Our Team

Jared Acker

Co-founder, Executive Director

Jared spent 9 years in Denver Public Schools as an instructional leader in second language acquisition. As the chairperson of the Denver Green School Language English Language Acquisition Department, Jared led the department to top ten growth scores for language acquisition students. In 2016, the language learners at Denver Green School scored the 3rd highest in the district of over 200 schools. As director of the Spanish school at Craft for Community, Jared applies the same principles that made his department successful to that of the Spanish classes at CFC.  A fluent Spanish speaker, Jared holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, and a Master’s degree in international public service management from DePaul University’s School of Public Service.

Jennifer Cooper

Co-founder, Director of Programming

Jennifer is a ceramic artist with over ten years of teaching experience in high needs public schools. She has a passion for project-based learning and infusing the arts into everyday moments.  Jennifer is a certified visual arts and career-technical education teacher who worked with various high needs programs and students in order to promote post-secondary workforce readiness within the arts. Jennifer created the product design and sculpture program at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy, a K-12 art magnet school in Denver, Colorado.  Jennifer holds a bachelor's degree from the New York State School of Ceramics at Alfred University and a Masters in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in technology from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.  Her vision for Craft for Community is to help empower people through authentic, project-based experiences in order to help them build skills and to better understand the world around them.  

Emir Munguia Roa

Property Manager

Emir was born and raised just a 10 minute walk from Craft for Community and knows the community as well as anyone. One of 12 siblings, Emir is great with people and knows everyone in town on a first-name basis. He loves to talk about El Transito and is a great guide to show students around town. Emir provides logistical support to Craft for Community while maintaining the Craft for Community property. Emir lives on the property and provides support to Craft for Community 24/7. When he’s not working at the property, you can usually find him at one of his many family members house or fishing off the rocks in front of Craft for Community.

Francisca “Fran” Escalante Solis

Lodge Manager

Fran moved to El Transito at a young age and her family is well known throughout the village. Fran manages every aspect of The Lodge (La logia) to make sure students and guests are comfortable and enjoying their trip. As Craft for Community’s chef, Fran strives to provide students and guests with the freshest, most natural ingredients in her cooking. Fran greets every guest with a warm smile and loves to chat about life in other countries.

Dennis Lopez

Program Coordinator / Interpreter

Dennis' family is originally from El Transito however Dennis was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. After spending his first 20+ years of his life in Canada, Dennis moved back to El Transito with his family where he met his wife and now has two beautiful children that you will probably meet at Craft for Community. Dennis is the in-country coordinator who helps with all logistics and planning for each group. He also accompanies guests on day-trips and at volunteer sites to interpret and translate as needed.

Luisana Gutierrez

Spanish Teacher

Luisana is originally from Granada, Nicaragua. She has her Master's Degree in Education and worked for the Ministry of Education in Granada for over 9 years. She is bilingual but loves encouraging students to use their Spanish and challenge themselves to become better Spanish speakers and learners. Luisana also worked for a Spanish School in Granada for over 4 years before coming to Craft for Community. She has two daughters and loves meeting students from all around the world.