Why AMIKids?

Home Office Staff Spotlight!

by Joseph Gallina | Dec 06, 2019
Welcome Vanessa Thorrington and Jeffrey Gooch to the AMIkids Home Office!


My title at AMIKids is Regional Director of Education. In this role I support the education and vocational teams at our programs in Louisiana,  the Florida panhandle, and anywhere else I am asked. I truly enjoy my job. In this position I am able to advocate for youth and assist educators to provide education in a positive environment. This work allows me to continue my goal of helping students whose access to education has been limited.

I have taught the public school, juvenile justice, and university settings. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida I taught English, while coaching swimming and water polo in the Orlando Metro area. While teaching, and eventually performing transition and administrative duties, in a lock down juvenile justice facility I earned a Masters in Special Education. During this time, system inequities and treatment of students became the impetus for me to attend the University of Miami and complete a Ph.D. Prior to joining the AMIKids team I oversaw the education of all children with open dependency cases in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. As a Florida native I enjoy being outside and on the water.

JeffreyI oversee and ensure operation of AmeriCorps and AMIkids mentorship initiative. One of the main reasons I enjoy the position is knowing my efforts can have a lasting effect in a young person’s life. I believe even the smallest positive influence from an individual can plant the seed of change necessary to travel in the right direction. I enjoy the culture of family and the sense of team throughout the organization. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Austin State Peay University. I’ve worked for various sports organizations in a variety of positions over the past two decades.