Family and Child Education

Home Based

Families with Children who are prenatal to 5 years old receive a visit in their home every week or two. Home-based educators respect parents and other caregivers, and help them to be the first and most important teachers for their children. Each visit includes: age-specific information about parenting issues, family well-being, child development, and an educational activity between the parent and the child that is often adapted to emphasize the local culture and language.

Home-based parents are invited to a group meeting at least once a month. They hear speakers on topics related to family well-being, development-centered parenting, parent-child interaction, make books and toys for their children that often include the local culture and language, participate in parent-child activities, get to know the school-based FACE staff, and learn to feel good about being a part of the school.

Center Based

The educational program for the 3 to 5 year old children focuses on literacy development, particularly pre-reading skills, like letter identification, the sound and letter connections, vocabulary development and learning to love books, stories and language. Children also learn to work together, make wise choices, solve problems, follow directions, and many other skills that will help them to be good students. The native culture and language are essential components of the learning environment, teaching practices and curriculum.

While the children are receiving their educational services, the parents are busy working toward their own learning goals in several areas: education, employment, and personal and family life. Parents often want more knowledge of their culture and language so they can share this knowledge with their children. They also want to learn how to use computers for their careers or to obtain a job, so technology skills are a major focus in the classroom.

Amiee Mestaz
FACE Adult Instructor

My name is Amiee Mestaz.  I am the Adult Education/Parent Engagement Teacher and Coordinator for the Gila Crossing Community School FACE (Family and Child Education) Program.   I am grateful to be a part of FACE and to work at Gila Crossing Community School.   I have been in education for over 20 years, mainly in Adult Education and Family Literacy.  

I am originally from California.  I grew up in a small town near Sequoia National Park.  I come from a large close-knit family.   I have lived in Arizona since 1994 when I came for graduate school.  I love being in nature, reading, doing yoga, and experimenting in the kitchen.  Although, it doesn’t always turn out well.  I live with my partner, Alberto, and our 3 cats in Phoenix.  

I believe that Family Literacy can change the lives of the families that participate in the program.  In fact, I’ve seen it happen many times!  I can’t wait to work with you and your family! 

If you have any questions or would like more information please email me at amiee.mestaz@gccseagles.org or call 520-550-4834

Elizabeth Williams

Elizabeth Williams
FACE Preschool Teacher

My name is Elizabeth Williams. I am so excited to be part of the Gila Crossing Community School FACE Program!

I was born in Minnesota and lived in both Ohio and Idaho as I was growing up. I moved to Arizona about 20 years ago and I love it here! I am the second oldest of eight children. I have three brothers and four sisters. I also have five children and seven grandchildren. My youngest boys still live at home with me, they are 15 and 18 years old. I also have a dog, Noel and a cat, Scout. I love my family with all my heart.

I have always worked with children. As I raised my children, I provided childcare in my home. I had my first two grandchildren when my youngest son was only three, so I was able to stay home with my grandchildren too. I attended the University of Phoenix as I worked from my home, and I earned my Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. I have been teaching preschool for five years and I find it very rewarding. I am committed to making a difference in the lives of my students.


Erica Franco
FACE Preschool Co-Teacher

My name is Erika Franco and I am the Co-Teacher for the FACE Program. This is my 5th year here at Gila Crossing. I have been working in the early childhood education for the past 17 years on the Gila River Reservation. I am honored to be teaching young children and supporting families. I received my AAS in Early Childhood Education, Preschool certificate and CDA from CAC. I am currently enrolled at GCU.

I was born in Mexico, grew up in California and reside in the Maricopa county. I love Mexican food; however, I like to try new things. I like to spend my time with my family, cooking, sewing, crafting, my two chihuahua and traveling.


Lacy Guerra
FACE Parent Educator

My Name is Lacy Guerra Rodriguez-Infante, I’m married to my awesome husband Rudy, and have 3 children, Orlando, Izaac, and Lilyana. I enjoy reading, hiking, camping, and the little things in life.

I am a tribal member from the Gila River Indian Community and have been a part of Gila Crossing Community School for many years, I have attended Gila Crossing as a child and graduated in 2003. I returned in 2013 with The FACE Program as an adult student, I received my GED and received a Para Professional Certificate within the program and became a Kindergarten Para for GCCS. I left and explored the public-school system for a few years and gained more experience with early child education.

Now years later I’m now apart of the FACE Team as a Parent Educator for the FACE Home Based Program.

I enjoy working with the families and love being there for support in their journey of becoming their child’s first and most important teacher. I look forward to talking and working with you all.

Tamara Guerra

FACE Parent Educator

Hello my name is Tamara Guerra and I am a tribal member of the community and reside in District 7. I have been serving GCCS for 13 years. This is my second year as a FACE Parent Educator and it has truly been a blessing to continue to serve my community. I started in the FACE program as a student enrolled in college courses as my oldest daughter who was 3 years old attended the FACE preschool class. The program helped me understand the importance of Early Education for my little ones. I learned about milestones and child development first hand from my Homebase Parent Educator Ms. Theresa and Mrs. Pat. I was able to ask them questions and about expectations for my children's educational needs. We definitely have come a long way since we started the program. I am now a mother of three amazing girls, Mariah (17) who is a Senior in High School this year, Marisa (16) who is a Junior in High School and my little Aleena who is turning 2 years old this summer.

As a FACE Home Base Parent Educator I still learn new things everyday for growing children and I am glad that I am able to be part of the community and share the knowledge that the FACE and PAT program offers our families.

If you would like more information about the services we provide please contact myself or one of the other ladies in the Program.