Leadership Team

The leadership team for Community Council of Idaho, Inc. is composed of the agency’s directors and executive management. Together, along with the CEO, they strive to continue to move the agency forward.

Ruben Lugo, Chief Operating Officer


Ruben Lugo grew up in a very rural area of eastern Oregon but is originally from Houston, Texas. He has been working with CC Idaho for nearly 20 years, and was promoted to Deputy Director in late 2014, now COO. Before that, he held several positions within the Migrant & Seasonal Head Start and Accounting departments. He has worked in the field of early childhood education and child care for over 25 years in multiple states. Before coming to CCI, Ruben worked for the Maricopa County Head Start in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He attributes much of what he has learned about serving children and the role of families and communities in supporting their growth to his employment there as a Homebase Visitor.

Director of Migrant and Seasonal Head Start


Jennie is a former Head Start parent who moved to the U.S. from Puerto Rico. She has a B.A. in Business Administration from Universidad del Este in Puerto Rico and two Master’s Degrees; one in Early Childhood Education and the other in Educational Leadership from Boise State University. Jennie is a k-12 Certified Teacher with a Spanish endorsement. She is also a trainee in the Danielson Framework Training, a method used to mentor Teachers in order to learn new and strengthen skills. Jennie has been married to Robert Dowell for 10 years and they have four children; Carl, Carlos, Lydia and Jeremy. She has worked in early childhood education for over 12 years. Before coming to CC Idaho, Jennie worked for Falcon Ridge Public Charter School. There, she taught Spanish to Elementary and Middle School Students, was a WIDA coordinator and Title 1 and ELL student support. Jennie also started an Athletic Program at Falcon Ridge. She worked and still is their Athletic Director and is the Head Coach of the Volleyball and Girls Basketball teams. Before working at Falcon Ridge, Jennie worked at Riverstone International School as a Dual Language (Spanish) Preschool Teacher, was the Head Coach of the Riverstone Volleyball Middle School team, and coordinated the Spanish Immersion after school program, Club Amigos. During the Summer, she traveled with Students, led and coordinated a Spanish, Community Service, and Culture Immersion Trips for them. She has been to Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. While there her group visited, served, and helped orphanages and schools with basic needs. Jennie’s passion has always been working with young children and their families. She also worked at Friends of Children and Families Head Start and Early Head Start (FOCAF). At FOCAF, she worked as an interpreter for the Policy Council, Assistant Teacher, Bus Monitor, Spanish Translator for Family Advocates, and substitute for Family Educators and teachers. She also worked as a Classroom Behavior Management Support. While working at FOCAF, she interviewed Spanish speaking families and wrote a book about Family Involvement; “Involving Mexican-American Families in their children’s education, A Handbook for Early Childhood Educators”. The handbook includes an extended research of the barriers families faced in the U.S. and in Idaho, their cultural values, suggestions for teachers from Hispanic families, and resources for educators in how to involved families in their children’s education. Jennie is very outgoing with a strong love for children and great respect for Teachers. She loves to coach sports, to travel, to watch Netflix and to drink Coffee! She is excited to be part of the great family at CC Idaho family!

Korene Gonzalez, Director of Employment and Training

Korene is the Program and Grant Administrator of the Department and Labor National Farmworker Jobs Program (Employment and Training Program) at the Community Council of Idaho. She brings over 21 years of effective leadership, program design, resource development and coalition building in Twin Falls County. She is a member of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), the Idaho State Board of Education Taskforce on Hispanic Education, and the Midwest Association of Farmworker Organizations (MAFO).

Arnold Cantu, Clinic Administrator


Has been working for the Community Council of Idaho for 5 years now as the Clinic Administrator, prior to that he worked for the State of Idaho for 23 years as a counselor for the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Arnold attended the University of Alabama for three years and completed his degree in Human Resources and Training Development at Idaho State University. He went on to complete his Masters in Counseling at Western Washington University. He recently completed the Executive Training program in Health Care Administration at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Little known fact: He collects antique sports books.

Fernando Sandoval, Development Director


Fernando was born and raised in Idaho Falls, ID. In 2007, he graduated from Idaho State University (ISU) with a BA in Political Science. In 2009, he completed a Masters of Public Administration, also at ISU with an emphasis in state, local and non-profit administration. For the last three years he has worked at our Community Family Clinic in Idaho Falls as the Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator helping families with ACA and the Your Health Idaho health Insurance marketplace.

Fernando has choosen to work in the nonprofit sector because he wants to contribute to positive projects that benefit the community. This desire led him to volunteer with various groups in Idaho Falls. He was the Chair for a local political group and he was also a member of a local non-profit board where he helped raise funds for the local zoo. He is very excited to work with CC Idaho staff and the board on strategies to increase and diversify the agency’s fundraising efforts and expand the quality services we currently offer. Now that the agency is BIA recognized/accredited, he is looking forward to working on ways to secure funding to provide affordable, effective and ethical immigration services to those in need in our service areas. He shares “I am so grateful to be here at CC Idaho and I look forward to being part of a team that is doing great work every day to improve the lives of so many Latinos in Idaho.”

Elisha Suldan, Chief Financial Officer

Elisha has served as the director of finance/management of information systems for six years. Elisha attended Mt. Hood Community College, and Blue Mountain Community College where she graduated with her associates degree in accounting. In 2002, she graduated with her Bachelor’s in accounting at Boise State University. Elisha began working at the Community Council of Idaho in 2002 as an accountant. She worked for six years in her position, was promoted to finance director in February 2008, and today she serves as the CFO for CC Idaho. She is married and has three children.

Sonnay Alvarez, Communications Specialist


Sonnay Alvarez has lived in Idaho for 11 years and plans to be here for many more. She currently lives in Boise. She loves the atmosphere and all the things Boise has to offer. She’s earning her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a certificate in Public Relations and Dispute Resolution from Boise State University. She knew she wanted to be in the Communications field ever since her second year of high school. Her passion for community involvement began through an earth sustainability project. Now she’s proud to be part of a passionate team to help enrich the lives of Latinos throughout Idaho.

“When I was younger I was enrolled in Head Start. Now I’m able to give back to a program that helped my family when we needed it most “

When she’s not at work, she enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and 3 loving dogs.