External Relations Team

Andrew Ferson | Director of Policy

Andrew Ferson serves as the Director of Policy and Partnerships at PIQE. In this role, he advances national, state, and local efforts to advance equitable education reform for families. Prior to this position, he was a Grant Associate with PIQE and briefly was a Federal Government Relations Analyst for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego. Before moving to San Diego, Andrew worked as a federal education policy consultant in Washington DC and as a legislative aide in the Massachusetts state legislature.

Originally from Massachusetts, Andrew received his B.A. in political science, with a minor in education, from Boston University. He earned is M.Ed in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Sade Williams, Engagement and Strategic Initiative Associate

I was born in the Bay area, but I was raised here in Central Valley in the small town of Mendota, California, with a population of 8,000. I am Bi-racial – half Jamaican and half Mexican. l represent my hometown with pride and honor. I have a passion for community involvement. At the age of 14, I started volunteering for different organizations to tutor and support other youth and loved working with youth in the community and it kind of progressed from there.  

To give back, support, encourage, and see people strive for their passions and ambitions is a fire that burns within me. Over the years I’ve had opportunities to do so many wonderful things. I worked for the United Methodist Church for about seven years as a youth pastor, and as director for Christian education. Years after I left, changed careers, and became a mother, what gives me a sense of fulfillment is my kids [that I taught] still reaching out to me and letting me know the value of that time and support. I always called them “my kids.” My dad used to tell me, “Your word is your life. If you’re saying one thing and doing something different, you don’t have any sense of self-worth and there’s no reason for you to be trusted.” I wanted to teach them the value of what we are doing in our lives, and that you need to have that integrity. 

As the Engagement and Strategic Initiative Associate for PIQE, Parent Institute for Quality Education I work to support the families through strategic initiatives and partnerships throughout the Central Valley as well as PIQE’s expanded advocacy efforts in this region of California. The overall goal is to get our parents involved and give them the tools, resources, and support that they need to be encouraged to utilize their own voice and their passion to see whatever they would like to see manifest within Central Valley and the state of California. I’m working alongside other organizations and CBOs [Community Based Organizations] that have like-minded goals for their families and the diversity of Central Valley.  

Shai Garcia-Mays, Communication Specialist 

A graduate of California State University San Marcos with a bachelor’s in Communication, Shai has experience in uplifting, engaging, and supporting various communities. During her time at California State University San Marcos, she held various leadership positions which included supporting the transition into college for many incoming students. She helped families understand the transition process and how to support their students in furthering their education. She also held a leadership position with the University Student Union, in which she planned interactive events for students to enjoy around campus.  

Shai also has experience with local non-profits supporting their marketing and awareness efforts. She has launched marketing/social media campaigns to increase engagement and overall support. Shai also has experience inside the classroom serving as an aide in the Special Education Department. She has seen the direct impact of the importance of ensuring parents play an active role in their child’s education.

In her current role serving as a Communication Specialist for the Parent Institute for Quality Education, she oversees internal communications for all 7 regional offices in California. She assists in the development of any promotional material, flyers, graphic designs, and printed collateral. She also manages our internal PIQE APP and ensures our families and staff are onboarded.

Iliana Gallego, Communication Specialist 

As Communication Specialist at the Parent Institute for Quality Education, Iliana is responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies to increase PIQE’s public awareness. In other words, telling PIQE’s life changing stories in order to support the organization’s work.

Prior to coming onboard, Iliana worked in different magazines and newspapers for the past 17 years. She has also written, edited, and translated content for small businesses and nonprofits, in English and Spanish. For five years she worked inside the classroom as an instructional aide. She knows firsthand that when the family is involved in their children’s education the children do much better.

Iliana holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM).

She enjoys meeting new people and having interesting conversations. She is convinced that everyone has a story to tell, we just must be willing to listen.

Iliana is passionate about work. She loves to learn and be proactive. She firmly believes that every dedicated, hard-working person should have the opportunity to succeed. She looks forward to supporting the organization and our families to help them fulfill their dreams.

In her free time, she enjoys decorating and organizing events, going to the beach, spending time with her family and traveling.

The mother of two grew up in the border city of Mexicali, Baja California and attended school in El Centro, California. She has lived, studied and worked on both sides of the border all her life. She is proud to be bilingual and bicultural.

Stephanie De Anda | Director of Philanthropy

Stephanie De Anda serves as the Director of Philanthropy. In this role, she leads our Fund Development team and supports our fundraising goals and our efforts to develop a Culture of Philanthropy across the organization. Prior to PIQE, Stephanie served as the Community Relations Development manager for the Los Angeles Urban League. She has incredible experience to contribute to our efforts to deepen and expand our impact in California and across the country.

Rachel Morton, Fund Development Associate

Rachel Morton serves as one of our Fund Development Associates. In this role, she supports the fund development department by aiding the development of our partnerships and strategizing our fundraising goals. Prior to PIQE, Rachel served as a grant writer for the HOPE center in Oroville. She has a tremendous amount of experience working and supporting the communities around her.

Sabrina Canepa, Fund Development Associate

Sabrina Canepa holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a writing emphasis from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing University of Colorado at Boulder, where she also taught undergraduate Creative Writing courses. While at the University of Colorado, she was elected to the Graduate Student council, hosted and organized several University clubs and events, and co-founded an art gallery. Prior to PIQE, Sabrina worked in content marketing and operations at an investment startup, where she wrote about science and tech-based startups throughout their seed fundraising and ghost-wrote for various executive team members.

She has nonprofit experience from working and volunteering at several therapeutic horseback riding barns. While immersed in volunteer and family-facing work, she learned the importance of supporting parents and prioritizing community uplifting endeavors.

As a Fund Development Associate at PIQE, she manages grants and funding opportunities. Sabrina enjoys collaborating with several departments at PIQE and working with the wonderful funding partners that make it possible to bring our programming to the community.