CollegeDreams.org

CollegeDreams.org

The harder I work the luckier I get!

Staff

  1. Kim DeSimone, MSW

    Kim DeSimone, MSW

    TRiO/Talent Search Director

    kdesimone@collegedreams.org

    University of California, Santa Cruz

    Psychology and Women's Studies

    Syracuse University

    Masters in Social Work

    Kim joined College Dreams in 2011. She has her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Women’s Studies from UC Santa Cruz and her Master’s in Social Work from Syracuse University. Kim has over 20 years of experience in positive youth development work. She worked in New York City with Big Brothers Big Sisters Corporate Mentoring Program and then for the Children’s Aid Society and then as the Director of the Community School program in Spanish Harlem, New York. She then went to work for The Village for Families and Children in Hartford, Connecticut and supervised after school programs, Family Resource Centers and truancy prevention projects. Kim is passionate about providing positive opportunities for youth and helping them create a path that fits their dreams for their future. She lives with her husband and two children on a 36-acre farm in the Applegate Valley and has 17 cows and over 40 chickens.

  2. Brenda Aguilera, BA

    Brenda Aguilera, BA

    Project Coordinator

    baguilera@collegedreams.org

    Southern Oregon University

    English/Writing

    Rogue Community College

    Transfer Degree

    Brenda moved to Southern Oregon in 1993 with her husband and four children. In 1998, she began volunteering at Allen Dale Elementary School which lead to her first job as an Educational Assistant for Grants Pass District 7. Throughout the years, she changed schools and positions which lead her to go back to school to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Writing with a Minor in Spanish from Southern Oregon University so that she could become an English Language Learner Teacher. She taught for three years at Grants Pass High School where she started the MEChA Club. Thus began her passion for being an advocate for the Latino Community in Josephine County. She began working for College Dreams in 2011 where she can focus on working and supporting all students and families.

  3. Rebecca Clark , BA

    Rebecca Clark , BA

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    rclark@collegedreams.org

    Eastern Washington University

    Applied Psychology

    Rebecca has worked for College Dreams since 2001. She is passionate about working with young people and helping them achieve their dreams. She graduated from Eastern Washington University with a Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology and played four years of college basketball in her time there. Rebecca worked for juvenile justice centers in Kennewick and Bellingham Washington for nine years. And then worked as a school counselor for nine years at Glendale Schools, Fleming Middle School, Eagle Point Junior High and Evans Valley Elementary School. Rebecca has been coaching Lady Caver’s Tennis since 2009. Rebecca love spending time with family. She loves travelling and playing tennis and golf with her husband.

  4. Jenifer Perry, BS

    Jenifer Perry, BS

    WIA Program Manager

    jperry@collegedreams.org

    Southern Oregon University

    Psychology, Minor Health Education

    Jen grew up in the Rogue Valley and attended Grants Pass High School. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Southern Oregon University she had the opportunity to join the College Dreams team and has gratefully served youth in the Rogue Valley there for 13 years. Jen is a certified Suicide Prevention Trainer and an Oregon Certified Prevention Specialist. After working as a College Preparation Specialist she began managing the Career Build Program where she connects youth with opportunities to explore a variety of career paths through paid work experience and innovative community connections. Jen brings a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion to our work at College Dreams and is involved in several local Collective Impact projects serving alternative education students. Jen enjoys camping, fishing, and spending time with her local extended family. She is thankful to be raising her two children with her husband in Southern Oregon.

  5. Monet Talty, BA

    Monet Talty, BA

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    mtalty@collegedreams.org

    Southern Oregon University

    Human Communication, Minor Psychology

  6. Jann Taylor, MA

    Jann Taylor, MA

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    jtaylor@collegedreams.org

    Jann is a graduate of Illinois Valley High School. She obtained a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Education from Southern Oregon University. She taught middle school where she was named as an Oregon Teacher of the Year. She attended the University of Oregon where she received her administrator certification and served as a middle school principal and a curriculum director for both Three Rivers and Grants Pass school districts. Upon retiring, Jann came to work for College Dreams, deeply committed to helping low income students navigate the challenges of college enrollments, financial aid and scholarships. Jann's husband, Scott, is part of the Taylor Sausage family in Cave Junction. Jann and her husband are avid travelers with a special interest in wildlife photography. She also enjoys rafting, backpacking, showing horses, and scuba diving.

  7. Rene Cardiff, MA

    Rene Cardiff, MA

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    rcardiff@collegedreams.org

    Oregon State University

    Physical Education

    University of Oregon

    Athletic Administration

    University of Oregon

    Administrative License

    Rene is an Oregon native and grew up in the Willamette Valley. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University, he began his career in education at Roseburg High School. In 2013 after 34 years in education he retired from Grants Pass School District where he was an administrator. Along the way he picked up his master’s degree and Administrative License from University of Oregon. As principal at South Middle School he saw up close the impact that College Dreams had on students and wanted to be a part of it. He joined College Dreams the fall after his retirement. When Rene is not working as a College and Career Specialist, he enjoys music, fishing, kayaking, golf and most outdoor activities. His true enjoyment is hanging out with his family that includes his wife Mary (45years), 2 adult children, and 2 awesome grandkids. He loves his Gramps time!

  8. Troy McNichols, MA

    Troy McNichols, MA

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    tmcnichols@collegedreams.org

    Puget Sound Christian College

    Christian Education

    University of Phoenix

    Master's in Organizational Management

    Troy graduated from Crater High School in 1988 before attending Puget Sound Christian College that next fall in Seattle, Washington. Troy obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from PSCC in 1993. Troy then served as the Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Coach at PSCC until Feb 2002. He then worked on and obtained his Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix in 2003. Troy moved back to the Rogue Valley to work for Crater High School in 2005 as a Transition Specialist. As a Transition Specialist, Troy’s role was to assist students in the Modified Diploma program find meaningful work experiences and also assist in equipping them with necessary life skills. Troy began his time with College Dreams in February of 2015 and he has been instrumental in assisting with the development of a “College Going” culture at Central Medford High School.

  9. Trevin Mikels

    Trevin Mikels

    Office and IT Specialist

    tmikels2@collegedreams.org

    Rogue Community College

    AAOT

    Southern Oregon University

    Accounting, in progress

  10. Elyse Bowler, BA

    Elyse Bowler, BA

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    ebowler@collegedreams.org

    University of Alaska, Anchorage

    English

    Elyse grew up in the great outdoors of Alaska playing broomball on the ice and found herself happiest when serving her community. Throughout college, she worked as a Student Union Resource Assistant and Student Life Resident Adviser running community events to promote a sense of belonging on campus and to provide a space for all students to connect. After graduating with her Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Alaska Anchorage her craving for adventure and serving communities in need led her to join AmeriCorps. First stop was Austin, Texas where she discovered her passion for nonprofit work. Elyse chose to serve another year as an AmeriCorps member but this time adventure took her back to the Pacific Northwest. Immediately falling in love with Southern Oregon and the College Dreams mission, Elyse finished her year of service with an opportunity to officially join on staff the summer of 2015. For the past three years, Elyse has been working as a College & Career Prep Specialist at Lincoln Savage Middle School, South Middle School, and Hidden Valley High School, where she also runs an after-school hour class.

  11. Frank Boothby, MA

    Frank Boothby, MA

    IDA Program Manager

    fboothby@collegedreams.org

    Clackamas Community College

    AAOT

    Portland State University

    BA - History

    Portland State University

    Masters Degree - Education, Policy, Foundation and Administration

    Frank joined College Dreams in 2015 as program specialist for the IDA (matched college savings) Program. He attended and received his Bachelor's in History and a Master’s in Education from Portland State University in 2005 and 2006. Prior to his work at College Dreams, Frank worked for several colleges and universities, mostly in financial aid and veteran affairs. Before his career in higher education, Frank spent nearly a decade in the US Navy as an Aerographer's Mate, better known as a weatherman. He was fortunate enough to travel the world and had the opportunity to live and work in Japan for four years. Frank recently became the IDA Program Manager and is excited about the future of College Dreams. Frank is passionate about helping students avoid the pitfalls of student debt. Frank lives with his partner and his twin boys who recently graduated from high school.

  12. Tobin Mikels, BS

    Tobin Mikels, BS

    Work Experience Project Coordinator and College and Career Preparation Specialist

    tmikels3@collegedreams.org

    Southern Oregon University

    Communication Studies

    Tobin joined College Dreams in 2015. He attended Rogue Community College and went on to earn his Bachelor's of Science in Communication Studies at Southern Oregon University. Tobin is passionate about seeing youth grow and meet their boundless potential, so working as a College and Career Preparation Specialist with College Dreams has been a great fit for him. He also serves as the Work Experience Project Coordinator - helping students to complete internships, connect with local businesses, and learn vital job skills. Tobin has enjoyed growing up in southern Oregon and plans to raise his family in the Rogue Valley. During his free time, he enjoys travel, sports, swimming, and spending time with his wife, Taylor, and young daughter, Mia.

  13. Erica Ledesma, BA

    Erica Ledesma, BA

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    eledesma@collegedreams.org

    University of Oregon

    Majors: Cultural Anthropology Ethnic Studies & Spanish

    Erica is a first-generation Latinx woman born and raised in Jackson County. She graduated from Phoenix High School and pursued her bachelors at the University of Oregon, triple majoring in Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, and Spanish. During her time at U of O, she spent her time getting involved on campus and became the CoDirector of the Multicultural Center allowing her to develop a social justice lens that she uses to understand and work with students from all backgrounds. For the past three years Erica has been working for College Dreams a College and Career Preparation Specialist.

  14. Kurt Hildebrand, BA

    Kurt Hildebrand, BA

    Executive Director

    khildebrand@collegedreams.org

    Seattle Pacific University

    Major: English Literature

    Kurt grew up in Medford. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in English from Seattle Pacific University, he worked in copywriting, editing, and media relations. He then did research for the University of Washington on the foster care system. In 2006 he moved to Haiti to do research and grant writing for the National Human Rights Defense Network. In 2009, he became the Haiti director for MCC, a relief and development organization. He oversaw projects in education, reforestation and disaster response, including the 2010 earthquake. He returned to Oregon in 2016 and joined the College Dreams team. In January 2018 he succeeded Tom and Judie Drummond, who retired after 20 years of visionary leadership. Kurt loves the spirit of collaboration and innovation in the Rogue Valley. He lives in Medford with his wife and daughter. They miss Haiti’s beaches, but enjoy the trees and tide pools of the Pacific Northwest.

  15. Jennifer Bruce, BS

    Jennifer Bruce, BS

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    jbruce@collegedreams.org

    Southern Oregon University

    Human Services

  16. Valeria Carrillo, BA

    Valeria Carrillo, BA

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    vcarillo@collegedreams.org

    Texas State University

    Spanish

  17. Randi Stuart, MA

    Randi Stuart, MA

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    rstuart@collegedreams.org

    Portland State University

    Psychology

    Portland State University

    Master's in Education

    Randi is a Southern Oregon native, born and raised in the Valley. Upon graduation from Rogue River High School, she found herself moving around Oregon and eventually settling in Portland to continue her studies. Randi graduated from Portland State University with a BS in Psychology and later a Masters of Science degree in Education. She has worked at a variety of jobs ranging from UPS runner to RCC History instructor. Randi currently works with students at GPHS and Gladiola campus as well as being an assistant Cross Country coach at GPHS.

  18. Dawn Boyd, BA

    Dawn Boyd, BA

    Office Manager

    dboyd@collegedreams.org

    George Fox University

    Management/Organizational Leadership

  19. Jose Medina, BS

    Jose Medina, BS

    IDA Program Specialist

    jmedina@collegedreams.org

    Southern Oregon University

    Business Administration/Marketing

    Rogue Community College

    Oregon Transfer

    Emmaus Bible College

    Certificate

  20. Katarina Smith, BS

    Katarina Smith, BS

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    ksmith@collegedreams.org

    Western Oregon University

    Economics

    Katarina graduated from Western Oregon University’s Honors Program with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. While business and behavioral economics are interests of hers, after being a Resident Assistant in her senior year of college, she discovered her true passion: serving students. Katarina, a graduate of Rogue River High School, recently joined College Dreams after working at Rogue River for a couple of years in the Special Education department and with the GEAR UP program. She approaches her work with a student-first mindset and a commitment to finding the best path for her students based on their needs, goals, and abilities. Traditional college might not be for everyone, but having a post-secondary plan is, and she enjoys helping students and families through that process. Katarina enjoys spending time with family and friends, planning events, cooking, and gardening.

  21. Adele Garcia, BA

    Adele Garcia, BA

    College and Career Coach, AmeriCorps Member

    agarcia@collegedreams.org

    University of New Mexico

    Psychology

  22. Lidia Tavarez, BS

    Lidia Tavarez, BS

    College and Career Preparation Specialist

    ltavarez@collegedreams.org

    Southern Oregon University

    Art

    Shasta College

    Psychology