Who We Are
Senior Director of Education Policy & programs
Gini Pupo-Walker is a native Nashvillian and Cuban-American and has been an educator for over twenty years. Through her role at Conexión Américas, Gini builds upon their strong reputation as a respected convener and collaborator, and will continue to accelerate their trajectory of growth in the education arena. Her tasks include identifying, convening, and building partnerships, locally and statewide, to develop a common education policy agenda that improves outcomes students of color across Tennessee. Prior to taking this position she was the Executive Director of Family and Community Partnerships for Metro Nashville Public Schools where she worked with families, community organizations, governmental entities and foundations in order to improve education in Nashville. She also worked as a teacher at the high school and college level for over 10 years, in Seattle, San Diego and Nashville. Ms. Pupo-Walker serves on the Executive Board of Trust of the Memorial Foundation, and on the board of FUTURO. She is a Master Fellow for NCLR’s National Institute for Latino School Leaders and she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, volunteering, traveling, gardening, and dancing salsa. You can follow her on Twitter @ginipupo
Alexza Barajas Clark, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Policy & Advovacy
A storyteller at heart, Alexza enjoys cultivating meaningful stories about underrepresented groups with particular emphasis in the Latino/a community. She is a first-generation Mexican-American who was raised in Anaheim, California. Inspired by the stories of her community, Alexza has worked with some of the nation’s most high-profile television news programs including, Telemundo-Los Angeles, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, The Nightly News with Brian Williams, MSNBC, The Today Show, and Dateline NBC. As a native Spanish speaker, Alexza has also managed cultural adaptation, translation and interpretation projects for diverse clientele including Fortune 500 Companies, non-profits and local to federal governments. She earned a doctoral degree in communications from the University of Utah, a master’s degree in mediated communication from Pepperdine University, and an undergraduate degree in rhetoric and broadcast journalism from California State University, Long Beach. In addition to her professional and academic pursuits, Alexza serves on the board of St. Luke’s Community House and the Nashville Urban Debate League, a non-profit organization that creates and supports policy debate programs in Metro Nashville Public Schools. She currently resides in Nashville with her husband Josh and their daughter Jackie.
engagement & leadership development Manager
Vilmaris González is the Engagement and Leadership Development Manager for the education policy team at Conexión Américas. In her role she manages The Mosaic Fellowship, an innovative statewide initiative to create a strong network of education leaders of color who strive for educational equity for all students. Vilmaris is Tennessee raised, but a New Jersey Boricua at heart. Growing up in Tennessee she understands the true necessity for educational equity, and what that looks like for underrepresented groups in rural communities. Her rooted passion for education stems from her time working with youth in the US and internationally in both Spain and Romania. Shortly after graduating from the University of Tennessee, she relocated to the Dominican Republic to work at Global Glimpse, an international nonprofit that focuses on cross-cultural educational and leadership development opportunities for American youth. She then worked at a bilingual school in Santiago for two years before deciding to return to Tennessee in the hopes of being a change agent for her home state. When Vilmaris is not working she enjoys cooking, traveling, and dancing bachata and salsa.
Bryce Warden is finishing his graduate study in public policy at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. He holds bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Spanish (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Mississippi. After college, Bryce worked for the University of Mississippi’s School of Education where he facilitated university-community partnerships to develop programs centered on college access for rural, underserved students. On the higher education policy track at Peabody, he has worked on a qualitative research project studying the “messages” that parents of first-generation students send to their students. His professional interests lie along the lines of equitable access and success for all students.