Banu Valladares became Executive Director of Charlotte Bilingual Preschool in August 2017. Prior to joining CltBP, Banu moved to Charlotte from Venezuela to attend UNC-Charlotte, earning a Master’s degree in Literature. Banu gained extensive experience from a career in education, the arts, and the humanities, serving for many years with the North Carolina Humanities Council, the North Carolina Arts Council, and as the Executive Director of SonEdna. She has led statewide arts and education programs, specializing in forming strategic partnerships with national, state, and local agencies. Banu represents the interests of Latinx families and dual language learners on the Regional ParentChild+ Advisory Board, the North Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council, the North Carolina Early Education Foundation, the Mecklenburg County Early Learning Initiative Executive Committee, the Arts and Science Council Board of Directors, and Latin American Future Search. In 2019, Valladares was honored as one of 50 local “Opportunity Champions” by Leading on Opportunity. She is the author of the bilingual book of poetry Gypsy Child: Dancing without Veils (CPCC Press, 2005) and enjoys yoga and hiking.