Who We Are

Our Team

Leadership Team National Team College Success Team Board of Directors
Advisory Board

Leadership Team

  • Elissa SalasChief Executive Officer

    Elissa Salas

    Chief Executive Officer

    Elissa Salas currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of College Track, an organization dedicated to supporting first-generation college students through college completion. In her tenure at College Track, Elissa has led the organization’s expansion to Colorado, Sacramento and Watts, and will double the number of students the organization serves by 2020.

    Before coming to College Track, Elissa served as the Chief Academic Officer of the Girls Athletic Leadership School. There, she led a team of educators to rank among the top 25% for academic growth in Denver Public Schools. She has also served as a Senior Policy Analyst for DC Public Schools, where she managed a pilot initiative focused on the use of “response-to-intervention,” as a strategy for school reform.

    Elissa began her career in education as a Teach for America corps member at Locke High School in Los Angeles. As the first in her family to earn a college degree, Elissa holds a B.A in Political Science from the University of La Verne and a M.Ed from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

  • Julia ChihVice President of Finance & Operations

    Julia Chih

    Vice President of Finance & Operations

    Julia joined College Track in 2014 as the Vice President of Finance. Prior to College Track, she served as the Vice President of Finance and Administration for CollegeSpring. Julia has dedicated her career to improving educational equity with over ten years of broad financial management experience across city, state, and federal government as well as not-for profits. During her tenure at the National Equity Project, she provided financial and strategic leadership as the organization expanded into ten states and transitioned from a grant-funded to a fee-for-service revenue model. While working at the California Governor’s Office of Education, she worked to increase access to challenging coursework for public high school students. Julia earned her B.A. in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and holds a dual master’s degree in Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

  • Leela de Souza BranstenVice President of Development

    Leela de Souza Bransten

    Vice President of Development

    Leela joined College Track in 2013 as a consultant in Investor Relations, leading Individual Giving and Major Gifts in the Bay Area. In November 2014, she became Interim Vice President of Development and assumed the permanent role in September 2015. Prior to College Track, Leela held several positions in the private sector in marketing and sales. Most recently she worked at Genentech for almost a decade. Leela also worked for McKinsey & Company as a management consultant and following that was appointed to serve as a White House Fellow in the Clinton Administration. In a former life, Leela was a professional ballet dancer, performing internationally and throughout the country with Hubbard Street Dance Company. Leela graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago with an A.B. in Biopsychology. She went on to earn her M.B.A. and a certificate in Public Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business. While at Stanford, Leela was an academic tutor for middle school students in the I Have a Dream program in East Palo Alto. This work led to a 20-year relationship with four siblings, three of whom are now first-generation college graduates.

  • Jeannie JohnsonVice President of Programs

    Jeannie Johnson

    Vice President of Programs

    Jeannie Johnson joined College Track in 2012 as Vice President of Programs. In this role, she leads a team of College Track Site Directors to manage and refine student programming. Her personal experience of transitioning from the foster care system to college inspired her commitment to improve educational outcomes for underserved youth. She began her career as a teacher and counselor of adjudicated youth, and later became the Principal at Benjamin Holt College Prep Academy in Stockton, California, where 100% of seniors were accepted to a 4-year college. Prior to joining College Track, Jeannie served as Director of the College and Career Readiness Office for Oakland Unified School District, where she managed the District’s efforts to ensure more students graduated college-ready. Jeannie earned her B.A. in English and M.Ed. from CSU, Stanislaus.

  • Andrew NiklausInterim Vice President of Organizational Performance

  • Omar ButlerRegional Executive Director, Bay Area

    Omar Butler

    Regional Executive Director, Bay Area

    Omar returns to College Track as Regional Executive Director for the Bay Area. Most recently, he served as the Chief of Programs for the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) in New York City. In that role, Omar oversaw college access and success programming for middle school, high school, and college students. He also redesigned the expansion strategy leading to the successful relaunch of HEAF’s Brooklyn site. Omar first joined College Track in 2005 as the Student Life Director for College Track Oakland and was subsequently promoted to Site Director. In 2007, Omar was charged with leading College Track’s expansion to San Francisco where he led the site from 2007 through 2014. Under his leadership, College Track San Francisco became the largest College Track site while achieving the organization’s highest retention and college eligibility rates. In 2013, Omar received the KQED Local Hero Award for his commitment to the San Francisco community. Omar holds a B.A. in Black Studies from California State University, Long Beach.

  • Saskia PallaisRegional Executive Director, Los Angeles

    Saskia Pallais

    Regional Executive Director, Los Angeles

    Saskia joined College Track in 2014 as the founding Regional Executive Director of Los Angeles. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts. Prior to College Track, Saskia was the Family & Community Engagement Director for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Before joining the Partnership, Saskia served as the Director of Development with Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools in Washington, D.C. There, she helped the school expand from a single high school serving 250 students in temporary facilities to three permanent campuses serving 1,300 students. In 2007, Saskia left D.C. to work for Hillary Clinton in her bid to become the first female President. Earlier in her career, she worked with a private foundation on a program called Women Waging Peace Network, where she conducted research, training, and consultations for women leaders nationally and internationally. Saskia holds a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a B.A. in Theology and Women’s Studies from the University of Florida. Born in Nicaragua and raised in Miami, Saskia brings a bi-cultural experience to her work.

  • Vanecia KerrRegional Executive Director, Colorado

  • Paul FieldsDirector of College Services

    Paul Fields

    Director of College Services

    Paul joined College Track in 2014 as the Director of College Partnerships. In this role, he is responsible for developing college partnerships to reduce financial aid gaps, increase freshman persistence and improve 4-year college graduation rates. Prior to College Track, Paul was the Director of College Success for Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). He worked at HCZ for 5.5 years and played a critical role in creating the College Success department. Under his leadership, 74.5% of HCZ students were on track to graduate from a 2-year or 4-year college. Paul also serves as Vice President of IMPACT—Intelligent Men-of-color Purposefully Accomplishing College Together. He co-founded IMPACT as a student organization at Franklin and Marshall College in 2004. Paul graduated with a B.A. in Africana Studies from Franklin & Marshall College.

  • Marshall LottChief Advocate for College Completion

    Marshall Lott

    Chief Advocate for College Completion

    Marshall joined College Track in 1997 as the founding Executive Director. Marshall recruited and mentored College Track’s first class of high school students, all of who were accepted into a 4-year college. In 2002, Marshall was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and led College Track’s expansion to Oakland, New Orleans and San Francisco. In 2012, Marshall transitioned to Chief Advocate of College Completion to develop college partnerships and to work directly with our students to increase college graduation rates. Prior to College Track, he was the Site Director at the YMCA in Atlanta, Georgia. Marshall graduated from Morehouse College with a B.A. in Marketing and earned his M.B.A. from Santa Clara University. Marshall also completed the Non-Profit Leadership program at Stanford University.

  • Patrice BerrySite Director, East Palo Alto

    Patrice Berry

    Site Director, East Palo Alto

    Patrice joined College Track in 2013 as the East Palo Alto Academic Affairs Director and was promoted to Site Director in 2014. Prior to College Track, she worked for the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania. During her tenure at Penn, Patrice leveraged Netter’s University-Assisted Community School model to implement academic support strategies and postsecondary readiness programs for high school students in Philadelphia. In this role, she also co-founded Leaders of Change, which promoted college readiness for first generation, low-income students of color. Patrice earned her B.A. in Political Science from Swarthmore College and holds a M.Ed. from University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Woodrow Wilson Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellow. As a graduate student, she was a lecturer in college access and completion, youth empowerment and culturally responsive pedagogy. Currently, Patrice is completing her Ph.D. in college access and completion at Temple University.

  • Shria TomlinsonSite Director, Oakland

    Shria Tomlinson

    Site Director, Oakland

    Shria joined College Track in 2007 as the Director of College Affairs in Oakland. In this role, she developed the college-advising program and helped to double the number of students served from 105 to over 200. In 2012, Shria was promoted to Site Director. Prior to College Track, Shria served as the Program Manager at Bay Area Adoption Services, where she worked with over 200 families to complete their international adoption process, which spanned over eleven countries. She also worked in the legal department and corporate collections at Pacific Bell. Shria graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in African American Studies and was awarded the Ronald E. McNair Scholarship, which supports low-income students to enroll in and complete graduate school. Shria holds an M.A. in Public Administration from CSU East Bay.

  • Thomas MuñozSite Director, Sacramento

    Thomas Muñoz

    Site Director, Sacramento

    Thomas joined College Track in 2014 as the founding Site Director in Sacramento. Most recently, he taught math and science at PS7 in the Oak Park community which College Track serves. Thomas began his career in education as a Teach For America corps member at Tafolla Middle School on the Westside of San Antonio, Texas. During his tenure, Tafolla’s math department received distinction from the state of Texas based on the academic achievements of their students, including the number of students exceeding expected annual academic progress. Thomas’ fellow teachers recognized his work by honoring him with an Excellence in Teaching award. Thomas graduated with honors from University of California Davis with a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology and holds a J.D. from the University of San Francisco.

  • Jason ClarkSite Director, Aurora

    Jason Clark

    Site Director, Aurora

    Jason joined College Track in 2016 as Site Director in Aurora. Before joining College Track, he served as the Director of Admissions & Outreach for the School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. While there, he developed inclusive admissions practices, which increased the ethnic/racial diversity of new, graduate students from 9.7 to 21.5 percent. Jason also worked with the Denver Scholarship Foundation as a College Retention Manager and College and Financial Aid Advisor forging partnerships and deep relationships with several Colorado public and private postsecondary institutions. He was born and raised in New York City is one of the first in his family to graduate from college. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages and Literature from Colorado College and a Master of Arts in Diversity and Higher Learning from the University of Denver.

  • Lindsay JonesSite Director, Denver

  • Mike WoodwardSite Director, New Orleans

    Mike Woodward

    Site Director, New Orleans

    Mike joined College Track in 2015 as Site Director in New Orleans. Before coming to College Track, Mike taught high school mathematics at Lake Area New Tech Early College High School where he served as both the Mathematics Department Chair and a Louisiana Teacher Leader. Originally from Virginia, Mike began his career in education at the age of sixteen. While in high school, he developed a countywide tutoring program called Helping Others Help Themselves. Mike also serves as an advisor to First-generation, Low-Income Partnership (FLIP), a student organization he founded at Stanford University in 2007. Upon realizing that his most intense passion is working with youth, Mike joined Teach for America (TFA) as a corps member in 2013. Mike currently serves as the New Orleans Regional Delegate for the Ron Brown Scholar Alumni Association and is a member of the Global Shapers Community of New Orleans, the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the Young Leadership Council, and the TFA Greater New Orleans Collective. As the first in his family to earn a college degree, Mike holds a B.S. in Bioengineering from Stanford University and an M.P.H from Tulane University.

  • Tina KimSite Director, Boyle Heights

  • Marisa RamirezSite Director, Watts

    Marisa Ramirez

    Site Director, Watts

    Marisa joined College Track in 2014 as the founding Student Life Director for i.am College Track Boyle Heights. In 2015, she became the Site Director for College Track Watts. Before joining College Track, Marisa was a founding member of the KIPP Through College team for KIPP LA Schools where she was instrumental in shaping the vision of the program to ensure KIPP alumni were successful in getting to and through college. Her passion for service and social justice was inspired by her Jesuit education at Boston College where she studied Sociology and Latin American Studies. It was through tutoring and mentoring Boston area high school students, and reflecting on her personal educational experience that led to her interest in working to eradicate inequity in historically marginalized communities. After graduating, Marisa joined Teach for America where she spent two years teaching seventh and eighth grade Language Arts in Phoenix, AZ while pursuing a master’s degree in Secondary Education from Arizona State University.

  • Zoe DuskinSite Director, San Francisco

National Team

  • Chris CampbellPayroll & Benefits Manager

  • Chris (CJ) CampbellAccounting Manager

  • Elaine ChoiDirector of IT and Strategic Initiatives IT Fellow

  • Cynthia CreswellBookkeeper

  • Lisamarie GibsonRecruitment Manager

  • Stella GlodekHuman Resources Manager

  • Atziry (Itzy) GutierrezDevelopment & Marketing Manager

  • Katie KantorNational Operations Manager

  • Joshua KimDirector of Finance

  • Melody KimDevelopment Fellow

  • Stephanie LinAcademic Affairs Quality & Learning Director

  • Nicol McGoughDirector of Mental Health & Wellness

  • Ashika MaharajOffice Manager

  • Miccaela MontagueCollege Completion Quality & Learning Director

  • Maya SimpsonTalent Fellow

  • Nicole TerrizziBay Area Director of Development

  • Jonathan ThorntonManaging Director of Development

  • Arielle VaughanExecutive Assistant

  • Shasta WeissDevelopment Coordinator

  • Margaret WinnenDirector of Human Resources

College Success Team

  • Paul FieldsDirector of College Services

  • Marshall LottChief Advocate for College Completion

  • Nadja JepsenFinancial Programs Manager

  • Brenda VelasquezCollege Success Advisor

Board of Directors

College Track is governed by a board of directors that bring together a wealth of experience in philanthropy, educational and operational management, and development of non-profit organizations.

Rob Chesnut
Andy Dreyfus
Lynn Feintech
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Cynthia Keely
Charles King
Debbra Lindo
Nancy Lue
Jillian Manus
Leo Martinez
Marc Mazur
Laurene Powell Jobs Chair and Co-founder
David Singer Vice Chair
Carlos Watson Co-founder
will.i.am
Timothy C. Wu
Roger Zamora

Local Advisory Board Members

Working closely with our board and staff, Local Advisory Board Members help build awareness, strengthen our donor base, and provide strategic support across College Track regions. Membership is by personal invitation from College Track.

NEW ORLEANS

Anne Milling, Civic Leader and Founder, Women of the Storm (Board Chair)
Sherdren Burnside, Pastor, Journey Ninth Ward Assembly of God & Founding Site Director, College Track New Orleans
Storey Charbonnet, Partner, Johnson & Rice, L.L.C.
Bill Hines, Managing Partner, Jones Walker
Malcolm Jenkins, Athlete, National Football League
Adria Kimbrough, Counsel, Kullman Law Firm
Dr. Andre Perry, Owner, A.M. Perry Consulting
Madeline West, Managing Member, West Law Firm
Andy Wisdom, President, Crescent Capital Consulting, LLC
Matt Wisdom, CEO, Turbosquid

COLORADO

Alires Almon, Executive Director, 100 Year Starship (Board Chair)
Jessica Acosta, Principal/CEO Environmental Consulting Service
Ronda Belen, Parent, Denver Public Schools
Kim DeLashmit, CEO, Orange Marketing
Curtis Esquibel, Executive Director, Denver College Attainment Network
Ron Fay, Rangeview High School Principal
Stephan Gater, Grant Specialist, Schwab Charitable

Towanna Henderson, Parent/Family Liaison, Denver Public Schools
Samuel Kidder, Attorney, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP

Dan Koken, Founder and Director, Denver Test Prep

Ivan London, Associate, Bryan Cave

Abel Medrano, Advisor, Cresa

Morris Price Jr., Executive Director, City Year Denver
Shannon Solomon, College Track Parent Delegate

SACRAMENTO

Kathy McKim, Vice President External Affairs, AT&T (Board Chair)
Jennifer Ablog, Community & Government Relations Manager, Kaiser Permanente
Nathan Cox, Senior Vice President & Market Manager, U.S. Bank
Brian Dean, Vice President & Senior Relationship Manager, U.S. Bank
Kari Dohn Decker, Managing Director, Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase
Yen Marshall, Area Director – AT&T External Affair, AT&T
Jake Mossawir, President/CEO, St. HOPE
Akosia Robinson, College Track Parent
Jay Thomas, Principal, Thomas/Ferrous
Nathan Torinus, Chief Operating Officer, Genovese Burford & Brothers
Angelo Williams, Legislative Director, CA Student Aid Commission

LOS ANGELES

Laura Wasserman, Movie Music Supervisor and Owner, Avenger Entertainment
Erica Flores, Senior Manager Finance - Global Logistics and Planning, Mattel
Tamara Houston, Founder & CEO, ICON MANN and Roundtable Entertainment
Tracey Monroe, Executive Director, UBS Asset Management
Antonio Villaraigosa, Former Mayor of Los Angeles<