Executive Director named to San Antonio Education Partnership

Adriana Contreras, Ph.D., to lead college access organization

SAN ANTONIO, TX (December 3, 2014) – The San Antonio Education Partnership (SAEP) Board of Directors has selected Adriana Contreras, Ph.D, as the organization’s Executive Director. Dr. Contreras assumed her new role on December 1, 2014.

For more than 25 years, SAEP has been a pillar organization in San Antonio’s college access community. SAEP,the managing entity of cafécollege, San Antonio’s premier resource center for college access and guidance, also provides direct college access services to students at 25 San Antonio area high schools and a scholarship opportunity to these students through the cafécollege Scholarship.

“The Board of Directors is confident that the addition of Dr. Contreras will further develop the excellent service that the San Antonio Education Partnership and cafécollege provide to students and its mission to guide students towards their college and career goals,” said Steve Potter, Chairman of the San Antonio Education Partnership. “Throughout her career, Dr. Contreras has exhibited a commitment to higher education and to the principles that our organization upholds.”

Dr. Contreras brings over 30 years of administrative experience in education and a demonstrated ability to lead, plan and execute. She holds an Associate of Arts degree from Austin Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Government, a Master of Education in Student Personnel Services, and Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

“I am honored to serve the students of San Antonio as the Executive Director of the San Antonio Education Partnership,” said Dr. Contreras. “I look forward to working with our staff and partners to strategically guide this organization to further its mission of equipping students for success in their college pursuits.”

A longtime advocate of higher education, Dr. Contreras’ background includes employee and board development, student and community outreach, as well as strategic and financial planning. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Austin Community College, the Alamo Colleges and UTSA. Most recently, she was Deputy to the Chancellor at Alamo Colleges.

Dr. Contreras will be formally welcomed to the San Antonio college access community at a meet and greet reception on Tuesday, December 9 at 12:00 p.m.

cafécollege hosts Elementary, Middle School Summer Day Camps

More than 40 elementary school students spent time at cafécollege from June 24 – June 26 for “The Forces of Nature” Elementary School Summer Day Camp. Every day these bite-sized eager learners mastered concepts about physics and other natural sciences concepts. The camp also featured time for students to learn about the importance of college attendance in these students’ futures and what careers they can explore related to the concepts they studied at camp.

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On July 8-11, more than 35 middle school students visited cafécollege for a summer camp focused on careers in architecture and the college path to follow that leads to careers in this field. Students heard insight from professionals in the field and cafécollege Advisors as well as created projects to learn about concepts related to architecture.

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SAEP welcomes City Ambassadors

The San Antonio Education Partnership is excited to welcome two representatives of the City of San Antonio’s Ambassador Program. These “star students” will be assisting the Education Partnership with its Road to Success high school services program as well as with cafécollege and the organization’s scholarship program.


Christopher Canedo is a 2011 graduate of Robert E. Lee high school. He is currently attending Saint Louis University and is majoring in education. His leadership skills include Vice President of Community Service for Delta Sigma Pi and co-founder and Vice President of SLU: Teach.


Valerie Vacek is a 2013 graduate of Tom C. Clark high school. She is currently attending Southwestern University and is majoring in computer science. Her activities at Southwestern include cross country, track and field, orchestra and computer science club.

SAEP announces promotion of Diplomás Project Manager

The San Antonio Education Partnership announces the promotion of Vanessa Tobares to Diplomás Project Manager.

Under this new position, Vanessa will be responsible for managing and coordinating Diplomás efforts with continued and refocused support from the San Antonio Education Partnership.













Vanessa previously served as the Diplomás Program Coordinator. She joined the Diplomás Project in March 2013. She helps coordinate the convenings and collaborative work of Diplomás partners, councils and networks, particularly around communication and data. Vanessa is an alumnus of TRiO Upward Bound, San Antonio’s Brackenridge High School and The University of Texas at San Antonio, where she graduated from the Honors College and received her Master of Science degree in Experimental Psychology.

Vanessa has previously worked locally in a variety of industries in the areas of academic and career advising, applied industrial and organizational psychology, human resources, research, and resource development. Born and raised in San Antonio, Vanessa is grateful for opportunities to give back to her hometown community through her work with the Diplomás Project and other local nonprofit initiatives.

Summit to focus on progress of college access efforts in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO, TX (April 24, 2014) – Next Monday, April 28, over 60 local educators will gather to report progress and identify opportunities for furthering San Antonio’s college access goals during the College Access Summit. The Summit, hosted by the San Antonio College Access Network (SA-CAN), takes place at cafécollege from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. as part of San Antonio’s Destination College 2014.

A report released by Lumina Foundation this week identifies San Antonio ranks 24th of 25 major United States metropolitan areas in college degree attainment but the community has made strides in closing this gap. The College Access Summit provides a forum to build upon the success San Antonio has made in increasing the number of students enrolling in post-secondary studies and attaining post-secondary credentials.

“The College Access Summit will bring together professionals from college access providers, colleges and universities, K-12 schools, and community based organizations to identify strengths and gaps in college access for San Antonio,” states Eyra Perez, executive director of the San Antonio Education Partnership and co-chair of the San Antonio College Access Network (SA-CAN).  “Through this engagement, we will identify citywide strategies for our collective efforts to make greater strides in college enrollment, persistence, and attainment. We will also develop a set of core values, across many partners, which will serve as guiding principles for college access in San Antonio.”

The day continues to focus on local college access efforts as the San Antonio College Access Network (SA-CAN) and the Center for Public Policy Priorities co-host a community forum, “The Road to College Completion: What it takes to survive and thrive in Bexar County,” at cafécollege from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The community forum will highlight the challenges Texas’ working families face in their search to become financially independent.

Focusing on the connection between college completion and getting ahead in Texas, the Center for Public Policy Priorities will explore how a family’s basic expenses and the ability to save and pay for college create significant financial barriers to college access and completion. The event will conclude with a panel discussion with local leaders on what opportunities exist in Bexar County to support college access and success and promote family economic security.


Contact: Tessa Benavides / tbenavides@saedpartnership.org / p. (210) 207-4769

The San Antonio Education Partnership is a nonprofit organization celebrating more than 20 years of providing key services and college scholarships to at-risk high school students, equipping them for college success. In partnership with the City of San Antonio, the corporate community, school districts, local colleges/universities, Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS) and Metro Alliance, the San Antonio Education Partnership provides direct services to more than 35,000 students and their families in career awareness, college entry and enrollment, financial aid, and college transition through its three programs: Scholarships, cafécollege and Road to Success.

Education Partnership celebrates 25th Anniversary Gala

On September 12, 2013 the San Antonio Education Partnership celebrated the organization’s 25th anniversary at the “Making a Difference Across Generations” Gala held at the Westin Riverwalk.

The evening, attended by more than 400 supporters of the Education Partnership’s mission “to equip students for college success,” honored Henry Cisneros, Ph.D., Chairman, CityView, with the organization’s first Trailblazer Award for serving as the founder of the Education Partnership in 1988. The award was accepted by Cisneros’ wife, Mary Alice Cisneros, who also delivered the evening’s keynote address during which she emphasized the important role the Education Partnership has served in San Antonio’s growth and development. She expressed the pride she and Henry have in the impact the Education Partnership has made.


During the evening’s program 11 individuals and/or organizations were awarded the Education Partnership’s Luminary Award (pictured below) The Luminary Awards were presented to the following for their involvement in the foundation of the Education Partnership and support, commitment, and dedication to the organization over the last 25 years:

  • Louis J. Agnese. Jr., Ph.D. – President, University of the Incarnate
  • Carlos Alvarez – Founder, CEO, Chairman, The Gambrinus Company
  • Ramiro Cavazos – President & CEO, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Sister Pearl Ceasar & COPS/Metro Alliance
  • Charles E. Cheever, Jr. – Chairman Emeritus, Broadway Bank (represented at the Gala by his son Christopher Cheever)
  • Michael De La Garza – Owner, MDLG+Company
  • Tom C. Frost – Chairman Emeritus, Frost
  • Richard Perez – President & CEO, San Antonio Greater Chamber of Commerce
  • Nelson Wolff – Bexar County Judge (not present at the Gala)
  • City of San Antonio (represented at the Gala by San Antonio District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña)
  • USAA (represented at the Gala by Harriet Martin, Vice President, Office of Community Affairs).


The program also included the recognition of the Education Partnerships “Shooting Stars,” eight students who represent each of the organization’s partner school districts and embody the core values of the Education Partnership. The following students were selected as the 2012-13 “Shooting Stars:”

  • Edgewood ISD – Rosa Valeria Gil (attending the University of Texas at San Antonio to pursue a degree in nursing)
  • Harlandale ISD – Maria Olalde (attending Trinity University to purse a pre-medical degree)
  • North East ISD – Gaelle Tombo (attending the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a degree in biochemistry)
  • Northside ISD – Erick Vazquez (attending The Alamo Colleges to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering)
  • San Antonio ISD – Oscar Vargas Garcia (attending The Alamo Colleges to purse a degree in mechanical engineering)
  • South San Antonio ISD – Veronica Martinez (attending the University of Texas at San Antonio with plans to transfer to the University of Texas Health Science Center to pursue a degree in nursing)
  • Southside ISD – Efrain Hernandez (attending Texas A&M University to pursue a degree in technology management)
  • Southwest ISD – Katrina Maldonado (attending The Alamo College with plans to transfer to Texas A&M University to major in communications).

The Education Partnership would like to thank the sponsors who made this special evening possible!

Education Partnership announces 25th anniversary celebration

It is time to celebrate!

This year, the San Antonio Education Partnership celebrates 25 years of making a difference in the lives of thousands of San Antonio students and their families.

Since 1989, the underrepresented and underserved students in San Antonio have been given the opportunity and confidence by the Education Partnership to experience the dream and success of attending and graduating from college.

The celebration will occur at the organization’s 25th Anniversary Gala. Details for the event are as follows:

Thursday, September 12
Registration & Reception 6:00 p.m.
Dinner & Program: 7:00 p.m.
Westin Riverwalk
420 West Market Street
San Antonio, Texas 78205

The following ticket/sponsorship opportunities are available for the event:

Doctorate Level Sponsor ($15,000) limited sponsorships available

• 3-5 minute speaking opportunity during the event program
• Prominent logo recognition as Doctorate sponsor on gala program and slide during event
• One reserved table of ten with premier placement in the ballroom
• Logo displayed at one of the “VIP” tables
• Prominent logo recognition at the event and all promotional materials, to include the SAEP website

Master’s Level Sponsor ($10,000)

• Prominent logo recognition as Master’s sponsor on gala program and slide during event
• One reserved table of ten with priority placement in the ballroom
• Prominent logo recognition at the event and all promotional materials, to include the SAEP website

Bachelor’s Level Sponsor ($5,000)

• Logo recognition as Bachelor’s sponsor on gala program and slide during event
• One reserved table of ten with priority placement in the ballroom
• Logo recognition at the event and all promotional materials, to include the SAEP website

Associate’s Level Sponsor ($1,500)

• Name recognition as Associate’s sponsor on gala program and slide during event
• One reserved table of ten in the ballroom
• Name recognition at the event and all promotional materials, to include the SAEP website

Individual tickets are available for $150 each. The purchase of a table reserves a an Associate’s Level sponsorship.

Download the Gala sponsor reservation form.

Contact Tessa Benavides, Development and Outreach Officer, via email at tbenavides@saedpartnership.org or phone at (210) 207-4769 for more information or to purchase tickets/sponsorships.

Thanks to our sponsors!

Doctorate Level Sponsor

USAA Federal Savings Bank

Master’s Level Sponsor


Associate’s Level Sponsor

The Alamo Colleges

Broadway Bank

City of San Antonio, Department of Human Services

GRE Creative Communications

Harlandale ISD

Lumina Foundation

P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County

Palo Alto College

San Antonio College

St. Philip’s College

Texas A&M University – San Antonio

UTSA, Office of Community Initiatives