Our Team

Executive Office

The Executive Office sets organizational vision, manages executive staff, and engages with system leaders and state policymakers to share our learning and advocate for policies that support postsecondary guidance and intersegmental data sharing to benefit students and educators.

Tessa Carmen De Roy

Tessa Carmen De Roy
President
Email:
Phone: 323.999.7161

Tessa Carmen De Roy is the founder and president of the California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI), overseeing the organization’s strategy, management, financials, and system-level partnerships. Prior to founding CCGI, she spent a decade working to promote college access and success for first-generation, college-bound students in Los Angeles County. Her participation in the development of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which simplifies the financial aid application process for students and families by directly importing tax information into their FAFSA, led to a focus on how data and technology could be used to lower academic and vocational barriers for students. Tess earned her Doctor of Education from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she focused on data-supported regional efforts to articulate high school and college coursework.

Maya Ramos Clayton

Maya Ramos Clayton
Chief of Staff
Email:
Phone: 323.902.7319

Maya Ramos Clayton serves as Chief of Staff, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the CCGI team. She is a key strategic advisor to CCGI’s President and other organizational leaders, with a primary focus on ensuring the team’s work aligns with CCGI’s organizational values and objectives, the needs of practitioners and students, and the organization’s expansion deliverables. Maya is responsible for cross-team alignment and leads CCGI’s talent management and team development program. Externally, Maya represents CCGI in state-level and regional conversations that have implications for organizational strategy. Before becoming Chief of Staff, Maya served in a number of roles at CCGI, most recently as Vice President of District Partnerships. Prior to CCGI, she worked for a national college access and youth leadership development program. She earned her M.S. from New York University and B.A. from Smith College.

Communications

The Communications Team employs strategic communications tools and approaches to increase the effectiveness and impact of CCGI’s work, build awareness and understanding of the issues we address, and share the stories of the students, families, educators, and systems we serve.

Chris Compton

Chris Compton
Deputy Director of Communications
Email:
Phone: 323.212.5960

Chris Compton serves as deputy director of communications, shaping and executing CCGI’s organizational communications strategy, messaging, branding, and collateral development. Before joining CCGI, he worked for the California Community Foundation, where he spent a nearly decade using communications tools to address issues such as education access, health care, affordable housing, and immigrant rights in Los Angeles County. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in visual media from American University in Washington, D.C.

Wendy Lopez

Wendy Lopez
Senior Communications Specialist
Email:

Wendy Lopez serves as Senior Communications Specialist, handling creation, management, and oversight of CCGI’s communications vehicles and campaigns in both English and Spanish. Before joining CCGI, she worked at several nonprofit organizations in the Los Angeles area, serving in marketing, content creation and communication roles. Wendy’s biggest passions include making higher education more accessible to underserved youth, increasing economic mobility, and helping the next generation of leaders achieve their full potential. Wendy received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a minor in marketing from California State University, Long Beach.

CaliforniaColleges.edu

The CaliforniaColleges.edu Team is responsible for the development, maintenance, and iteration of CaliforniaColleges.edu, the State of California’s college and career planning platform, including content and collateral to effectively engage educators, students, and families.

Leigh Ranck

Leigh S. Ranck
Vice President, CaliforniaColleges.edu
Email:
Phone: 424.272.6714

Leigh S. Ranck serves as the vice president of CaliforniaColleges.edu, spearheading the vision for CCGI’s web-based college and career planning platform for all California 6th-12th grade students. Before joining CCGI, she worked for MacArthur Foundation’s Connected Learning Alliance, where she spent several years using web applications and communications tools to increase participatory, interest-driven learning that’s connected to educational, civic, and career opportunities for students across the US. Leigh previously worked for a nonprofit and a global health firm in New York City with the aim of translating scientific discoveries into affordable and accessible global health solutions. Leigh earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and politics from New York University in New York, New York.

Laurel Sunderman

Laurel Sunderman
Director, CaliforniaColleges.edu Content
Email:
Phone: 916.750.0602

As director of CaliforniaColleges.edu content, Laurel Sunderman develops and iterates the content strategy for CaliforniaColleges.edu and oversees the content and experience team. Her goal is to ensure that all college, career, and financial aid content and tools on CaliforniaColleges.edu are aligned with current trends in K-12 and higher education counseling and optimized for educators, students, and parents. Before joining CCGI, Laurel spent more than 15 years working for Sacramento nonprofit and higher education institutions. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from California State University, Sacramento, where she also earned certificates in Teaching College Composition and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

Lionel Roy

Lionel Roy
Deputy Director, CaliforniaColleges.edu User Experience
Email:
Phone: 916.245.0250

As deputy director of CaliforniaColleges.edu’s user experience, Lionel Roy is responsible for developing and implementing the design strategy of CaliforniaColleges.edu. Prior to joining CCGI, he spent 20 years in Silicon Valley, working with startups and Fortune 100 companies to help design simple solutions to complex problems. A user-centered design practitioner by trade, Lionel comes to CCGI from France, where he studied film and cinematography.

Janette Nikolakopoulos

Janette Nikolakopoulos
Deputy Director, CaliforniaColleges.edu
Email:

As deputy director of CaliforniaColleges.edu, Janette Nikolakopoulos oversees innovations and improvements for CCGI’s college and career planning platform. Informed by stakeholder feedback, research, and best practices, Janette manages the platform to ensure its efficacy and ease-of-use. Before joining CCGI, Janette spent almost a decade with edtech companies, primarily managing cross-functional product teams to publish online courses, resources, and tools. Janette earned her B.S. from Northwestern University and her M.A. from St. Mary’s College of California.

Marcelino Plascencia

Marcelino Plascencia
Manager, CaliforniaColleges.edu Content
Email:

Marcelino Plascencia serves as manager of CaliforniaColleges.edu content, developing and leading the revisions of CCGI’s curriculum. Before joining CCGI, he designed curricula for high school and college students to promote college access and success. Marcelino earned his bachelor’s degree in film and digital media and in Latin American and Latino studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Lillie Apostolos

Lillie Apostolos
Content Specialist
Email:
Phone: 916.318.9878

Lillie Apostolos serves as content specialist, assisting with content research and development for CaliforniaColleges.edu. Prior to joining CCGI, she worked as a writer and English instructor. Lillie holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English from California State University, Sacramento.

Frances Apalategui

Frances Apalategui
CaliforniaColleges.edu Senior Manager
Email:
Phone: 909.454.6945

As CaliforniaColleges.edu senior manager, Frances Apalategui guides and develops enhancements to the site and leads the team’s support efforts to meet user needs through thoughtful data collection. Before joining CCGI, she facilitated first-year bridge programs, led support services, and taught freshman writing at California State University, San Bernardino, Crafton Hills College, Copper Mountain College, and the University of Redlands. Frances earned her Master of Arts degree in rhetoric and composition from California State University, San Bernardino and continues to serve her alma mater through student presentations and on writing panels.

Maribel Chonhim

Maribel Chonhim
CaliforniaColleges.edu Manager
Email:
Phone: 626.594.5309

As CaliforniaColleges.edu manager, Maribel Chonhim supports users and tests enhancements to ensure optimal operations and communicates proactive and strategic updates on platform functionality. Before joining CCGI, she worked as a student services coordinator at a private college planning agency in the San Fernando Valley and as a substitute teacher in the San Gabriel Valley. Maribel earned her M.A. in educational counseling along with her PPS credential from Azusa Pacific University and her B.S. in sociology from the University of La Verne.

Benjamin Baird

Ben Baird
Engineer, CaliforniaColleges.edu Integrations
Email:
Phone: 916.581.1643

As engineer for CaliforniaColleges.edu’s integrations, Ben Baird is responsible for the externally facing application integrations between CaliforniaColleges.edu and the California Community Colleges, California State University, University of California, and FAFSA/California Dream Act applications, as well as platform’s college eligibility tools. Prior to joining CCGI, he worked for the Los Rios Community College District. Ben holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MS from Drexel University.

Partnerships

The Partnerships Team supports school districts in the effective adoption and integration of CaliforniaColleges.edu. The team focuses on building educators’ capacity to systematically set goals and plan implementation strategies, and they provide data auditing and alignment to ensure accurately informed student accounts, which serve as the basis for monitoring progress toward reaching postsecondary goals.

Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith
Senior Director of Technical Assistance and User Support
Email:
Phone: 510.698.9341

Hannah Smith serves as Senior Director of Technical Assistance and User Support, leading the strategic development and execution of CCGI’s efforts to engage K-12 districts across the state and promote the adoption and integration of CaliforniaColleges.edu through the development of high-quality technical assistance, user support, and training services. She leads the team to develop new approaches to motivate districts to systematically leverage data auditing and build their capacity to use and manage student data. Hannah’s background is in school counseling, with a particular focus on working at the nexus of policy, research, and practice to advance equitable access to education. Hannah received her master’s degree in Education (Prevention Science and Practice) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, her bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her associate’s degree in social and behavioral sciences from City College of San Francisco.

Andy Alcaraz

Andy Alcaraz
Director of Data Infrastructure and Analytics
Email:
Phone: 818.642.6439

Andy Alcaraz serves as the director of data infrastructure and analytics, overseeing all of the organization’s data analytics and engineering infrastructure, as well as its technical strategy. Prior to joining CCGI, Andy led the data analytics initiatives for KIPP Public Schools Northern California, and he has worked across several facets of education, including research and evaluation, data management, and teaching. Andy earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Angelina Chacon Garcia

Angelina Chacon-Garcia
Director of Data Services
Email:
Phone: 626.808.8409

As director of data services, Angelina Chacon-Garcia guides partner districts in the implementation of transcript-informed accounts and helps to strengthen the conversation around how data-informed decision-making can ensure students have clear postsecondary options. Before joining CCGI, she managed data and assessments for three California K-12 charter schools, using data systems and tools to address data discrepancies in Student Information Systems and supporting operational and accountability reporting. Angelina holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and religious studies from the University of California, Davis, and she earned her master’s degree in education with an emphasis on social justice and equity from San Francisco State University.

Kristina Tyler

Kristina Tyler
Deputy Director of District Partnerships, Southern California
Email:
Phone: 858.371.3115

Kristina Tyler serves as the deputy director of district partnerships for Southern California, working with K-12 districts, higher education institutions, and college access organizations to implement and utilize CaliforniaColleges.edu. Prior to joining CCGI, she supported students in the classroom by teaching 5th grade English Language Learners in Rhode Island and by serving as education programs coordinator for an after-school program in Orange County. Kristina earned her M.A. in urban education policy from Brown University.

Patricia Zarco

Patricia Zarco
Deputy Director of District Partnerships, Central Valley
Email:
Phone: 209.259.3796

As deputy director of district partnerships, Patty Zarco works with K-12 districts and higher education institutions throughout the Central Valley in implementing and utilizing of CaliforniaColleges.edu. Before joining CCGI, she spent thirteen years as a project director with UC Merced, Center for Educational Partnerships, where she oversaw federal, state, and privately funded college-access programs in the Central Valley. Patty is dedicated to serving the Central Valley, supporting her community as an organizer and Mistress of Ceremonies for the Young Women’s Conference, an annual Livingston-based leadership conference. She serves on the advisory board for Central Valley Scholars, and her likeness was used for a mural in the city of Merced celebrating the diversity of the Central Valley. Patty earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from California State University, Stanislaus and her master’s degree in education from Fresno Pacific University.

Jossie-Muñoz

Jossie Muñoz
District Partnerships Senior Manager, Southern California
Email:
Phone: 951.444.8412

Jossie Muñoz serves as senior district partnerships manager for Southern California, supporting implementation efforts across K-12 districts and acting as a liaison between K-12 districts and higher education entities. Before joining CCGI, she worked as a student affairs practitioner at New York University – Abu Dhabi and as a researcher at New York University – New York. Jossie earned her B.A. from Dickinson College and her M.A. in higher education and student affairs from New York University.

Anna Lorena Garcia

Anna Lorena Garcia
District Partnerships Manager, Central Valley
Email:
Phone: 661.438.1144

As a district partnerships manager for the Central Valley, Anna Lorena Garcia supports K-12 districts and higher education partners in ensuring that district-wide implementation of CaliforniaColleges.edu is collaborative and rooted in equity and access for educators and students. Before joining CCGI, she worked for the University of California Office of the President and the UC Merced Center for Educational Partnerships, where she spent more than a decade working with educators, students, and families supporting college and career planning. Anna Lorena earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from the University of LaVerne.

Ying Lo Khang

Ying Lo-Khang
District Partnerships Manager, Northern California
Email:
Phone: 916.308.1167

Ying Lo-Khang serves as district partnerships manager for Northern California, providing guidance and support to partner districts in utilizing CaliforniaColleges.edu. Before joining CCGI, she worked for Breakthrough Sacramento, where she supported underserved students and families in college and career planning. Ying earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of California, Berkeley and her Master of Social Work from Columbia University.

Daniel Marker

Daniel Marker
District Partnerships Manager, Central Valley
Email:
Phone: 209.683.0030

Daniel Marker serves as a district partnerships manager, supporting districts across the Central Valley in the implementation and utilization of CaliforniaColleges.edu. Before joining CCGI, he worked for the California State University, Stanislaus, where he served students in the transition to college through academic preparation initiatives and student-centered support. He also serves as a Stan Futures Lead within the Cradle to Career, Stanislaus Partnership. Daniel earned his master’s degree at the University of Toronto, Wycliffe College and is currently in progress with his Doctor of Education at California State University, Stanislaus.

Heather Miller

Heather Miller
Partner Districts Data Services Specialist
Email:
Phone: 916.662.5490

Heather Miller serves as partner districts data services specialist, working with and supporting districts in implementing and managing the use of student transcript data on CaliforniaColleges.edu. She also works closely with districts statewide to support the alignment of their A-G coursework with the UC Office of the President’s Course Management Portal. Before joining CCGI, Heather worked on data quality issues and CALPADS reporting for several educational institutions. She holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication, graduating summa cum laude from California State University, Sacramento.

Katherine Zevallos Pastor

Katherine Zevallos Pastor
District Partnerships Manager, Southern California
Email:

As a district partnerships manager Kat Zevallos Pastor supports implementation efforts for K-12 districts throughout Southern California. She focuses on driving strategies that are consistent with CCGI’s core principles and serving as a key liaison with individual school districts, schools, and educators. Before joining CCGI, Kat served as the inaugural Dream Center coordinator at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she established foundational values of activism, community, education, and empowerment for the success of Undocumented students. Kat earned her M.S in college counseling and student development from Azusa Pacific University. She is an active member of and mentor for the Undocuprofessionals Network.

Alejandra Solorzano

Alejandra Solorzano
District Partnerships Manager, Southern California
Email:
Phone: 619.736.0465

As a district partnerships manager, Alejandra Solorzano supports the implementation and utilization of CaliforniaColleges.edu within K-12 districts throughout Southern California. She works collaboratively with stakeholders through the K-12 system to create seamless educational pathways for students. Before joining CCGI, Ale worked in community development within low-income communities across the San Diego region, helping youth and adults access vital resources and educational opportunities. She earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on social change from the University of California, Berkeley.

Silvestre Vallejo

Silvestre Vallejo
District Partnerships Manager, Southern California
Email:
Phone: 323.591.4694

As a district partnerships manager, Silvestre Vallejo supports teachers, counselors, and administrators at more than 150 Los Angeles and Orange County schools to implement and utilize CaliforniaColleges.edu. Prior to joining CCGI, he worked for a variety of nonprofit organizations promoting college access, including The Posse Foundation, After-School All-Stars, Project GEAR UP, and College Track. Silvestre has also served on the boards of CalSAC (California School-Age Consortium), Determined to Succeed, and Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural. Silvestre attended Long Beach City College and later transferred to the University of Southern California, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Cinema-Television Production.

Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown
User Support and Training Manager
Email:

As user support and training manager, Andrew Brown identifies, troubleshoots, and resolves user issues, with a focus on platform investigation and clear communication. Prior to joining CCGI, he was a part-time collections assistant in the vertebrate paleontology department of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. He has also worked as a barista for several third-wave coffee establishments. Andrew earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology at California State University, Northridge.

Claudia Amador

Claudia Amador
Data Analyst
Email:

Claudia Amador serves as a data analyst, facilitating timely and regular data submission and contributing to the development, refinement, and implementation of transcript-informed tools on CaliforniaColleges.edu. Before joining CCGI, she worked as a math and computer science educator and as a software developer in the database industry. Claudia earned her B.S. from the University of California, Los Angeles, her M.S. from California State University, Long Beach, a teaching credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a data science certificate from the University of California, Irvine, Department of Continuing Education.

Freddie Zenteno

Freddie Zenteno
Data Analyst
Email:

As a data analyst, Freddie Zenteno works to facilitate timely and regular data submission and contributes to the development, refinement, and implementation of transcript-informed tools on CaliforniaColleges.edu. Before joining CCGI, he spent eight years working for higher education institutions, specializing in accreditation, compliance, project management, data analytics and reporting, institutional research, and business intelligence. Freddie earned his Bachelor of Science in informatics from the University of California, Irvine, and is currently pursuing his Master of Science in information technology with a concentration in data science from California State University, Fullerton.

Alek Carlson

Alek Carlson
Data Visualization Analyst, Data Infrastructure and Analytics
Email:

Alek Carlson serves as a data visualization analyst, helping craft nuanced analyses of CCGI’s data with the aim of uncovering insights on California’s official college and career planning platform. Before joining CCGI, he was captain of the basketball team at CSU, Stanislaus, a production planner at Pacific Southwest Container, and a data analyst intern at Videojet Technologies. Alek earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from CSU, Stanislaus and his master’s degree in business analytics from USC. In honor of his late mother, Alek co-founded and serves as treasurer of the Nancy A. Kalender Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides assistance to graduates of Dinuba High School.

Saloman Davila

Salomón Dávila
Data Engineer, Infrastructure and Analytics
Email:

Salomón Dávila serves as data engineer, developing scalable statewide data-engineering tools and pipelines and supporting the organization’s data analytics and cloud infrastructure. Before joining CCGI, he worked for the California Community College system as faculty, administrator, and consultant, where he spent two decades developing community college programs across 40 colleges, connecting high school to careers in advanced manufacturing, cloud computing, and data science. Salomón earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he earned his master’s degree in teaching and curriculum from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Business Operations

The Business Operations team ensures the alignment of CCGI’s technology platforms, implementation strategies, and operational protocols. The team manages all CRM (Salesforce) data for the organization and facilitates team effectiveness across our statewide, virtual workplace.

Sheri Hiebert

Sheri Hiebert
Business Operations Manager
Email:
Phone: 530.763.3521

As operations manager, Sheri Hiebert is responsible for contract management and execution of agreements with K-12 school districts, higher education institutions, third-party nonprofit organizations, and vendor contracts across the state, as well as with maintaining contract protocols and management of specialized projects. Prior to joining CCGI, Sheri worked for a Fortune 500 global workforce solution firm, where she held several management roles, including providing project management supporting both new and existing clients with workforce contracts across North America. Sheri brings over 17 years of experience in business operations, project management, and strategic implementation. She attended Wichita State University with a focus on business administration and management.

Laurel Papke

Laurel Papke
Business Operations Manager
Email:
Phone: 408.676.9420

Laurel Papke serves as business operations manager, responsible for managing infrastructure, documentation, process improvement, and support systems for CCGI staff and partners. Prior to joining CCGI, she spent several years working in business development, operations management, and customer service-related positions. Laurel received her B.A. in communication from Arizona State University.

Ruchita Bhatia

Ruchita Bhatia
Salesforce Administrator
Email:

Ruchita Bhatia serves as CCGI’s primary Salesforce administrator, keeping the organization’s Salesforce platform up-to-date with new releases, automating complex business processes, providing enhancements, collaborating with team members to define and document development requirements, training end-users on new customizations, and managing external vendors. Before joining CCGI, she worked as a software engineer and developed web and windows applications for various clients. Ruchita also volunteers her time as a Salesforce administrator/developer with the Morning Star Foundation. She earned her master’s degree in information technology from DAVV (India).

David John Silva

David John Silva
Administrative Project Coordinator
Email:
Phone: 916.768.8844

As administrative project coordinator, David John Silva assists the Business Operations Team in daily business activities, with a special emphasis on leadership support. Prior to joining CCGI, he garnered more than 20 years of experience in office management and administrative assistance over dynamic, virtually based teams. David attended CSU Sacramento with focus on music and theatre arts.

Jonny Jayne

Jonny Jayne
Business Operations Specialist
Email:
Phone: 857.293.0724

As business operations specialist, Jonny Jayne supports the management of the operations, tools, and processes that underlie CCGI’s work. He is currently working on his bachelor’s degree at CSU Channel Islands.