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Eva Ruiz

Eva is the Founder and Director of Mi Casita and a lifelong educator. She has worked as a teacher, researcher, and policy advisor. Eva has been a teacher in the US and internationally in San Francisco, Barcelona, Washington, D.C., Dakar, and New York. She has also conducted research at NYU’s Metropolitan Center For Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. Eva served as Education Policy Analyst and Budget Manager for City Council member Leticia James, and later worked as a Political and Community Affairs Director at the NYC Department of Education. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of San Francisco and her Master's degree in Sociology of Education from The Steinhardt School at New York University. Eva currently serves on the Board of ParentsTogether. 

As the daughter of immigrants from Barcelona, Eva grew up bilingual and bi-cultural, with one foot in Spain and one foot in the United States. She has carried on this tradition with her daughter, Ona, with whom she loves to explore the world, discovering new places both locally and internationally. A few of Eva’s favorite hobbies include painting, cooking, talking on the phone, dancing, sewing and playing with her puppy TinTin.

LETTER FROM EVA                      CONTACT EVA: 646.757.0019 |

Advisory Board


Ghislaine Malinowski

Ghislaine grew up in Washington, D.C., and attended a bilingual IB school where she learned Spanish. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education (PreK-2) from Lesley University, in Cambridge MA. Upon completion, she moved to Costa Rica to improve her Spanish, and volunteered with a local environmental project working to save the sea turtles and at a local elementary school. She then relocated to NYC and taught Kindergarten and first grade for 5 years at a private school in Manhattan. She has served on the Advisory Board for an educational company that created arts and craft activity boxes for young children.

Ghislaine took a break from the classroom to stay at home with her three young children where she has been able to put her hands-on approach and philosophy to the test. She loves cooking, crafting, and dancing. 


Romina Wixom

Romina is one of Mi Casita's original teachers. She holds a Master's degree in Art and Design Education from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. While living and studying in the New York City area, Romina worked in a wide variety of educational settings from private cooperative home-school groups, to museum settings, public and private schools, and a truly special kids-focused art studio known as the Art Shack. This eclectic experience fueled her particular philosophies in terms of teaching "through the lens" of art making. In her classroom, nearly anything can be translated into a hands-on, creative experience. These moments are even more so enhanced when students work in a collaborative effort, talking, thinking, and problem solving together. Romina now lives in Beacon, NY, with her husband and daughter. Her current teaching projects focus on the merging of occupational therapy and arts education. 



Carlos was born and raised in Zaragoza, Spain. His professional career started as a labor lawyer in Madrid and Barcelona, but he found a new passion teaching Spanish.

He completed his Masters in Spanish Linguistics and practicum at the Cervantes Institute in Holland. Later, he moved to India where he taught Spanish and mentored young people from all backgrounds at the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, an NGO.

Since moving to New York, he has worked within a range of Early Childhood Spanish Immersion After School Programs and Language Schools. He believes that learning new languages at an early age is invaluable.

He loves the ocean, scuba diving, and tortilla de patatas.

Design Team

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Priya Patel & Esther Beke

Priya grew up in Kenya and was schooled in Kenya, England, India and the US. She received her Bachelor of Environmental Design in 1992 from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, Bachelor of Architecture in 1995 and Masters of Architecture in 1997 from the University of Minnesota, College of Architecture and Design. She has 16 years of experience designing public and private schools for children and was the only architect on staff at an interior design studio focusing on residential development.

Priya's passion lies in the many scales of the design of a building; how a building’s design can transcend the ever changing fabric of a city, how it sits and feels on a particular site and how each person defines the uses of their own space.


Esther grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design (2003) and a Masters in Industrial Design (2014) from Pratt Institute. She has partaken in design workshops and programs in San Francisco, Scandinavia, England and Mexico. She currently teaches at Pratt Institute's Industrial Design Department at both undergraduate and graduate levels. She has experience working on a wide variety of commercial and private interior design projects, with a range of scales and applications.

Esther is interested in cross-disciplinary work and the translation of a design language.Her deep understanding and belief in concept design, in addition to her genuine curiosity and interest in learning, has allowed her to run the diverse range of successful design projects.


Alexandra Barker

Alexandra is the founder and principal of BFDO Architects pllc, an award-winning practice based in New York with a focus on exploring spatial and material practices that adapt to the evolving relationships between inhabitants and the built environment.

BFDO has worked in the public and private sector on a range of projects that include ground-up private residences, interiors, and institutional and retail projects in the New York area, regionally, and internationally.  The firm has engaged with a range of private and corporate clients including The Hudson Companies and Trinity Real Estate as well as developers for residential units in Inner Mongolia, China. Recent professional awards include AIA New York and AIA Brooklyn Queens Design Award Certificates of Merit for the Maple Street School.  The speculative project, Chromatic Energy Landscape, was a finalist in the Land Art Generator Initiative and received an honorable mention in the Architizer A+ Awards. A book on the firm’s work, titled BFDO:  Assemblies, will be released in the fall through Artifice Books, an imprint of Blackdog Publishing, based in London.

Alexandra Barker is also the assistant chair of the Graduate Architecture and Urban Design Program and Associate Professor with CCE (Certificate of Continuing Education) at Pratt Institute where she has taught since 2001. She has previously taught in the graduate architecture department at the University of Pennsylvania and in the undergraduate architecture department at Princeton University. At Pratt, she has been the recipient of national grants to integrate practice and education and sustainable principles into Pratt’s graduate architecture curriculum. 

Alexandra Barker received her MARCH from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where she received the Templeton Kelly Prize and the Clifford Wong Housing Prize for her thesis work. Her undergraduate work in Visual and Environmental Studies was completed at Harvard College, where she graduated magna cum laude. 

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