MEET OUR TEAM

Dr. Mary Edna González, Executive Director

Dr. Mary Edna González has dedicated her life to promoting social change through her community engagement, professional experiences and academic background. Over the past decade, Mary has helped classrooms, organizations, and companies, embrace and understand how to strategically support transformative change.

Mary received her bachelor’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master’s Degree from St. Edward’s University, and her Doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction- Cultural Studies in Education at UT-Austin.

Previously, she has worked at the National Hispanic Institute, the University of Texas at Austin, and as the Assistant Dean for Student Multicultural Affairs at Southwestern University. Most recently, Dr. González was the Assistant Director for the Partnership for the Future of Learning at the National Public Education Support Fund.  Currently she is the Executive Director for the Mexican American School Board Association.

Most recently, Mary was awarded the “Champion for Children” title by the Equity Center, a Texas-based nonprofit organization that strives to create a more equitable public school finance system, as well as the “Leadership Award” by Equality Texas for her leadership advocating for LGBTQ equality. In 2015, she was the youngest inductee into the El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame 

In her individual capacity as a Texas resident, she serves in the Texas House of Representatives as State Representative for House District 75 (El Paso County). Mary serves as the Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, as well as on the Public Education Committee in the Texas House. She is currently serving her second term as Vice Chair for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and the Chair of the new Texas House LGBTQ Caucus. Nationally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, and as Co-Chair for the Board of Latino Legislative Leaders.

Mary lives in the community she grew up in on the Texas/Mexico border, surrounded by goats, horses, and dogs.

Lesley Rivas López, Chief Operations Officer

Lesley Rivas López (she/her/ella) is a graduate student in the Department of Education Leadership and Policy at The University of Texas at Austin. She currently serves as a Mentoring Coordinator and Research Assistant for Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Academic Success), a research-based mentorship program for boys and young men of color in the Austin area. Her research interests include the educational access and attainment of Latinx students across the pipeline, ethnic studies, and educational equity for underserved students through policy reform and the building of culturally-responsive support models.

Lesley earned her M.Ed. in Education Policy from UT-Austin and a B.A. in Latinx Studies and Spanish from the University of Michigan. She is originally from Chicago, Illinois and is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. Being a first-generation Latina scholar, Lesley is deeply passionate about changing the educational opportunities for her community through her research and advocacy efforts. 

As the operations specialist, Lesley manages membership and sponsorship processes. 

Pedro Ortiz Menchaca, Director of Organizational Advancement

Pedro Ortiz Menchaca is a student at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science. His passions include migration, criminal justice reform, public health, and the art of floristry on the side. Born in Mexico, his DACA immigration status has informed his politics and inspired his advocacy, whether through direct counseling of peers through undergraduate programs or working at the capitol in a legislative analyst capacity. 
 
Pedro handles internal and external communications, including the organization’s social media presence, membership newsletters, and event materials.

Adriel Bustillos, Events Fellow

Adriel Bustillos embodies the fusion of his first-generation student status with his second-generation American identity, proudly representing El Paso, TX, while navigating the academic landscape at the University of Texas at Austin. Pursuing a dual major in Business Administration and Government, he delves into the intricate dynamics of free-market economies and their profound societal implications. His exploration encompasses the realms of consumerism, educational accessibility, and standards of living, fueled by an unwavering commitment to comprehending and enhancing the world around him.

Adriel’s journey is marked by impactful experiences, including his role as a Democratic Development Fellow in Panama City with International IDEA, where he contributed to fostering democratic principles. Additionally, he has had the honor of serving as a Legislative Aide to Representative Mary Gonzalez in the Texas House of Representatives, actively engaging in the legislative process to enact positive change in his community.

Paula Botello, Communications Intern

Paula Botello is a third year student at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a BFA in Art History with a Business minor. Her passions include activism, expanding educational opportunities, and criminal justice reform. Born in Laredo, Texas, Paula grew up in an educational system for a majorly hispanic bordertown. This allowed her to realize the importance of the value of education; a passion that was influenced by her mother who works as a school teacher. In the future, Paula hopes to combine her personal and professional history to amplify the voices for those fighting for better representation and leadership in hispanic educational spaces.