The State of El Paso took place virtually in September 2020. Stay tuned for information on next year’s series!
Special thanks to our 2020 Star Sponsors: ADP • Chase Bank • El Paso Electric • El Paso Times • El Paso Water Utilities • Firstlight Federal Credit Union • Freeport McMoRan • GCC • GECU • Grupo Cano • HUB International • Hunt Companies • JOBE Materials • Jordan Foster Construction • Kemp Smith Law • Marathon Petroleum • Peter Piper Pizza • PRIDE Industries • Prudential • ReadyOne Industries • Texas Gas Service • TFCU • The Hospitals of Providence • University Medical Center • Verizon Wireless • Wells Fargo • Western Technical College • WestStar Bank • Ysleta del Sur Pueblo
8:50 AM – Zoom opens
9:00 AM – Opening Remarks
David Jerome • President & CEO, El Paso Chamber
9:15 AM – Keynote Panel
Dr. Ogechika Alozie • Chief Medical Officer, Las Palmas del Sol
Richard Castro • Owner/Operator, McDonald’s & Chairman, CREEED
Lizzie Choi • Educational Consultant (moderator)
Dr. Christine DeLeon • Founder & CEO, Moonshot edVentures
Lindsay Greaney • Nationally Certified School Psychologist, El Paso Independent School District
Arielle Rittvo Kinder • Partner, Transcend
Amy O’Rourke • Choose to Excel Director, CREEED
Nadia Tellez • Instructional Coordinator, Clint Independent School District
10:00 AM – Audience Q&A
10:15 AM – Closing Remarks
Arlene Carroll • Chair Elect, El Paso Chamber Board of Directors
Dr. Ogechika Alozie (MD MPH FACP AAHIVS) is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Infectious Diseases fellowship program. Prior to this he received his medical degree from the University of Benin in Nigeria and then completed an internship and residency at the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he got his introduction to Digital Health. He is also board-certified in clinical informatics by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM), making him one of less than 100 such certified physicians in the state of Texas.
Dr. Alozie is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Del Sol Medical Center, where he oversees clinical quality, physician alignment and partners on healthcare innovations. He has also been the CEO of Southwest Viral Med (SWVM) a non-profit organization in El Paso responsible for the care of over 1000 clients living with HIV since 2014. Dr. Alozie believes that patient care is the most important part of medicine. “Technology is not a replacement for patient care, but rather a way to enhance and catalyze the care our patients deserve”
As the chair, co-chair or member on multiple state committees, he represents El Paso, focused on how Health information technology can improve care. He gave a TedX – El Paso talked titled “The Digital Immigrant” in 2016, and in the same year was awarded “Best Doctor in the City 2016” by the El Paso City Magazine. In 2017, the El Paso Pharmacy Association gave his clinic the “Award for Innovative Practice”.
Richard A. Castro is a businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist who has spent decades giving back to the communities he serves.
Mr. Castro’s early career saw him work as a teacher, city manager, realtor and builder. In 1983, he found professional success with his first McDonald’s restaurant. Since then his franchise has grown to 25 restaurants in West Texas with more than 1,000 employees.
Mr. Castro has served in leadership roles at both the local and national levels. He is a former president of the McDonald’s Hispanic Owner/Operator Association and founder of McDonald’s Hispanos Triunfadores, which recognizes successful Hispanics who have a history of giving back to their communities. He also helped found Community En Accion, a community-based organization of Hispanic professionals that focuses on art and culture; the Council for Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED), an El Paso organization committed to improving college and career options for high school students; and the Borderplex Alliance, a regional non-profit organization dedicated to economic development and prosperity in the Cd. Juarez, El Paso and southern New Mexico region.
Mr. Castro has a deep commitment to education. In 1985, he initiated creation of the Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources (HACER®) Scholarship Program as a partnership of McDonald’s Owner/Operators, Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) and McDonald’s Corporation. HACER has grown to become the largest scholarship program in the country for graduating Hispanic high school students. It has awarded over $25 million to deserving scholarship recipients. HACER also served as the model for the RMHC National Scholarship Program, which is open to students of all backgrounds.
Mr. Castro has received many community and professional awards. In 1997, he received the Alumnus of the Year Award from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). In 2005, Mr. Castro was named the Hispanic Business Man of the Year by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and was also honored with the 2005 Hispanic Magazine Entrepreneur Award. He has also received the Texas Association of the Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Community Support Award. In 2014, Texas State University named its undergraduate admissions center the Richard A. Castro Undergraduate Admission Center.
Lizzie Choi currently partners with K12 education and talent development leaders during their seasons of growth and scale. She’s most recently worked with Swing Education, Moonshot edVentures, Desmos, Prepared Parents, The Pahara Institute, Strive, and Service Now. Some of her projects include hiring and organizational development, designing leadership programming for K12 education leaders as well as women and minorities in technology, building sales and customer success functions for a national middle school math curriculum, and strategic advising.
Prior to this, she was a math teacher and then eventually Summit Public School’s Chief Program Officer where she founded the Summit Learning Program, a free national program for schools interested in redesigning their schools such that students attain the skills, knowledge and habits to live a fulfilled life.
Under her leadership, the Program grew from the founding cohort of 19 schools across 10 states in 2015 to 380 schools in 40 states serving over 65,000 students by 2018. She also grew the founding team from 5 to 30+ with a focus on diversity and inclusion; by 2018, 75% of her leadership team identified as leaders of color and 60% of the team resided outside of the Bay Area.
Lizzie earned her BA in Public Policy and MA in Education from Stanford University. She has been an advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the recipient of the 2019-20 Award of Merit from the Stanford Associates and a 2017-2018 NextGen Fellow with the Pahara Institute.
Dr. Christine DeLeon, founder and CEO of Moonshot edVentures, believes in creating opportunities that allow leaders to reach their full potential. As CEO of Moonshot edVentures, Christine is responsible for surfacing and supporting a diverse set of leaders, representative of the communities they aim to serve, to design and launch the schools and programs of tomorrow in Metro Denver. Each year, Moonshot’s Fellowship provides fifteen to twenty underrepresented leaders, predominantly women and people of color, the opportunity to explore the idea of launching a school or program by supporting their leadership development, model design, and identifying the best pathway to launch. Previously, she founded Education Pioneers’ first year-long fellowship. Her other previous experiences include roles with Summit Learning, Education Cities, Denver Public Schools, the Broad Foundation, and the Boston Consulting Group. She served as a Harvard Innovation Lab Fellow and is a trained facilitator of Intergroup Dialogues, structured to explore social group identity, conflict, community, and social justice. She holds a BA in Business Administration from the University of Michigan and an Education Leadership Doctorate from Harvard University. She is an inaugural cohort member of the Pahara Next Gen Fellowship, a 2020-2021 Pahara Aspen Fellow, a 2019 Education Leaders of Color Boulder Fund recipient, and the recipient of the 2019 Sheila Bugdanowitz Award and 2020 A+ Colorado Sharpening Education Award. Christine enjoys trail running, yoga, time with family, and lives with her husband, Ian, in Edgewater, Colorado.
Lindsay Greaney is an early career school psychologist and holds a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) title from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). She has worked in special education within public schools and with special needs populations in Massachusetts, Georgia, and Texas. She deeply believes in ecological and humanistic theories of assessment, program development, intervention, and service delivery.
Her roles have included conducting psychoeducational evaluations, individual and group counseling, campus crisis team member, student support team member, and diagnostic consultation team member. While working in Georgia for a rural Title I district, she co-developed and implemented a district wide multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) plan. Within Texas she has worked as a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) for different districts within El Paso County. Prior to beginning her career within school psychology, she spent time in the private therapy setting as an ABA therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disorders.
From the diversity of these experiences across states and settings, she noted the focus of the school psychology role, the extent to which the skill set is applied, and the subsequent levels of wraparound services, community integration, and proactive strategies for resource allocation has varied greatly. This experience has strengthened her awareness of disparities within these populations as well as the importance of advocating for policy changes at local, state, and federal levels.
She holds a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Educational Studies from Salem State University in Massachusetts. She is a graduate of William James College in Boston, Massachusetts, where she earned an M.A. in Psychology and a C.A.G.S. in School Psychology. She lives with her husband, Jon, their daughter, and their three dogs.
Arielle Rittvo Kinder is a Partner with Transcend leading our Strategic Partnership efforts. Prior to joining Transcend, Arielle spent two decades working in the charter and philanthropic sectors to support the launch of new and innovative school models.
Arielle began her work in public education in 1999 as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. Through her projects at Coro, she had the opportunity to work at New Visions for Public Schools to support the launch of their first charter school resource center. She went on to work at Open Society Foundation, supporting public fund development for out of school time.
Arielle joined KIPP Southern California in 2006, as the founding Chief Operations Officer. She worked to grow the region from two to seven schools. At KIPP, she led the talent, human resources, compliance, technology, and site operations functions. In 2011, Arielle joined Rocketship Education as the VP of Strategy and Operations. There she was responsible for leading the growth to new regions and developing their replication strategies and structures.
Arielle left the charter sector in 2013 and began working in philanthropy. She started as a consultant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supporting the launch of their Next Gen Systems Initiative, a program to fund the launch of blended and personalized learning schools within districts.
In 2013, Arielle joined NewSchools Venture Fund as a Partner on the Innovative Schools team. At NewSchools, she was responsible for leading the design and implementation of their new school and redesign effort efforts.
Arielle received her BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and son.
Amy O’Rourke is the Choose to Excel Director for CREEED and draws on her years as an educator to identify and leverage education initiatives that help improve outcomes for all students and their families.
Amy began her career in the classroom. She was just a few months out of college when she moved to Guatemala City to teach kindergarten at Colegio Americano de Guatemala. Her position gave her first-hand experience implementing a high-quality dual language model in which all students are taught—and are expected to perform above grade level—in both Spanish and English.
After returning to El Paso in 2004, while she continued teaching in a combined 1st/2nd grade classroom, she engaged with community organizations to better understand the needs and educational gaps in the region. She began working with Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, a health and social justice nonprofit, to create the La Fe Preparatory School, an elementary dual language charter school serving the families of the Segundo Barrio. O’Rourke served as its first Superintendent. The La Fe Preparatory School provides a holistic approach to education that brings together wrap-around services such as health, housing, and adult education to benefit the entire community.
Most recently, Amy was the owner and manager of Stanton Street, a web and software development company that she sold in 2017 to focus on increasing educational attainment in the region.
These professional roles have given her a unique view into the inner workings of classrooms and boardrooms, insights that inform her leadership as she manages CREEED’s strategic initiatives.
Throughout her career, Amy has worked with many civic and non-profit organizations in and around El Paso. She has served as Co-Chair of the Paso del Norte Education Committee, sits on the UTEP College of Education Advisory Board, the Kids Excel El Paso Board, and the University Medical Center Foundation of El Paso Board. Amy has received numerous recognitions for her contributions to our community.
Amy has a B.A. from Williams College in Massachusetts, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Spanish. She and her husband, Beto, have three children who attend public school in El Paso.
Nadia Tellez has been a public school educator for 18 years. She has served her community as an elementary teacher, campus instructional coach, and content specialist.
An advocate for equity in education, Nadia’s current role as an instructional coordinator for Clint ISD has afforded her the opportunity to work with new teachers to the profession and influence the next generation of educators.
In 2017, she co-founded the New Teacher Academy in Clint. The system of Pathway supports for new and veteran teachers was the first of its kind in the region.
Most recently, Nadia worked on a pilot program with the Texas Education Agency that aimed to take a different approach when reviewing the quality of instructional materials.
She holds a B.A in English and American Literature with a minor in Psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso. There, she also earned a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in Early Childhood and has also attained her Texas Principal Certification. Nadia is an avid runner and lives in El Paso with her husband and three dogs.