Meet our MERCI team

Angela Pao-Johnson
Executive Director

Angela Pao-Johnson has been a dedicated healthcare professional serving individuals with developmental disabilities for 20 years. She has worked in and alongside many different systems including regional centers, health care insurance companies, and school districts. In her last role, Angela was the founderand Chief Executive Officer of Autism Learning Collaborative, overseeing multi-state expansion and team growth from 13 to 130 employees in 2 years.

  • Angela holds a Bachelor’sdegree in Psychology from the University of California-San Diego and a Master’s degree from Pepperdine University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a Project Management Professional, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
  • In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two young children and a house full of critters.

Alan Quintos
FINANCIAL CONTROLLER

Alan has extensive experience in financial control, operations streamlining, and grant management. As an Independent Contractor and Controller, he successfully managed finance and accounting operations, provided construction job estimates, and resolved billing issues. In previous roles, including Finance and HR Manager at Building Skills Partnership and Controller/HR Manager as an Independent Contractor, Alan demonstrated expertise in budgeting, payroll management, and infrastructure development.

  • With a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from California State University, Los Angeles, Alan combines financial acumen with HR skills, contributing to the success of organizations.
  • Outside of work, he enjoys swimming and spending quality time with close friends.

Team Administration

Noey Garcia
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF RESIDENTIAL SERVICES & PROGRAMS

With over 31 yearsof experience, Noey Garcia, our Associate Director of Residential Services and Programs, has dedicated their career to advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities.

  • From direct care to managerial roles, Noey prioritizes delivering quality services with respect and dignity. Recognized for collaboration with regional centers, vendors, and public agencies, Noey ensures compliance with Title 22 and 17 regulations.
  • As a seasoned instructorfor First Aid CPR and CPI Crisis Prevention Interventions, Noey upholds high service standards. Outside work, Noey enjoys family time, BBQs, and attending Dodger and Laker games.

Christina Salazar
PROGRAM MANAGER FOR PASS

Christina’s impressive journey with MERCI began in 2014, marking over 17 years in the Human Services field for the Developmentally Disabled. She takes pride in closely collaborating with families to ensure each participant’s success.

  • Christina is an American Red Cross Instructor, holds an ACRECertificate in Customized Employment (Discovery & Job Development), and is currently training in The Learning Community of Person-Centered Practices’ Train the Trainer, Person-Centered Thinking certificate program.
  • Outside of work, Christina finds joy in exploring estate sales on weekends, taking walks and hikes with friends, and leveraging her certification as a yoga instructor.

Christian Trasviña
PROGRAM MANAGER FOR DISCOVERY

Christian has been serving individuals with disabilities for over 20 years. He has worked with several organizations throughout his career. With a diverse background in fine art, illustration, and music, Christian has used his talents and creativity to provide fun and engaging experiences for the people he has served.

  • Spearheading the DISCOVERY Program at MERCI, Christian applies his knowledge and experience in providing a creative dynamic to better help his staff provide fulfilling and Person-Centered support for MERCI’s participants. In his spare time, Christian is a freelance graphic designerand illustrator, loves to go on beach outing adventures or trying new restaurants with his daughter, and enjoys making art and music for fun.

Reyna Pena
PROGRAM MANAGER FOR ICBS

Reyna Peña-Magallon has worked in Human Services for 30 years. She initially started her career serving children with emotional and intellectual disabilities. She later shifted her focus to meet the needs of adults with severe to profound intellectual disabilities. Her experience includes administrating residential facilities, serving individuals with medical fragilities, as well as severe behavioral challenges.

  • Reyna worked at MERCI for almost 20 years leaving in 2018. In January 2024 she returned to MERCI to help launch the ICBS program.
  • In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her two children, trips to Disneyland, hiking, music concerts and traveling.

Alex Stott
Residential Administrator

For the last 25 years, Alexander Stott has been a dedicated professional serving individuals with developmental disabilities in various roles, including residential administrator, QIDP, and day program instructor. He has worked at different non-profit agencies (MERCI, UCP/Momentum, Easter Seals), and served as a consultant for privately-owned residential facilities.

  • Alexander holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California-Santa Barbara and a Master’s degree in Organization Leadership and Management from Pacific Oaks College. He also holds his DSP I and II certificates and is a certified CPR instructor. Outside of work, Alexander enjoys spending time with his daughter, hiking, kayaking, playing music, and tending to his cats.

Karen Gazon-Marquez
RESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATOR

Karen is driven by a profound passion for aiding individuals with intellectual disabilities and special needs. Previously serving as a paraeducator at South El Monte High School, she brings extensive experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum.

  • As the Residential Administratorfor MERCI, Karen’s dedication underscores her commitment to empowering individuals in achieving their goals and dreams. Her role reflects a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the lives of those she supports.
  • Outside of her professional commitments, Karen cherishes quality time with her daughter, often spent hiking and enjoying the beach.

Marisol Alvarez
Residential Healthcare Coordinator

Marisol earned her Associate's degree in Pre-Health in 2006, followed by a Gerontology degree in 2008 from Mount Saint Mary's University. With over a decade of experience as a dedicated Case Manager for the elderly, Marisol transitioned to supporting adults with disabilities in 2019 after being introduced to this rewarding path by a colleague.

  • With her extensive experience in this field, Marisol quickly progressed to become a full-time educator in the Adaptive Skills Training program, where she actively assists in client enrollment. She subsequently contributed her expertise to the Supported Living Services program and now serves as the healthcare coordinator at Merci's Residential Program.
  • During her free time, Marisol enjoys spending time with her two children.

Celeste Rodriquez
Administrative Services Coordinator

In her free time, you can find her running around the park with her beloved dog Auggie or immersed in a book with a coffee in hand.

  • Celeste Rodriguez is a dedicated advocate with four yearsof experience working to uplift marginalized communities. She is an alumna of California State University at Los Angeles, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a specialized focus on inequalities and diversity within communities. Whether it’s advocating for equal opportunities, challenging systemic barriers, or fostering inclusivity, she has consistently been at the forefront of positive change.

Daisy Paneda
Administrative Services Coordinator

Daisy Paneda is a recent graduate from California State University, Monterey Bay. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Collaborative Health and Human Services with a concentration in Social Work. She hopes to continue her educational journey to receive her master’s degree in social work. She has just begun her professional healthcare career.

  • Although Daisy has been a part of the MERCI team for a short period, she continues to gain knowledge and experience by serving those with developmental disabilities. She strives to be a successful professional and make an impact on individuals’ lives. She enjoys exploring the world by traveling with her family and going to music festivals in her free time.

Board of Directors

Bobbi Bruesch

Bobbi earned her Master's in Education from Whittier College. For 39 years, she has served as an educator for the Garvey Elementary School District, teaching middle school students in 5th, 6th, and 7th grades. Bobbi is a strong believer in community service and has dedicated her time and passion to many community and youth programs.

  • Bobbi founded Rosemead Organization in Support of Youth (ROSY), an organization that awards deserving low income eighth grade students laptop computers for use in high school. She is also a co-founder of the Garvey Education Foundation that gives over $10,000 of direct grants each year to schools and teachers for special projects. In addition, she served with the Optimist Club, Kiwanis Club, Rosemead City Council and California School Boards Association.

April Dominguez

April Dominguez serves as an Operations Supervisor at Flowserve Corporation, bringing valuable operational expertise to the role. A Penn State University graduate, her dedication to MERCI stems from her brother's 25-year attendance, inspiring her to contribute as a board member. April combines her professional acumen with a personal commitment to enhance MERCI's mission.

Rene Araiza

Rene Araiza, MERCI’s board treasure is currently retired with 39 years of experience in the insurance industry and also retired from United States Marine Corps Reserve. Rene also volunteers with the Marine Corps League in West Covina. Rene and his family have a long history with MERCI which goes back 50 years and has two brothers that currently attend MERCI. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge in insurance, leadership and fundraising experience.

Brittany Wolfson

Brittany Wolfson is a versatile professional with over 20 years of dedicated service championing world-class, person-centered services and inclusion. Holding roles such as Behavior Analyst, Clinical Director, HR Director, and Chief People Officer, she brings a wealth of experience from various, mission-driven companies to our board. Brittany earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and holds a Master of Science degrees from Northeastern

  • University in Applied Behavior Analysis and Case Western University in Positive Organizational Development. Her clinical expertise, coupled with a rich HR background, showcases a commitment to quality care, stewardship, and organizational development. As our newest board member, she plays a role in shaping our strategic direction, ensuring initiatives align with clinical excellence, effective human capital management, and a profound commitment to serving the unique needs of individuals at MERCI with dignity and personal choice.

Christina Cisneros

Christina M. Cisneros serves as an Assistant Principal within the Los Angeles Unified School District. With a Master of Special Education, experience as a Principal of a Special Education Center and a Special Education Administrator for LAUSD overseeing 165 school sites and over 12,000 students, Christina brings valuable insight to the MERCI Board in the area of educational transitional services for persons with significant disabilities. Christina has served on the MERCI Board for almost 15 years supporting the vision and mission of MERCI.

Join MERCI

Where we’re dedicated to improving the lives of neurodiverse adults and fostering an inclusive environment. Thrive in a team that celebrates diversity and empowers individuals to make a real difference. Join us and be part of the change. 

Christina Cisneros

Board Secretary

Brittany Wolfson

Board Member

Team Administration

Angela Pao-Johnson

Executive Director

Noey Garcia

Associate Director of Residential Services & Programs

Christina Salazar

Program Manager for PASS

Christian Trasviña

Program Manager for Discovery

Karen Gazon-Marquez

Residential Administrator

Alex Stott

Associate Director of Residential

Marisol Alvarez

Residential Healthcare Coordinator

Ruth Laigo

Senior Accountant

Celeste Rodriguez

Administrative Services Coordinator

Karen Gazon Marquez's

Residential Administrator

Daisy Paneda

PASS program assistant

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Christina Cisneros

  • Angela Pao-Johnson has been a dedicated healthcare professional serving individuals with developmental disabilities for 20 years. She has worked in and alongside many different systems including regional centers, health care insurance companies, and school districts.
  • In her last role, Angela was the founderand Chief Executive Officer of Autism Learning Collaborative, overseeing multi-state expansion and team growth from 13 to 130 employees in 2 years.
  • Angela holds a Bachelor’sdegree in Psychology from the University of California-San Diego and a Master’s degree from Pepperdine University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a Project Management Professional, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
  • In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two young children and a house full of critters.

Bobbi Bruesch

  • Angela Pao-Johnson has been a dedicated healthcare professional serving individuals with developmental disabilities for 20 years. She has worked in and alongside many different systems including regional centers, health care insurance companies, and school districts.
  • In her last role, Angela was the founderand Chief Executive Officer of Autism Learning Collaborative, overseeing multi-state expansion and team growth from 13 to 130 employees in 2 years.
  • Angela holds a Bachelor’sdegree in Psychology from the University of California-San Diego and a Master’s degree from Pepperdine University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a Project Management Professional, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
  • In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two young children and a house full of critters.

Brittany Wolfson

  • Brittany Wolfson is a versatile professional with over 20 years of dedicated service championing world-class, person-centered services and inclusion. Holding roles such as Behavior Analyst, Clinical Director, HR Director, and Chief People Officer, she brings a wealth of experience from various, mission-driven companies to our board. Brittany earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and holds a Master of Science degrees from Northeastern University in Applied Behavior Analysis and Case Western University in Positive
  • Organizational Development. Her clinical expertise, coupled with a rich HR background, showcases a commitment to quality care, stewardship, and organizational development. As our newest board member, she plays a role in shaping our strategic direction, ensuring initiatives align with clinical excellence, effective human capital management, and a profound commitment to serving the unique needs of individuals at MERCI with dignity and personal choice.

Rene Araiza

  • ReneAraiza, MERCI’s board treasure is currently retired with 39 years of experience in the insurance industry and also retired from United States Marine Corps Reserve. Rene also volunteers with the Marine Corps League in West Covina. Rene and his family have a long history with MERCI which goes back 50 years and has two brothers that currently attend MERCI. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge in insurance, leadership and fundraising experience.
  •  
  • In her last role, Angela was the founderand Chief Executive Officer of Autism Learning Collaborative, overseeing multi-state expansion and team growth from 13 to 130 employees in 2 years.
  • Angela holds a Bachelor’sdegree in Psychology from the University of California-San Diego and a Master’s degree from Pepperdine University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a Project Management Professional, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
  • In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two young children and a house full of critters.

April Dominguez

  • April Dominguez serves as an Operations Supervisor at Flowserve Corporation, bringing valuable operational expertise to the role. A Penn State University graduate, her dedication to MERCI stems from her brother’s 25-year attendance, inspiring her to contribute as a board member. April combines her professional acumen with a personal commitment to enhance MERCI’s mission.
  •  
  • In her last role, Angela was the founderand Chief Executive Officer of Autism Learning Collaborative, overseeing multi-state expansion and team growth from 13 to 130 employees in 2 years.
  • Angela holds a Bachelor’sdegree in Psychology from the University of California-San Diego and a Master’s degree from Pepperdine University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a Project Management Professional, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
  • In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two young children and a house full of critters.

Daisy Paneda, PASS Program Assistant

  • Daisy Paneda is a recent graduate from California State University, Monterey Bay. She received her Bachelor’s degreein Collaborative Health and Human Services with a concentration in Social Work. She hopes to continue her educational journey to receive her master’s degree in social work. She has just begun her professional healthcare career. 
Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast
Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast
Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast
  • Although Daisy has been a part of the MERCI team for a short period, she continues to gain knowledge and experience by serving those with developmental disabilities. She strives to be a successful professional and make an impact on individuals’ lives. She enjoys exploring the world by traveling with her family and going to music festivals in her free time.

Celeste Rodriquez, Administrative Services Coordinator

  • Celeste Rodriguez is a dedicated advocate with four yearsof experience working to uplift marginalized communities. She is an alumna of California State University at Los Angeles, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a specialized focus on inequalities and diversity within communities. Whether it’s advocating for equal opportunities, challenging systemic barriers, or fostering inclusivity, she has consistently been at the forefront of positive change.
  •  
  • In her free time, you can find her running around the park with her beloved dog Auggie or immersed in a book with a coffee in hand.

Marisol Alvarez, Residential Healthcare Coordinator

Karen Gazon-Marquez, Residential Administrator

  • Karen is driven by a profound passion for aiding individuals with intellectual disabilities and special needs. Previously serving as a paraeducator at South El Monte High School, she brings extensive experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum.
  •  
  • As the Residential Administratorfor MERCI, Karen’s dedication underscores her commitment to empowering individuals in achieving their goals and dreams. Her role reflects a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the lives of those she supports.
  • Outside of her professional commitments, Karen cherishes quality time with her daughter, often spent hiking and enjoying the beach.
  •  

Alex Stott, Residential Administrator

  • For the last 25 years, Alexander Stott has been a dedicated professional serving individuals with developmental disabilities in various roles, including residential administrator, QIDP, and day program instructor. He has worked at different non-profit agencies (MERCI, UCP/Momentum, Easter Seals), and served as a consultant for privately-owned residential facilities.
  •  
  • Alexander holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California-Santa Barbara and a Master’s degree in Organization Leadership and Management from Pacific Oaks College. He also holds his DSP I and II certificates and is a certified CPR instructor. Outside of work, Alexander enjoys spending time with his daughter, hiking, kayaking, playing music, and tending to his cats.
  •  

• Reyna Pena, Program Manager for ICBS

Christian Trasvina, Program Manager for Discovery

  • Christian has been serving individuals with disabilities for over 20 years. He has worked with several organizations throughout his career. With a diverse background in fine art, illustration, and music, Christian has used his talents and creativity to provide fun and engaging experiences for the people he has served.
  •  
  • Spearheading the DISCOVERY Program at MERCI, Christian applies his knowledge and experience in providing a creative dynamic to better help his staff provide fulfilling and Person-Centered support for MERCI’s participants. In his spare time, Christian is a freelance graphic designerand illustrator, loves to go on beach outing adventures or trying new restaurants with his daughter, and enjoys making art and music for fun.
  •  

Christina Salazar, Program Manager for PASS

  • Christina’s impressive journey with MERCI began in 2014, marking over 17 yearsin the Human Services field for the Developmentally Disabled. She takes pride in closely collaborating with families to ensure each participant’s success. Christina is an American Red Cross Instructor, holds an ACRE Certificate in Customized Employment (Discovery & Job Development), and is currently training in The Learning Community of Person-Centered Practices’ Train the Trainer, Person-Centered Thinking certificate program.
  •  
  • Outside of work, Christina finds joy in exploring estate sales on weekends, taking walks and hikes with friends, and leveraging her certification as a yoga instructor.

Noey Garcia, Associate Director of Residential Services & Programs

  • With over 31 yearsof experience, Noey Garcia, our Associate Director of Residential Services and Programs, has dedicated their career to advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • From direct care to managerial roles, Noey prioritizes delivering quality services with respect and dignity. Recognized for collaboration with regional centers, vendors, and public agencies, Noey ensures compliance with Title 22 and 17 regulations.
  • As a seasoned instructorfor First Aid CPR and CPI Crisis Prevention Interventions, Noey upholds high service standards. Outside work, Noey enjoys family time, BBQs, and attending Dodger and Laker games.

• Alan Quintos, Financial Controller

  • Alan has extensive experience in financial control, operations streamlining, and grant management. As an Independent Contractor and Controller, he successfully managed finance and accounting operations, provided construction job estimates, and resolved billing issues. In previous roles, including Finance and HR Manager at Building Skills Partnership and Controller/HR Manager as an Independent Contractor, Alan demonstrated expertise in budgeting, payroll management, and infrastructure development.
  • Alan has extensive experience in financial control, operations streamlining, and grant management. As an Independent Contractor and Controller, he successfully managed finance and accounting operations, provided construction job estimates, and resolved billing issues. In previous roles, including Finance and HR Manager at Building Skills Partnership and Controller/HR Manager as an Independent Contractor, Alan demonstrated expertise in budgeting, payroll management, and infrastructure development.

Angela Pao-Johnson, Executive Director

Angela Pao-Johnson has been a dedicated healthcare professional serving individuals with developmental disabilities for 20 years. She has worked in and alongside many different systems including regional centers, health care insurance companies, and school districts.

  • In her last role, Angela was the founderand Chief Executive Officer of Autism Learning Collaborative, overseeing multi-state expansion and team growth from 13 to 130 employees in 2 years.
  • Angela holds a Bachelor’sdegree in Psychology from the University of California-San Diego and a Master’s degree from Pepperdine University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a Project Management Professional, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
  • In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two young children and a house full of critters.