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FIND YOUR FUTURE

Hanan Ali

Assistant Director

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 into the field of education as an Admissions Counselor for the University. 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 a Higher Education Advisor for Justin F Kimball High School.

Sylvia Barraza

Higher Education Advisor, Adamson High School

Sylvia Barraza was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Her passion for children began when she became a care taker, in middle school and remained one through college. She graduated from W. H. Adamson High School and went on to become a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Before her career with Education is Freedom, Sylvia worked with at-risk youth when she became the co-founder and vice president of a non-profit, in 2012, during her undergraduate years. She went on to partner with and was a site coordinator for another non-profit working with youth as well. Being a product of Dallas ISD, her “at-risk” childhood, bilingual upbringing as well as her experience working with children of all ages qualify her to efficiently help students work for and envision a better future for themselves.

Ashley Boston

AmeriCorps VISTA
ServiceWorks Recruitment & Outreach Leader

Ashley Boston is originally from Grambling, LA but has lived in Dallas, TX for a little over a year. She is the youngest of three and her interests include reading, writing, art, cooking, and music. She is a graduate of Grambling State University with a Bachelor’s of Speech and Dramatic Arts. Ashley credits part of her decision to become a Vista to her previous service as an AmeriCorps Member and the insight that more could be done and needed to be done. She is multi-talented and has made it her mission to use those talents, along with her extensive experience in the Education, Service, and Outreach field, to change the world for the better.

Jackson Felty

Higher Education Advisor, Sunset High School

Jackson Felty was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and raised in Waxahachie, Texas. He went to Bishop Dune Catholic High School in Oak Cliff and continued his education at Sam Houston State University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Criminal Justice. In college he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and a founding member of the Sam Houston State Optimist Club. On week nights he teaches a youth and adult Tae Kwon Do class. He brings his passion for helping others achieve their goals into the classroom.

Tori Breelove

Higher Education Advisor, James Madison High School

Tori Breedlove was born and raised in Dallas, TX. She comes from a family of educators so naturally she aspired to work in the field of education. Tori attended Prairie View A&M University where she received a Bachelors in Health and a Masters in Counseling. While attending Prairie View, Tori was a member of Enactus (formerly Students in Free Enterprise or SIFE), NAACP, BMS, Panther Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and participated in various campus programs. Before joining Education is Freedom, Tori was an Admission Advisor at a local community college. She has always enjoyed preparing and advising students for college. Tori believes all young scholars have the capability to attend college, be successful and deserve a chance to shine. She is very excited to be apart of The Great James Madison family and looks forward to a productive and successful year with all of the students and faculty.

Rebecca Burns

Higher Education Advisor, North Dallas High School

Rebecca Burns was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. In 2001, Rebecca became an original member of Bickel & Brewer’s Future Leaders Program, one of only ten students chosen.  FLP provides academic resources and leadership development to students from DISD. 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. At Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, she was also active with the band and became a member of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, Inc. She was involved in a wealth of community service activities including volunteering her time with children. As clarinet section leader, Rebecca assisted middle and high school students with music pieces and band performances. She obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration/Management from CAU in May 2013 and later earned her MBA from Texas A&M University – Commerce. Rebecca believes in helping and inspiring others to achieve the best they can. 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.

Carrie Christian

Higher Education Advisor, L.G. Pinkston High School

Carrie Christian received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Management from California State University. She was introduced to the North Texas area while on a national student exchange program to Prairie View A&M University. After graduation she began working in the hospitality and retail industry but always felt her heart was in education. Since starting at EIF, she has used the skills she obtained in previous roles and successfully adopted them to her new role as an EIF advisor.

Anay Cruz

Higher Education Advisor Assistant

Anay Cruz born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from North Dallas High School in 2008, where she was a participant in Education is Freedom’s work. She earned her associate’s degree at El Centro Community College and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa. After transferring to Southern Methodist University, she earned her bachelor’s degree in world languages with a minor in sociology. She is a first generation college student to earn her bachelor’s degree and is pursuing her master’s in education.  Her mission is to help students find their future and help them be successful.

Daniel Cruz

Director of Strategic Partnerships and Technology

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.

Dante Branch

Higher Education Advisor, Skyline High School

Dante Branch received his Bachelor of Science in Sports and Recreational Management from Texas A&M University-Commerce. While in college he was actively involved in campus organizations and served as President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. After graduation, Dante gained experience as an account executive working for a logistics company but soon realized that he needed to find a different job that served a purpose. This yearning led him to Education is Freedom. Dante’s favorite part of working for EIF is getting the chance to change a life everyday.

Jonathan Fields

Higher Education Advisor, Justin F. Kimball High School

Jonathan Fields is from Dallas, TX where he graduated from W.W. Samuell High School. Continuing on to Texas A&M University- Commerce, he graduated with a degree in Sports and Recreation Management. While in Commerce, he worked with various organizations such as the NAACP, Sophomore Experience, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, which he considers as one of his greatest accomplishments while in college. He looks forward to a productive school year with the faculty and staff at Justin F. Kimball High School.

Linda Flores

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

Linda Flores graduated from the Southern Methodist University with a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Psychology. While attending SMU, Linda interned at the Historic Toas Inn and Education is Freedom. During her internships, she obtained experience in marketing, human resources, accounting, program management and evaluation and accountability. Linda held various positions on campus at the Rotaract, Mustang Transfers and NISTS Transfer Leadership Council.  Linda graduated high school from Dallas ISD’s Skyline High School. 

Veronica Flores

Higher Education Advisor, Grand Prairie ISD

Veronica Flores was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. While at SMU she was apart of various multicultural organizations. She was elected Secretary for the League of United Latin American Students (LULAC) and she is part of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority. As an alumna of SMU and a first generation college student she knows the impact that an education can have on a student. Her work in Anthropology allowed her to give back to educational and environmental causes by gifting her the opportunity to travel and volunteer in Puerto Rico, San Antonio and the Hawaiian Islands. She graduated from Sunset High School and is excited to share her experience and guide students into an amazing higher education opportunity.

Emily Freeman

Controller

Our controller, Emily Freeman, comes from a 30-year career as an accountant in the public accounting arena, having worked with four public accounting firms in the Dallas area. Prior to that, she worked as a magazine journalist, earning national recognition for a series of articles on rehabilitating America’s inner cities.  She has had a long interest in education, first representing students and serving with the university’s deans and vice-chancellor on the University of Mississippi’s Academic Counsel. She graduated from Ole Miss summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree.

Kidist Gebreamlak

AmeriCorps VISTA
ServiceWorks Project Development Leader

Kidist Gebreamlak received her Bachelor’s Degree in Global Affairs - International Development with minor in African and African American Studies from George Mason University and her Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development from World Learning/School for International Training. During her undergraduate studies, she served as a president of the African American Students Union and actively participated in the college’s Diversity Committee. She is a recipient of an Outstanding Academic Achievement award. Kidist interned and worked in higher education institutes, the UNHCR and the World Bank where she gained tremendous experience in sustainable development - community driven development and in project & knowledge management. She is passionate about economic and social development.

Adria Green

Assistant Director

Adria Green is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Commerce with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master's 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, having served as a Higher Education Advisor at Skyline High School for 3 years, and currently at Emmett J. Conrad 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 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 of 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, plans and coordinates 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.

Thelma Gonzalez

Higher Education Advisor, W.W. Samuell High School

Thelma Gonzalez graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a Bachelor’s degree in Peace Studies and Psychology. While in college, Thelma founded the first Latino organization on campus, participated in various intercultural organizations, and interned with the College Coach at Cristo Rey in Minneapolis. Thelma comes to Education is Freedom with three years of counseling experience and a can-do attitude. As a product of Dallas I.S.D. and the first person in her family to graduate from college, she is ready to give back to her community and district by helping high school student go on to college.

Sam Jones

Chief Development Officer

Sam Jones, a native of Dallas, Texas, is a progressive political and professional consultant with 10 years experience in fundraising and fundraising operations for local, state and federal entities throughout the United States. Prior to joining Education is Freedom, Sam served as the President of a national fundraising firm before being tapped to serve as Finance Director for both the Ready for Warren and the Draft Biden 2016 President Draft Committees. Additionally, Sam was hired by Jim Webb to explore the path to a potential presidential bid and served as campaign manager for Mark Critz for Congress and Deputy Campaign Manager / Fundraiser for Lupe Valdez for Sheriff. In 2011, he was aware the Campaigns & Elections Rising Star Award. Sam is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a Bachelors of Applied Science degree in Political Science. Sam will use his considerable experience in fundraising to help Education is Freedom achieve our financial goals and expand the development function of the organization. 


 

Christopher Levy

Higher Education Advisor, Lincoln High School & Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy

Christopher Levy is a native of South Louisiana – Donaldsonville. He is a 2008 graduate of the College of Business at Southern University and A&M College with a B.S. in Marketing - Professional Sales. During his matriculation at Southern University Christopher served in various capacities such as S.G.A. Assistant Public Relations Director, Black Executive Exchange Program Vice President, and the College of Business Student Leadership Council.

Christopher has resided in Dallas, TX for 7 years and is an active member of the Southern University Alumni Federation - Dallas Chapter where he serves as Second Vice President. His passion for higher education advising was cultivated through the Dallas Chapter volunteering at local college fairs as a Southern University representative and serving on the Dallas Chapter’s student relations committee.

As the product of a single parent home and the first male in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree Christopher is committed to ensuring the success of students in the minority and underserved communities.

Zachary M. Machani Jr.

Higher Education Advisor, Skyline High School

Zachary Machani Jr. earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Texas A&M University-Commerce. While attending the university, Zachary was involved in many organizations including Alpha Phi Alpha Incorporated and the National Pan Hellenic Counsel, where he served as Vice President. As a member of the African American Male mentorship program, he mentored incoming freshman as they adapted to college life. Despite his heavy involvement in campus activities, he made the dean’s list the last two years of his college career. Zachary was also an intern with the Boys and Girls Club in east Texas where he developed many of the skills he uses today to serve students and communities.

Clara McDade

Americore Vista, ServiceWorks Training & Development Leader

Clara McDade is a native of Texas. She has over 30 years of experience and has worked with children most of her career because she feels that there is such a need for those who dedicate themselves to help and encourage young people. Throughout her career she has remained an active member of the community. Clara has involved herself in a variety of community associations and boards and was even a candidate for Dallas City Council District 8. She was in retirement until she heard about the AmeriCorps VISTA opportunity with ServiceWorks and became involved with the pilot program during its first year in 2014. Clara now serves as the Recruitment and Outreach leader for ServiceWorks and has successfully graduated 3 cohorts of students from the ServiceWorks program.

Nabil Naser

Higher Education Advisor, Emmett J. Conrad High School

Nabil Naser graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Nabil is currently attending UTA working on the completion of his Master’s degree in Business Administration. During his tenure at university Nabil worked with a global recruiting firm where he specialized in resettlement of new and perspective university students. Nabil is an active member as a youth counselor and youth coach to at-risk children at his faith based organization. While coaching these children Nabil formed lifelong bonds that drew him to a career in education. As a Higher Education Advisor himself Nabil stresses to all his students and kids the importance of continuing education because he sees education as paramount to a brighter future.

Gerardo Padierna

Higher Education Advisor Intern

Picture and Bio Coming Soon.

Shannon Page

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

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 the Director of Programs.  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 leads the marketing, communications, volunteer management and public relations team at EIF.

Shannon began her own college journey at the University of Texas and Wade College, where she earned a Merchandising and Design degree and was Class Salutatorian.  With more than 20 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.

Cristina Perez

Higher Education Advisor, Conrad High School

Cristina Perez graduated from UNT Dallas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. Before attending UNT Dallas, Cristina attended DCCCD campus while starting her career in education. Cristina has been involved on High School campuses for over 10 years, working in private and charter schools in the Dallas area. Most recently she worked as an Academic Counselor. Cristina is a volunteer coach for a youth recreational soccer team and North Texas Fragile X Association. As a first generation college graduate, Cristina understands the importance of higher education and is excited to work with the students of DISD as a Higher Education Advisor.

David Reeves

AmeriCorps VISTA
ServiceWorks Recruitment & Outreach Leader

Before his career with Serviceworks, as an AmeriCorps VISTA, David served in the United States Air Force as an officer who was lauded for his servant leadership as he led all of the Lieutenants through Captains on base in over 9.8K hours of community service to attain the most prestigious award for the young officers’ group in the entire U.S. Air Force. During the time that he was in the military, David also made time to work with numerous groups of at-risk youth in the middle and high schools of the local community he was stationed/serving in and soon became the co-founder and president of a non-profit, in 2012, with the help of his wife. He left the Air Force, as a 1st Lieutenant, after being promoted to the rank of Captain, to pursue his passion full-time as a career servant mentor.

Roland Reising

Higher Education Advisor, Sunset High School

Roland Reising was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He is a graduate of Trinidad Garza Early College High School at Mountain View College and simultaneously received his Associate’s Degree in Arts and his high school diploma. Fourth in his class, Roland continued his education at the University of North Texas at Dallas where he received a full scholarship. Two years out of high school, Roland received his Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Criminal Justice where he became the first in his family to graduate with his four year degree from a postsecondary institution. While attending UNT Dallas, he worked as a part-time AVID Tutor, assisting students with college readiness and tutoring students in all subject areas. He is a third year Higher Education Advisor, and is currently working to obtain his Master's Degree in Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Julian Rodriguez

Higher Education School Advisor, Peidmont GLOBAL Academy and A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School

Julian Rodriguez graduated from the Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Psychology. While attending SMU, Julian was involved with the College Hispanic American Student organization, volunteering in several events to voice out the Latino community and culture. Julian interned with Education Is Freedom, where he obtained experience with the education aspect of the community and became aware of the need for students to have the same opportunity to reach a higher education. He is a brother of Omega Delta Phi, Inc., a multicultural fraternity, and served as the Fundraiser Chair organizing several fundraiser events. Julian graduated high school from Dallas ISD’s W. H. Adamson High School with honors.

Vanessa Rojas

Operations Manager

As a Dallas native, Vanessa Rojas graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School and soon after entered the workforce. She comes with a broad range of administrative skills and talents that have made her an invaluable asset. She has years of experience working in both medical and technical positions ensuring an efficient and productive work environment. Vanessa is excited to join Education is Freedom and demonstrate her abilities.

Alexus Selio

Grants Manager

Alexus Selio graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. While attending SMU, Alexus interned at Education is Freedom, the National Republican Congressional Committee - Finance Department, and the George W. Bush Presidential Center - Education Reform Department. During her internships, she obtained experience in fundraising development, event planning and management, project management, network expansion, and policy research and writing. Alexus held various positions on campus for the College Hispanic American Student organization, Mock Trial Team, Mustang Scholars Program, Community Council, and Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Incorporated. Alexus graduated high school from Dallas ISD’s School for Talented and Gifted at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center with honors. As a first generation college graduate, she is proud to give back to the community that has given so much to her. "It gives me great purpose and gratitude to be a part of such a wonderful team and mission."

Crystal Smith

Higher Education Advisor, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School

Crystal Smith is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Student Development and Leadership in Higher Education from Angelo State University. She is the first college graduate in her family to have earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Crystal has 11 years of experience working with students from grade school to high school. She previously worked for The Princeton Review as an ACT/SAT Instructor and later as a Higher Education Advisor. At Mountain View College, she gained additional experience as a Student Advisor. Crystal, who found her love for education at a very young age, now looks forward to working with Education Is Freedom while making a difference in students’ lives.

Tiara Smith

Higher Education Advisor, South Oak Cliff High School

Tiara Smith was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She is a graduate of The University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s of Science in Integrative Studies with concentrations in Business Management, Psychology, and Public Affairs. With aspirations of someday owning a nonprofit organization, she would need a degree with multiple focuses. While attending North Texas, Tiara became a member of The Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity and served as Vice President of Alumni Relations. In this position she was able to connect with over 120 alumni creating numerous networking opportunities inside and outside the fraternity. With school behind her, she has been able to dedicate more time to volunteering and mentoring. She has always had a passion for helping young individuals develop themselves professionally, socially, and spiritually. As an EIF Advisor her goal is to make a lifetime impact on every student she comes in contact with.

Dorelly Tores

Higher Education Advisor, Grand Prairie ISD

Born and raised in Dallas, Dorelly Torres graduated from Sunset High School. She pursued her higher education at The University of Texas at Arlington, where she received her Bachelor’s in Social Work BSW. In her work at Communities in Schools of the Dallas Region, she made use of her education to focus on at-risk children, centering on academic support, social skills, basic needs, and college and career readiness. She brings substantial experience to her work at EIF.

Brandon Walker

Higher Education Advisor, W.W. Samuell High School

Brandon Walker, native born to Dallas, attended Texas A&M University-Commerce, finishing with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Public Relation with a minor is Radio Television. While attending A&M-Commerce, Mr. Walker served as a Public Speaking Instructor for the College of Business as well as an assistant for the Admissions department.  Mr. Walker is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Business Administration while serving the students at W.W Samuell High School as their Education is Freedom Advisor.

Michael Warner

Assistant Director

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 Pinkston High School on their journey to higher education.