Staff

Get to know us before we get to know you! We love what we do and it really shows. Come see for yourself – you will see why we are so passionate about what we do!

Lani Schiff-Ross, L.C.S.W.
Executive Director

(209) 468-0250 PHONE
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Lani started working in the social services world in Stockton in the mid 80s as a volunteer with a sexual assault crisis line. Over the years she has worked with adults molested as children, sex offenders, domestic violence perpetrators, abused children and gang members. She has worked as a social worker in the Southeast Asian community, a teacher in an elementary school, a therapist at a mental health outpatient clinic and a case manager with teen parents. Her previous job was as a manager with a teen parent program overseeing approximately 20 staff, which led to her current job as the Executive Director of First 5 San Joaquin (aka Prop 10 and the Children and Families Commission). The program has provided funds to 225 agencies serving children 0-5 and their families. This is her favorite job as she loves the community of San Joaquin and greatly appreciates the amazing work the programs do with children and families. While at First 5, she was also the Interim Delegate Director of the local Head Start program, the single delegate agency with a budget of $24 million.

Although Lani skipped most of kindergarten to go ice skating (while living in New York), she was able to get through the rest of the years of school, graduating from University of the Pacific and Sac State, where she received her Masters of Social Work. Lani is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, which, she understands to mean “Lani Can Surely Work”. She enjoys traveling (especially when she is able to use her moms mileage and travel overseas first class!), reading (not Danielle Steel, but nothing too deep), watching TV (not always popular to admit), gardening (okay, she has a gardener, but she likes to look at pretty gardens), cooking (but not really) and spending time with friends and family. Her latest hobby is going on cruises, with a goal of joining the Travelers’ Century Club (she is over halfway there). Lani is an active member of Stockton Covenant Church, in fact, she’s been around so long, the children she had in nursery are getting married! She is also the proudest auntie of five amazing, smart and kind nieces and nephews. When she wins the lottery, she will buy houses for them so they can live near (but not with) her. She remains grateful for her life.


Tanimu Dasin
Accountant II

(209) 468-1537 PHONE
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Tanimu joined First 5 in 2018. He has worked as an accountant and as an auditor-appraiser. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Accounting and in Finance from California State University, San Bernardino. His Master’s Degree is in Accounting. In his free time, Tanimu enjoys traveling and spending time with his family.


Kimerli (Kim) Sawyer, M.A.
Contracts Analyst

(209)  953-7807 PHONE
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Kimerli joined First 5 San Joaquin in March 2020. She was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. Kimerli has a B.S. in Business Management, an M.A. in Organizational Leadership, a Graduate Certification in Public and Non-Profit Leadership, and is pursuing a Doctorate in TransformationalAction in Education (TAE) at the University of the Pacific. Prior to joining First 5 San Joaquin, she managed the Positive Youth Justice Initative. She has also worked as an Eligibility Worker for the San Joaquin County Human Services Agency. In her spare time, Kimerli loves to mentor youth, volunteer with Girl Scouts, travel, bowl, hang out with nieces, nephews and grandkids, and participate in most water activities.


Dawn Narayan
Contracts Analyst

(209) 953-7696 PHONE
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Dawn joined First 5 San Joaquin in  April of 2014. She began working in Health and Human Services in early 2000. Her background in public service includes multi-program eligibility, case management, help desk technician, job coaching, and supervision. She has trained other counties in change management implementation and on web-based applications. She was the lead for the Stage 3 childcare migration project and assisted in the development  of EWORKs the job search/job readiness program in San Joaquin County.  In addition, Dawn has volunteered on the Commission on Aging, was the Vice-Chair of the Community Action Board, and is currently a member of the United Way Keel Club and United Way Community Council.


Cathy Sprints
Contracts Analyst

(209) 953-7223 PHONE
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Cathy joined First 5 San Joaquin in May 2015. Cathy has a Bachelor's degree in Business with an emphasis on Management and Leadership.  She also holds an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.  Her background includes over twenty years of experience in leadership and supervision of early care and education programs and working with families and children ages 0-12. She is familiar a variety of funding types including state funding and Head Start.  Cathy has three grown children and five grandchildren. 


Jovanna Vialdores
Contracts Analyst

(209) 953-7694 PHONE
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Jovanna joined First 5 San Joaquin in November of 2004, where she serves as a Contracts Analyst. In that role, she has developed and provided oversight and support to several initiatives and special projects in areas such as, home visitation services, faith-based outreach, strategic communications, early literacy and health education. Previously, she worked with the California Department of Health Services and Public Health Institute in the areas of contract management, social marketing, and community engagement.  Jovanna received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine. 


Billi Jo Zopfi
Contracts Analyst

(209) 953-7695 PHONE
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Billi Jo joined First 5 San Joaquin in July of 2003.  Previously, she worked for more than four years as a CalWORKs Case Manager for the San Joaquin County Employment and Economic Development Department. Billi Jo received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Development from the University of California, Davis. While attending college, she volunteered at UC Davis Medical Center as a student apprentice in the Pediatric ER unit, the Pediatric floor, and the Child Life Program.


Louella Li
Accountant III

(209)  468-1537 PHONE
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Louella joined First 5 San Joaquin in October 2020. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce Accounting from Curtin University of Technology.  She previously worked as an Accountant in two other San Joaquin County Human Services Agency departments. Louella acquired specialized fiscal accounting skills while working for a multinational certified public accounting firm. Louella believes in promoting balance between work and life while enjoying traveling, experiencing local culture, cuisine, and photography.


Kathy Smith
Administrative Assistant

(209)  468-8141 PHONE
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Kathy joined First 5 San Joaquin in October 2020. She was born and raised in upstate New York, moving to Colorado before settling in California with her family. Previously, she worked as an Eligibility Worker for San Joaquin County Human Services Agency. Kathy has a background in Child Development and Early Childhood Education. Kathy has two grown sons and enjoys spending time with her family and traveling in her spare time.


Veronica Verduzco
Administrative Assistant

(209)  953-5437 PHONE
Email

Veronica joined First 5 San Joaquin in October 2020. Veronica obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with an emphasis in Management from the University of Phoenix. She also holds an Associate's Degree in Social Sciences from American River College. Previously, she worked as a Senior Motor Vehicle Technician with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Veronica enjoys spending time with her young child.