Who we are

Casa Azul of Greensboro began in 2010, with a gathering of local Latino artists, professionals, and enthusiasts working to promote Latin-American arts and culture to increase the understanding of Latinos in the area and encourage community involvement. Since that time, it has evolved into an independent 501(c)3, now housed in the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center.

Casa Azul currently has a Board of Directors, an Executive Administrator on staff, an internship program in conjunction with local universities, and over 150 volunteers who assist in the execution of community programming and events. We often partner with other major non-profits in the area to avoid duplication and increase community impact.

Each year, Casa Azul organizes and participates in programming focused on building an understanding of the diverse Latino community in the Triad. We encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to learn together and engage in community dialogue. We strive to strengthen individuals and families through art-based education and cultural activities.

See more about Casa Azul’s Mission and History.

Board of Directors

Claudia Femenias, President

Claudia Femenias is a Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature at High Point University. In addition to her academic work, she is an active member of the community. Claudia was a founding member of Amistad de Guilford and volunteered at the former Latino Family Center of High Point. Originally from Chile, Claudia came to the US in 1989 and to North Carolina in 1997. She has a passion for teaching Latin American culture and history, Latin American Film and the culinary arts.

Mariana Rodríguez-Pardy, Art Director and Founding Member

Mariana Rodríguez-Pardy, originally from Mexico City, has been working closely with the Latino community in the Triad as a certified healthcare interpreter for the last eight years. Mariana has, on parallel, pursued a career as a studio potter and exhibiting artist. She enjoys promoting traditions from her native Mexico and instructs workshops for Day of the Dead and on a folk sculpture called “Tree of Life.” She is co-founder and artistic director of Casa Azul of Greensboro.

Maria Harkins, Secretary

Maria has been an advocate for women’s rights in the community since moving to Greensboro in 1996. She has a degree in Business with Boston University and has also earned certification in computer engineering with Control Data Institute. Maria is a member of the Board of Directors for Casa Azul of Greensboro and the Latino Community Coalition of Greensboro. She loves music and the arts. Maria is of Puerto Rican Heritage.

Teresa Wellendorf, Member

Teresa Wellendorf has built a career in Community Outreach. Currently, she is a Health Educator with the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina. She has a Master’s Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. With a love for advocacy and the arts, Teresa is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Latino Community Coalition of Greensboro and advises with Triad Stage. In her free time, Teresa enjoys music, art, and inspiring young people. Teresa is of Mexican heritage.

Hernando Ramirez-Santos, Member

Hernando Ramírez-Santos is an Award-Winning Journalist and community advocate involved with numerous non-profits and human service organizations. He is active as a Board Member with Novant Health Foundation, the Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Winston-Salem NC, and the Latino Advisory Board of the International Center at Forsyth Technical Community College. Hernando serves as a member of the Latino Advisory Board at Guilford County Schools as well as part of the Board of Directors of Casa Azul of Greensboro. His passions for great storytelling, the Spanish language, and the people of the Triad are truly noteworthy. Hernando is originally from Bogotá, Colombia.

Angel Fuentes, Member

Angel Fuentes is a local painter who works in the construction industry, specializing in remodels. He has lived in Greensboro since 2002 and is originally from Mexico City where he studied hospitality and tourism. Angel’s love of and appreciation for the diversity of Latino cultures inspire him to help the local community preserve knowledge of their roots. He also believes in opening minds of all people through art and culture. Angel volunteered with Casa Azul from 2011 until 2016 when he became a member of the Board of Directors. He is an active volunteer with The Red Cross and the Parent Teacher Association. In his free time, Angel spends time with family and attends cultural events.

Addy Jeffrey, Member

Addy Jeffrey works in Community Outreach and serves as an interpreter in the Triad area. Recognized as the News & Record’s 2014 Woman of the Year for her advocacy of North Carolina’s breast density bill, Addy is a passionate health advocate for both women’s health and for those with disabilities. In her roles as a member of the Latino Community Coalition of Greensboro and a Board Member of Casa Azul of Greensboro, Addy helps support the local Latino community. She volunteers with Gateway Education Center and previously served on the Steering Committee for United Way’s Voices.Choices. She also participates in “Other Voices” through the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. Addy is a first-generation Cuban-American.

Kathy Hinshaw, Legacy Member

Kathy Hinshaw, one of the founding members of Casa Azul of Greensboro, serves the Board of Directors as a Legacy Member. Kathy is widely recognized as a leader in the community. Her work with the NC Latino community began in 2000 at the Women’s Resource Center of Greater Greensboro, where she worked as a Bilingual Specialist and Peer Counselor. In 2002, she began working at the Center for New North Carolinians. She has provided a wide-variety of services to the community including interpretation, translation, and the facilitation of dialogue between various ethnic communities within the Piedmont Triad Region. Kathy has served numerous non-profit boards of directors. She has been instrumental in developing community-based programming, such as a tutoring program at Reedy Fork Elementary School, which has become a thriving community center serving the Oakwood Forest community. Kathy also helped establish the Latino Community Coalition of Guilford. Kathy is originally from Peru.

Margarita Kerkado

Originally from Mexico, Margarita Kerkado has made High Point and the Greensboro area her home. She has been a community leader and has worked in community outreach since she moved to the area, first as Programs Director at the Latino Family Center of High Point and later as Director of the Latino Family Center YWCA at High Point. Margarita currently works as admissions counselor at UNC-Greensboro where she works specifically with Latino students to guide them and to open for them the doors to higher education.

Her constant work for the community was rewarded in 2015 when she was named the recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year award by High Point.  She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling.

Casa Azul Staff

Jodi Johnson, Executive Administrator

Jodi Johnson serves as a part-time Executive Administrator with Casa Azul. Her previous work experience includes the Center for New North Carolinians (CNNC) and over a decade with Lincoln Financial Group in Sales and Marketing roles. Jodi worked with non-profits in her role at the CNNC, was a founding member of Amistad de Guilford, and volunteers for the PTA, a local Adopt a Highway program, and social activism organizations. She earned a Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Jodi has a passion for cultural anthropology, economics, home renovation, social issues, and Latin American cultures.

Interns

Each semester, Casa Azul hosts 1-2 Interns from local colleges and universities. Interns specialize in Events and Programming, Volunteer Program Management, and Public Relations. They gain valuable work experience and new skills. Casa Azul gains new insights and understandings and truly values the work they contribute to strengthening our community.