The latino policy institute


Marinel 1

Marinel Russo

Manager of Early Childhood Initiatives 

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Marinel grew up around family, immersed in her culture. Although all of that changed at the ripe age of 16 when her mom, siblings and herself immigrated to the United States to reunite with her father. This was a huge uproot for a teenager, new country, new language and new surroundings. Her  parents were determined to overcome those difficult moments to create a beautiful new life filled with opportunities for their family. 

After graduating high school, Marinel graduated from Baruch College in New York. It was also there that she met her husband and they returned to Rhode Island where he had grown up to begin a family. After having her two oldest daughters, Marinel felt she wanted to do more professionally than her marketing analyst position. For her, teaching young English learners was a full circle passion for her as she understood the challenges they faced and their struggles. It was during her student teaching that she was introduced to an opportunity at the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children working to assess the quality of childcare programs in Rhode Island. In her current role as Manager of Early Childhood Initiatives, she oversees initiatives such as T.E.A.C.H Early Childhood RI, a scholarship and workforce development program that provides financial opportunities and counseling support to the early childhood workforce. 

As a Latina woman, Marinel points to her heritage as an influence for the way she approaches her work with the same conviction and passion as the food she feeds her family. She wants her daughters to grow up feeling just as proud. Latinos enrich our world from their emphasis on family, culture and history. To her, they are Americans who also don’t forget where they come from. 

Share This!