Celebrating Mariana Ippolito

This year, AART suffered a deep loss with the passing of our Board Treasurer, Mariana Ippolito. 

As our Board Treasurer of over six years, Mariana greatly influenced  AART’s ability to act to the utmost benefit of our students and their families. She approached her work with genuine care for its greater impact on her community and more than anything – beyond the reports and budgeting – Mariana was known for her kindness and empathy.

Before joining the AART family, Mariana was an accomplished scholar and brilliant accountant. Consistently demonstrating her dedication to being a lifelong learner, she achieved both a Master’s in Economics before marrying her husband Juan Jose and moving to the United States to achieve her Master’s of Business Administration. Mariana worked as both an economist and an accountant before becoming CFO at Credit Builder’s Alliance and finally landing as Business Consulting Manager at Ernst and Young. She was always expanding her understanding of her field, improving her skills and finding where she could do the most good.

Her passion for education was amplified with the arrival of their two children, Nico and Isabella. Education was foundational for both of them, and now, as young adults, they too care deeply about both pursuing their education and serving their community.

Mariana’s involvement with AART began as a volunteer at the Lincolnia Community Center class in  Alexandria, that now is named in her honor, and grew into a position as AART’s Board Treasurer. As Board Treasurer, she was a driving force behind the organization’s fiscal infrastructure growth. Mariana also worked tirelessly to identify opportunities to serve more children and ultimately helped build stability and trust with our community and the families we serve. When asked to recall her favorite memory of Mariana, our Executive Director, Michelle, remembered “our discussions that often began with a pertinent fiscal development and burgeoned into a full-scale discussion of the latest class activities and an interest in seeing any photos I might have from the classes. We could sit and talk for hours on a Friday night.”

Her support of the organization was demonstrated at every level, from regular donations and volunteering to assisting with our annual fundraisers. Mariana’s favorite event was our annual Halloween Hoedown. She loved watching others connect with AART’s mission and knew that every dollar earned from this event was going towards changing a student’s life for the better.  She and her husband, Juan Jose, always sponsored the hoedown and brought new people to the event to showcase the organization’s work. 


Mariana’s involvement with nearly every aspect of the organization and her deep personal understanding of the cause made her an invaluable team member and a shining example of the power of one person making a difference in their community. 

In a final note on what Mariana’s relationship with AART meant to her, Michelle had this to say:

“As a passionate advocate for providing free preschool to underserved children, Mariana brought boundless energy, compassion, and expertise to her board position as Treasurer. Her commitment to ensuring every child had access to quality early education was truly inspiring … her legacy is woven into the fabric of All Ages Read Together, and her impact will be felt for generations to come. Mariana leaves behind a profound void, but her spirit of generosity and advocacy will continue to guide and inspire us as we strive to fulfill the mission she held so dear.”



Meet the Teachers: Christa Roan

Our teachers truly put the “heart” in AART. Each of our teachers is a crucial team member who empowers students and parents to find the magic in learning.

Meet Christa, a valued member of our teaching staff.

Growing up, Christa thought she wanted to be a middle school teacher. Positive school memories helped form this dream, starting with her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Fisher. Christa remembers how her teacher would hug her and that she “could feel how loving and wonderful she was.”

This idea stuck with her until college, when she decided to study criminal justice. She graduated from McNeese State University and began working in security. She then served as a police officer for seven years.

Christa’s retirement from law enforcement after having her daughter marked the beginning of her teaching journey. “I enjoyed watching the lightbulb moments when she would become aware or learn something new,” says Christa, remembering fond memories with her daughter. She would help when needed at her daughter’s school, and before she knew it, she became a substitute teacher. Her family soon moved to Virginia, where one of her daughter’s teachers recommended she apply to teach at Truro Preschool and Kindergarten. Christa was hired and taught there for 13 years.

One day, Christa was minutes away from starting a weekend vacation with her family when she discovered All Ages Read Together. She truly believed in the organization’s mission to provide preschool to all children and claimed she was sold on applying for the program when she discovered that each child receives a weekly book to build their home library. When asked why she joined AART, Christa replied, “The best work in the world doesn’t feel like work. Teaching the children and watching them explore the classroom and wonder what will happen next is fun for me, and I hope for them as well.” 

While teaching her classes, Christa loves to dance with her students – “moving their bodies and stretching is important, and I like the smiles and laughter of children while we dance together.” Of course, Christa also loves to read with her class. Her favorite children’s book is “Let’s Share,” written by Jillian Harker, but she says she enjoys any book discussing sharing or good manners. 

Currently, she teaches two classes at the Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center facility and will soon lead a class in Centreville.

We appreciate Christa’s hard work as a champion for her students’ success and know that her kindness and dedication will positively impact them for many years to come.