be_ixf;ym_202404 d_22; ct_50 YES! I want to make a difference TODAY!

2024 City Year San Antonio Idealists of the Year

In the past, City Year San Antonio has recognized one Idealist of the Year annually. In 2024, we are taking a more inclusive approach to the award.  Based on recommendations from our donors, Board, staff, and AmeriCorps Members, we have selected three candidates to honor as Idealists of the Year at our annual Ripple of Hope Gala on May 2, 2024 

Our Idealist awardees make an impactful contribution to enhance educational equity, diversity, belonging, and inclusion in our local community. They represent City Year Values of Idealism. They work to inspire others and promote constructive change in our community. We honor them for their commitment to envisioning a better community and working to see it happen. 

 

Esmeralda Alday

Executive Director for the Dual Language, ESL, & Migrant Department, San Antonio ISD.

Esmeralda Alday is the Executive Director for the Dual Language, ESL & Migrant Department in San Antonio ISD. In her current position, Esmeralda directs the work of expanding and sustaining the district’s dual language program, strengthening family and community engagement, providing services for recent immigrants, and monitoring LPAC compliance. She also coordinates and presents professional development for K-12 teachers and administrators on dual language, sheltered instruction, and TELPAS readiness.  

She collaborates across departments to ensure Emergent Bilingual students have access to advanced coursework and high-quality curriculum. Mrs. Alday brings 20 years of education experience to her leadership in SAISD. She began her career working as a sheltered instruction teacher in Houston ISD  through the Teach for America program. She then studied at the University of Texas at Arlington to earn her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

She worked as a science coach in Austin ISD from 2012 to 2015 before becoming a district and regional English Learner specialist. Prior to her role as Executive Director, Esmeralda served as a coordinator and senior coordinator for the Bilingual/ESL & Migrant department in SAISD from 2017 to 2020. Esmeralda has served bilingual students and families since 2004. She is proud to continue to serve the San Antonio ISD community in the district she graduated from in 2000. 

 

Jason Mims

Retired Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army, Director of The Mims Institute

Jason Mims, a retired US Army Infantry and Foreign Area Officer for Africa, grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and graduated from Sam Houston High School.  He earned two undergraduate degrees while on a four-year Army ROTC scholarship at the University of Notre Dame.  He holds a master’s degree in National Security from the Naval Postgraduate School.  After an enabling twenty-year military career, Jason began using his Kindness gifts to witness and celebrate academic excellence in urban ZIP codes in Florida and Texas.  The Kindness message he transmits to inner-city students through the MIMS Institute Fellows, Inc. is: “People care about your education and you can go to amazing colleges.”

Jason is a firm believer that your ZIP Code does not predict your future. Not only is he involved in supporting students in their journey toward achieving their dreams in a hands-on way, but he is also committed to holding up examples of students who are excelling at all levels to make sure that others in the community know what’s possible. Jason then follows students in whom he has invested time, belief, mentoring, and treasure.

Recognized as a 2002 Champion of Public Education, Jason challenges Emerging Leaders from low-income ZIP codes to explore, dream big, and make a difference.  Through collaboration with others, Jason witnesses the changes he wishes to see, i.e. students from his low-income ZIP code attending America’s Best Colleges.  Jason and April have been married for 40 years. Jason II is a 2005 graduate of New York University and Lima Sierra is a 2008 graduate of the University of Tampa.

In 2022, SAISD nominated Jason for the State Board of Education “Heroes for Children” award for his passionate support of students in SAISD and beyond.

 

Dr. Mike Flores

Chancellor of Alamo Colleges District

With more than 20 years of service to the Alamo Colleges District, Dr. Flores possesses the distinction of being the ninth appointed chancellor and the first Hispanic chancellor in the district’s history.

Flores’ vision for the Alamo Colleges District – eliminating poverty through education – is based on his personal experience as a child of migrant farmworkers who pursued education to gain economic and social mobility. Through his leadership, the Alamo Colleges District has launched AlamoPROMISE, a tuition-free college program for graduating high school students in Bexar County and one of the most significant initiatives implemented in the region. The program has secured over $16 million in governmental and philanthropic support to fund education for nearly 10,000 AlamoPROMISE scholars. Additionally, Flores spearheaded the launch of AlamoBOOKS+ in 2022, a groundbreaking initiative ensuring access to all required textbooks and instructional materials by the first day of class.

As a leader, Flores supports empowering students for success through high-impact teaching and learning practices, including academic advising, early access to college through high school programs and experiential learning opportunities through apprenticeships, internships, and volunteer experiences. Aligned with the vision for eliminating poverty, Flores has championed the launch of Student Advocacy Centers at each of the district’s five colleges.

During his first year as chancellor, Dr. Flores led the Alamo Colleges District and its five colleges in celebrating the recognition as the only community college system in the nation to be awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement, and visionary leadership.

Flores is nationally known as a former coach for Achieving the Dream and as a fellow for the American Council on Education, Aspen Pahara Institute, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. He conducted postgraduate studies at the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management and is in demand as a speaker at national higher education conferences. Flores was also awarded the Ohtli Award, one of the most prestigious awards given by the Mexican government, acknowledging his work to educate and empower Mexican and Mexican-American students. In 2023, he received the Baldrige Foundation Award for Leadership Excellence in Education.

Flores holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s in Political Science from Illinois State University, and a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He lives in central San Antonio with his wife Martha, a talented creative director and entrepreneur, and their daughters, Mara and Mia.

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