We couldn’t do what we do without our dedicated staff!

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Adriana Contreras, Ph.D. Executive Director

Executive Director

Adriana Contreras is Executive Director of the San Antonio Education Partnership (SAEP), a non-profit committed to creating college opportunities, access and success for our community.

Contreras began her career in education at Austin Community College where, as a specialist in the Outreach Office, she developed a passion for higher education and for helping students with the college access process. She now has over 30 years of administrative experience, holding
leadership positions with the Alamo Colleges, Austin Community College and the Austin Independent School District.

Prior to joining SAEP, she held the position of Deputy to the Chancellor at the Alamo Colleges where her responsibilities included strategic planning, policy research, board relations, and budget preparation and implementation. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at
Northwest Vista College, San Antonio College and UTSA.

Contreras holds an Associate of Arts degree from Austin Community College and a Bachelor’s in Government, a Master’s of Education in Student Personnel Services, and doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

Michelle Reyes Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer

Michelle Reyes joined the San Antonio Education Partnership in June of 2011 as the Chief Financial Officer.

Prior to joining the San Antonio Education Partnership, she served as the Chief Financial Officer for a local United Way agency serving at-risk youth. She has worked in the non-profit industry for over 20 years and is dedicated to serving the mission of equipping students for college
success.

A native of Abilene, Texas, Michelle is a graduate of Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi and relocated to San Antonio in 2005. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, American Diabetes Association and serves as a Mentor for Big Brothers-Big
Sisters. She is the proud parent of a 25 year old son who is currently serving in the United States Army, a wonderful 25 year old USA Collegiate Swimmer and USA Swim Coach daughter-in-law and the most amazing little bundle of joy granddaughter, Calla Jane Reyes!

Ramona Moreno Office Manager

Office Manager

Ramona Moreno joined the San Antonio Education Partnership (SAEP) in May of 2016 as the Office Manager.

As the Office Manager, her role is to manage, develop, plan and coordinate the effective operations of the SAEP offices, staff and programs which promote higher education opportunities to the students in San Antonio.

Her love for higher education was developed in her prior position in the department of College of Arts & Sciences at Our Lady of the Lake University. Ramona is also a proud alum of Our Lady of the Lake University, where she received her BBA in Management and a Master’s of Science in Organizational Leadership.

In her free time, she spends her time with her family, which include her husband, 3 children, 3 dogs and 1 gerbil.

Rebeca Gonzalez Program Manager – cafécollege

Program Manager – cafécollege

Rebeca Gonzalez is the program manager for cafécollege. She oversees the day-to-day operations and assists middle- and high-school students in pursuing a college education.

Ms. Gonzalez is a native of the Rio Grande Valley, and is fully bilingual. She graduated first in her class from Harlingen High School South in 2001, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Yale University in 2005. She recently complete her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Texas at Houston School of Public Health.

Ms. Gonzalez’s experience with the GEAR UP program at San Antonio Independent School District as a College Readiness Coach, as well as her experience as a Coordinator and a Transition Coach with the San Antonio Education Partnership, have equipped her with expertise in college access and success strategies. Having spent the last five years working with middle and high school students serves her well in her capacity at cafécollege.

Rebeca is dedicated to promoting college access, readiness and success among San Antonio students, and is excited about serving as the program manager for cafécollege.

Rebecca Alejos Program Manager – High School Services

College Access and Success Advisor

Rebecca Alejos joined the cafécollege staff in May of 2014.

She is a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. She worked as an advisor with TRiO’s Rural Talent Search in San Marcos High School before pursuing a Master’s degree. Ms. Alejos received a Master’s degree in education majoring in student affairs in higher education in May 2014 from Texas State University.

Ms. Alejos is a passionate proponent of education for underrepresented student populations. She is committed to providing diverse students with access to higher education and enhancing their path to success. She strives to be a role model for Latino students and believes it is important to empower others, enable change and promote diversity.

Ms. Alejos chose her career path because she wanted to make a difference. Her passion for education and for working in an environment that respects and celebrates diversity and fosters student success is what brought her to join the San Antonio Education Partnership. She believes that enhancing student pathways from high school to college and college to the workforce will help to engage Latino youth at different points along the educational pipeline.

Emilio Arriola Development and Outreach Officer

Development and Outreach Officer

Emilio joined the San Antonio Education Partnership fully dedicated to its mission of creating college opportunities, access and success for our community. Previously, Emilio served as the Grants and Development Manager for the Texas Diaper Bank.

During his 5 years at the Texas Diaper Bank, Emilio assisted with the organization’s growth, helping expand its budget from $650,000 in 2011 to $2.5 million in 2016. Emilio also helped develop and establish programs where 1.25 million health supplies are distributed to 12,000 individuals yearly.

A native of Belton, Texas, Emilio is a 2011 graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Emilio is also a graduate of the Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Leadership Training and is currently completing his Masters of Science in Non-Profit Management from Our Lady of the Lake University.

In his free time Emilio enjoys camping, fishing and tailgating with fellow UTSA supporters.

Katherine Muñiz Senior Data Analyst

Senior Data Analyst

Katherine Muniz is the Senior Data Analyst for the San Antonio Education Partnership and has been with the organization since 2011.

She is the point of contact for the cafécollege scholarship and ensures that every eligible student has an opportunity to activate their scholarship. Ms. Muniz, a native of San Antonio, graduated from Sidney Lanier High School and is a recipient of the SAEP scholarship.

She received her Associate’s in Graphic Design from San Antonio College. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree.

In her spare time, she is an avid photographer and Instagrammer. She also serves as a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and animator for the Musketeers Junior Youth Group. Ms. Muniz is committed to our students and their success.

Joanna Shariff-Bey Dawkins Contract Compliance Analyst

Contract Compliance Analyst

JoAnna serves as San Antonio Education Partnership’s (SAEP) Contract Compliance Analyst, and joined the organization in March 2015.

She is responsible for ensuring SAEP’s compliance with all funding contracts, providing ongoing staff development, and performs grant writing.
Prior to joining SAEP, JoAnna worked at non-profit Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of San Antonio for over 26 years as their Mortgage Senior Underwriter, HomeOwnership Center Manager and Chief of Staff, overseeing the lending and construction departments.

With over 30 years’ experience working in the non-profit world, JoAnna feels there is tremendous satisfaction in helping others. Whether it’s affordable housing, homelessness, higher education or any of the many other worthy causes, she finds her job rewarding and fulfilling.

A native San Antonian, JoAnna is married to Chris Dawkins, and when she’s not working, enjoys spending time with members of her family that span 5 generations, reading, writing, gardening and traveling.

Micaela Rios Program Director - Upgrade

Program Director – Upgrade

Micaela Ríos joined the Education Partnership in March 2015 as a College Access and Success Advisor for cafécollege.

She holds a Master of Science Degree in School Counseling from San Diego State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Spanish from Santa Clara University.

She was born and raised in Gonzales, California, a small agricultural town on the central coast of California. Prior to working at cafécollege, Ms. Rios worked at a mental health nonprofit organization, Alum Rock Counseling Center, as a Behavioral Specialist with elementary and middle school youth in East San Jose. Before this job, Ms. Rios had worked in the K-12 setting for 6 years through various work roles, such as a paraprofessional in Special Education, summer school teacher, substitute teacher, counseling intern and tutor.

Education has played a major role in creating opportunity for Ms. Rios’ family and it is because of that she is passionate about the field of education and social justice. Ms. Rios enjoys guiding families through the college application process, as well as dispelling myths for first generation students. She feels thankful to be a part of San Antonio Education Partnership.