Storyteller Children’s Center has announced new board of director appointments, which will continue to shepherd the mission and initiatives for the 33-year-old nonprofit organization, including kindergarten readiness, family support, and therapeutic services. The appointees are Dr. Peggy Dodds, Daisy Estrada Ochoa, and Ann Pieramici. Michael Wasserman will become board president.

Amid two challenging yet successful years that included bringing on an entirely new executive team while navigating pandemic protocols, Storyteller staff and directors were aligned on the board’s emerging needs of the board. Storyteller serves nearly 100 families per year from two campuses, with education, meals and nutrition, medical screenings, and therapeutic services.

The organization supports an already underserved sector that has been disproportionately hit by COVID-19.

“The caliber, authority and proficiencies of these new board members are a testament to the critical role Storyteller Children’s Center plays in this community,” said Wasserman. “We are honored by the passion and commitment Dr. Peggy Dodds, Daisy Estrada Ochoa and Ann Pieramici are contributing to our Storyteller students and families, both in our long-term vision and more urgent needs.”

Dr. Dodds is a retired pediatrician who serves as deputy health officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. She completed medical school at the University of Colorado, then did her residency at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Dodds is certified with the American Board of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the Academy of Pediatrics.

She worked as a primary care pediatrician for many years in Salt Lake City. In 2005, she joined the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department where she has worked at Lompoc, Santa Maria and Carpinteria Health Care Centers.  In July 2020 she accepted a position as deputy health officer to assist in the response to COVID-19 with a focus on children’s issues, particularly focusing on schools.

Dr. Dodds has a master’s in counseling psychology and a MFT license. She has a special interest in parent education and behavior issues.

Daisy Estrada Ochoa is a Santa Barbara native who has devoted her career and service to education and the wellbeing of children. She pursued a post-secondary education at UCSB, where she received a bachelors in sociology and a master’s in education, along with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

Ochoa began her career in Santa Barbara as a first-grade teacher in a bilingual classroom, then went on to lead the afterschool program for the Santa Barbara Unified School District, where she is currently the Early Childhood Education coordinator and oversees the infant-toddler and preschool programs.

Since the start of her teaching career, Ochoa has had a passion for giving back to the community where she grew up; and ensuring networks of support for families. She also serves as a member of early childhood education leadership committees throughout Santa Barbara County to help maintain best practice in the education sector and access to resources for the community.

Ann Pieramici is a public relations consultant and freelance writer with more than 20 years’ experience developing marketing strategy and building powerful communications for organizations in both the private and nonprofit sectors.

Pieramici is a contributing writer to Noozhawk and has implemented public relations strategies for many Santa Barbara-based organizations and served on more than a dozen boards and committees. She is an active community volunteer, working closely with the National Charity League, Direct Relief Women, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Pieramici graduated cum laude from Syracuse University with a degree in marketing and communications and completed postgraduate coursework at Johns Hopkins University.

Founded in 1988, members of the Santa Barbara community came together to form Storyteller Children’s Center. This organization was founded to ensure all families, no matter their economic status or life circumstances, have access to the resources they need to build a healthy and happy future for their children.

Storyteller is a full-time, therapeutic school program that supports nearly 100 families each year from two Santa Barbara campuses ensuring students are kindergarten-ready, one of the most critical markers in the scholastic success of a child.