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Board of Directors

Juan Garcia

Originally from Lima, Peru, Juan Garcia is a graduate of the Harvard Business School program of Leadership Best Practices. He currently oversees the Strategic Partnerships for the Center for Equity in Learning at ACT, working with existing and new partnerships fulfilling ACT’s mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success.   Prior to joining ACT, Mr. Garcia was the Executive Director of ICAN. In this role he became a champion of college access and readiness for the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN). He was able to established relationships with school, district administration, state and local leaders, as well as other nonprofits to reach ALL students, ensuring that these students were aware of the support that was available to them for pursuit of higher education.  He is fluent in Spanish.



Sonia Reyes-Snyder
Vice President

Originally from El Salvador, Sonia is the Executive Officer for the Office of Latino Affairs, Iowa Department of Human Rights. In this role Sonia advocates and serves as an ongoing resource for Iowans of Latino heritage, government agencies, businesses and other organizations by coordinating and participating in economic, social and cultural efforts statewide. She has been doing grassroots work with the Latino Community in Iowa for almost 20 years assisting victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, working in dropout prevention with Latino youth in high school and college, with Latino families who are involved with the Department of Human Services helping them reach their goals and in her last position as the Regional Director at Proteus, she worked to help migrant and seasonal farm workers in Iowa reach their educational, health and personal goals.



Gisella Aitken-Shadle

Originally from Lima, Peru Gisella is District Adult Education and Literacy Development Director for Northeast Iowa Community College. She has more than twelve years of experience in adult education. She has a Master’s in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a focus in Human Rights and minor in Political Science, both from the University of Dayton; and is currently pursuing her EdD in Leadership for Organizations from the same institution.  She has presented on Adult Education and ESOL at conferences in Iowa, Washington DC, Florida, South Carolina, Peru, and Bolivia. Gisella also serves on various committees in her community. Besides English, she speaks Spanish, French, and Italian, and has studied abroad at the Université Catholique de Lyon in Annecy, France. She also has a certificate in Educating Immigrant Studies from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Outside of work, Gisella enjoys traveling, studying foreign languages, and volunteering to work with the immigrant population.