Meet Our Team at Arizona Learning Institute

Our Team

Marj Jones, Ed.D. - CEO

Arizona Learning Institute (ALi) teams were developed by Dr. Marj Jones having over 50+ years of experience in coordinating special needs services in Arizona schools and private clinics. For twenty-five (25) years Dr. Jones served as the founding Director/Therapist of the Scottish Rite Childhood Center, later renamed Arizona Literacy and Learning Center’s (ALLC). During this time, the Center developed major recognition as a Valley of the Sun United Way Agency, an AZ Department of Education Grantee for Early Childhood Professional Development and Literacy Screening, and the Southwest Representative for the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) early childhood research and direct services network. In recognition of her significant contributions to Arizona State University’s Early Reading First Preschools’ Center of Excellence Partnership ($2M) federal grant, she was awarded ASU’s President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness. Following a mission change at ALLC, Dr. Jones went into private practice and later founded the Arizona Learning Institute.

Her skill set includes direct services in: screening, diagnosing and treating learning problems; writing and providing special needs curriculum for elementary through higher education programs; multidisciplinary education and medical clinic team consultant. She has participated as an early childhood research team member in Recognition & Response Methods-observations & treatment: (NCLD, Head Start, Wake Forest Univ. Frank Porter Graham Institute-UNC-Chapel Hill); head of AZ field testing for three early childhood national literacy and screening projects; professional development trainer for multiple agencies, school districts, adjunct instructor: ASU, NAU, Ottawa Univ. She has been a sought-out speaker at local, state, and national special needs conferences; a participant in: the AZ Town Hall, Who Will Teach Our Children Summit. She has held positions on the AZ State Dept. of Ed. Child Find, early childhood intervention, literacy and multiple grant writing committees. During the last 10 years, Dr. Jones led the Ali team in the development and implementation of the Pendergast District’s First Things First (FTF) Peer to Peer Screening Project; Buckeye and Lutheran Social Services of the SW, Family Resource Centers’ Developmental and Sensory Screening programs; Valley of the Sun United Way/Dignity Health’s professional and parent development Screening Snapshot and Readiness Basket programs; Town of Gila Bend’s, FTF Family Resource Center’s Policies and Procedures for Rural Area Screening Expansion. Always concerned about unserved and under-served children, she has been actively involved in the Strengthening Families movement participating in the Center for the Study of Social Policy activities,

Angelica Rodriguez, Parent’s Early Childhood Educator


* Social Work * Community Development * Parenting Skills Training * Facilitation Services & Training * Family, Abuse, Child Protection * Spanish Interpreter Services* Early Childhood Development – Parent Training * Customer Service * Early Childhood Developmental & Sensory & Literacy Screening


2006 – To Present

  • Early Childhood Program, Parents & Caregiver trainings dealing w/ children 0-5

- Readiness Basket Program Coordinator
- Program and materials design
- Coordination with partners and private donors
- Mentoring to co-facilitators
- Readiness/Learning Basket trainer/facilitator and mentor
- Get Ready to Read, Pre-Literacy Screening to children 3-5
- ASQ 3 and S/E-2 screening, children 0-5
- Family Navigation: FTF Gila Bend Family Resource Center
- Strengthening Families Workshops: including Early Childhood Standards
- Nurturing Parenting Workshops

Facilitation Training:

  • Training and facilitation program for Catholic Missioners in Miami, FL
  • Leadership training for parents of Murphy School District and Facilitation training for Parents Summer Academy for Osborn School District 2007- 2008, 2009 and 2010

2010 – 2019 Arizona Learning Institute

  • First Things First Early Childhood Parent Training Programs w/Town of Gila Bend, Gila Bend Elementary School District, and Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services
  • 9 yrs. Readiness Basket Programs & other workshops in Gila Bend & Paloma areas
  • Parents Facilitation and Leadership Program (Hispanic Parents) – Gila Bend
  • Mentor/Trainer of The Learning Basket Practitioner’s Course in USA and Guatemala

ASQ-3, SE, Get Ready to Read, Vision & Hearing Screenings 0-5 (Publisher & T3 Certified)

  • Promatora Screening Model Development – Gila Bend
  • Family Literacy Community events
  • Parents/caregivers support group
  • Case Management (Family Navigation System) & On-Line Data Base Development
  • Family Navigator: Gila Bend Family Resource Center
  • Opening Doors (Certified)
  • Nurturing Parenting (Certified)
  • Strengthening Families – Protective Factors Training
  • Readiness Basket Facilitator for Valley of the Sun United Way and Spencer Family Charitable Fund (Chicago Community Foundation) Projects in Glendale, Avondale, Chandler, Phoenix and Paloma Arizona.

2006 – 2016 Arizona Literacy and Learning Center

  • Developmental Screenings follow up; ELOA Grant w/ VSUW collaboration
  • Developmental Screening to children 3-5 years of age
  • Get Ready to Read, Pre-Literacy screenings for children 3-5 years old
  • Readiness Basket Parent Training for Valley of the Sun United Way and other private foundations

2001 – 2006 The Institute of Cultural Affairs USA, Phoenix, Arizona

Early Childhood Programs:

  • Learning Basket, Phoenix Coordinator

Responsibilities included:

  • Facilitation and training in the Learning Basket Approach for children between 0-3 years old
  • Qualified Trainer, Childcare Practitioner Training, in the use of Learning Basket Approaches, e.g. Early Head Start.
  • Trainer and mentor in Parent Education (parenting Classes) of Learning Basket Program
  • Learning Basket course coordination, contact and follow-up for ongoing courses

1989 – 2001 The Institute of Cultural Affairs USA Phoenix, Arizona

Office administrator and Hispanic Community Services Staff
Responsibilities included:

  • Facilitation and training in the Technology of Participation methods in Spanish
  • Technical Assistance to both urban and rural communities in Phoenix and around Yuma, AZ, including planning community activities and forming neighborhood associations.
  • Coordination of the four-year, intercity Phoenix, Garfield Neighborhood Community Project
  • Office Administration, including multiple project coordination

1987 – 1989 Residential Learning Center, Seattle, Washington:

Community and Youth Programs Coordinator
Responsibilities included:

  • Developing the curriculum for a multicultural youth training program.
  • Facilitating the Imaginal Education training program designed to enhance the self-image of youth and community groups.
  • Developing other Spanish-language programs for youth

1985 – 1987 The Institute of Cultural Affairs Peru, Lima and Azpitia:

Coordinator of the Azpitia Human Development Project
Responsibilities included:

  • Implementing a reforestation campaign through the organization of twenty communities along the Southern cost Peru
  • Conducting Fourteen Human Development Training Schools for Community leaders
  • Coordination of community activities.

1983 – 1984 The Institute of Cultural Affairs Chile, Santiago:

Responsibilities included:

  • Facilitating Community Development Training courses
  • Facilitating the formation of five youth groups involving over one hundred youth
  • Instructor of Imaginal education high school seminars
  • Office financial administrator


  • 1992 and 1993 Garfield Neighborhood Community Project
  • City of Phoenix, Community That Works Contest

- Excellent Partnership Development Awards
- Community Development Excellent Award
- Community Leadership Excellent Award

Personal Details:

Education: Holds Chilean equivalent to a US Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

Post Graduate Work: Salt River Community College, Phoenix Community College and Arizona State University

Early Childhood Education/Trainings:

  • Organizational Professional Development, ADE & FTF Conference Trainings, multiple topic trainings
  • Promising Practice: Institute of Cultural Affairs - Learning Basket Training

- Adaptation – Readiness Basket – Collaborative Development Training

  • ASQ-3 & SE-2 Basic and Online Usage for Developmental Screening & Data Base Development – Publisher Training
  • AZ Early Childhood Standards training
  • Usage of Teaching Strategies Gold w/ Activities Training
  • Instructor for international Early Childhood Interested Professionals coming to Gila Bend, AZ to learn to implement Readiness Basket in Guatemala
  • Texas Scottish Rite Hospital’s Children’s Dyslexia and Adult Literacy Programs
  • Strengthening Families – Protective Factors Training
  • Evidenced Based Educational Workshop Programs Training

- Nurturing Parents
- Opening Doors
- Parents as 1st Teachers, UK

  • Community Organizing – Group Facilitation Programs Training

Language: Spanish and English (Second language)

Computer Skills: Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher and Page Maker

Current Membership:

  • Delta Kappa Gamma International Education Society for Women
  • DKG Latin American Committee for Networking Educational Policy & Programs
Raul Jorquera Readiness Basket – Parent Academy Specialist


Raul Jorquera is a native of Chile and educated in Chile holding the equivalent of Social Worker Degree.

During his 24 years working with Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA), Raul completed intense seminars/workshops in facilitation, community development strategic planning, and philosophy of participation training.

In addition, training included hands-on presentation techniques, mentoring and navigation (resource) development for clients.

Certified Family Education Trainer:

*Learning/Readiness Basket curriculum
*Nurturing Parenting curriculum
*Opening Doors curriculum
* ADE Early Childhood Standards – Infants & Toddlers & 3-5.
*Strengthening Families Programs
*Protective Factors - Programs
* Colorado Navigation System
* Early Childhood Everyday by First Thing First
* FTF Child Welfare Policy; FTF Suspected Child Maltreatment – Mandated Reporting Policy


Raul Jorquera is a bilingual (Spanish and English) facilitator and trainer, committed to the belief that everyone has a right to participate in the decisions that govern their lives. He has over thirty years’ experience working with local communities and facilitating group process. He was an active facilitator and trainer with The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) for 24 years working with the Latino Community in Phoenix, Arizona and throughout the Southwest.

During his career, he has also facilitated and trained more than 100 programs in Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Mexico and throughout the United States. From villages to professional settings, he brings practical skills, humor, rational clarity, and a wealth of practical experience in assisting grass root organizations as they seek to expand authentic community participation and leadership in their programs.

Raul co-created the Neighborhood Academy Curriculum, the Leadership Training Program for Community Leaders in Oaxaca, Mexico, training sessions and workshops for Gila Bend Parents Support Groups, Parent Involvement & Empowerment Workshops for the Murphy and Osborn School district’s in Phoenix, AZ and Hartford Elementary School, Chandler School District, Chandler, AZ.

Since 2006, he facilitated more than 200 Early Childhood Workshops of the Learning/Readiness Basket and Open Doors Programs. Additionally, Raul has trained participants in curricula as diverse as the Neighborhood Academy, Parent Academy, Training for Effective Family Literacy, Leadership Skills Building, Participatory Strategic Planning, Youth as Facilitative Leaders, and ToP Group Facilitation Methods in both Spanish and English.

Raul works to create ongoing relationships with his clients in which he will tailor a combination of the curricula mentioned above for a variety of stakeholder groups in order to build on the wins of each group, reinforce the positive practices within each community and build momentum for sustainable change.


Readiness Basket Parent Programs: Gila Bend, Cartwright, Washington, Murphy, Phoenix Elementary, Balsz, Osborn, Chandler, Avondale, Pendergast school districts and the Town of Gila Bend, Family Resource Center.

Partners for other programs: Arizona Learning Institute, Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services, The Community Tool Box, Adelanto California, Little Village Community, Chicago Illinois. Comunidad Corazon, Tijuana Mexico.

William T. Machan School, Creighton School District; Sullivan, Garcia, Hamilton and Kuban Elementary Schools, Murphy School District, Phoenix, AZ

Former Clients:

* United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Chile
* United Nations Development Program – Costa Rica
* Habitat for Humanity International – Costa Rica
* World Bank, Washington, DC – Community Development
* University of Toronto (Canada) technical assistance to Bolivian municipalities

Additional Skills

* Bilingual Spanish and English (Second Language)
* Computer Skills: Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, Page
* Photographer


* Institute of Cultural Affairs
* Partners in Participation

Elaine Chan, MS

Elaine graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science Education and earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Applications from Nova Southeastern University. She has her elementary and principal certification and endorsements as a Reading and Structured English Immersion Specialist. Elaine has taught in Paradise Valley District’s classrooms at the primary level/ She has evaluated and diagnosed children and adults for Reading Disorders (Dyslexia) at Arizona Literacy and Learning Center and later became an employee of the Arizona Learning Institute.

Elaine has been the coordinator/trainer for children’s assessment, staff professional development at the Gila Bend, Buckeye Family Resource Centers, and the Pilgrims’ Rest Foundation’s First Things First Grants for Nurturing Parenting & Kids Watch AZ Home Visitation program. Staff training emphasis is placed on learning and implementing the ASQ on-line screening and database system, Vision and Hearing screening knowledge and equipment usage, plus Get Ready To Read, preschool literacy screening.

She is a trained T-3 AZ State certified Vision and Hearing Screener and a ASQ-3 & SE-2 publisher trained developmental trainer/screener. As part of the ALi team, during the last three years, Elaine Coordinated the SW Regional Council’s Screening Network. Starting in 2018-19, she will be the lead trainer in developing the SW Region’s new rural screening expansion project.

She currently is a member of the FTF State Collaborative Screening Committee developing statewide policies for screening practices. During the last three years, Elaine coordinated Ali's continued expansion of the GB-FRC’s screening project resulting in the Gila Bend preschool’s FTF scholarships being restored and an increase in the preschool’s Star Rating. She became a key collaborator with the FTF Buckeye Family Resource Center staff offering regional and local Developmental & Sensory Screening professional development training, planning, coordination of equipment, screening analysis, task writing with recommendations, and supervision of staff data input.

Elaine is an innovative developmental and sensory screening program developer and trainer responsible for the Pendergast Family Resource Center’s the Peer-to-Peer Screening Pilot Project for the FTF NW Council. She coordinated the Valley of the Sun United Way’s Train the Teacher (preschool) for Success (a professional development screening project) and the VSUW-Dignity Health Foundation’s implementation of the Developmental Snapshot to School Readiness program.