22 West 35th Street, Suite 201
National City, CA 91950
San Diego County
Tel: 619-420-4499 Fax:619-420-4501
PIQE’s Headquarters (HQ) is located in the San Diego area, where PIQE’s work first began back in 1987. At HQ, the team is responsible for the support, administration, and oversight of PIQE’s 10 regional offices in California and work outside of California.
Sonia Rodriguez – Chief Operating Officer
Sonia C. Rodriguez serves as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Parent Institute for Quality Education, managing day-to-day operations of the organization, including accounting, program development, operations, and marketing, as well as heading up implementation of the strategic plan adopted by the PIQE Board of Directors in 2014. She is also Executive Director of PIQE’s Kern County Regional Office.
Before assuming her current responsibilities, Ms. Rodriguez served as Executive Vice President for Education of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, President and CEO of Education Associates of America, and President and CEO of the LAAMP/LEARN Regional Education Reform Alliance in Los Angeles. She joined the Office of California Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin as Chief Advisor and Policy Coordinator and later served as Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Leadership. In the administration of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Ms. Rodriguez served as Secretary of Education for the Office of the Governor. She was appointed Vice Chair of President Bill Clinton’s White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Ms. Rodriguez also served as Chief Liaison at the National Center on Education and the Economy in New York and as a consultant to the National Alliance for Restructuring Education. A member emeritus of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Ms. Rodriguez has worked as a teacher, reading specialist, principal, and administrator in school districts in Texas and Colorado.
Ms. Rodriguez lives in Keene, California, adjacent to the Cesar Chavez National Monument, with her husband, Arturo S. Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers. Together, they have dedicated their careers to improving the lives of the most underserved and underrepresented families in the country.
Patricia Mayer – Vice President of Program Development
As Vice President of Program Development, Patricia Ochoa-Mayer is responsible for monitoring the overall quality of PIQE’s programs at each of the 10 regional offices in California. She leads a team of PIQE Professional Development Trainers and Curriculum Writers. Having worked at PIQE for the past 28 years, Ms. Ochoa-Mayer collaborated with PIQE co-founder Dr. Alberto Ochoa in the design of PIQE’s signature program curriculum. She has overseen the development of all PIQE programs and has been instrumental in expanding PIQE’s Parent Engagement Program across the nation and internationally through the Best Practices Licensing Agreements. She has personally trained staff in thirty-three districts in Montana, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, Maryland, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Ohio, and Mexico.
Prior to her promotion to V.P. of Program Development, Ms. Ochoa-Mayer was Executive Director for PIQE’s San Diego regional office for 5 years. She has a long history with PIQE, having volunteered as PIQE’s first facilitator in 1987 prior to joining the team. For over 45 years, Ms. Ochoa-Mayer has dedicated her career to achieving economic and social equality through education. She was an elementary school teacher in her native country, Mexico. In 1983, she obtained a California Teaching Credential and worked as a bilingual teacher in both Mexico and the United States. Ms. Ochoa-Mayer has a license in Educational Psychology and an M.A. in Education. In 2003 she graduated from the National Hispana Leadership Institute.
Ms. Ochoa-Mayer is passionate about human rights, especially in relation to the indigenous people of the Americas. She has traveled and lived in small villages in southern Mexico where she learned to appreciate the impact of community organizing. For the past 18 years, she has organized fundraising events to support education projects for the indigenous population in Mexico. Ms. Ochoa-Mayer feels particularly proud of having marked her 60th birthday by accomplishing one of her dreams: to walk and finish in 30 days the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile pilgrimage in Northern Spain. She is married to Joe Mayer and has three children and three grandchildren. She enjoys traveling as well as dancing and playing “Jarocho” music.
Norma Garcia – Vice President of Operations
Norma Garcia is PIQE’s Vice President of Operations, a position she has held for over nine years. Ms. Garcia is responsible for managing and supervising the program operations of PIQE’s ten regional offices throughout California. She ensures each regional office operates within its budget and meets its annual program projections. Ms. Garcia also plays a significant role in the implementation of PIQE’s strategic plan in its various offices. It was under her leadership that PIQE developed its current operational structure and systems, integral components of PIQE’s expansion.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Garcia was Executive Director at three different PIQE regional offices in Southern California, successfully managing them for five years. Through this experience, she gained invaluable insights into the strategies and approaches that work best at the regional level. Ms. Garcia has a B.A in social work from California State University, Los Angeles. She has participated in numerous leadership programs, including Gallup Leadership Institute, Center of Leadership, and National Hispana Leadership Institute.
Ms. Garcia’s proudest moment as a parent was witnessing her daughter, Carolina, obtain a B.A from University of Riverside, an experience that drives her career, and that she hopes to help replicate for all PIQE’s parent graduates. An avid reader and soccer enthusiast, she enjoys running and hiking.
Alma El Issa – Vice President of Public Relations & Marketing
As PIQE’s Vice President of Public Relations & Marketing, Alma El Issa leads organization-wide marketing, public relations, communications and community outreach efforts. She was responsible for implementing PIQE’s new brand throughout each of the regional offices. Prior to her elevation to this role, Ms. El Issa served as Executive Director of PIQE’s Fresno regional office. Under her leadership, the Fresno office was transformed into one of the best resources of educational support for parents of K-12 children in the Central Valley. Ms. El Issa increased the organization’s capacity of serving 23 schools to 55 schools per year. Prior to joining PIQE, Ms. El Issa worked at Mexican American Prevalence and Services Survey (MAPSS), where she gained substantial research experience.
Ms. El Issa graduated in 2003 from California State University, Fresno with a B.A. in Psychology and Chicano Latino Studies with a minor in Woman Studies, a Victim Advocacy Certificate through the Criminology Department and an Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate through the Psychology Department. In 2011, Ms. El Issa completed the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute program, and, in 2012, she served on Fresno Unified School District’s Graduation Task Force, where she and others developed a set of recommendations to decrease the high school dropout rate in Fresno. A Central California Latina Network (CCLN) board member anda member of the Central California Bilingual/Dual Language Consortium. Ms. El Issa was instrumental in strengthening the English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC) and dramatically increasing parent participation in her daughters’ school.
Ms. El Issa resides in the Central Valley with her family. She and her husband, Jean “Johnny” El Issa, are proud parents of four–Selah, Shiloh, Jonah, and Jeshuah. Ms. El Issa is one of seven daughters. Her parents, Eliseo Garcia and Maria Estella Garcia, emigrated from rural Mexico in search of the American Dream. Through her parents’ involvement in her and her sisters’ education, she witnessed first-hand the power of parental engagement.
Minerva Briseno-Diaz – Controller
Minerva Briseno-Diaz is PIQE’s Controller, a position she has held since July 2015. Ms. Briseno-Diaz is responsible for managing and integrating comprehensive financial and accounting services, including budgeting, forecasting, analysis, and grant development for all of PIQE’s ten regional offices in California, as well as for PIQE’s best practices operations outside of California.
Prior to her role at PIQE, Ms. Briseno-Diaz spent over 15 years practicing progressive accounting in manufacturing, wholesale, and non-profit management both in Mexico and the US. She was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, where she graduated from a technical high school with a certificate as a bio-chemistry technician. When she moved to San Diego in 2001, Ms. Briseno-Diaz continued her education in the adult school system, starting with English classes and working towards a GED certification. After discovering her passion for accounting while attending Chula Vista Adult School, she pursued an associate degree in accountancy from a local community college, graduating later from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Accounting and was licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in 2012. Ms. Briseno-Diaz has participated in the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting as a volunteer board member. In addition, she has volunteered as a mentor for the Hermanitas Program for MANA of San Diego, a non-profit national women’s organization whose mission is to assist young girls and women by providing them with the skills, tools and support they need to succeed.
Ms. Briseno-Diaz’s personal journey into education was motivated and supported by her parents, which is what ultimately compelled her to join PIQE. An avid member of Toast Masters Hard Hats Club, which she credits for honing her communication and leadership skills, she loves spending time with her family and enjoys the outdoors.