Backside Learning Center, BLC, Louisville ky, horseracing,


Cassie Blausey, Backside Learning Center, Churchill Downs, Louisville

Cassie Blausey

Vice President

Vice President of Policy, Advocacy, and Organizing, Leadership for Educational Equity
caton bredar, backside learning center, louisville

Caton Bredar

Development & Communications Committee

TV Horse Racing Analyst, Writer, Handicapper
Dave Burianek, Louisville, Backside Learning Center

Dave Burianek

Board Member

President, nFuzion Healthcare
Pam Conway, Backside Learning Center, Churchill Downs, Louisville

Pam Conway


Achievement Center Director, Assumption High School
David Masey Goatley, Backside Learning Center, Churchill Downs, Louisville

David "Masey" Goatley

Development & Communications Committee Member

Retired, Banking and Finance Sector
Carla Grego, Backside Learning Center, Churchill Downs

Carla Grego

Development & Communications Committee Member

Kentucky Derby Museum, Retired
Annie Jessee, Backside Learning Center, Churchill Downs, Louisville

Annie Jessee


Retired Middle School Teacher

Jeff Kennedy

Kentucky Derby Museum Seat

Kentucky Derby Museum, Senior Director of Technology
glenn kosse, louisville, backside learning center

Glenn Kosse

Development & Communications Committee Member

Vice President, H2R Consulting LLC
Paola Morante, Backside Learning Center, Louisville

Paola Morante

Board Member

Real Estate and Financial Strategist.
Jeffrey Musgrove, Backside Learning Center, Churchill Downs, Louisville

Jeffrey Musgrove


SPS Philanthropic Advisors, LLC
Cory Stauble, Backside Learning Center, Churchill Downs, Louisville

Cory Stauble

Development and Communications Committee Chair

Realtor, Lenihan & Sotheby's International Realty

Xiamara Torres Jimenez

Churchill Downs Advisory Member

Marketing Manager - Churchill Downs Racetrack


alma aldana, backside learning center, blc

Alma Aldana

Programs Assistant (PT)

Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Alma knows what it is like to leave her home and family to start again in a new place with a different culture and language. Soon after arriving, a friend who works for an immigration lawyer suggested she become an interpreter. Although she had never done it professionally, Alma had been interpreting and stepping up to advocate for people’s rights for years. Since then, Alma has been interpreting at a law office and clinic for children with special needs.

At the BLC, Alma is the programs assistant and is currently recruiting for two programs— Padres Lideres (Parent Leaders) and LENA (Language Environment Analysis). Padres Lideres is intended to encourage parents to form their own groups and work together to prevent violence against children. LENA teaches parents how to communicate with their children between 2 and 34 months to promote brain development and help them reach milestones in speaking.
Alma is glad that through her work at the BLC she can continue to go above and beyond to help people. For fun Alma enjoys making pizza with her daughter Itzel—a creative and spunky eight-year-old who excels in performing arts—and their dog Jackie. We are so grateful and excited to have Alma on our team and are looking forward to getting to know her more.

dalia, backside learning center, blc

Dalia Barajas

Youth Development Assistant (PT)

Dalia moved from Mexico to the U.S. with her mother and sister in November 2018 to join her father, Jesus, who had been working in horse racing for 25 years.

“At first, it was really hard moving here because I didn’t know English,” Dalia said. “I also didn’t really want to move to begin with.”

Backside Learning Center worked with her family as they were settling in, and helped her begin her journey at Newcomer Academy. She also began participating in the Backside Learning Center’s Front Runner’s program.

“Front Runners was really good. They helped me with homework and reading.”,” Dalia said. “I learned a lot of English there.”

Dalia graduated from Iroquois High School last May. Now, Dalia gets to work with us where she laid her roots those years ago!
“I work with Front Runners, and was once in Front Runners. I have to take the attendance, make copies,” said Dalia.

According to Dalia, working in that same program as an adult is very rewarding.
“I think it’s awesome to have this point of view now,” said Dalia. “Because now I’m an example for kids.”

We are so excited to have Dalia on our team! She offers unparalleled perspective with our families, and is an invaluable member of our community.

louisville, backside learning center, dina busaleh

Dina Busaleh

Youth Development Assistant (PT)

Dina Busaleh has been a dedicated volunteer with us for over three years. She is beyond excited to be joining our team as a youth development assistant. Dina graduated early from DuPont Manual High school and is attending the University of Louisville as an MLK Scholar. With her experience working with younger kids, she hopes to help each of our students succeed in the right path. For enjoyment, she enjoys playing her violin and loves listening to Latin music!
louisville, backside learning center, merlin cano

Merlin Cano

Community Wellness & Services Coordinator

Merlin immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala when she was 11 years old. She graduated from Iroquois High School in Louisville, Ky in 2019. Merlin is a published author with Louisville Story Program. She works with thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs as well as her family. She has also worked with the Backside Learning Center with the youth programming team since March 2019. Merlin is really dedicated and happy to work with her community at the backside. She enjoys spending time with her loved ones and working with horses.
Andrew Crum, Backside Learning Center, Churchill Downs

Andrew Crum

Development and Communications Associate

Andrew Crum is our development and communications associate here at the Backside Learning Center. Born in Louisville, Andrew attended the University of Kentucky with a media arts & studies degree that gave him ample experience in communications and content creation. Additionally, Andrew just obtained his Master's of Arts in Teaching, and he spends his time substitute teaching throughout the city when he is away from the BLC. He was introduced to the Backside Learning Center through volunteering in the Front Runners program as a tutor at our Learning Hub during COVID, and he was eager to get back to working with the BLC in any way possible. He can’t wait to get started with the Backside Learning Center and to play his role in fulfilling its mission! In his free time, Andrew enjoys running, listening to music, and watching the Louisville Cardinals
louisville, backside learning center, lauren degeorge

Lauren DeGeorge

Director of Programs

Lauren oversees the Backside Learning Center’s adult and youth educational programs ensuring that quality instruction, organization, program development, and training opportunities are available for the backside community and the volunteers of the BLC. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Lauren graduated from Mercy Academy and in 2010 earned a BA in Elementary Education at the University of Kentucky. She completed her studies overseas, teaching first grade at the John F. Kennedy School in Berlin, Germany. Following her return from abroad, she worked as a permanent long-term elementary substitute for JCPS until she was hired to teach 3rd grade in Quito, Ecuador at El Colegio Americano de Quito. In November 2014, she began working at the Backside Learning Center where she has grown professionally and personally alongside the organization’s growth. She is currently studying to gain a graduate teaching endorsement from the University of Indiana Southeast to teach K – 12 English Language Learners. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys many other activities, including listening to live music, practicing yoga, gardening, traveling, doing various outdoor sports, spending time with her family, and always enjoys learning something new.
jennifer martinez dutton, backside learning center, louisville

Jennifer Dutton

Social Services Manager

Jennifer is originally from southern California, but now resides in Indiana with her husband and her dogs, Bear and Birdie. She is currently completing her Master of Social Work at IUPUI and expects to graduate in May 2022. Her goal is to have her PhD in Social Work to conduct research in the social work field. Jennifer has 7 years of experience working in the social services field, most recently, working as a Family Case Manager with the Department of Child Services in Indiana. Jennifer is a child of Mexican immigrants and was drawn to the work at the Backside Learning Center through her passion of working with the Latino community and helping others. Jennifer is the Social Services Manager at the Backside Learning Center. When she is not working or at school, she enjoys painting, drawing, and sewing. Jennifer is an avid reader, enjoys playing video games, and cooking.
louisville, backside learning center, mariah levine garcia

Mariah Levine Garcia

Youth Education & Enrichment Manager (PT)

Working in conjunction with the Youth Programs Team, Mariah’s work is focused on offering high-quality opportunities for backside youth to learn, grow, and thrive. Mariah attended the University of Louisville where she completed her undergraduate degree in French and Spanish with a minor in Latin American and Latino Studies. During her time at UofL, she completed an internship doing volunteer medical interpretation at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center (a clinic which serves the backside population) and it was there that she first learned about the Backside Learning Center. Mariah is grateful for the opportunity to cultivate long-term relationships with backside community members and to offer engaging programming and opportunities for academic, social, and cultural enrichment. When she’s not working, Mariah is likely to be found reading with her son, spending time with friends and family, and hiking.
Beth Hartivgsen, BLC, Backside Learning Center

Beth Hartvigsen

Accountant (Independent Consultant)

louisville, backside learning center, peyton hobson

Peyton Hobson

Communications & Marketing Manager

Peyton taught English classes as a volunteer at Backside Learning Center for almost two years until she became the communications coordinator at the beginning of 2020. Prior to joining the BLC as a staff member, she graduated from WKU in 2014 as a photojournalism and advertising design major. She has several years of experience in marketing, graphic design and social media working at a variety of organizations and businesses in Louisville. Peyton also spent a year teaching English abroad in Sevilla, Spain with her husband, Chris Butz (former Americorps Vista for BLC.) She enjoys using creativity and visual communication daily to tell the story of the heart of BLC’s mission. On the side, Peyton does some freelance graphic design work, plays tennis, and takes her corgi, Macarena, everywhere.
backside learning center, blc, louisville

Karla Peacock

JCPS English Instructor

Karla Peacock is the new English Language Instructor with the Backside Learning Center. She is so excited to be working with the equine workers. She said it’s been a long time coming to fulfill this passion.

Karla Peacock has been teaching for a little over 20 years in a variety of environments, ranging from public to parochial and private schools. These teaching opportunities have taken her to 3 states of Ohio in the Dayton, Yellow Springs and Xenia/Wilberforce areas where she attended an Historically Black College/ University of Central State University. There, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education.

After teaching in that area for a few years she then moved on to work in Montessori teaching settings by way of Florida in the St. Petersburg area of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. For the past 10 years, she's been back home in Louisville, Ky where she works in private school settings.

For many years she worked with ESL and refugee populations of students on both the child and adult level. She worked for 4 years with Catholic Charities working in the ESL school. She also helped manage the Family Learning Program with intensive language instruction and Family programming. She is a caregiver for her 91 years “young” mom, and is a pet parent to a rambunctious Azawakh puppy, a frisky Russian Blue cat and one tattle tell parrot.

backside learnig center, blc, louisville

Dailey Menendez

JCPS English Instructor

Dailey Menendez is the new adult education English teacher for the Backside Learning Center!
She is currently attending Bellarmine University to receive a bachelor’s degree in secondary education to be a high school English teacher. She is a Louisville native who loves giving back to community any chance she gets. A passion that she’s come across through her college career, and through observations within various schools, is helping ELL students.

“I have absolutely loved teaching so far; I love all my students!” said Menéndez.
“They are hilarious and are quick learners. I am beyond thankful for being apart such a great organization and working with some of the nicest people. “

louisville, backside learning center, sherry stanley

Sherry Stanley

Executive Director

Sherry has served in her position at the BLC since 2013 when it was a staff of two under the Kentucky Derby Museum. She is proud and honored to have been part of the team that has grown the BLC to an independent 501c3 organization with a staff of 12, and most importantly to have expanded the organization’s mission beyond just serving equine workers but to a more holistic and impactful model to include children and families. She spent close to 10 years living and working in El Salvador, first with the U.S. Peace Corps then with local NGO’s in the area of rural development. Prior to joining the BLC in 2013, Sherry spent six years at the Kentucky Office for Refugees, administering Federal funding for refugee resettlement programs throughout the state of Kentucky. Earlier in her career, she worked as a paralegal in Chicago assisting immigrant victims of domestic violence and as a Congressional Hunger Center policy fellow with the National Family Farm Coalition in Washington, DC. Sherry holds a BA in journalism and an MA in sustainable development from the School for International Training. She is thrilled to have the honor of working in the unique world of horseracing and the fulfillment that comes from daily interaction with the inspiring people on the backside. She is the mother of two daughters who are JCPS students at Atherton High School and Highland Middle. In her spare time she loves cooking and doing anything in the outdoors!

Elena Tarullo

Youth & Family Case Coordinator

Elena graduated from Bellarmine University in December as a Psychology and Spanish major. In addition to her Spanish language qualifications, Elena has several internships under her belt that makes her a perfect fit within our community.
“I have a very big passion for nonprofit work,” Elena said.
She interned at Catholic Charities and Dreams with Wings. In addition, she worked with Social Services Manager Jennifer Dutton with us as the social services intern last fall. In her opinion, her internship at the Backside Learning Center stood out among the rest.
“It was different from past internship experiences that I had, especially in nonprofits working with immigrant clients,” she said. “The sense of community you guys have here is really unique!”
She said the interaction with clients is what she looks most forward to.
“I’m excited to meet people most of all,” said Elena. “Everyone here is so great. The people here are unlike anyone you know or meet.”
Elena will be mostly be working with the youth, especially in our “Creciendo Juntos” youth group! In addition, she will be helping Jennifer with case management and be an extra hand at our weekly fresh food market.
We’re unbelievably lucky to have Elena on our team!
Backside Learning Center, BLC, Micaela Vizcarrondo

Micaela Vizcarrondo

Youth Engagement & Academic Success Coordinator

Please welcome our new Youth Engagement & Academic Success Coordinator, Micaela Vizcarrondo!

Micaela was born in Veracruz State, Mexico. She and her family have lived in Louisville for the past 20 years with her husband and three children.

When Micaela first lived in Louisville, her first job was a hot walker on the Backside. Her English level was very limited. “It was difficult to find places to learn, or people that would help with reading documents and filling out paperwork.”

Then, Micaela met her husband at the backside, and he was an inspiration to her to keep studying. He was a student at Backside Learning Center, and found out The BLC could help her kids with homework after school. In 2017, Micaela studied very hard to get her GED. After three years, she finally passed!

We are so happy that Micaela has decided to join our “familia” as the Youth Engagement & Academic Success Coordinator. “I feel capable of helping the community on the Backside,” Micaela said. “I can identify with all of those people; I want to offer my sincere help.”

We are so honored that Micaela has chosen to work with us and the families of the back stretch!

louisville, backside learning center, alexina wilson

Alexina Wilson

Operations and Volunteer Coordinator (PT)

A Louisville native, Alexina studied Spanish and International Studies (with an emphasis on Latin America) at Indian University Southeast. Following her passion for other cultures, she has had the opportunity to travel across Latin America and Europe. She also spent a year and a half teaching English in Quito, Ecuador where she fell even more in love with Spanish and the Latinx population. ⠀

Her desire to serve the diverse community of Louisville led her to volunteer with Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Doors to Hope, and Change Today Change Tomorrow where she taught English, tutored for citizenship classes, and helped provide opportunities for the homeless. She worked for many years with youth facing hardship at the Clark County Youth Shelter of Jeffersonville, IN, and spent the last 3 years teaching Spanish at Portland Christian School. All of this has led her to the Backside Learning Center where she is so excited to be a part of the team. Alexina works as a volunteer coordinator as well as supporting operations.