Our Team

William Dent, Jr. 

Program Director

Mr. Dent is a native of Washington, DC. After attending the University of Maryland, where he earned a Bachelors in history, he served in the Peace Corps in Chile. Upon his return, he did graduate work at the University of Chicago, earning a Masters of Teaching (MAT) and an MBA in finance. With the support of the Ford Foundation, Mr. Dent moved to Brazil to serve as a consultant to BNDES, the National Development Bank of Brazil, where he sensed the need for better business training and assisted Roberto Lima Netto in founding SEBRAE, Brazil's Small Business Administration, today the country's most important business school for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Mr. Dent then served as project manager at the Inter-American Development Bank putting together a number of innovative projects in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Costa Rica, involving investments in excess of $2 billion. During the 1990's, Mr. Dent founded and was CEO of CD-ROM International, pioneering the introduction of U.S. and European bibliographic databases (e.g., Medline) and related IT services at some 200 institutions throughout Brazil.

In early 2003, Mr. Dent founded Natural Partners, with the help of Flavio Pinheiro, Adam Tomasek and Ann McClellan, and currently is its Executive Director.

From October 2003 to December 2005, Mr. Dent was the Executive Director of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), spearheading the turn-around of the leading professional association of environmental educators across North America.

During his tenor, NAAEE was moved from a home office in the NW corner of the State of Georgia to its present headquarters location in downtown Washington, DC. At the same time, under Mr. Dent’s leadership NAAEE more than doubled its revenue and began to rebuild its membership base.

Returning to Natural Partners, Mr. Dent started working with the World Wildlife Fund - Mexico to design a plan to expand WWF’s work with local indigenous and ejido communities owning and living on the land in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Sensing the importance of educating the “younger generation,” inspired Mr. Dent to create a program to involve school children of Mexico and the United Sates in the challenge of restoring habitat for the declining population of the Monarch Butterfly in a cross-border collaboration.

Jesus Arriaga Vazquez

Program Coordinator, Mexico

Jesus is a resident of Zitacuaro in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. Jesus became involved with Monarch Sister Schools in 2011 after meeting William Dent during a visit to Michoacan. Jesus graduated from Universidad Virtual CNCI de Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Marketing.

Jesus became involved in multiple groups around the community to focus on continuing his education. The majority of his accomplishments involve helping the local youth in his community. From 2006-2014 Jesus worked for the Santiago Tuxpan Community Association where he was a mentor for Adolescents and Young Adults. During that time he was also training with Reforestamos México to be Youth Leader and Advisor, as part of the Youth Leadership Network.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Jesus is also very active in Folk arts, promoting culture and education through dance. Jesus participates in many dance groups including “Butoh Ritual Mexicano” Dance Center, Ballet Folclorico del Estado de Michoacan, and has even received a Diploma in Mexican Folk Dance granted by the Michoacán State Secretary of Education.

Jesus is an integral part of our team, bringing pollinator gardens, and Oyamel fir tree nurseries to schools in his community of Zitacuaro. Jesus has given students, who have never witnessed the magic of the monarch migration despite living minutes from the reserve, the opportunity to travel to the biosphere reserve. He has been awarded a State Youth Merit prize for his Environmental Protection work throughout Michoacan. Jesus educates students at our Sister Schools about not only the importance of protecting the monarch butterfly but all of the species on our planet.

Maureen Larkin

PROGRAM COORDINATOR, USA