Luisa M. Cotto is the director of engagement at United Way of Miami-Dade.  In her current role, she is responsible for innovating, leading and managing United Way’s volunteer and events programs that align with the organization’s strategic vision to activate and empower individuals to join the fight for a stronger Miami. As part of a statewide volunteer reader program, ReadingPals, she developed a curriculum used to read to preschool students in Miami-Dade, Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties. In 2015, she received the Governor’s Champion of Service Award for her work in bringing weekly volunteers to preschool classrooms through ReadingPals.Cotto also creates engagement opportunities for families and the community through various projects throughout Miami-Dade County.  At the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, she serves as advisor on the use of technology in the classrooms and has been trainer and literacy coach for two Early Reading First grants, Project LEER at United Way and LASER CAERS in Tampa. I addition, she has also worked on different research groups including iMapbook.  Cotto holds a bachelor’s in elementary education from the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce and a master’s in curriculum and instruction, with a concentration in instructional technology from the University of South Florida. She has published and presented numerous papers on education and technology. As an advocate for early education and technology for young children, she takes the opportunity to present at local, state, and national conferences on the importance of planning intentional and appropriate lessons for young children. Cotto is a contributing author of Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning, co-published by Rutledge/NAEYC in 2014.

During my “free time,” I participate in Twitter chats, write blogs, enjoy beer and good food, read the news, catch up with my personal email and spend quality time with my husband.


Featured Publications and  Groups

Contributing author to Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning edited by Chip Donohue, Ph.D. (August 2014)

NAEYC Technology and Young Children Interest Forum

Global Leaders for Young Children at the World Forum on Early Care and Education (2014 – Present)

iMap BookResearch group, University of South Florida (2009-2011)

Featured Presentations

Leveraging partnerships before and after a disaster at 2018 United Way Strategic Volunteer Summit in Alexandria, VA with Pam Sanderson and Stacy Liu.

Featured Speaker (page 160-161) at the NAEYC Annual Conference & Expo
Using Traditional and Emerging Technologies as Tools to Support Creativity with Brian Puerling (2015).

Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning – Conversations with contributing authors, 2014 NAEYC Annual Conference, Dallas, TX. with Chip Donohue, Erikson Institute; Kate Highfield, Macquarie University; Warren Buckleitner, Children’s Technology Review (2014).

Advocacy 101, PICA Head Start, Minneapolis, MN. Presented with Jessica Scher, director of public policy at United Way of Miami-Dade (2014).

Technology for classroom teachers, World Forum on Early Care and Education, Puerto Rico 2014. Presented along with Brian Puerling from United States and Shanali Vindya de Rose from New Zealand.

We are in this together: Quick tips to keep families, staff, and communities engaged, Start Kids Bright Webinar Series, United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, Early Childhood Investigations (2014).

Documentation and Assessment using the iPad, Early Learning Coalition of Broward County (2014)

Intentional and Appropriate use of  technology: Recommendations from the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center Join Position Statement, Broward Early Childhood Educators Conference (2013)

The use of digital media to enhance children’s learning and documentation (Spanish), Comcast grant (2011-2014)

Literacy Enhancement for Early Readers: Playful literacy activities in preschool, NAEYC: Annual Conference (2012)

Tech on Deck! The use of pictures and video in the preschool classroom, NAEYC: Annual Conference (2012)

Creating Literacy-rich Classroom Environments, Community-wide trainings, United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education (2011)