Our Approach & Team

Unlocking Potential together.

What Is Our Work?

To ensure all young people in Bexar County are ready for the future,
UP Partnership operates three core strategies.

Establish Data Coordination

Enhance Future Ready Pathways

Enable Relevant Policy Change

We help our partners to better understand their programs through data. We help to connect partners’ efforts in ways that expand young people’s pathways to success. And, working alongside our partners, we help to drive policy improvements that will improve young people’s lives.

These strategies unite everything we do.

Our Values

UP is a collective impact organization of more than 175 youth-serving institutions. We engage leaders at all levels to leverage shared vision, strategies, metrics and technology to unlock the potential of San Antonio’s communities.


Data Driven

We will use data to prioritize action, inform decisions and as a means of accountability.

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We will work across sectors to utilize a collective impact mindset and strategy in pursuit of our mission and vision.
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We will do what’s best for young people by leveraging all resources while recognizing our own biases.


We will influence decision makers and community investment strategies, while practicing our own commitment to diversity and inclusion, to ensure equitable opportunities for young people across Bexar County.
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We will play a leadership role in the community to shape and reframe policy conversations and funding decisions at the local and state level.

Check out an article by our Executive Director, Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, in The Rivard Report, “Sharing Drives Change, Shapes Futures in San Antonio.


Our team works together through a shared commitment to honesty, respect, creativity, communication and impact.

Leroy Adams

Leroy Adams

Our Tomorrow Network Manager

Leroy’s life has been shaped by his unending passion for people and his belief in the power of community. After earning a degree in political science, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia–evaluating infrastructure, programs, and practices and leading professional development training. He has five years of youth development and teaching experience and recently became a fellow with the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. His work is driven by his desire to empower community members to find their voice and leverage their collective strength to create change in their communities.

Jayde Beebe

Jayde Beebe

Network Data Manager

Jayde is a self-proclaimed data geek and big picture thinker. While in school she worked on several projects specific to military families and the trauma of child separation. Prior to joining Up Partnership, Jayde worked for the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless and Haven for Hope where she worked closely with city leadership and community stakeholders to develop project performance and monitoring tools to increase system-level outcomes. She is passionate about connecting the community to data that empowers data-driven decision making to maximize social impact and affect systems change.

Chuck Bridger

Chuck Bridger

Operations Manager

Chuck has enjoyed a 25-year career in non-profit health and human services program and agency management. He was a US Peace Corps volunteer before earning his Master of International Administration degree.  Married with two grown, amazing children Chuck loves most outdoor activities and traveling to new places.

Emily Calderón Galdeano

Emily Calderón Galdeano

Senior Director of Data, Research, and Analytics

Emily is passionate about leveraging data and building collaboration to increase student success. She has over 15 years of experience at the federal, state, local, and institutional levels through her work directing research centers for two national organizations and as a university faculty member. Emily earned her doctorate in higher education policy and believes in the power of partnerships in creating systemic change for our communities.  

Kathleen Denny

Kathleen Denny

Director of Data, Research, and Analytics

Kathleen firmly believes in the power of research and data to improve outcomes and, ultimately, contribute to positive social change. With her Ph.D. in sociology, Kathleen is a passionate social scientist who previously served as a professor at Trinity University and as an analyst in the City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services.

Shelby Drayton

Shelby Drayton

Network Manager

As a kid at heart Shelby is an enthusiast for quality out-of-school time engagement.  With over 10 years of experience in youth development, Shelby’s focus on social and emotional learning informs her perspective. She is passionate about supporting youth in finding their voice and empowering them to advocate for themselves and others around them to dismantle institutional inequity. 
Chellie Fernandez

Chellie Fernandez

Director of High School Pathways

Chellie Fernandez has a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Chicago, with a concentration in School Leadership in Community Schools. Her research explores the school-to-prison pipeline and alternative school discipline strategies, such as circle keepers and trauma-informed schools. She developed this passion after seeing first-hand as a teacher the impact punitive practices had on youth of color.

Ryan Lugalia-Hollon

Ryan Lugalia-Hollon

Executive Director

Ryan was previously with Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio. Prior to this role, Ryan lived in Chicago for 15 years, where he worked at The Field Museum, YMCA and Northwestern University. He is the co-author of The War on Neighborhoods: Policing, Prison and Punishment in a Divided City. He received his Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Marla McMahan

Marla McMahan


Marla has held support roles in elementary school and college environments and brings a variety of experiences in the private sector, from legal transcription to radio and television. She enjoys many outdoor activities, including her latest find of Standup Paddle Boarding. She enjoys sharing her life with her husband and two dogs, and favorite hobbies include quilting and knitting. Marla recently achieved her degree in Accounting from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.
Cristina Mendez

Cristina Mendez

Director of College Pathways

Cristina has worked with school districts, as well as local and state governments, to evaluate programs, improve operational efficiencies and apply a human design lens when working with public feedback. Cristina has recently achieved her Masters in Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Zamira Rodríguez

Zamira Rodríguez


Zamira serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA with My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio. She assists with capacity building and is passionate about making a positive impact in her community. Zamira is currently completing her Master’s in Public Administration at Texas State University and has previously interned with various nonprofit organizations and local and state governments. She loves traveling—she’s visited five continents so far—and exploring different places.

Kimberly Sama

Kimberly Sama

Director of Youth and Workforce Pathways

Kimberly is an entrepreneurial humanitarian with 15years of domestic and international development and leadership experience.  Passionate about community, she strives to  apply business concepts towards the achievement of sustainable social impact.


Marissa Villa

Marissa Villa

Director of Communications and Engagement

Marissa’s background in journalism, higher education and travel has shaped her zeal for storytelling. She worked in communications at The University of Texas at San Antonio for five years after an 8-year career in journalism at the San Antonio Express-News and Wichita Falls Times Record News. During that period, Marissa also took a year to travel throughout East Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe and kept a blog that shared the stories of her experiences and the interesting people she met. She is a graduate of Midwestern State University.

Board of Directors

Our Board helps to guide our strategy and to support alignment across our partners. It is composed of leading executives from Bexar County’s education, business and philanthropic sectors.

Elaine Mendoza

Conceptual Mindworks, Inc.

Charlie Amato

Immediate Past Chair

Robert Blount, Jr.

MITRE Corporation

Felecia Etheridge

CPS Energy

Dean Alexander

Christus Santa Rosa Health System

Danny J. Anderson, Ph.D.

Trinity University

Jeanette Ball, Ph.D.

Judson ISD

Sarah Baray

Pre-K 4 SA

Taylor Eighmy, Ph.D.


Jorge Elizondo

H-E-B Grocery

Mike Flores, Ph.D.

Alamo Colleges

Marjie French


Jeff Goldhorn, Ph.D.

Education Services Center Region 20

Jenna Saucedo-Herrera

San Antonio Economic Development Foundation

Vanessa Lacoss Hurd

Community Representative

Pedro Martinez

San Antonio Independent School District

Angie Mock

Boys and Girls Club
San Antonio

General Edward Rice, Jr.

United Way of San Antonio and
Bexar County

Kate Rogers

Charles Butt Foundation

Simon Salas

Good Samaritan Community Services

Nathanael Tarwasokono

Firstmark Credit Union

Roland Toscano

East Central Independent School District

Lloyd Verstuyft, ED.D.

Southwest Independent School District

Brian T. Woods ED.D.

Northside Independent School District

Our Amazing Funders

Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
After School Allstars | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Arts San Antonio | Excel Beyond the Bell SA Partner
After School Allstars | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
After School Allstars | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
After School Allstars | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
After School Allstars | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
After School Allstars | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Arts San Antonio | Excel Beyond the Bell SA Partner
Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA
Big Brother Big Sisters of South Texas | Excel Beyond the Bell SA