Do you believe every community deserves good schools?
A visionary leader, with a philosophy that “quality educational opportunities for all children create great communities that prosper”, Trevino is committed to strengthening our urban educational infrastructure. It is the passion in this belief that makes Trevino an effective leader and one of the country’s leading trainers in effective school board governance, urban education and ethics in educational leadership. He worked as a consultant and trainer for The Center for the Reform of School Systems (CRSS). During his tenure with CRSS, Trevino consulted with diverse school systems; rural, suburban and in urban settings. He has counseled small, mid-size and some of the largest school systems in the nation. Trevino has presented effective governance training to five Broad Prize winners.
An experienced educator, Trevino has been a public school teacher at all levels. He was a middle school principal and a high school principal. Trevino’s central office assignments included senior level positions in Human Resources; Director of Professional Development and Executive Director of Research and Testing and Evaluation in the San Antonio Independent School District. All of his teaching and administrative experience was in the inner-city with a low-socio economic student population.
Trevino taught in the Graduate College of Education at Trinity University. He was the Director, of the Center for Educational Leadership, Policy and Professional Development and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Trevino was a Senior Lecturer in the Graduate College of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership at Texas A&M University at College Station, Texas.
Trevino served on the Board of Trustees for the San Antonio Independent School District for 12 years, six of those years he was elected school board president. Under his leadership as president of the board of trustees, the board was recognized twice nationally for exemplary board governance and was a finalist for Texas Honor Board. With support from the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Trevino Founded the Bexar County School Board Coalition which promotes excellence in education for all students by improving the governance and collaboration among Bexar County school districts.
Dr. Maria Hernandez Ferrier is Founding and President Emerita of Texas A&M University- San Antonio (TAMU-SA). On Friday, February 12, 2010, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents named Dr. Maria Hernandez Ferrier the inaugural president of TAMUSA. Her history with the university began in April 2008 with her appointment as executive director when the institution was operating as a system center. The next year Ferrier was named president and was the force behind the university’s unprecedented growth, its strategic plan and development to successfully become designated as a stand-alone institution of higher learning by both the state of Texas and SACSCOC, the national higher education accrediting body. In 2015 Ferrier served as the Director General of Mexico Relations for the A&M University System.
Prior to her career with the A&M University System, Ferrier held a number of national education appointments. In 1990, President George H. Bush appointed her as the Director of Bilingual Education and in 1992, appointed her to the Commission on National and Community Service (CNCS) and served in this position, under both Presidents Bush and Clinton. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Ferrier as Assistant Deputy Secretary in the Department of Education for the Office of English Language Learning, where she served as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Education on all matters pertaining to limited-English proficient students, and Hispanics in general. Ferrier also advised businesses and organizations with an interest in building or expanding education partnerships as a liaison between chambers of commerce across the nation and the Department of Education. Ferrier’s accomplishments include taking Texas A&M University-San Antonio through a successful accreditation process and the development of a master plan including the mission architecture that now distinguishes the University.
After her service on the National Board of City Year, she founded City Year San Antonio in1995 and served as the inaugural Executive Director for seven years. City Year is the national service organization that became the model for the now federally-funded program known as AmeriCorps.
Other accomplishments include creation, development and/or implementation of many highly successful programs, such as City Year, the first elementary school chapter of Students Against Driving Drunk; Partners in Pride, a highly successful in-school mentoring program in Texas; “Safety Kids”; Helping Academic Leadership Through Theater; the Community Resource Fair; Nimitz 50, a school/business partnership with Valero Energy Corporation; “The Nimitz Blue,” matching adjudicated youngsters with police officers serving as mentors; the Southwest ISD/Kelly AFB Mentoring Partnership; and the multi-district Partnership School for expelled and adjudicated youngsters. Many of these model programs have been replicated in other schools throughout the nation.
In 1991 President George H Bush designated, the successful Kelly AFB-SWISD mentoring program, a program that she co-created, as the 242ndPoint of Light for the nation.
Ferrier has been the recipient of numerous awards, including: the Golden Deeds Award from the Administrative Leadership Institute; San Antonio Hispanic Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the San Antonio Silver Stars’ “Women of Inspiration” Award; San Antonio College Outstanding Former Student; San Antonio University Roundtable’s “Best and Brightest” Award; the Life of Idealism Award from City Year-San Antonio; the Hispanic Heritage Award from the Department of Labor; the “Point of Light” designation from the White House; the Minority Leadership Award from the National Community Education Association; and the Imagineer Award from the Mind Science Foundation She has also been the feature of several magazine highlights, including San Antonio Magazine’s “Women We Love” and Empresarios Magazine’s “Top 15 Women of San Antonio”. She has been inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1999, Our Lady of the Lake University chose Ferrier as the first Distinguished Visiting Professor for the doctoral program of the university’s Center for Leadership Studies. Ferrier served as the general editor for the Handbook on Choosing Your Child’s Education(2007), published by Focus on the Family, and provided the editor’s foreword for the, Arise & Ascend – A Woman’s Cry to Freedom(2009), and published by Xulon Press, and forward for What Does Your Heart Beat For (30-Day Journey) published by SOL Books, Ferrier was named the spokesperson for San Antonio’s No Kill campaign, “Talk About It,” whose mission is to reduce the number of healthy dogs and cats that are euthanized each year in the city. In 2016m she served as a Commissioner on the State’s Commission on Assessments and Accountability for Texas public schools. She has served on numerous board and commissions and currently serves on the Boards of the Plaza Club San Antonio,Luminarias, a Christ Centered Women’s leadership program, Yes Our Kids Can,as a Trustee for Hallmark Universityand the Texas One Star Foundation– appointed by Governor Greg Abbott.
Ferrier earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and a Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling from Our Lady of the Lake University. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University-College Station.
Dr. Louis J. Agnese., Jr. is the second president in the history of Texas Health and Science University (THSU) in Austin, Texas. He succeeded Lisa Lin, who founded THSU in 1990 and retired in 2019. Dr. Agnese previously served as the eighth president of the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), a private university in San Antonio. Upon his retirement from UIW in 2016, he was named President Emeritus and Emeritus member of the UIW Board of Trustees in honor of his historic 31-year tenure as president.
His career as a teaching professional and higher education leader began at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. As director of the student personnel program at Gannon from 1976 to 1979, Dr. Agnese carried both advising responsibilities and a graduate teaching workload. From 1976 to 1981, he also reported directly to two vice presidents as the director of student living, with budgetary responsibility for Gannon’s security, maintenance, conference coordination, and food services areas.
He moved to Sioux City, Iowa in 1981 to become vice president of Briar Cliff University. He managed 16 administrative units at Briar Cliff, served as a university spokesperson, liaised between the institution and its stakeholders, and assumed overall management duties in the president’s absence.
Dr. Agnese relocated to San Antonio in 1985 when he was named UIW president. At the time, UIW faced dwindling student enrollment, was limited to one location, had an $8 million annual budget, a $3 million endowment and was the 19th largest private university in Texas. By his retirement in 2016, UIW had grown into Texas’ largest Catholic university and the state’s third largest private university, with global enrollment increasing from 1,296 students to 11,422. Its annual budget had increased to nearly $220 million and its endowment to more than $125 million. Today, Incarnate Word has nearly 40,000 living alumni, compared to 8,000 in 1985.
Under Dr. Agnese’s watch, UIW expanded to nine San Antonio locations; sites in Corpus Christi and Killeen, Texas; European Study Centers in Heidelberg, Germany, and Strasbourg, France; and two full campuses in Mexico where students can earn UIW degrees. Incarnate Word also created the first two Ph.D. degree programs as well as professional doctoral programs in several fields of study, including pharmacy, optometry, nursing practice, physical therapy and business administration. In addition, UIW established a school of medicine that began offering classes in 2017, becoming the first private medical school in San Antonio and just the sixth in the U.S. at a Catholic university.
Dr. Agnese’s also spearheaded the development of UIW’s international profile. By 2016, it had sister school agreements for reciprocal education with more than 140 institutions of higher learning in over 40 countries. Meanwhile, international students comprised more than ten percent of the student body and represented over 70 countries.
With a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion that mirrored UIW’s South Texas origins, the student body in 2016 was 60 percent Hispanic and African American, many of them first-generation college attendees. By his retirement, UIW conferred the most bachelor degrees to Hispanics among all private, not-for-profit universities in the U.S.
Dr. Agnese is the recipient of many professional and civic honors. They include honorary doctoral degrees from UIW and Woosong University in South Korea. Also, the Legacy Leaders Award from the San Antonio Business Journal; the Governor Dolph Briscoe Salute to Excellence Award; the Ford Salute to Education Lifetime Achievement Award; and the International Achievement Award from the San Antonio Council for International Visitors. In 2018, the Hispanic Sports Foundation honored Dr. Agnese by inducting him into the National Hispanic Heritage Hall of Honor for his service to education.
Dr. Agnese holds the Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Pittsburgh; an Education Specialist degree and a Master of Education in Counseling degree from Gannon University; and a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary of the Plains College. Originally from New York City, Dr. Agnese is married and has two grown children.
Charlie Amato, reappointed to the Board of Regents in 2019, earned his Bachelor of Business Administration at Sam Houston State University, with which he has maintained close ties over the years, chairing the College of Business Advisory Council, as well as being an appointee to the Board of Regents.
He is the Chairman and co-founder of SWBC, a diversified financial services company providing insurance, including business insurance; mortgage banking; wealth management; employee benefits; real estate development; professional employer services; and more to financial institutions, businesses, and individuals. With more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of insurance operations, underwriting, and product development, Charlie is known in the business community for his innovative, relationship-building approach.
Aside from other business ventures, five of which include owning automobile dealerships and an interest in five-time National Basketball Association champion – The San Antonio Spurs, Amato recognizes the importance of giving back to the community in which he has prospered. Some of his roles include serving as a Board Member for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas– San Antonio branch, Chairman of the Texas State University System Foundation, Board Member of Lone Star Capital Bank, National Director for Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Vice Chairman for the Texas Business Leadership Council, Board Member for CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Board Member for Silver and Black Give Back.
Throughout his career, he has received recognition and several awards, including the Richard W. Weekley Public Policy Leadership Award from the Texas Business Leadership Council; inductions into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, the San Antonio Business Hall of Fame, and the Sam Houston State University’s College of Business Hall of Honor; and the Beta Gamma Sigma Medallion for Entrepreneurship. He was also given the Citation Award from Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, the Pathfinder award from the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and the Legacy Leaders Award from the San Antonio Business Journal. He was also awarded an Honorary Professor of Surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of the Incarnate Word.
Amato has two grown children and one grandchild. His term on the Board of Regents expires in 2025.
Mary Henrich is an attorney who after practicing law for more than forty years has retired to San Antonio, and devoted her time to supporting community nonprofits and to volunteer work. During her legal career she was engaged in the private practice of law and her primary areas of expertise were in taxation, probate, and family law. She was licensed to practice in the States of Texas, Oregon, Colorado, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
Upon arriving in San Antonio, Ms. Henrich enrolled in the Masters Leadership Class sponsored by the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. The program gave her fifty new friends and a terrific overview of the strengths and challenges in the San Antonio area. The program nudged her into finding non profits that were of interest and agreeing to serve on their Board of Directors.
Two Boards immediately filled those criteria. Ms. Henrich joined the Board of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas and served as Board Member, Executive Committee Member, and Chair of the Fund Development Committee for ten years. She also joined and continues to serve on the Board of the Low Vision Resource Center as the Treasurer.
In the Master’s Leadership Class Ms. Henrich also learned about the need to assist low income taxpayers in filing tax returns. She has volunteered as a tax preparer for VITA at the Maverick Library for seven years.
With her friend and fellow attorney, Graciela Cigarroa, Ms. Henrich co-founded the Council for Excellence in Women’s Health. She is delighted that after ten years the Council continues to educate its members on the state of women’s health in Texas, and has awarded more than fifty scholarships to healthcare students who have demonstrated an interest in women’s health.
Reading and lifelong learning are passions of Ms. Henrich, and she has served on the the Board of the San Antonio Library Foundation for six years. The Foundation is dedicated to raising funds for the Public Library System so that all citizens of the area have access to learning.
Ms. Henrich has recently joined the Board of Yes! Our Kids Can and is looking forward to serving as Chair of Governance.
Ms. Henrich lives in the City of San Antonio with her husband, Bill Henrich. They have two grown children and five grandchildren who all reside in Texas.
Tim is called to action each day by this modern expression of service and mission, by Bryan Stevenson, in his book, Just Mercy.
Like Stevenson, Tim is an attorney. Tim lives in Austin, with or near his four children. His eldest son is also an attorney; his eldest daughter is an archivist with the State of Texas; and his younger children attend public elementary school. All of Tim’s children were or are public school students.
In his family life, as well as his professional, civic, and charitable endeavors—in all things—Tim works to address poverty of the mind, body and spirit. He holds the opinion that poverty is best answered with justice, fair play, truth and transparency—and the hope and vision of a future cast by Our Kids Can!
Tim’s private law practice spans over 32 years, He has founded four different law firms, small and large, operating in San Antonio, Austin and Washington, DC. He has managed, mentored or counseled hundreds of lawyers in their careers, as well as thousands of clients. Today, he focuses on offering discounted or pro bono legal, business and political counsel and services to individuals, small businesses, nonprofits and governments. In addition to consulting with Our Kids Can, his representative clients include the likes of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the nonprofit San Antonio Retail Merchants Association. Tim also dedicates a substantial amount of his time as legal counsel and director to Justice For Me, a startup focused on the legal industry which offers affordable payment alternatives to lawyers and their clients.
Tim’s life has always included service to his community and his nation. He is a former active duty US Army officer and veteran. He also served for eight years as a trustee for VIA Metro Transit in San Antonio—three of those years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He served previously as President of Board of Brackenridge Park Conservancy, in San Antonio. He is currently involved in development programs for the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Dell Medical School, in Austin.
Tim is a honors graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He received a Master of Arts degree from the University of Virginia, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond.
Dennis Karbach is a business consultant who spent more than 20 years with Accenture. His entire professional life in has been in management and IT.
Dennis has his own consulting business focusing on software for document management and document preparation for real estate law firms.
He has served on the boards of the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Zach Theatre in Austin and Preservation Austin. Currently, Dennis is the board chair of the Public Theater of San Antonio and serves on the board of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance.
Karbach and his husband, Robert Brown, grew up in San Antonio, they lived and worked in Austin and San Francisco and returned to San Antonio in 2016.
Pioneers in developing intrinsic motivation with students.
Lionel Sosa, Founder
More about Lionel Sosa
Lionel was born and raised on the West Side of San Antonio. He’s a self-made businessman and entrepreneur, a pioneer in Latino marketing, expert in Hispanic consumer & voter behavior, author and painter.
During the course of his career, Lionel has helped the University of the Incarnate Word increase enrollment from 1,200 to its current level of nearly 11,000. Sosa served on the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System and the Boards of Sesame Workshop (creators of Sesame Street), ACT (American College Testing), PBS, the Public Broadcasting System as well as the Board of Trustees for the University of the Incarnate Word. He currently serves as an advisor to the president of Texas A&M San Antonio. Lionel served as a planning member to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Texas 60X30 initiative.
Lionel was named “One of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America” by Time Magazine. NBC.com named him as one of the five people in the U.S. who are “The Keepers of the Latino Culture.” In 2000, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the University of the Incarnate Word. Lionel has written and published a variety of books: The American Dream; Think & Grow Rich: A Latino Choice; and the award-winning “Children of the Revolución: How the Mexican Revolution Changed America.”
Lionel founded Sosa Bromley Aguilar and Associates which became the largest Hispanic ad agency in the country serving Fortune 500 clients such as Coca Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Proctor & Gamble and American Airlines to name a few.
Prior to forming Sosa Consultation & Design with her husband, Lionel, Kathy Sosa served as president of Garcia•LKS, the Southwest’s largest independent Hispanic ad agency, which she founded as KJN in 1987. Kathy has served in multiple roles during her 20-plus year marketing career, including ad agency principal and entrepreneur, strategist, planner, creative director and copywriter. In addition to commercial advertising experience on accounts from Dr Pepper and Mexicana Airlines to Sî TV and Budweiser, she is experienced in both education-related marketing and public service communications, and is a veteran of over 25 political media campaigns.
She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from St. Mary’s University. Kathy currently serves on the Generation Texas Board of Directors. She was appointed by former Governor George W. Bush to the Children’s Trust Fund of Texas Council, and by Governor Rick Perry to the Founding Board of The Texas Conference for Women. Kathy served as a member of the Girl Scout National Board, a member of the National Board of Directors – AVANCE, and is past-chair of City Year San Antonio. She also was named by Inc. magazine as an Entrepreneur of the Year.
A renowned artist, Kathy was commissioned by the Texas Women’s Conference to do a portrait of keynote speaker Martha Stewart, to whom she personally presented the work. She received national recognition for her traveling exhibition “Huipiles: a Celebration”, which debuted at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. as part of the Smithsonian Latino Center’s 2007 summer season before traveling to the Museo Alameda in San Antonio in 2008. 2009. Currently, she mounts shows in New York City and Tulsa. Her work has been featured on CNN, in FiberArts Magazine, in Skirt!, San Antonio Woman, Country Lifestyle, Destinations, and is available in San Antonio through AnArte Gallery and the Regalo Gift Gallery at the Museo Alameda. She is also represented by galleries in Boerne, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Most recently, Kathy, and her husband Lionel Sosa, created and produced the critically-acclaimed documentary titled “Children of the Revolución – How the Mexican Revolution Changed America’s Destiny,” a 20-part storytelling series which chronicles never-before-told American history of the Texas/Mexico borderland.
The key to escaping poverty is not education. It’s mindset.
John oversees the daily operations of the organization and is key to helping the different teams work together under one roof to create the program. He is a communication professional with over 20 years branding and advertising experience and over his career has worked on clients like Jack Daniel’s, Wells Fargo, USAA, Allied Solutions, IDEA Public Schools, and UNIDOS US.
John earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication design from The Texas State University. He founded his boutique advertising agency Andrade Communicators in 2004 and quickly began working with clients throughout Texas, Florida and Colorado. Among the most memorable campaigns he has worked on are the “Million Reasons Campaign,” a fundraising initiative to support the Center for Miracles (for abused children) at the Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital; and a financial literacy for youth campaign initiated by the Texas Dow Employees Credit Union.
John and his wife have enrolled their children in public school, homeschool, and public charters over the course of their academic careers. This experience has provided him with first-hand insight into the crucial role that intrinsic motivation and a sense of purpose play in the educational process. His goal is to create content that instills intrinsic motivation in the students and families we serve.
John believes the best way to secure the success of Texas and the rest of the nation is to ensure more students pursue some form of education beyond high school. Convincing students and their parents of this reality is a meaningful cause that John wholeheartedly supports.
Janine earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood from the University of the Incarnate Word, graduating magna cum laude in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a Reading Specialization. Yes! Our Kids Can’s mission is to create a Success Mindset in low-income and fragile families that disrupts the cycle of generation poverty in Bexar County and beyond. Her position as COO brings her work experience full circle, fulfilling her desire to make a difference in the education arena.
With over 25 years in marketing, Janine’s background includes working on Fortune 500 and government accounts such as the Centers for Disease Control, Targeted Youth Media Campaign, Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and Anheuser-Busch. During her tenure at Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates, Janine developed and implemented account contracts, worked as a broadcast and print producer, and served as the promotions fundraiser. She was the logistics producer for the award-winning documentary, Children of the Revolución, which featured stories of Mexican- Americans whose ancestors fled the Mexican Revolution and planted their roots in the United States.
Janine is a member of Sister to Sister International, a global organization that links together girls, women and families of African descent. She also served as a Knights of Peter Claver Junior Daughter Director, Court 135. The Knights of Peter Claver is the nation’s oldest and largest African-American Catholic lay organization.
Janine’s interpersonal skills, professional approach, energetic spirit and passion for life, coupled with her many years of marketing and business experience, prove invaluable for any cause or organization to which she devotes herself.
Cynthia Marshall is a mindset coach, with more than three decades of consultative sales experience. She specializes in developing and nurturing productive client relationships.
After earning her MBA from the University of Texas in San Antonio 2004, she became a certified Success Coach and has helped professionals in diverse fields to meet their personal, professional and financial goals. Coming from a family of educators, who they themselves experienced how education can totally change the trajectory of one’s life, she is committed to assisting educators change the lives of the students they serve, especially those children in underserved areas. She is adept in helping education leaders resolve issues that may arise as she builds a trusting and faithful relationship with them in a true partnership with the goal of student success.
Her great love for music, spending hours of practice, Cynthia is a master classical flautist, inspirational musician, and is a spoken word recording artist also.
Born in San Antonio, Mark traveled the world as a Military dependent and graduated High School in San Angelo, Texas. After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force as a Public Affairs Specialist. Mark has been advocating for the underserved for many years, including foster care children, college recruiting, job coaching and supported employment. He also has a Directors Certification as a Community Rehabilitation Provider through University of North Texas. Mark is passionate about helping others, and the Yes! Our Kids Can really hits home for him. His 9-year-old daughter, Haley Grace, loves that her Dad has joined the Yes! Our Kids Can team.
Born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, Joan learned early on that hard work and dedication is important to succeed in life. As a migrant farmworker and proud daughter of immigrants, she migrated with her parents from the Rio Grande Valley to work in the fields around the Midwest and Florida. This experience taught her resilience and the value of education, inspiring her to become the first in her family to obtain a college degree. The driving force to her success in education is attributed to her parents and to her migrant outreach counselor at Rivera High School.
Joan started her outreach career as an affordable housing mortgage loan officer in a small rural community in Central Iowa. This position gave her the opportunity to conduct workshops and seminars on topics varying from homebuying and financial literacy to citizenship and continuing education for adults. After more than six years of a successful career in lending, she began her career in educational outreach. She directed the Marshalltown Education Partnership and worked as an outreach counselor assisting first generation college students for over six years in Iowa.
As an Awareness & Outreach Specialist for Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C., Joan understands the importance of early outreach and parental involvement for students’ academic success. A perpetual learner, Joan obtained an Associate’s Degree at Marshalltown Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services with minors in Psychology and Spanish from Buena Vista University, has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from DeVry University, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Iowa State University.
Sofia is a first-generation Salvadoran American and proud San Antonio native. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio, Television and Film from the University of North Texas, returning thereafter to San Antonio where she did freelance work with local independent productions and photography.
It wasn’t long after a different calling caught her attention to Seoul, South Korea, where she taught ESL at the Sogang Language Academy to 7-15 year-olds. In those two years, Sofia discovered her passion for working with children and families. With her new-found ambition for educating children, she returned to Texas and earned her Alternative Teacher’s certification through the Texas Teachers organization.
Sofia enriched elementary students in small rural communities and large urban areas alike. As an energetic, compassionate teacher, she excelled in cultivating positive, productive relationships with students and families. She particularly strived to encourage students’ social-emotional learning and ensure that parents were always aware of their children’s success both in and out of the classroom. Her experience working in small rural communities and in large urban districts with Title I schools and turnaround campuses has given her unique insight into the needs of these neighborhoods. It is her belief that for children to be successful, success must begin at home. Armed with this knowledge, she is driven to make the Yes! Our Kids Can mission a reality.
Danica has a master’s degree in instructional technology and brings a wealth of experience in designing technology units that meet and exceed the Student Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. In her 10 years of teaching in Title 1 elementary schools, Danica has developed a deep respect for public education and the families and communities it serves. As an educator, Danica wants students to understand and appreciate their own worth and that of others, and to always act with kindness and respect. In the classroom, her teaching style was student centered, inquiry based, and fun. Through YES!, she wants students to be confident, persevering, loving what the world is ready to teach them, and aspiring to a future that they may have otherwise felt unachievable.
Danica has a special interest in educating “at risk” and “significantly out of sync” (S.O.S.) students through the development, implementation and integration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) across the curriculum. She is excited about the positive effects of creating technology-rich, student-centered learning environments. She loves writing innovative curriculum for Yes! Our Kids Can in a way that is enjoyable and easy for teachers to implement and that best meets the demands of the current digital generation of students.
Both of Danica’s parents are college professors, and future education was a regular topic of conversation in her home. She understands the need for all children to be exposed to daily discussions about college, and she is committed to helping create the Yes! Our Kids can system in a way that is in sync with today’s digital generation of students.
Tiffany completed her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Culture, Literacy, and Language at the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015. Her research calls attention to social action, identity negotiation, production of social values, and decision-making in the classroom.
Along with her research and teaching, Tiffany remains grounded in the community through service and activism. In 2015, Tiffany co-founded San Antonio’s first and only Girls Rock Camp (SAGRC), which is an integral component of the South Texas Music Scene for all girls, including gender fluid/non-binary and transgender youth. San Antonio Girls Rock Camp provides girls with a safe space to gain leadership and collaboration skills, share their stories, and create positive change within the self, the community, and the world at large.
Tiffany brings more than a decade’s worth of experience working with in-service and pre-service teachers, students in grades K-6th, and assisting in the planning and implementation of professional development courses that have been implemented at the campus and district level.
The mission and vision of Yes! Our Kids Can complements Tiffany’s passion for providing all students with equitable learning experiences. She takes pride in providing teachers with the support to overcome challenges and maintain best practices that are rigorous, effective, and inclusive for all students.
Jessica, a San Antonio native, earned a degree in Horticulture, Business, and Leadership studies at Texas A&M University.
Upon graduating, Jessica moved to Washington, D.C., and worked for U.S. Congressman Will Hurd, who represents the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. She worked with Congressman Hurd’s team to respond to all constituent correspondence and covered agriculture and education policy. During her two and a half years there, Jessica lead a special project that trained middle school teachers to incorporate computer science curriculum in the classroom. Collaborating with teachers and leaders in education inspired her to join the Yes! Our Kids Can team, where she shares a passion for creating educational opportunities and brighter futures for all children.
Jessica joined the YES! team in January of 2018 as the Operations Manager and Grant Writer.
Ana Paula Tomita
Operations Administrative Assistant
More about Ana Paula Tomita
Ana was born in Mexico City and moved to San Antonio in elementary school. She earned an Associate of Arts from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Certificate of Business from the University of Texas at Austin.
Having worked for San Antonio staples such as The RK Group and Sushi Zushi, Inc., she has experience in marketing, design, and social media. She dedicated many years to another nonprofit close to her heart called Hope for HumaNS, helping children fight Nodding Syndrome, as a volunteer, intern, and Board member.
With a life-long curiosity and passion for learning, Ana is incredibly proud to be part of the Yes! Our Kids Can team. Her life and studies have taken her all over the globe, but she is delighted to call San Antonio home.
David began his professional passion here in San Antonio, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Northwest Vista College and then later on graduated from University of Texas- Austin, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Film. His first project was a small one, a feature film in Ecuador, following the children and friends from his year-long volunteer position with a local orphanage.
During that time and for the next decade in Los Angeles and around the world managing and producing projects for a variety of clients including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Fox Sports, the Oprah Winfrey Channel, NBC Universal, The World Gold Council, Showtime, The Writer’s Guild and numerous companies and celebrities.
David believes in the transformative power of stories and ideas to create change and influence the hearts and minds of whoever can be reached. He believes that Yes! Our Kids Can has a profoundly important and inspiring message to bring to those who need it most.
Edgar holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Soon after graduation, he founded his own design company, Edgar Ortiz Design, has developed visual identities for numerous clients in the US and Mexico.
Prior to entering the design field, Edgar studied fine art, with a focus on painting. Today, he keeps his artistic side sharp by illustrating children’s books for non-profit organizations. Raised by Mexican parents who taught him the importance of education and hard work, Edgar is a strong believer in the mission of Yes! Our Kids Can. He is committed to helping YOKC develop a program that will help children believe they can achieve their goals, no matter their background or financial circumstances.
Nabor is a graduate from The Art Institute of San Antonio. Upon graduation, he landed a Junior Designer internship with the San Antonio Spurs during the 2014 Championship.
After his internship, Nabor left to find new opportunities in the world of Advertising and Branding to widen his skillset and range of industries. He later returned to the San Antonio Spurs and rose to Senior Designer.
In March 2019, Nabor left his role with the San Antonio Spurs to join Yes! Our Kids Can to support instilling a Success Mindset. He hopes his contribution to the design department elicits a positive impact on as many families as possible.
Kiki was born in Mexico City and raised in Michoacán, Mexico. He moved to San Antonio in 2003 and earned his associate’s degree in TV, Radio, and Film at San Antonio College.
Kiki has worked on commercial production for the San Antonio Spurs, HEB, McDonald’s, and more. He also was the creator, producer, editor, and anchor for a Mexican television show called “Urban Fusion,” which highlighted top musicians, artists, and cultural influencers.
In recent years, Kiki has served as the director of photography for several short films and documentaries, including one which raises awareness about the importance of ending domestic violence. Kiki is proud to have contributed to a documentary about how children in an area of Michoacán, Mexico overcome extreme poverty to attain education and success. Kiki now uses his creative talent to serve the children and families of Yes! Our Kids Can.
As a kid, Eric was heavily influenced by music. He was in the school band and enjoyed watching his older brother develop his own personal music skills.
He is self-taught – learning to play trumpet, read music, and discovering a great love of songwriting.Extremely motivated and passionate about creativity, Eric began songwriting and producing for various local artists and personal music projects. Driven by a desire to teach, Eric is now working towards educating younger generations by instilling a love and passion for music.
Eric currently resides in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and three boys. He, his wife and boys are disciplined and dedicated practicing BJJ Brazilian Jiujitsu members. His sons are reigning Expert Championship belts in both Naga North American Grappling Association and San Antonio Battleground events.
Emily has worked professionally and passionately in 2D and 3D animation since receiving her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree at Savannah College of Art and Design and California College of the Arts.
She is driven to help Yes! Our Kids Can (YOKC) connect with students through engaging characters and hopes to inspire every child to reach their goals. Under the mentorship of several artists from studios like Disney and Pixar, Emily has learned the tools to bring a character to life and form a connection with their audience. She has worked for studios such as Janimation and Joe Rothenberg Animation as well as freelance clients from Nickelodeon and VR Design.
In Emily’s free time she loves to create animation centered around dance and participates frequently in short film projects as Lead Animator.
A May 2016 graduate from the University of Incarnate Word, Alex was identified as a star student and came to YES! highly recommended from the Dean of the Computer Science Department, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Graphic Arts – 3D Animation. He brings the fun and exciting ideas the team has into a fully playable experience, while working along with the curriculum team to ensure each game fulfills its purpose.
Alex creates all of the YES! games from scratch, working with graphic designers and illustrators to develop elements and layouts for each game, while ensuring the game is easy to play and enjoyable. He also utilizes his 3D animation skills by creating and animating any 3D elements needed for the games.
Alex is always improving the programming of each game created to make the app as smooth and user friendly as possible. He also handles the quality assurance and tech support sides of the app for the users so they can have the best experience possible and uses the feedback to further improve the product. His goal is to make each game a learning experience while also being as fun as any commercial game.
Kelly earned an MFA in Arts & Technology from the University of Texas at Dallas. She brings an emphasis on storytelling, game design and artistic flair to the team.
Prior to working for Yes! Our Kids Can, Kelly worked as an instructor, illustrator, and game artist. In doing so, she had the opportunity to create games of her own design and develop her skills within Unity and HTLM5. She works to emphasize the narrative and expand the boundaries of gameplay, while continuing to sharpen her programming skills.
Clifford previously worked for six years as an Imagery Analyst for the Air Force. In this role, he analyzed photos and videos and reported on his findings, learning to pay very close attention to detail.
Following his Air Force career, Clifford graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. He also studied game design and software development and enjoyed creating and programming his own games.
Cliff is motivated by the people who enjoy playing the games he creates, and always tries to bring more fun to all aspects of gameplay.
Breen Heath has worked in the design industry for upwards of 8 years. Her fascination for science and technology led her to create a Tesla coil at her high school science fair at age 14. A Magna Cum Laude graduate from Northwest Vista College, Breen earned both an Associates in Game Design and Development and Liberal Arts.
Breen’s art background coupled with her game design knowledge is unique because of her ability to mesh her creative and scientific side.
She is a motivated individual who is empowered by learning and what it can do to help children achieve their goals and future hopes for their careers. This mission was further nourished by many years in girl scouts, seeing how teaching makes a big difference in the lives of children.
Romeo is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force who worked as an imagery analyst. He quickly made his way to the top of mission operations in his field and supervised 20+ man teams while communicating with other mission supervisors in other fields. After his enlistment, he studied at the University of the Incarnate Word [UIW] majoring in Computer Information Systems specializing in Computer Programming. By his graduation at UIW, he has created a glove touch sensor prototype designed for music entertainment and created a game on his own from scratch.
He has a passion for programming and has worked on multiple personal projects creating games, including a game that was submitted for a game jam hosted by Brackeys, a YouTube channel that focuses on Unity game development. He has also experimented with VR and AR game development in hopes of making unique experiences. Romeo enjoys playing video games but that does not detract from his dedication for programming. As a programmer, it is often useful to see how other people have created their games and then incorporate those ideas into future projects.
His attention to detail coupled with the passion for programming pushes Romeo forward into challenges to overcome. His work with Yes! Our Kids Can will help greatly by providing insight on how our kids engage and interact with the games and apps we create.