Leaders united change lives.

RGV FOCUS unites school districts, higher education partners, community organizations and businesses under the common goal of improving education outcomes in the Rio Grande Valley. Our Leadership Team consists of school district superintendents, higher education presidents, philanthropic partners, and business and community leaders which lead the establishment of our vision and strategy. This group is guided by Advisory Bodies, such as the Data Support Council and Governance Council, and is supported by Action Networks, which implement plans aligned with our vision and strategy.

The Leadership Team

Leadership Logos

RGV FOCUS Backbone

Rebeca Lopez

Rebeca Lopez

Director, RGV FOCUS


Rebeca Lopez works in the Rio Grande Valley as Director of RGV FOCUS. She is responsible for managing the development and implementation of RGV FOCUS initiatives, including working in partnership with key stakeholders across the region.  
Prior to joining the RGV FOCUS team, Rebeca worked with the San Antonio Education Partnership as Chief Program Officer, creating college opportunities, access, and success for students across San Antonio and Bexar County. She is especially energized by the RGV FOCUS vision that all Rio Grande Valley learners will achieve a degree or credential that leads to a meaningful career and successful life. 

Rebeca earned her Master of Public Health from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health after receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Yale University. A native of Harlingen, Rebeca is excited to be impacting change at home after 15 years in San Antonio. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Daniel and her son Guillermo.

Milly Hernandez

Milly Hernandez

Deputy Director, RGV FOCUS


Milly works in the Rio Grande Valley as Deputy Director on the RGV FOCUS team. She manages the development and implementation of key initiatives and works in partnership with stakeholders, philanthropy, business, state agencies, community-based organizations, nonprofits, and legislators.

Prior to joining RGV FOCUS, Milly worked as the Career and Technical Education Coordinator for the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District.

Milly earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from the University of Texas-Pan American and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Vanessa Alfaro

Vanessa Alfaro

Program Assistant, RGV FOCUS


Vanessa joined the RGV FOCUS team as a Program Assistant with a long history of customer service. Seeing and meeting the needs of others is her passion. In May 2016, Vanessa graduated from Texas Southmost College with an associate degree in applied sciences with a major in criminal justice. She reflects on her journey to degree completion as a highly rewarding accomplishment that energized her pursuit for lifelong learning and service.

Gina Moraida

Gina Moraida

Associate, RGV FOCUS


Gina works in the Rio Grande Valley as an Associate on the RGV FOCUS team. She is responsible for supporting projects within the RGV FOCUS portfolio, and for expanding our strategic learning environment at Educate Texas.

Prior to joining RGV FOCUS, Gina worked with College Advising Corps, where she led and supported the development, implementation, and management of mission-critical products and projects designed to support and increase student impact.

Gina earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas A&M University- Kingsville and her Master of Education in Higher Education from Abilene Christian University.

Clarissa Torres

Clarissa Torres

Deputy Director, Programs


Clarissa works in the Rio Grande Valley as Deputy Director and regional lead for Educate Texas's College and Career Readiness School Models Network team, ensuring the successful implementation of CCRSM blueprints and framework. She strives to increase the impact of Educate Texas across the Rio Grande Valley.
Prior to joining the RGV FOCUS team, Clarissa worked with South Texas College as the dual credit program specialist and coordinator for Dual Credit Pathways and in the office of the dean for the college of social and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas-Pan American (now UT-RGV). For six years she worked with dual credit students, faculty and staff throughout Hidalgo and Starr county. She is a firm believer that education is the key to the success of the region and looks forward to being a part of the continued efforts through RGV FOCUS and Educate Texas.
Clarissa holds a bachelor’s in communication studies from the University of Texas-Pan American.

Andres Chavez III

Andres Chavez III

Associate, Programs


As a Programs Associate with Educate Texas, Andres supports projects in the College and Career Readiness School Models portfolio and contributes to other organizational priorities. He assists in project management and identifying and promoting key insights that accelerate student success in the Rio Grande Valley.

Prior to joining Educate Texas at Communities Foundation of Texas, he worked with college access organizations including TRiO Upward Bound, Talent Search, and the National College Advising Corps, ensuring college access for low-income populations throughout the Rio Grande Valley region. As a Starr County native, Andres understands the population in the RGV and is passionate about serving the community.

Andres earned a bachlor's degree in mass communication from the University of Texas – Pan American and a master of public Affairs from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley.