Marlena Afonso | Head of Operations, Bentley Elementary School
Marlena Afonso was born in Central Falls, Rhode Island. She became a first-generation college graduate from Providence College with a degree in Psychology and Spanish. After college, she began her career in education teaching kindergarten through fourth grade special education in Phoenix, Arizona as a Teach For America Corps Member. She earned a masters degree in special education from Arizona State University. She then returned to her hometown, where she worked on staff at Teach For America as an Operations Associate. She decided to return to the classroom to serve students from her community as the founding sixth grade special educator at Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP) Charter School. She took on many leadership roles at BVP including being a Grade Level Chair and Special Populations Chair. This experience lead her to want to learn more about leadership, so she decided to return to graduate school at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she studied School Leadership. While at Harvard, Marlena was a principal intern at the Rogers Middle School in Boston. Upon graduating, she took on the role of Head of Operations at the Bentley 3-5 Elementary School in Salem, MA.