We are excited to announce our partnership with Austin ISD to implement a new volunteer management platform at austinisd.voly.org. Please note that the current APIE portal will no longer be accepting applications as of June 26.

Our Team

Together We Can Do More

We wouldn’t be able to do the work we do without our creative and talented team. They make our mission possible.

Cathy Jones, Ph.D.

Executive Director

She/Her/Hers

Cathy joined APIE in 2012 and is an experienced teacher, campus administrator & assistant superintendent. With a Ph.D. in educational administration through UT’s Cooperative Superintendency Program, she is a true Longhorn.   Cathy has 2 children and enjoys running & cycling. Being a Math Classroom Coach is her weekly highlight.

Isadora Day

Program Director

She/Her/Hers

Isadora joined APIE in 2023 and is a former academic dean, director of middle school, and teacher. Formerly a crime journalist, Isadora switched careers to become an educator and earned her M.Ed. in Education Administration in 2015. Originally from the Rio Grande Valley, she loves Mexican food, the beach, and walking with her husband and son. 

 

Barbette Cooper

Finance/HR Director

She/Her/Hers

Barbette, who has an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and many years experience in nonprofit financial and administrative management, joined the APIE finance team in 2011. Barbette is a long-time fan of Longhorn football, Ballet Austin, and Broadway shows.

Wendi Gordon

Development Director

Wendi joined APIE in 2016 with extensive nonprofit development experience in education and an MBA from George Washington University. Originally from Washington, DC, she enjoys the outdoors, food, travel, and her miniature dachshunds.

Elena Aguayo

College Readiness Advocate

She/Her/Hers

Elena joined APIE in 2024 as a College Readiness Advocate. She graduated from Texas State University in December 2023 with a double major in Psychology and Social Work. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games such as Animal Crossing and Mario Kart with her friends. Elena is an avid reader and loves exploring new coffee shops to fuel adventures both on and off the screen.

Frances Barrera

Salesforce Specialist

She/her/hers

Frances joined APIE in 2014 as a College Readiness Advocate. She is a City Year San Antonio and AmeriCorps NCCC alum. She enjoys traveling, watching reality tv, gardening, and spending time with her niece and nephews and 4 crazy pups!

Sandy Bootz

Math Classroom Coaching Manager

For over 15 years, Sandy has worked in multiple APIE programs. She believes that volunteers are extraordinary people and feels privileged to work with those committed to supporting our schools.

Joe Jacobsohn

Development Coordinator

He/Him/His

Joe joined APIE in 2018 as a member of the Americorps VISTA program. He earned his bachelor’s degree from from Williams College and has experience tutoring reading at multiple AISD schools. Joe enjoys learning new languages, going to shows, Austin FC, and volunteering weekly as an APIE Math Classroom Coach.

Chris Lagarde

Salesforce Specialist

He/Him/His

Chris joined APIE in 2017 and is responsible for the configuration, support, and improvement of our Salesforce database. He enjoys spending time reading, cooking, hiking, and hanging out with his kids.

Melina Lasater

Finance/HR Manager

They/She/Hers

Melina joined APIE in 2023. She earned her MBA at Texas Woman’s University and is an AmeriCorps VISTA alum. She has a passion for working in nonprofit and volunteering. Melina enjoys crocheting, playing tennis, and taking care of her plants.

Danna Leal Cisneros

College Readiness Advocate

She/Her/Hers

Danna joined APIE in 2023 as a College Readiness Advocate. After gaining a BA in Political Science from Simmons University in Boston, MA, she became a TFA 2019 Corps Member from the Rio Grande Valley where she taught AP Government and AP Microeconomics. She transitioned to Austin and taught AP Government, AP Microeconomics, and Personal Financial Literacy. She is passionate about expanding accessibility and granting the opportunity for students to reach their full potential.

Luz Martinez

Lead Advocate

She/Her/Hers

Luz loves finding new ways to let her creativity flow, whether it’s through sewing, makeup, or nail art! On days when she is happy to turn her brain off, watching “The Devil Wears Prada” with her cat is the way to go.

Michele Mauldin

Lead Advocate

She/Her/Hers

Michele graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and worked as a middle school educator in AISD for 26 years before joining APIE in 2022 as a GEAR UP Advocate. Her husband is also a teacher and they have two sons. She enjoys reading, crocheting, and travel, and rooting for the Longhorns.

Wen Nguyen

School Connections Manager

She/Her/Hers

Wen joined APIE in 2022 after working several years in prevention programs to serve AISD middle and high school students. She believes all students deserve access to quality wrap-around supports so that they may thrive. During her free time, Wen likes to hang out with her nieces and nephews, watch comedy, and adding vegan fish sauce to her food.

Tristan Nieto

Lead Advocate

He/Him/His

Tristan joined APIE in 2022 after completing his Master of Arts in Depth Psychology & Creativity at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Tristan has worked in education in a multitude of roles: tutor, substitute teacher, academic coach, test proctor, reading instructor, outdoor educator, and now, College Readiness & GEAR UP Advocate. In his free time, he writes poetry, trains Shaolin-style kung fu, and pursues a second Master’s in Counseling.

Lexy Robinson

Lead Advocate

She/Her/Hers

Lexy joined APIE in 2022 as a GEAR UP Advocate with experience working as a Preschool, Elementary and Middle camp counselor. She is a Texas State Alumni with a Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences. Her goal is to support underserved populations with a focus on education as well as overall health and well-being. In her free time, you can find her on the Greenbelt with her puppy.

Laurie Solis

Office Administrator

she/Her/Ella

Laurie joined APIE as the Office Administrator in 2023. However, she has served as an APIE campus volunteer, mentor, and most recently math tutor. She’s a mom, wife, and PTA-er serving on the board of Austin Council of PTA. During the evenings or weekends, you can find her and the family on a softball or baseball field.

Rebekah Tambe

Fundraising and Events Manager

she/Her/Hers

Rebekah joined APIE in 2024 as the Fundraising and Event Manager. Rebekah has her BS in Accounting from Portland State University. She recently moved to Austin from Portland, Oregon, where she was the Development Director for a free community medical clinic. Rebekah enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 daughters, traveling, reading, and running.

Val Williams

Special Projects

she/Her/Hers

Val joined APIE in 2022 with extensive experience as a Program Director and Educator, with specialization in the areas of Arts Ed, Early Childhood Ed, and ELA. Val holds an M. Ed in Education Policy & Leadership from American University and a BFA in Musical Theater from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. Val enjoys history, music, spirited discussions around socio-political issues, road trips, her cat Tiger, and-most of all-spending time with her adorable little one: Ruthie!

Join Our Team

Want to be part of an energetic team committed to changing lives through education? If you’re passionate about supporting students and helping them succeed, we want to hear from you. Apply with us today!

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Website Holiday Message - 400 x 700 px

Austin Partners in Education will be closed beginning Friday, December 22 and ending Friday, January 5. We will return to normal business hours on Monday, January 8. All emails, phone calls, and volunteer background check applications will be completed upon our return. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Happy Holidays!

Austin Partners in Education cerrará comenzando el viernes 22 de diciembre y hasta el viernes 5 de enero. Volveremos al horario comercial normal el lunes 8 de enero. Todos los correos electrónicos, llamadas telefónicas y solicitudes de verificación de antecedentes de voluntarios se completarán a nuestro regreso. Gracias por su paciencia y comprensión. ¡Felices Fiestas!

Volunteer registration is closed for most AISD campuses until next school year. Registration will remain open for schools that are seeking volunteers for summer programming.

If you’d like to be notified when registration for APIE’s Mentoring and Math Classroom Coaching programs are open for 2024-2025, sign up to be on our early notification email list!