“A step in the right direction”

Meet the Staff

Maryellen Gonzales
Maryellen is in her tenth year as the STAIRS Program Executive Director. She grew up in Pueblo, Colorado, where her parents instilled the value of education from a young age. They felt the education system in their local public high schools was broken and looked at many alternatives to further their children's education (private school being one of them). Rather than relocating, they wrote grants and raised money to establish the IB (International Baccalaureate) Program. Through their efforts there has been a positive effect on the quality of education available to children in Pueblo, CO.

After high school Maryellen attended Baylor University and graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration. Because of the effect of the changes her parents implemented in the Pueblo school system, Maryellen has developed a passion to pay it forward and STAIRS has become a natural fit. She now lives in Plano with her husband and 2 sons.

Gabrielle Merani
Gabrielle Merani is teaching the STAIRS Study Skills class this year. She tutored English with the program in the 2013-2014 school year, and she is very excited to be able to work with the STAIRS students again this year! After graduating Baylor University in 2009 with a bachelor's in English Language Arts 8-12 Education and a master's in Curriculum and Instruction, Gabrielle became a full time English teacher with the Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She has taught five years of Freshmen English at UA and several of her own created courses for seniors such as Modernism and Romanticism. Her personal philosophy of education stresses a love for learning and a passion for school, especially through reading and writing. She is thrilled to work with the STAIRS students again this new year, and looks forward to preparing them for their awesome high school career!

Lisa Marshall
Lisa Marshall teaches Math for STAIRS. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2011 with an interdisciplinary degree focused on social sciences and human rights. Lisa has worked as an independent test prep and subject tutor for students of all ages for many years. In 2012, she began a full time career with Readers 2 Leaders, a West Dallas-based non-profit that provides in and after-school reading intervention for struggling students. Prior to teaching math, Lisa led the Writing and Language Arts class at STAIRS, quickly becoming a favorite among the students. Lisa is thrilled to continue working with STAIRS and share her love of learning with our students.

Caroline Subbiah
Caroline is our Summer Intern and will serve as the Mentor Program Coordinator this year. She is a junior at The Hockaday School. Caroline believes that a good education allows students to thrive both academically and socially, and is excited to be part of the program!

Session Dates

Saturday, September 9th, 2017
Location: Ursuline (1 PM - 2 PM)
Mentor Orientation (2 PM - 3 PM)
Ursuline Tour and Meet (2 PM - 3 PM)

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017
Location: Jesuit (1 PM - 4 PM)
Jesuit Tour and Meet (4 PM - 5 PM)



The STAIRS Program is funded through private donations and community grants... click here for more information.

Our Goals

Our goal is to have 100% of our STAIRS Students... click here for more information.


We are looking for an English tutor to lead our Language Arts class during the 2017-2018 school year. Please contact Gabrielle Merani for details.




is a step in

the right direction!





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