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

Dr. Rodney H. Rodriguez

Dr. Rodney H. Rodriguez

Senior Director, RGV FOCUS

rrodriguez@cftexas.org

Dr. Rodney H. Rodriguez is the Senior Director for RGV FOCUS. Prior to joining RGV FOCUS, he was the Executive Director of Strategic & External Affairs for Laredo College, where he advised on economic development, international trade, government affairs, technology challenges, global and international relations.

A graduate of Hebbronville High School, Dr. Rodriguez earned his Associates Degree from Laredo Community College, a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Texas A&M International University, and received his Doctoral Degree in Leadership Studies at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.

In, 2014, Dr. Rodriguez established his own business, serving as President of Rodriguez Professional Business Solutions (RPBS) and providing consultation services and specializing in grant writing, strategic planning, and program evaluation. He has also served as Adjunct Faculty at Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University teaching Social Inequality and Qualitative Research Methods for the Department of Social Sciences for over 10 years.

In his previous role as Vice President of Compliance for a national education corporation for 17 years, Dr. Rodriguez travelled across the country and meeting with governmental officials in Washington, D.C. advocating for educational resources for children of migrant workers to have adequate accessibility to educational services. Additionally, he has extensive workforce and economic development experience, having worked with numerous private and governmental organizations to provide over $100 million dollars in grants across the country, including Texas.

Dr. Rodriguez was formerly the Chair of the IMPACT Economic Development Forum, Member of The Laredo Rotary, Member of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, and recipient of the prestigious International Trade Association of Laredo Forwarding Agencies (ALFA) Outstanding Commitment Award for enhancing educational and professional development opportunities in Mexico and the U.S.

Vanessa Alfaro

Vanessa Alfaro

Program Assistant, RGV FOCUS

valfaro@cftexas.org

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.

Katherine Díaz

Katherine Díaz

Deputy Director, RGV FOCUS

kdiaz@cftexas.org

As a Deputy Director, Katherine Díaz's passion is helping students get into and complete college, as she focuses on higher education readiness and access, degree and credential completion, and strengthening community advocacy for rigorous courses of study in K-12.

Díaz joined the RGV FOCUS team with a strong background in K-12 education. She began her career as a Spanish teacher in Missouri and expanded her expertise into the realm of college and career readiness, most recently leading high school Career & Technical Education (CTE), T-STEM, and College Readiness programs. Katherine holds a Bachelor of Science in Education in Spanish and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Missouri State University and a Master of Arts in Spanish Linguistics/Education from The University of Texas—Pan American. She is currently a doctoral student at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.

Gerald Gonzales, Jr.

Gerald Gonzales, Jr.

Deputy Director, RGV FOCUS

ggonzales@cftexas.org

As a Deputy Director, Gerald Gonzales, Jr. is responsible for working with regional partners to engage with district and campus leadership, education service centers, workforce partners, and institutions of higher education for implementation of the RGV FOCUS strategic priorities, specifically in the workforce realm.
 
Prior to joining the team, Jerry worked for 14 years in the public and private sectors in workforce development, economic development, university advancement fundraising, business development and public administration. 
During his tenure with Workforce Solutions Alamo in San Antonio, Jerry coordinated collaborative efforts to secure state funding for local employers from the Texas Workforce Commission for employee customized skills training. Jerry served as an Education and Workforce Development Committee member of the San Antonio Manufacturing Association and San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
 
Jerry was selected as one of ten chosen throughout the U.S. to work for the City of Dallas in the City Manager's Office Management Development Associate Program. He also spent 3 years working in economic development as the Assistant Director for the Eagle Ford Shale Community Development Program at UTSA.
 
Jerry earned his AAS from San Antonio College, his BA in Communication from UTSA and his Masters of Public Admin from St. Mary's University.

Clarissa Torres

Clarissa Torres

Deputy Director, Programs

ctorres@cftexas.org

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.