2001. I am currently a Co-Teacher and work closely with 3-5 year olds. I am an Alumni of East Los Angeles College (A.A.) and the University of LaVerne (B.S. in Child Development). I am currently a graduate student at Pacific Oaks College, where I am completing a Master's degree in Human Development.

I am aware that children come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and different family configurations.

This is why it is important to validate, embrace, and celebrate the diversity that children and families bring into the classroom. As an educator I provide my students stimulating and developmentally appropriate first-hand learning experiences that support children's interests, curiosities, and life experiences.

Ruby Torres Portrait

Ruby Torres, Teacher

I have been working with children for the last four years. I am actively pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Child Development and a Multiple Subjects Credential from National University. I graduated from East Los Angeles College and earned an A.A. degree in Child Development and Social and Behavioral studies. I hold multiple certificates that allow me to work with a diverse population of children and learning environments. My long term goal is to pursue a doctoral degree in order to teach college level and graduate courses in child development.

My teaching philosophy is grounded on the belief that children best learn through intentional play and exploration.

As an educator I enjoy providing my students with a rich and nurturing classroom learning environment that enables them to reach their highest potential and experience different levels of success.

Mia Castro Portrait

Mia Castro, Teacher

I developed my passion for working with young children in 1991 while I was a student at East Los Angeles College. I discovered that working with young children presented both challenges and rewards that helped me grow as an individual and gave me a chance to make a difference in the life of a child.

I am dedicated to becoming an expert early childhood educator. I received an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from East Los Angeles College. I later attended Pacific Oaks College and received a Bachelor's of Arts in Human Development. 

I am very passionate about the arts and I love to incorporate many forms in my classroom. I believe music is a useful tool in early literacy, math, and in building community in a diverse world. 

Maria Gutierrez Portrait

Maria C. Gutierrez, Program Technician

I began working at the East Los Angeles College Child Development Center as a student worker in 1990. Throughout the years I have assisted with different components of our program. In 1992, I became the State Preschool Coordinator.

As a State Preschool Coordinator my immediate responsibilities include overseeing and determining eligibility of families into our State Preschool Program. I also oversee the Volunteer and Work Study Program and their classroom placement.

Virginia Mercado Portrait

Virginia Mercado, Program Technician

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I graduated from Alhambra High School and carried on to raise my two beautiful children in our home in Covina, California. My experience in real estate and accounting has allowed me to implement my professional skills as an employee of the East Los Angeles Child Development Center for the past twenty-seven years. I get great joy and satisfaction from serving the families and children in our program.

Every day I joyfully serve our community at East Los Angeles College, where I continue to enjoy the laughter of all of the young ones who come and go on to become important people in their lives.

Rosa Mercado Portrait

Rosa Mercado, Program Technician

I have been part of the Child Development Center since 1989. Through the years I have assisted with different aspects of the daily functions of the center. I currently manage and maintain client intake and eligibility based on State Pre-school and Calworks subsidized program requirements.

I enjoy being part of a program that is committed and invested in providing beneficial services to families that help enrich the lives of children through education.


Summer / Fall / Spring:
All Day: Monday-Friday, 7:45 am - 3:30 pm
Morning Monday-Friday, 7:45 am - 12:00 pm
Afternoon Monday-Friday, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

NOTE: All scheduled times are subject to change.

The Child Development Center and the Los Angeles Community College District follow the same school-year calendar: therefore, the Child Development Center is closed when the Community College District is closed. Parents are not charged for the days the Child Development Center is closed.



Contact Information

Office Location:

A1 Building


Marcia Cagigas, Director
Email: @email

Jacqueline Zavala, Vice Director
Email: @email

Front desk Tel: (323) 265.8788