Our Team


Karen Manuel, Interim Director

Originally from Davao City in the Philippines, Ms. Karen has over 15 years of formal experience in the education field. She has a bachelor's degree in Industrial Education and several graduate degree credit hours in Educational Administration, and is fluent in 4 languages! However, Ms. Karen is best known to the ERCDC community as one of the original ERCDC team of teachers. During her three years here as a lead teacher, Ms. Karen has worked with every age group, and has helped to facilitate a center culture of positivity, child-centeredness, and creativity.


After several years working directly in the classroom, Ms. Karen is excited for the opportunity to serve our children and families from the position of Interim Director. She is also a new mom to a baby girl, so she understands first-hand what it’s like to be a working parent on the hunt for trustworthy caretakers! Feel free to connect more with Ms. Karen here.

Jess Lawson, Operations Manager

Hailing from Buffalo, NY, Jess earned a bachelor's degree from American University in Sociology and Education. After graduating, Jess served as Lead Program Manager for a DC education non-profit using creative writing and poetry with incarcerated youth. For the past 3.5 years, Jess was the Program Director for Embassy Church. In her role, she supervised all church ministries, managed building operations and maintenance, planned and coordinated events, and managed daily administrative tasks.


In 2016, Jess was a foundational member establishing the Embassy Row Child Development Center we know and love. She is excited about the opportunity to work even closer with ERCDC families and staff!


Infants (6 weeks to 12 months)


Toddlers (13 months to 23 months)


Younger Preschoolers (2 years to 2 years, 10 months)


Preschoolers (2 years, 11 months to 3 years, 5 months)


Pre-K (3 years and 6 months to 5 years old)

Meal Specialist