This cohort of pivotal San Antonio leaders shares a passion for education and a belief that we can make a positive change in one generation.
Ms. Mendoza received a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University and is the founder, president, and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks Inc. (CMI). Established in 1990, CMI is a biotechnology and medical informatics company located in San Antonio, Texas. Within the biotechnology industry, CMI’s strength lies in developing and delivering unique solutions to address issues in areas such as chemical/biological defense, trauma medicine, and population health. Elaine has been extremely involved in community initiatives involving the expansion of educational opportunities, health care, and economic growth, both locally and nationally, including various appointments by Governor Rick Perry, Senator Trent Lott, Mayor Hardberger and Mayor Castro. She has held numerous roles on committees and boards including the board of regents of Texas A&M University; Academic and Student Affairs; P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County; Generation Texas San Antonio; CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System BOD; The Texas Technology Development Center; Task Force on Corporate Recruitment and Retention; P16 Council Formation Committee; Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; Commission for a College Ready Texas; San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce; Alamo Workforce Development; Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities; and the Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology.
Joseph “Joe” De La Garza Jr. is Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending at Jefferson Bank. De La Garza has more than 40 years of banking experience, having begun his career with Bexar County National Bank as a credit analyst and remained as it became Bank of America, staying with the bank for 15 years and exiting with the title of Vice President of Loan Review. He has worked for Security National Bank, Laredo National Bank and Comerica (formerly Sterling Bank), where he was a Commercial Lending Officer. Joe is a 1977 graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio, earning a BBA in Accounting.
Additionally, Joe has served on many advisory boards and commissions during his professional career. Most recently, Joe served as the Board Chair on the South SA Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and still remains active on the board. He has also served on the Board of Directors for AVANCE San Antonio, SA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio Local Development CO, and the Barrio Comprehensive Family Health Clinic.
Joe is a San Antonio native whose family is rooted in education, with both his mother and father having spent their careers with SAISD. In addition to his 15 years on the AVANCE SA Board of Directors, which helped lay the ground work for Pre-K 4 SA, Joe’s tenure on the South SA Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has involved interaction and collaboration with school districts across the city.
As a lifelong San Antonian, and backed by a career focused on community service for almost two decades, Mr. Perez is proud to be serving as the president and CEO of The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Gaining a taste for business and community from a young age, Richard earned a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from Texas State University in San Marcos and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas. Upon his return to San Antonio, after working as the special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration, Richard quickly became a go-to leader for important tasks. He has helped execute impactful changes through his involvement with a host of city and government entities including the City of Laredo, the Clinton administration, San Antonio City Council, San Antonio Military Transformation Task Force, the San Antonio-Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), and the city’s International Economic Development Team. Richard quickly became recognized for his ability to cross political lines to ensure the best results for the City of San Antonio. He follows a strict open-door policy and is always willing to listen and respond to the needs of all citizens of the community.
Dr. Hurley is excited about what the future of early education can bring. As a previous member of the SA 2020 Education Task Force, representing Texas A&M University-San Antonio, she is interested in assisting with the development of educational programs that will increase the education level of San Antonio residents and contribute toward the economic development of the city. A graduate of the Houston public school system, she brings with her a Ph.D. in business, Master of Business Administration, and Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston. Currently serving as the dean of the College of Business at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, she has over 20 years of experience in public higher education and has represented the university in many capacities in the educational community at both a local and state level. Her credits include several awards and grants, involvement in numerous education efforts and published articles in Contemporary Perspectives on Technological Innovation, Management and Policy, Southwest Teaching & Learning Journal, and International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, among others
As one of San Antonio’s retired educators, Frances has focused on educational advocacy, staff development, and served as both an administrator and classroom teacher. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in history and Spanish with a minor in secondary education. She has a master’s degree in elementary education with an elementary certification. Frances has also completed all coursework for a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction and obtained an administration mid-management and supervision certification. Additionally, she has served on many advisory boards and commissions during her professional career. These associations include Head Start board, National Parenting Education Network, SAAABE/TABE (bilingual education), PTA leadership, and a Mayor’s Commission on Women and Families. Frances has been an advocate for education from infancy to adulthood. She has worked in family leadership, early childhood education, bilingual education, drop-out prevention, and curriculum development, and has been involved in all aspects of education including as teacher, administrator and board member.
Dr. Albright serves as the Murchison Distinguished Professor in Education and chair of the Department of Education at Trinity University. In June 2018, Dr. Albright led the organization Raise Your Hand Texas as the executive director. Prior, she was the executive director of education at the Asia Society and chief executive officer of the Asia Society International Studies Schools Network, a national network of small, internationally-themed schools in urban, underserved communities, dedicated to preparing college ready, globally competent citizens. Shari also served as the principal of a public magnet school in San Antonio, Texas—the International School of the Americas—and was named the Texas High School Principal of the Year for 2004 by the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards. In 2004, her school was awarded the Goldman Sachs Prize in international education. She also served as an elementary school administrator, central office administrator, and elementary teacher in East Central ISD prior to teaching on the faculty of Trinity University. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Trinity University and her doctorate in educational leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Jan Kirby has been a resident of District 10 in San Antonio for 19 years. She has been involved with District 10 activities as well as serving on the board of the Northern Hills HOA for 13 years. She had the privilege of being a volunteer at Morgan’s Wonderland the first year they opened.
Her interest and love for Early Childhood Education began in college after an Early Childhood class. She was the first graduate from her college allowed to do student teaching in Kindergarten. She taught Kinder for seven years, during which time she received a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Along with the degree, she also received an Early Childhood Handicapped certification. The last 14 years of her career were in the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities. During those years, she received an English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement and was certified as an interpreter for Northside ISD.