Every young person deserves the opportunity for a higher education
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 21 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.
Carlos Cruz earned his bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in Spanish from The University of Texas at Austin. While at U.T. Carlos was actively involved with various student and service organizations developing his passion for helping others. He began his professional career in San Antonio, Texas working for a TRIO program, Project STAY Inc. As a College Placement Specialist working with an underserved population in two inner city high schools, Carlos served well over 500 students with the college planning process. With his ability to reach out to the Spanish speaking community, he helped educate both students and parents alike about the importance of higher education and its valuable impact on their future. Carlos looks forward to repeating this high level of success with Education is Freedom
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 brings with him 19 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.
Ana Ramirez graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in human resource development, a minor in business administration, and a certificate in leadership development. While at Texas A&M, Ana was highly involved in various student and service organizations, developing her passion of serving others. She was also an intern with the Texas A&M University DFW Regional Prospective Student Center. Prior to joining Education is Freedom as a higher education advisor, Ana worked as a financial aid advisor at UT Dallas. Ana is bilingual in English and Spanish; she is also a graduate of the Dallas ISD where she is proud to be giving back to the community where here roots began.
John Sperry received his bachelor’s degree in biology from East Texas Baptist University, and has worked both as a high school teacher and a college admissions counselor, with more than four years of experience in the latter. Through his work, he has cultivated and maintained strong relationships with students, parents, school districts, and community colleges and has assisted over 1,000 students in preparing for and attending college. John has been the Higher Education Advisor at Seagoville for the past two years.
Miracle Wagner graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, followed by a master’s degree in professional counseling from Argosy University. For the past two years, she has worked as a prevention counselor and qualified mental health professional for providing support services for at-risk youth. Through her program’s guidance, many students successfully exited the prevention program and later attend college.
Roletha graduated from Texas Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in social work and completed a master’s degree in social work at Texas A&M Commerce. Roletha is the first person in her family that has received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Hence, one of Roletha’s motives of staying in the field of education is to impact students’ lives. Roletha started at EIF as a social work graduate student intern and was then offered the position of an HEA. Prior to EIF, Roletha worked at Baylor Health Care Systems, Polytechnic High School, and South Hills High School in Fort Worth as an Associate for the AVID college preparatory program for socioeconomically disadvantaged and first- generation high school students. Thus, Roletha brings a plethora of social skills that are needed to target “high risk/high potential” student populations.
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.
Lucia Moreno graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor's of Arts in Child/Bilingual Studies. She is a first generation college graduate and the second to graduate in her family. She loves to work around children and that is why prior to joining Education is Freedom, she worked for Children's Medical Center in Dallas as a Health Unit Coordinator. Lucia also worked for Dallas Independent School District as a Substitute teacher. She is confident she will have a positive impact as a Higher Education Advisor at Townview Magnet Center.
Joel Gildardo Cano graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009. Joel earned a Bachelor’s in Spanish and a minor in Government. Through college he was involved in LULAC and many other organizations which focused on helping students. Joel is the first member of his family to graduate from a four year University and is helping raise his little brother. Joel was one of the first students to participate in EIF at W.H. Adamson, which motivated him to become a Higher Education Advisor and help other students prepare for a better future.
Janet Gonzales recently joined Education is Freedom as the Higher Education Advisor for Moises E. Molina High School. Janet just completed her bachelor’s degree in Education last May 2011 but already has plans to go back to school and pursue a master’s degree. While in college, she became actively involved in numerous organizations which honed her leadership skills, including the Student Government Association and the G-Force Mentorship Program. In addition, she also has over four years of experience working with students as a mentor in college readiness and as a student assistant for the financial aid office at TWU. Evidently, her experience prepared her well for her current role as an HEA for Molina High School, where she hopes to continue to inspire students achieve their dreams of attending and graduating from college.
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.
James Ochoa received his bachelor’s degree from The University of San Antonio. Prior to joining the Education is Freedom team, James worked in College Admissions. He enjoys helping children and have coached soccer teams in the past as well. His passion is helping students discover the different career paths they could take and how to get there. James is confident he will make a positive impact on students at Thomas Jefferson 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.
Ms. Leslie Monzon joined EIF in her current role in October 2011 and is one of few people that know EIF from every perspective. In high school Leslie was a student participant in EIF, after college she joined the EIF Administrative Team as Program Analyst and now years later, Ms. Monzon is a Higher Education Advisor guiding her students through EIF programming just as she did years before going on to college. Her unique experiences with EIF make her an effective resource and a key asset to the organization.
Committed to professionalism, Ms. Monzon is highly organized, and is known for her abilities to work under strict deadline schedules with attention to detail and her excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Leslie graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Mexican American Studies. She has long been committed to her community and even during her studies at the university she worked with LULAC and the Mexican American Culture Committee (MACC). After college, in addition to her work at EIF, she also served as a substitute teacher in DISD as a way to give back to her community and is currently pursuing her teaching certification. Leslie credits her EIF participation in high school with helping her to develop personally and achieving her goal to attend and graduate from college.
R Adria Green graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce in Political Science. She is currently working toward my Masters in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Adria is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and her motto in life is to “Identify your problems, but give your power and energy toward solutions.” Adria is excited to use this motto as a basis for assisting the young men and women of Skyline High School reach their higher education goals.
Andrew Forest received a Bachelors of Science degree in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice in the fall of 2011 from Texas A&M University-Commerce. He is currently in pursuit of a Master’s of Science degree in Higher Education Administration from TAMU-Commerce, as well. While in college, Andrew participated in a number of student organizations, including NAACP and Campus Activities Board, just to name a few. As a DISD graduate in 2007, Andrew is well aware of how important it is to let students know of the endless opportunities available in pursuing higher education.
Stephanie Crespo is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Education. Before joining Education is Freedom, she worked primarily in sales and retail management. Responsible for supervising teenagers, she felt a drive to work for an organization where young adults are encouraged and inspired to become successful, both academically and socially. Stephanie hopes that with the knowledge and skills she develops as the Higher Education Advisor at North Dallas High School, coupled with the positive relationships she fosters with her students, that she will be better prepared to pursue a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Counseling. As a second generation Latin American, she knows the importance of positive role modeling and is determined to be a guiding light to her students, each and every day.
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.
Cesar Chavez received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Texas A&M University- Commerce. During his undergraduate studies, Cesar became very active in student government and his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta. Following his studies, Cesar worked for the Institute for Latino Progress as a community organizer. After spending one year at DePaul University College of Law, Cesar moved to Dallas and began his work with Education Is Freedom. His experience working with the community will be a valuable asset as he works to rally and motivate both students and parents around higher education.
Farcett Patrick graduated from Baylor University in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. She moved to Dallas and began teaching second and fifth grade students. Having taught in both Richardson ISD and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Farcett’s successful 9 year classroom teaching career was a result of her passion for teaching and helping students. It is her desire to further her education and obtain her Master’s degree in the fields of Social Work and Counseling. Joining the Education is Freedom team will allow Farcett another opportunity to assist students in their pursuit of their educational dreams and aspirations.
Mari Vega graduated from Texas Woman's University with a major in Business Administration, minor in Secondary Education and a 6-12th grade Business Education Teacher Certification. She is currently an MBA student at Texas A&M Commerce, making her the first in her family to graduate from High School and College, as well as, attend graduation school. A product of Dallas ISD and a member of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas and National Association of Black Accountants, Mari also founded the Hispanic Women's Network of Texas- Denton Chapter, within a month of moving to Denton. This experience afforded Mare the opportunity to be a speaker/ mentor to high school students. During her schooling, Mari was the recipient of over 10 prestigious and competitive scholarships. As a first generation college student and product of Dallas ISD, Mari is very excited to share her extensive knowledge of the college/scholarship process with other students via Education is Freedom.
Development, Public Relations & Communications
Adam Powell serves as the Director of Strategic Planning for Education is Freedom. Prior to his current position, Adam worked for three years as the higher education advisor at James Madison High School where his main responsibilities were to ensure that the seniors at James Madison were academically, socially, and financially prepared to make the transition to college. In 2010, he took on the role of Manager of Student and Parent Services where he strove to strengthen ties between EIF and the DISD Administrators, while supporting and leading a team of Higher Education Advisors at 10 high school campuses. Before joining EIF in July of 2007, Adam gained an abundance of experience working with teenagers, including foster children and homeless adolescents. Additionally, Adam has spent a substantial amount of time working with urban youth in various locations in the South. His involvement in mentoring has equipped him to provide strong personal and academic support to students of all backgrounds. He is a graduate of Jackson State University with a degree in communications which was followed up by a master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington. Adam is currently working on his PhD in Urban Sociology with an emphasis on higher education.
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.
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 Analyst. In her current role, Shannon is using her extensive experience in process analysis and problem solving to manage event logistics including project management, operations and database management. Additionally, she is a key contributor to the marketing, communications 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.
Bio Coming Soon
Bio Coming Soon
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