Dr. Nivea Lisandra Torres presently serves as the Executive Director for the Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative.  She is a dedicated and passionate educator who has taught students at all grade levels in Puerto Rico and Connecticut for over 24 years.  

She came to KRC as a former district administrator and brings firsthand knowledge of the challenges and realities of operating effective schools.  For over four years, Dr. Torres led the Connecticut Technical High School System as Superintendent of Schools where she oversaw the day to day operations of over 11,000 students and 20 facilities across the state.  During her tenure as Superintendent of Schools, the system garnered state-wide distinction for reaching an all-time high graduation rate of 97.4 percent, nearly ten points higher than the state average.

Previous to her appointment as Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Torres served as the technical system’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.  Dr. Torres has also worked as principal of the Windham Center Elementary School in Windham, Connecticut.  In this capacity, she was able to impact student achievement by leading the school to meet state and national literacy and numeracy goals during her third year as principal.  

Dr. Torres has served as bilingual coordinator and curriculum specialist for Windham Public Schools, as high school Language Arts and English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in Connecticut and Puerto Rico, and an adjunct professor of curriculum at the University of Connecticut’s NEAG School of Education.

She holds a B.A. in Foreign Service and International Politics from the Pennsylvania State University, an M.Ed. in English as a Second Language from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut.

During her spare time, Dr. Torres enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling to her favorite place, Puerto Rico.


         Dr. Torres’s favorite children’s book is:  Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Dr. Nivea Lisandra Torres

Shannon Maitland

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Research & Analysis Operations Manager

Shannon joined the Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative (KRC) team in 2015 and has helped launch the initial dreams of KRC into a current reality. Her prior experience in collaborative partnerships, fundraising, project development, event coordination, and supporting parent success enhances the added value that the collaborative brings to our community. 

Shannon earned a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree and a Bachelors in Environmental Studies (B.S.) both from Florida Gulf Coast University, where she worked on projects that involved mentoring, strategic planning, interdisciplinary teams, and sustainability. She was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where she frequently travels to visit family and friends. When she’s not in the office, Shannon spends her time adventuring, playing, and relaxing with her two amazing children.

         Shannon’s favorite children’s book is: Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

Laticia “Nikki” Boswell

Child Development Specialist in Gifford


Nikki was welcomed as part of the KRC team in 2016 and has served as an important community resource and connector for parents with young children.  In addition to a passion for education and empowering parents, Nikki brings 17 years of preschool teaching experience with Head Start, through the Economic Opportunities Council of Indian River. Additionally, for the past 4 years, she has served as a facilitator for multiple Smart Baby Ambassador and Learn to Play, Play to Learn parent education classes.   


Nikki earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) and several other certifications through Indian River State College.  Nikki grew up in Gifford and Vero Beach, with a large network of family and friends, so she is very familiar with all that our area has to offer.  She has been actively involved in the community for all of her life, whether through work, school, church, or community volunteering. Nikki and her husband have three fantastic children that are all in college. 


         Nikki’s favorite children’s book is: Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Maria Pantoja

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Child Development Specialist in Fellsmere

Maria joined KRC in 2016 and has been actively engaging with families, serving as an instrumental resource for many parents and children. Maria’s admiration for children and families has enabled her to be a trusted leader in the community. Throughout her career of helping empower families, Maria has become quite aware of the available community resources and enjoys sharing this knowledge with local families. 


Maria holds a Child Development Associate (CDA) from Indian River State College, worked with Head Start for several years, and later opened her own Family Day Care. 

Maria has lived in Fellsmere nearly all her life, moving there with her parents and sisters when she was a young child.  She and her husband have two wonderful children, a boy, and a girl.


         Maria’s favorite children’s book is: The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

  • Nivea Torres & Fran Adams on YouTube

Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative

The Learning Alliance
PO Box 2647
Vero Beach, FL 32961

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