Advisory Board

Nathan Evans

Nathan Evans, Chair of the Board
Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor, Academic and Student Affairs
California State University Chancellor's Office

Nathan Evans currently serves as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for Academic and Student Affairs at the California State University (CSU) Office of the Chancellor, the systemwide office for the largest public four-year institution in the nation with 23 campuses and over 470,000 students. In this capacity, he serves as senior strategic advisor on academic and student affairs initiatives for the university system and represents the system in state and national venues on academic and student affairs matters. Prior to this role, he served as Director of Enrollment Management at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, responsible for systemwide admissions and enrollment management policies and practices, transfer programs, and academic advising.

Before joining the CSU systemwide office, Mr. Evans served in leadership posts in enrollment and student services in all three segments of public higher education in California – including San Diego State University, California State University San Marcos, the University of California, San Diego, and the San Diego Community College District as well as roles in admissions, recruitment, and academic advising at Arizona State University. He earned both a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration and a baccalaureate degree in Communication at Arizona State University.

Brandi Augenstein

Brandi Augenstein
Program Specialist, Counseling and Graduation
Santa Ana Unified School District

Brandi Augenstein is currently the Program Specialist for Counseling and Graduation for Santa Ana Unified (SAUSD). As a veteran School Counselor, she is leading Santa Ana to data driven practices and results driven programs. Ms. Augenstein has been working in education for the past 15 years in K-12 and higher education settings as an aide, behavior interventionist, school counselor, school counselor manager, university fieldwork coordinator, and adjunct faculty.

Her focus is School Counseling program improvement and case management through the implementation of technology. She continues to shepherd SAUSD through the continued implementation of CCGI and integration with AERIES student management system. As a member of the Orange County Chapter of School Counselors and the Orange County Department of Education Lead Counselor group she works with counselors countywide to improve the School Counseling practice and profession.

Ana Beltran

Ana Beltran
Los Angeles Unified School District

Ana Beltran is the head counselor at Humanitas Academy of Art and Technology, a pilot school located within Esteban E. Torres High School, in Los Angeles Unified School District. She is a former member of the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) which she was appointed to by Governor Brown in 2012 as a representative of California’s secondary school system. She quickly emerged as a leader, becoming Vice-Chair of the Commission and Chair of the Commission’s Personnel, Evaluation and Nominations (PEN) Committee during the entirety of her appointment.

Ms. Beltran has served as an educational project manager, youth crisis intervention specialist, and as an academic counselor specializing in college matriculation. Ms. Beltran served as the Magnet School Coordinator and Assistant Principal for the East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet High School. She earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French from the University of Southern California. She holds two Master of Arts degrees, one in Counseling from Loyola Marymount University, and another in School Administration from the California State University Los Angeles.

Eva Blanco Masias

Eva Blanco Masias
Dean of Undergraduate Admission
Santa Clara University

Eva Blanco Masias has been with the Undergraduate Admission Office since 2003, formerly serving as Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admission. She is responsible for leading admission and recruitment efforts of first-year and transfer students, including oversight of all marketing and technology associated with enrolling each incoming class. Ms. Blanco Masias worked for ten years in Latin American and Hispanic media and has served on several boards and committees of local and national non-profit organizations.

Currently, she serves on the board of the National Catholic College Admission Association as the Western Regional Representative; is the local liaison for the San Francisco/Bay Area NACAC STEM College & Career Fair; and is on the Advisory Council of the Yale Latino Alumni Association. She holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Yale and a master's in education administration from Santa Clara University.

Catalina Cifuentes

Catalina Cifuentes
Leadership Associate for College and Career/School Counseling
Riverside County Office of Education

Catalina Cifuentes is an educator who has demonstrated a gift for counseling and advocacy on behalf of all students. In her former position as lead counselor at Santiago High School, Ms. Cifuentes worked with the counseling team to design a successful guidance program which led to Riverside County as well as California Department of Education recognitions for exemplary counseling practices. She worked with her administrative team and staff to transform the school by raising the academic rigor and expectations from students resulting in the highest graduation rate and second highest “a-g” completion rate in Riverside, Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino Counties.

Ms. Cifuentes now shares those best counseling practices across Riverside County as a team member in the Ed Services unit in the Riverside County Office of Education. She is also a former secondary Language Arts teacher and has extensive experience working with English Learner programs. She was selected in November 2014 as a speaker for the College Opportunity White House Convening- Strengthening School Counseling and College Advising. As a former AVID student and first generation college graduate, Ms. Cifuentes has a contagious passion for this work. Ms. Cifuentes was recently appointed by Governor Brown to the California Student Aid Commission.

Carl A. Cohn

Dr. Carl A. Cohn
Executive Director
California Collaborative for Educational Excellence

Carl A. Cohn is on leave from Claremont Graduate University to direct the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, a new state agency established by Governor Brown and the State Legislature to advise and assist school districts on their academic performance. Before his tenure at Claremont, he served as superintendent of schools in the San Diego Unified School District. Prior to that, he worked as a professor at the University of Southern California, and a federal court monitor for the special education consent decree in the Los Angeles school system. From 1992 to 2002, he was superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District. His tenure at Long Beach culminated with him winning the McGraw Prize in 2002, and the district winning the Broad Prize in 2003.

Dr. Cohn has worked as a faculty advisor for both the Broad Superintendents Academy and the Harvard Urban Superintendents Program. He also serves on the boards of the Spencer Foundation, Teaching Works at the University of Michigan, and St. Mary’s Academy. He recently completed service on the California State Board of Education and ACT, Inc. Earlier this year, he completed the long‐term evaluation of the DC Public Schools for the National Research Council. Among his many publications, Dr. Cohn co-edited the 2004 Teachers College Press publication, Partnering to Lead Educational Renewal: High Quality Teachers, High Quality Schools.

April Grommo

April Grommo
Director of Enrollment Management Services
California State University Chancellor’s Office

April Grommo has a wealth of experience within the California State University System and other California segments, gained over 23 years of higher education experience. While at Sierra-Cedar, she was a Program Director where she managed several student-system implementations with clients.

Prior to Sierra-Cedar, Ms. Grommo was the Director of the IT Project Office at California State University San Marcos. She provided information technology leadership, including enrollment management support and student-centered initiatives. In her current role, as Director of Enrollment Management Services, at the California State University she is focused on systemwide enrollment management strategies, policies, and practices including first-time freshmen, transfer, and graduate admission and coordinating the development and implementation of K-16 diagnostic, placement, and assessment instruments. Ms. Grommo received her Educational Leadership Doctorate from University of California, San Diego in 2014, where she focused on social networks of underrepresented community college transfer students.

Patti Herrera

Patti Herrera
Director, Governmental Relations
School Services of California

Patti Herrera, Director, Governmental Relations, brings nearly 15 years of experience in public education policy and finance. Ms. Herrera’s background includes leading the Governmental Relations Division as the Chief Governmental Relations Officer for the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, representing the Riverside County Office of Education, and the 23 school district superintendents of Riverside County. Her work included legislative and administrative advocacy efforts on the full spectrum of K-12 public education policy.

Prior to her service with Riverside County schools, Ms. Herrera spent over a decade on policy development relating to public school facilities at Murdoch, Walrath & Holmes and the Coalition for Adequate School Housing, where she specialized in the State School Facility Program. Through her work in public education policy making and advocacy, Ms. Herrera has worked and developed relationships with key policymakers and staff in the State Capitol and relevant state agencies, including the Department of Finance, the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, the State Allocation Board, the Office of Public School Construction, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Her work includes advocating for public policies that maintain and advance the interests of K-12 public school students, as well as providing timely information to K-12 field practitioners across the disciplines on legislative and regulatory proposals that will affect their daily work. Ms. Herrera graduated cum laude from University of California, Davis with degrees in International Relations and Chinese and Russian History.

Paul Jessup

Paul Jessup
Deputy Superintendent
Riverside County Office of Education

Paul Jessup is currently the Riverside County Deputy Superintendent of Schools and has served in that capacity since July 1, 2007. Prior to joining the Riverside County Office of Education, Mr. Jessup was the Superintendent of the Alvord Unified School District where he led the 20,000+ student district beginning in 2003. Prior to his appointment as superintendent for the Alvord Unified School District, he served as the district's Assistant Superintendent for Business Services. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Redlands, a California Administrative Services credential, and a California Teaching credential.

Mr. Jessup is an active member of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce where he served on its Board of Directors from 2006-2014. He is also past president of the Chamber’s La Sierra Division, Chair of the Business Education Partnership Council, and also served on the Governmental Affairs Committee.

Mr. Jessup has extensive experience in all aspects of K-12 education. Before coming to Alvord in 2001, he spent 20 years in the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District as a teacher, school principal, and central office administrator in both the curriculum and instruction and business offices. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Redlands School Of Education where he has taught courses in leadership, school finance, and school law since 1993.

Julia Lopez

Julia Lopez
College Futures Foundation

A widely respected leader with broad and deep experience in philanthropy and government, Julia I. Lopez began serving as the president and CEO of College Futures Foundation (then known as College Access Foundation of California) in 2008. Before joining College Futures, Ms. Lopez served as senior vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation. In that leadership role, she provided oversight, management, and evaluation of the foundation’s strategic program grant making, which awarded an average of $150 million per year. In her earlier work for Rockefeller, she served as director of the foundation’s Working Communities program, addressing urban poverty and education in the United States.

Ms. Lopez has lent her talents to the California Legislature, the New Mexico Department of Criminal Justice, and the Department of Social Services for the City and County of San Francisco where, as general manager, she oversaw programs serving the city’s most disadvantaged residents. Ms. Lopez currently serves as a member of the Statewide Leadership Council of the Public Policy Institute of California and is a member of the board of KQED, a Northern California public media outlet.

She is a graduate of Newton College of the Sacred Heart (now Boston College) and holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bernard McCune

Bernard McCune
Deputy Chief, Post-Secondary Readiness
Oakland Unified School District

Bernard McCune currently serves as the Deputy Chief of the Office of Post-Secondary Readiness for the Oakland Unified School District overseeing college and career initiatives for district including The Oakland Promise, Linked Learning, Dual Enrollment, Adult Education, SAT, AVID, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Counseling, Measure N implementation, Physical Education, and Athletics.

Mr. McCune has worked in education for over 20 years with a focus of improving educational outcomes for communities national and internationally, he previously teamed with former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Senior Advisor Greg Darnieder to create a national model for college access and success in Chicago Public Schools, and also worked with then Senator Barack Obama to author legislative changes to the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind) to increase funding available to school district to increase college access and success for low income students.

After leaving Chicago Public Schools Mr. McCune led the Office of College and Career Readiness within Denver Public Schools where he led efforts that increased the graduation and college enrollment rates, obtained funding to triple the number of Early College programs in the district and doubled the number of CTE Pathways, while also helping the district become one of only four College Board AP Honor Roll District’s in the state of Colorado by increasing participation and outcomes for students in Advance Placement courses.

Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller
Vice President of Communications and Technology
Foundation for California Community Colleges

Bryan Miller oversees the Foundation for California Community Colleges’ marketing, communications, and technology projects. Mr. Miller works with a team of communications strategists, skilled in outreach, branding, and publication and web design. Over the past decade, he and his team have been recognized with over 40 awards at the state, regional, and national level for excellence in marketing, communications, and design.

Mr. Miller has over 20 years of experience in the design and communications field. Prior to working at the Foundation, he served as Creative Director for the Strategic Communications Division of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, where he won a Gold award for the design of the CCC System Strategic Plan website. He attended American River College and is a graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle.

Joy Salvetti

Dr. Joy Salvetti
Executive Director, Center for College and Career Readiness
California State University Sacramento

Joy Salvetti possesses a vast array of experience in higher education, the California State Legislature, non-profit organizations, as well as the private sector. She began her faculty career at CSU Sacramento in 1996. During that time, she was also an Education Programs Consultant for the California Department of Education (CDE), serving as a liaison to post-secondary education with a focus on academic success strategies and college readiness.

Ms. Salvetti has served as Director of Sacramento State’s Early Assessment Program since 2006. The Center for College & Career Readiness’ mission is one and the same, but also works to create new pathways to college success by implementing regional partnerships with the primary mission of aligning curricula, expectations, and standards between K-12, the community colleges, and Sacramento State. In essence, its focus is on students before they matriculate – those in the regional pipelines.

Erik Skinner

Erik Skinner
Vice President of Administrative Services
Sierra College

Erik Skinner currently serves as Vice President of Administrative Services at Sierra College. Prior to this role, Erik Skinner served as Deputy Chancellor in the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. In this role, he oversaw and coordinated the efforts of the following divisions: Academic Affairs; Student Services and Special Programs; Economic Development and Workforce Preparation; and College Finance and Facilities Planning. Mr. Skinner assisted in the implementation of systemwide initiatives, including the Board of Governor’s student success agenda.

Prior to joining the Chancellor’s Office, Mr. Skinner served as Assistant Secretary for Fiscal Policy in the Office of the Secretary for Education. In that role, he advised the Secretary of Education and the Governor on matters related to K-12 and higher education policy, the state budget, and school finance. Mr. Skinner began his work in state service in the Office of the Legislative Analyst, where he specialized in school finance, Proposition 98, and higher education policy.

Deputy Chancellor Skinner received a bachelor’s degree in history from Grinnell College and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Kristen Soares

Kristen Soares
Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities

Kristen Soares is the fourth president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, representing the chief executives of California’s 75+ private nonprofit colleges and universities on issues of public policy.

Ms. Soares brings to the position her extensive background in higher education administration, policy development, and governmental affairs. Most recently, she served as the senior associate vice president for government relations and civic engagement at the University of Southern California (USC) where she provided strategic direction and leadership for USC’s government relation’s offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C. She is credited with the creation of the USC Community Conversation series a forum to foster town-grown relations.

Ms. Soares serves on the California Education Round Table, California Intersegmental Coordinating Council Executive Committee, and The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executive Committee. She earned a bachelor of science from the USC School of Public Administration.

Kari Stewart

Kari Stewart
Executive Director, Education Pipeline Programs
University of California Office of the President

Kari Stewart is responsible for systemwide oversight of all student academic preparation programs, including the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA), Transcript Evaluation Service, and Community College Transfer Preparation. She works extensively on Presidential initiatives as well as within the broader UC diversity and equity arena.

Ms. Stewart has held a number of senior leadership positions, most recently at UC San Francisco in student affairs and with WestEd. She brings more than 20 years of professional experience to the role, spanning the developmental and educational continuum from infancy to adulthood, with a focus on historically underrepresented student populations.

Ms. Stewart received B.A. degrees in Political Science and Psychology and Social Behavior from University of California, Irvine, and holds a M.A. in Education Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University.

Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor
Chief of Staff
Mayor of Long Beach Robert Garcia’s Office

Mark W. Taylor serves at the Chief of Staff to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. Mr. Taylor brings more than 15 years of government leadership, communications, and public affairs experience to the role is the Mayor’s lead staff. Prior to his role in the Mayor’s Office, Mark served Long Beach City College (LBCC) as the Director of College Advancement, Public Affairs, and Governmental Relations. He represented the college in Sacramento, Washington D.C., and worked to support the success of LBCC students through innovative policies at the local and state levels.

Mr. Taylor led the effort to pass three pieces of legislation at LBCC, all of which were signed into law, including one to allow a pilot for community colleges to offer extension courses for the first time. He also helped lead the development of the Long Beach College Promise and LBCC’s Promise Pathways initiative which have significantly increased college access and success for local students.

Mr. Taylor is a southern California native who graduated from Whitney High School, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Economics at Whittier College and a Master’s Degree in the History of American Civilization at Brandeis University.

Theresa Tena

Theresa Tena
Vice Chancellor of Institutional Effectiveness and Innovation
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office

Theresa Tena serves as Vice Chancellor of Institutional Effectiveness and Innovation, and provides leadership to the Technology, Research, and Information Systems Division and the Institutional Effectiveness Division. She is responsible for guiding the system practice and policy related to accountability models, data management systems, technology, and research initiatives. She also oversees the development and operation of a comprehensive technical assistance program to enhance institutional effectiveness and further student success.

Ms. Tena came to the Chancellor’s Office from the Community College League of California where she served as Vice President. She represented the League in the State Capitol on budget and policy issues and provided technical assistance to colleges and districts related to fiscal matters.

Ms. Tena began her professional career as a Budget Analyst at the California State Department of Finance, where her assignments included Community College and K-12. In 1999, she went to work for the Chancellor’s Office as a Specialist in the Fiscal Services Unit where her primary duties involved disbursing state revenues to community college districts. She also served as Director of Fiscal Services for Solano Community College District. Vice Chancellor Tena double majored in history and international relations while attending the University of California, Davis and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California.

Jessica Wagoner

Jessica Wagoner
Director of Admissions
California State University Fullerton

Jessica Wagoner has served as the Director of Admissions at California State University (CSU) Fullerton since 2008. She oversees Undergraduate, Graduate, and International Admissions at CSU Fullerton and manages a team of over 30 individuals in achieving enrollment goals for each Fall and Spring term. Ms. Wagoner currently serves as the technical functional lead for PeopleSoft Student Administration for both Admissions and Campus Community, and is the Early Start Program Coordinator for her campus.

Ms. Wagoner serves as a member of several CSU committees including CSUMentor, eTranscript California, and the Early Start Implementation and Technical Committee. Prior to her current role at CSU Fullerton, she held the position of Associate Director of Admissions at CSU Long Beach. Although not new to the CSU, before working in higher education, she was the Director of Client Services at XAP Corporation for over 13 years where she worked with the CSU Chancellor’s Office, CSU campuses, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, and California Community Colleges as the Project Manager for the CSUMentor project, CCCApply Online Application and eTranscript California system. Ms. Wagoner is an alumnus of California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. She enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs.

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