Emily Calderón Galdeano, Ed.D., has served as the Chief Impact and Strategy Officer for UP Partnership since June 2022. Since joining the organization in April 2020, she has also previously led the Data and Postsecondary teams.
In her current role, Emily oversees all partner-facing elements of UP’s work to help empower evidence-based decision making and maximize community-wide alignment and systems change. She actively works with our partners to streamline the many steps that lead to graduating from high school and being connected to a postsecondary education or career.
It was her passion for a more inclusive and just world that drew her to the work of UP Partnership, particularly the work the organization does as a backbone in helping provide equitable access to education and academic and career success.
In Emily’s own words, “I have had the opportunity to do work with some fantastic partners at the state and national level, so when the opportunity came where I could be a part of system change in my own back yard, I jumped at the chance. So much is possible when we collectively work together — community, policy, research, individuals.”
Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Emily made San Antonio her home nearly 15 years ago. She is proudly both Salvadoran and Mexican and loves being a part of two beautiful cultures.
She has nearly 20 years in the education, community engagement, and policy arenas. Prior to joining UP Partnership, she served as Director of Research for two national organizations – Excelencia in Education and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, university faculty member, and Legislative Director in the Texas Senate. Emily has been recognized as a San Antonio Business Journal 40 Under 40 recipient, served as the Chair for the national Council on Public Policy in Higher Education, and was a German Marshall Fund Memorial Fellow.
Her first book, Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): Advancing Research and Transformative Practice, is an edited volume that focuses on colleges and universities that serve large numbers of low-income, first-generation, and Latinx students, and explores how these institutions can better serve their students.
Emily received her Ed.D. in higher education policy from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, her master’s from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a bachelor’s from Southwestern University. She is honored to be one of only 112,000 Latinas in the U.S. with a doctorate, but believes that “While being ‘Dr. Emily’ is just a title, it comes with a responsibility to give back and do more to help others.”
That sense of responsibility also led to her co-founding a nonprofit called Fiesta Wishes, alongside two of her friends in 2017. The mission of Fiesta Wishes is to inspire hope, create memories and bring smiles to children in foster and homeless care to feel the joy of being celebrated by providing birthday fiestas.
She and her husband, Dr. Daniel Galdeano, a fellow education leader who was born and raised in San Antonio’s westside, are the proud parents to their adorable 20-month old daughter. In her spare time, Emily enjoys taking flamenco lessons at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, traveling, reading, and cheering on the UTSA Roadrunners.
She is currently reading Solito by Javier Zamora, a memoir of a 9-year-old boy’s 3,000 mile journey from El Salvador to the United States.
Her advice to all is to travel, “whether you go near or far, it will open up your eyes to different sites, foods, cultures and experiences. Get out there and learn from it. Our world is a big, beautiful place and San Antonio is a great place to start exploring!”
If Emily could be any dinosaur, it would be a furry velociraptor that she and her nephew named “Panchito.”