Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is made of key San Antonio leaders with 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.
Dr. Richard Middleton
Dr. Middleton brings a wealth of educational success to the table. As the VP for the Southwestern Regional Office of The College Board, he leads the management and operation of the SWRO’s staff and serves secondary and higher education clients in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. As an education leader, Richard has achieved a number of successes. During his 21-year tenure as NEISD superintendent, the district received many state and national awards for academic excellence. He served two terms on the board of directors for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; he led the development of a wellness program recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; he helped pass several bond elections to meet needs for student growth, renovation, and technology, opening 17 new schools to accommodate district growth; and worked with the Texas Education Commissioner and other agencies to develop statewide education models, as well as the development of the Texas STEM academies. It’s no surprise he was selected to be the Texas nominee for 2011 AASA Superintendent of the Year.
Brandon A. Logan
Brandon has carved a niche for himself as an entrepreneurial millennial, advocate, and avid speaker on diversity, business, and service. As a progressive public servant, his leadership efforts have been recognized by President Barack H. Obama, United States Marine Corps, Rotary International, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, San Antonio Business Journal, SA2020, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and San Antonio Magazine. As CEO of Urban Capital Partners, Brandon helps establish people and place-based strategies that uplift the standard of learning and living in inner city communities, and influences positive change in four areas: education, family support, leadership, and health. Through its community-based program, Becoming a Better You, over 450 inner city youth are provided with academic and social development support throughout the school year. Brandon graduated cum laude in three years from Grambling State University with a BS degree in business management. Currently, Brandon serves on the board of trustees at Hallmark University and on the board of directors at KLRN, Najim Family Foundation, Rotary Club of San Antonio, SAISD Foundation, and the Valero Alamo Bowl.
Joseph De La Garza Jr.
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.
With over 30 years in the classroom, Gloria brings so much more than teaching experience to the table. Not only was she the first and only qualified bilingual kinder teacher to teach in an innovative team teaching situation in 1975, she has always been passionate about the implementation of innovative programs at the early childhood levels of Pre-K 3, Pre-K 4, Kindergarten and 1st Grade. Her specific interests in early childhood were emergent literacy, incorporating the arts in language and writing, implementing Montessori-based centers, parental involvement, incorporating multicultural early childhood literature, developing mathematical thinking and the development of gross and fine motor skills in young children. Gloria is as decorated as a teacher can be with numerous “Teacher of the Year” accolades, and in 1997, was one of Trinity University’s Distinguished Educators of San Antonio. She has served as an advocate and committee member for numerous educational and arts organizations. Gloria retired from teaching in 2005 and dedicates her time to being editor of the monthly news journal, La Voz de Esperanza, working with San Antonio peace and justice advocates who bring articles of concern to her for publication.
Dr. Tracy Hurley
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. Shari Albright
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.
Dr. Gogi Dickson
Dr. Dickson is an educator with more than 30 years of worldwide experience as a classroom teacher, reading coordinator, campus principal, district assistant superintendent, university professor, training consultant and business entrepreneur. Gogi’s education experience spans countries and places such as Korea, Germany, England, West Point, Leavenworth and Williamsburg to name a few. Gogi earned degrees from Ladycliff College New York, University of Southern California, and her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Her academic studies focused on subjects such as change factors, leadership, management, curriculum, global education and finance. Upon returning to her hometown, she focused on community service projects, including work on various boards and commissions related to education and child development. She is a former chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Children and the Family, and she chaired the Education Committee of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. She also chaired the Education Committee of the San Antonio and Bexar County BRAC Commission. She served on the Governor’s Texas Youth Commission and the 2012 San Antonio Bond Advisory Committee. She presently serves on the board of Roy Maas Youth Alternatives and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development
Jenni Roolf Laster
Jenni Laster has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from Texas Lutheran University. She completed undergraduate internships in the Public Affairs Division with HEB and the Communications Division of the United States Department of Education in Washington, D.C. She completed additional coursework in communication and literature at the University of the Incarnate Word. Jenni is a passionate supporter of early childhood education. As a resident of San Antonio, she believes it is critical to offer opportunities for all. She has three young children and has seen the impact of a rigorous curriculum led by engaged and passionate teachers. Jenni serves as the Brand Content Manager for Whataburger Restaurants, ultimately responsible for the company’s digital newsroom, content-creation, and internal and external communications. Her résumé includes working with the San Antonio Express-News, Director of Public Relations for the University of the Incarnate Word, and Director of Communications for Texas Lutheran University. Jenni has been a Fellow for the National Endowment for the Arts Program for arts journalism, received accolades including San Antonio ADDY award, Bronze Quill Award, Women in Communications Awards for writing and publications, Council for Advancement and Support of Education Awards for writing and publications, and Associated Press Managing Editor Awards for writing.