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Education

Former San Antonio Council Member Selected As CEO For Same Nonprofit That Helped Him As A Student

Rey Saldaña
File Photo | Ryan Loyd | Texas Public Radio

Former San Antonio City Council member Rey Saldaña is moving to Washington D.C. to become the President and CEO of the national nonprofit Communities in Schools — which provides case management for students to help them stay in school. 

Saldaña participated in Communities in Schools as a student at South San High School before attending Stanford University. He credits the organization’s case management model with giving him the support he needed to become the first in his family to graduate from high school and college.

“I'm a product of the program, somebody who has, you know, tied their DNA to being a struggling student … looking for a better picture of what my future would look like,” Saldaña said. “This is an opportunity to pay it forward for an organization that has invested so much in me.”

Jessica Weaver, the CEO of the San Antonio chapter of Communities in Schools, said it’s exciting to see a graduate of the program become its leader.

“Our students that we serve can see someone who they understand, that this is them. The opportunities that they can aspire to is represented in Rey,” Weaver said. “He represents the millions of kids that we see across the nation.”

Saldaña said his goal is to help Communities in Schools fulfill its potential to disrupt the influence of poverty on the lives of students in San Antonio and across the country.

“You are less likely — if you grow up low-income, if you grow up with a single family household, if you grow up in a rough community —  to have a better life than your parents today,” Saldaña said, pointing to research by economist Raj Chetty.

“This is an organization that is stepping into its moment,” Saldaña said. “We're asking these caseworkers, who are working across the country in 2,500 schools, to really step up to the challenge.”  

Saldaña has a master’s degree from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. He officially takes the helm at Communities in Schools in mid-March.

Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille.