Daniel Cruz

Director of Student and Parent Services

Mr. Cruz currently serves as the Director of Student and Parent Services for Education is Freedom (EIF). In this role, he is responsible for maintaining communications and an effective working relationship with Dallas Independent School District, the 14th largest school district in the country.  Additionally, Daniel serves as the organization’s liaison with community organizations, manages the volunteer mentoring program and directs a staff of 17 EIF Advisors.

Daniel began his work at EIF in 2006 and worked his way up in the organization, having been promoted twice during his tenure.  All of his work, while at EIF, has been focused on working directly with students and parents to assure that the students are prepared and have the opportunity to attend college.  In fact, part of Cruz’s success model comes as a result of his own unique story.  Daniel Cruz is a living example of what Education is Freedom hopes to accomplish; he is a first-generation American and the first in his family to graduate from college. 

A graduate of Baylor University with a B.S. in Biology, Daniel is currently a member of the Rotary Club and works with the Audio/Visual Team at his church. During college and throughout his professional career he has worked to help others succeed through volunteer and mentoring activities with the Hispanic Student Association, Alpha Phi Omega, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, among others. Fluent in Spanish as well as English, he relates well to students, parents and other stakeholders engaged in EIF programs.

Raymond Castilleja

Assistant Director - 16 HS Campuses

Raymond first joined Education is Freedom in 2008 as a student intern from the University of Texas at Arlington, where was then pursuing graduate studies. After his internship period, he was hired by EIF as a Higher Education Advisor at North Dallas High School where he worked to strengthen the freshman class by motivating them to take an interest in their future careers. He is now the Lead Higher Education Advisor at Thomas Jefferson High School, where he empowers students to pursue a higher education. Prior to joining EIF, Raymond worked in corporate finance after earning a degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Dallas. However, Raymond discovered his passion for advocating  for adolescents during his volunteer experiences at Youth First Texas, which led to his entry into the field of social services. Raymond recently completed his master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Kevin Malonson, MEd

Assistant Director - College Persistence, New Tech High School, University of North Texas & Texas A&M University Commerce

Kevin Malonson brings with him 20 years of experience in education. He began his career as a student recruiter at the University of Texas at Austin where he went on to earn a B.A. in geography and a M.Ed. in education administration. He specializes in the college admissions process and has experience training high school counselors and students on admissions, SAT/ACT, federal financial aid, and scholarships. Kevin is strongly committed to affecting positive outcomes for students and has devoted his life to helping students realize their educational goals  He began working at Education is Freedom in 2009 as the Middle School Liaison.

Higher Education Advisors are on school grounds every day guiding and interacting with EIF students.

Roland Reising

Higher Education Advisor, A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School

Bio Coming Soon!

Trenton Patterson

Higher Education Advisor, Lincoln High School

Trenton Patterson is a native of Dallas, TX. He is a proud graduate of the renowned Humanities/Communications Magnet at Lincoln High School and has always been deeply invested in furthering the success of Dallas ISD. While at Lincoln Trenton was a member of the Principal’s Academic Leadership Organization, and was selected as a reporter for the award-winning district television program “School Zone Dallas”. Trenton went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and African Diaspora Studies. At UT he realized his passion for addressing the concerns of fellow students and was directly involved in lobbying for initiatives that brought about the desired changes of many groups within the campus community. With positions in organizations such as the Black Student Alliance and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. he was able to coordinate community-service events that both enlightened and unified students across campus. Trenton has committed himself to improving collegiate recruitment practices and retention rates for minority students. He is happy to be home in Dallas and is eager to give back by helping students turn their dreams of higher education into reality.

Rebecca Burns

Higher Education Advisor, North Dallas High School

Rebecca Burns is originally from Dallas, TX. She is a graduate of the Education and Social Services Magnet at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center. There, she was very involved with the Big D Band, under the direction of Mr. S. Dean Hill. After high school she went on to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Clark Atlanta University. There, she was also active with the band and became a member of Tau Beta Sigma Sorority. She was involved in a wealth of community service activities through her membership. She was able to obtain her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration/Management. Rebecca believes in helping and inspiring others. She has been able to learn the value of service to others throughout her life, which has molded her way of thinking for the better. Her philosophy on life is as follows: "Life is what you make it. Have fun, work harder, and follow your dreams. Let nothing or no one stop you from doing your best. If you can believe it, you can achieve it".

Diego Ramirez

Higher Education Advisor, W.H. Adamson High School

Diego Ramirez was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He attended college in Massachusetts where he graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business. While at Brandeis, Diego was involved in LACE (Language and Culture Enrichment) a program that worked with middle school students, helping them to learn English. By tutoring ELL (English Language Learners) students, Diego developed a thirst for helping young people succeed. Diego is excited to be back in his hometown where he is able to give back to his community by ensuring students take advantage of their post secondary opportunities.

Erbin Ayala

Higher Education Advisor, Seagoville High School

Erbin Ayala graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in international studies.  While living in the college town of Denton, Texas, Erbin gave back to the local youth by serving as a role model for kids as a skateboard instructor for three years.  Mr. Ayala is a first generation university graduate, the first in his family to attend college, and is bilingual.  Prior to joining the Education is Freedom team, he taught ESL at a kindergarten in Beijing, China.  Now a Higher Education Advisor at Grady Spruce High School, Erbin is extremely eager about the opportunity to serve urban youth and be a positive influence in their educational journey.

Michael Warner

Senior Higher Education Advisor, L. G Pinkston High School

Michael Warner is a graduate of Criswell College with a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and a master’s degree in Philosophy. He is a first generation college graduate, being the first in his family to have earned a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. Michael has over 8 years experience working with students of all age groups, from infants to high school students. He previously directed an afterschool program in east Dallas managing 100+ students and their daily activities. He has also worked with the YMCA as a Youth Sports Official for children of all age groups and has previous work experience in infant care at churches around Dallas.  Michael is looking forward to utilizing the experiences he’s gained over the years to assist him as he partners with the students of North Dallas High School on their journey to higher education.

Adria Green

Higher Education Advisor, Skyline High School

Adria Green is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Commerce with a Bachelors degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Higher Education Administration. Prior to her career here at Education is Freedom, she was the Student Coordinator of Orientation at Texas A&M University-Commerce where she managed a team of 30+ student-staff members, piloted numerous programs, taught Freshmen Leadership Courses, spoke at conferences, served as Student Body President, and did motivational speeches as well. Due to her 7-8 years worth of experience within the Higher Education field, serving as the Higher Education Advisor for Skyline High School has definitely furthered her passion to mentor young adults, serve as a vital resource for students who are willing to do what it takes to reach their personal and collegiate goals, and most of all motivate and encourage those students who are often overlooked.  Being a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and sharing that exact same fervor for children who aspire to find their place in the bustling world of adulthood, she has come to find that all it takes is patience and a strong belief that every child should be afforded the opportunity at a higher education: all they need is someone to tell them that have a chance and not only that, but that they have a successful chance at being a college graduate. She avidly believes that although a child may be considered “at risk,” furthering their education coupled with the simple decision to simply try can be the turning point toward the development of a child’s amazing future.  Adria also serves as a youth leader at her church and also facilitates, teaches, plan and coordinate a plethora of events and activities for youth camps year-round. Moving forward, Adria plans to attain her Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and continue to shape, mold, and inspire the lives of children throughout her lifetime.

Hanan Ali

Higher Education Advisor, J.F. Kimball High School

Hanan Ali earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Counseling from Prairie View A&M University. As an undergraduate student, Hanan volunteered with the admissions and recruiting team at Prairie View. The position led her to her first step in the field of education, as an admissions counselor for the university upon graduation. Hanan has also been a 12th grade counselor for Houston Can Academy. She comes to us from Houston Community College where she served as their college connections representative and now is our Higher Education Advisor for Justin F Kimball High School.

Ariel Milton

Higher Education Advisor, Skyline High School. 

Born and raised in the historic city of Memphis, TN, Ariel embarked on her journey to the DFW area to attend Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. In May 2011, she received her Bachelors of Science Degree from TCU.  During her time at TCU, she was heavily involved in campus organizations and efforts. As a Resident Assistant, member of the Peer Discipline Board, Assistant Director of the Junior Class Service Project, and active member of Fraternity/Sorority Life Board through her active membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated service to others has been a mission of hers to always uphold. Ariel has now been a Higher Education Advisor for four years at local and rural DFW and East Texas high schools.

Since becoming a Higher Education advocate for particularly high school students, Ariel has made it her personal mission to continue in efforts to ensuring she is an active beacon for education access for all students.  During her tenure as an Advisor, she has noticed the elevated need for college access resources in high schools and middle schools across the country. Henceforth, believing in the mission of Education Is Freedom (EIF)” providing every student with the opportunity of higher education” is how she has chosen to live out her life purpose of introducing youth to a better life by providing more opportunity.

Briseida Luna

Higher Education Advisor, W.W. Samuell High School

Briseida Luna graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Sport Management and a minor in Applied Physiology and Enterprise. While at SMU, Briseida was involved in various community service events in and outside the university. She became a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma and held Community Service Co-Chair as well as Multicultural Greek Council Delegate. She was also an intern at Social Security Administration at North Texas, and Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau with Sports Marketing. Briseida also worked at Simmons School of Education and Human Development under the Education Department at SMU. As a first generation student and DISD graduate, she is proud to give back and provide every student the opportunity of higher education. 

Danielle Rushing

Higher Education Advisor, Wilmer Hutchins High School

Danielle Rushing graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a bachelor’s in Business Marketing. While living in the college town of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Danielle gave back to the local community and youth in many aspects. As vice president of the marketing club she has hosted school supply drives for elementary and high school students. As a member of Students in Free Enterprise she mentored at-risk high school juniors and seniors about the importance of higher education. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Danielle took part in Adopt-A-Dorm; mentoring freshman women as they transitioned into college life, as well as many other service acts. Prior to joining Education is Freedom, Ms. Rushing worked with the government under Joint Munitions Command in business development conducting market research. She also worked under Army Sustainment Command in the Equal Employment Opportunity Headquarters. Currently a Higher Educational Advisor at Wilmer Hutchins High School, Danielle is enthusiastic to assist and guide urban youth in their journey to higher education.

Paige Waters

Higher Education Advisor, David W. Carter High School

Bio Coming Soon!

Efrain Nieto, Jr.

Higher Education Advisor, L. Grady Spruce High School

Efrain Nieto Jr. is a Dallas native and earned his Bachelor's of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from Southern Methodist University. He is the oldest of two siblings and the first person in his family that has successfully obtained a Bachelor's degree. While at SMU, Efrain was involved in various honor societies and student organizations; gaining exposure working with urban youth by serving as a mentor for various high school students within Dallas ISD. He also became a brother of Sigma Lambda Beta Int'l Fraternity, Inc. and is still very active within his chapter. Prior to joining Education Is Freedom, Efrain served as a College Tutor, Statistics T.A. & Office Intern at Southern Methodist University. Efrain is fluent in both Spanish & English and is a DISD graduate. He attended the School of Science and Engineering at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center during his high school career. As a first generation college graduate, he is well aware of how critical it is to serve as a positive role model and guide our disadvantaged youth in the right direction. By serving as the Higher Education Advisor at Thomas Jefferson High School, Efrain hopes to not only impact students lives, but also gain the skills and knowledge within the Higher Education field that will better prepare him to pursue a Master's degree in Educational Leadership in the near future.  

Brenda Molina, MSW

Higher Education Advisor, Sunset High School

Brenda Molina, daughter of a migrant, single-parent family, graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. As a senior in high school she began working at the Greater Dallas Chamber as an intern. In the nine years to follow working at the GDC, she moved up to Research Manager. As she worked in the business/non-profit world she fulfilled her love of giving back to the community by volunteering at various events with the Dallas County Community College District; an entity she continues to volunteer with. After leaving the GDC, Brenda worked for the Dallas Independent School District as a Community Liaison at Tom W. Field Elementary, Bryan Adams High School, and Arturo Salazar Elementary—working a total of nine years. Brenda went back to graduate school and received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington while she worked at Salazar Elementary. Brenda hopes to put her experience and passion for helping people and strong belief in higher education to good use through Education is Freedom by supporting and helping students attend and be successful in college.

Development, Public Relations & Communications

Molly Cook, CPA


Molly Cook is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington with a BBA in accounting. She has been a CPA for 27 years, with 3 years of public accounting experience, 19 years of real estate/job cost experience, and 8 years of non-profit experience. Most recently she was a volunteer missionary through the Methodist Church in Costa Rica, Pharr Texas (RGV) and Plano Texas for two years helping others learn English, obtain a GED, and gain access to community based health care. While accounting is her original calling, working with nonprofits is her latest calling as she believes everyone deserves the same chance spiritually, educationally, financially, and medically.

Marti Howe

Development Consultant

Serving previously as Executive Vice President for Education is Freedom, Marti more than doubled annual corporate support for the national scholarship and local pilot programs raising over $11 million. With more than fourteen years experience in fundraising, sales, and marketing, Marti has demonstrated remarkable skills in matching corporate needs to philanthropic goals. As Director of Corporate Sponsorships for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra she generated $22 million in corporate sponsorships and was recognized by the American Symphony Orchestra League for developing the best corporate sponsorship program in the United States. Marti has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Stephens College.

David Smith, PhD

Research Analyst

Bio Coming Soon!

Victoria Potter

Higher Education Advisor, Manager of Grants and Scholarships

Victoria Potter is a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor's degree in Applied Learning and Development. While at UT-Austin, she realized her strong desire to help students dream not only outside the classroom, but outside the constraints of their environment.  After graduating, she immediately began working with Austin I.S.D. to educate the students of the East Austin community. From there, she traveled to Corpus Christi and taught middle school students, while stressing the importance of higher education to her students. When she moved back to Dallas and found the Education is Freedom Foundation, she knew she had found her calling. With her passion for students, fervent advocacy in an equal opportunity for education, and EIF's outstanding success rate, she believes we can truly change the future for our Dallas youth.

Shannon Page

Program Director - Mayor's Intern Fellows Program
Program Manager - Education is Freedom

As president of her own company, Golden by Design, Shannon Page, first began her long tenure with Education is Freedom (EIF) as a contract consultant for the Middle School Champions of Change Program.  Her work for EIF was focused on event planning, leveraging the experience and skills she honed while doing similar work for other notable clients including The Legacy Group, Foundation for Community Empowerment, Carleton & Company, United Way, plus many others.  Her successes with the Middle School Program made her an ideal choice for expanded opportunity for a High School Program at EIF.

After five years of service as a consultant, Shannon decided to focus her entire energies on EIF and joined full-time in the role of Program Manager.  In her current role, Shannon is using her extensive experience in process analysis and problem solving to manage event logistics including project management, operations, Intern Program and database management.  Additionally, she is a key contributor to the marketing, communications, volunteer management and public relations team at EIF.

Shannon began her own college journey at Wade College, where she earned an Associate degree and was Class Salutatorian.  Later she attended the University of Texas, College of Business.  With more than 15 years of management experience, Shannon is best known for her high ethical standards and as a focused, detail-oriented, deadline and goal driven team player.

Linda Flores

Marketing Analyst

Bio coming Soon

Anita Alexander

Bio Coming Soon