Central Staff

ARZIE GALVEZ, Director

Arzie Galvez is the director of Advanced Learning Options which provides districtwide support for Advanced Placement (AP), Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), GEAR UP 4 LA, Gifted and Talented Programs (GATE), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ASC WASC).

LOIS BRAMWELL, Specialist

Lois Bramwell is a District specialist with Advanced Learning Options who co-directs assessment and program effectiveness for the GEAR UP 4 LA grants with the Los Angeles Unified School District serving over 6,000 students. She provides leadership training on using data as a decision-making tool and troubleshoots program design models and procedures to integrate District and GEAR UP services. She oversees collection and monitoring of formative and summative GEAR UP data for analysis and reporting of annual reports and internal fiscal accountability. Prior to GEAR UP, Ms. Bramwell served as a mathematics middle school teacher and coach for 14 years.

MICAELA VAZQUEZ-HAHN, Specialist

Micaela is a District specialist with Advanced Learning Options who co-directs development and outreach for the GEAR UP 4 LA grants in the Los Angeles Unified School District, serving approximately 6,000 families. She brings ten years of leadership in GEAR UP Project Higher Learning (PHL) III in Northeast LA, first as an onsite manager, then as project director. Ms. Vazquez-Hahn successfully managed a 40-person staff and administered GEAR UP services for over 3,400 students across ten middle and five high schools. Ms. Vazquez-Hahn served as a special education teacher for ten years, grew up in the community, and was the first member of her family to go to college. Prior to GEAR UP, Ms. Vazquez-Hahn taught Special Education in middle school.

JANICIA CENTENO-CASTILLO, Program Coordinator

Janicia has over 19 years of experience with LAUSD and has been with GEAR UP since 2008. She oversees the implementation and integration of advising/counseling, mentoring and tutoring services. She develops yearly and long range service plans, acts as the liaison between outside partners and school sites to deliver student and teacher services, and provides professional development. Ms. Centeno-Castillo has in-depth experience monitoring the efficacy and effectiveness of program activities, coordination of people, resources and events, and strategic planning. A former Spanish teacher, Ms. Centeno-Castillo, an ESL student herself, grew up in the area and was first in her family to go to college.

SHARON YAMADA WEST, Program Coordinator

Sharon is a program coordinator overseeing the implementation and integration of GEAR UP 4 LA grant services and works with staff to design yearly and long term counseling, tutoring and peer mentoring plans. She has been with GEAR UP since 2009 and brings with her over 25 years of teaching experience working with students Pre-K through 12. Ms. West believes that students should learn to self-advocate and is proud to work for a program that maintains this same core value.

FRIDA SAMAYOA, Parent Coordinator

Frida is the parent coordinator for the GEAR UP 4 LA grants with the Los Angeles Unified School District. In her role, she oversees the areas of parent engagement and leadership training for over 6,000 families in the downtown Los Angeles area. She has more than 25 years of experience in making parents a part of their child’s educational program.

JESSY CRUZ, Assistant Parent Coordinator

Jessy has previously worked for GEAR UP 4 LA as a college intern and Community Representative in his experience serving parents. After obtaining a B.A., Jessy aims to finish a M.S. at Azusa Pacific University. Jessy is a former student of a current GEAR UP middle school, and after being the first in his family to graduate from college, it gives him great joy to serve his very own community. Jessy is proud to work for a program that truly believes in educational equity for its students and families.

ADA CORDOVA, Office Manager

Ada has been with the GEAR UP program since 2000. As our office manager, she provides administrative support to GEAR UP central staff. She is highly organized and efficient. She is responsible for office management and bookkeeping functions, including ordering and maintaining supplies, invoicing, weekly/monthly payroll, creating filing systems, and expense tracking. In her spare time she is an avid gardener and supplies the office with the occasional bouquet.

JOSÉ MEXIA, Field Service Tech 1

Jose started working for LAUSD as a computer lab assistant at an elementary school.  Technology was not really his major but he found it to be useful and gratifying. Since then, he began to climb the LAUSD technology latter moving from the school computer lab to become the technician for the entire school.  Now he works for the ITD department as a Field Service Technician and helps keep the GEARUP department at the forefront of technology.