Staff & Board of Directors

Our Staff

Luna Rey

Executive Director

Luna Rey is an energetic and innovative leader and educator who has worked with students from kindergarten through 12th grade through the Teach for America program prior to joining Mission Squash.

Luna received her Bachelor of Arts in American studies with a concentration in English from Columbia University, where her work focused heavily on problems of equity in education. While at Columbia, Luna worked in the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Finance, where she developed extensive knowledge of college admissions and financial aid and worked to provide more support for first-generation and low-income families. In addition, she taught Columbia’s year-long Freedom & Citizenship course to low-income high school seniors living in New York City.

In 2015, Luna was hired as the founding admissions coordinator for Portfolio School, a mixed-age, project-based school in Manhattan. During her time at Portfolio, she drew upon her experiences working in the High Tech High Graduate School of Education to connect with educators and curate creative and rigorous projects for her elementary school students. She looks forward to continuing this work with Mission Squash and developing meaningful and impactful work with her scholars.

Alexandra Platt

Academic Director

Alexandra Platt is a dedicated and passionate educator who has worked with students from sixth through 12th grade through the Teach for America organization.

Alexandra received her Bachelor of Science in mathematics and economics with a concentration in human development and family studies from the University of Delaware. During her studies, Alexandra worked as a peer tutor for the University of Delaware Office of Academic Enrichment, reaching over 100 students and spanning dozens of courses. In addition, she spent much of her time volunteering as a tutor and mentor for the local Boys & Girls Club in Newark, DE.

Prior to coming to Mission Squash, Alexandra taught Algebra I and Geometry for three years at Spring Woods High School in Spring Branch ISD. Through her innovative spirit, love for technology and strong values for independence, Alexandra was recognized with the SBISD Core Value “Every Child” Award for being the first on her campus to run a 100% technology-based classroom.

Alexandra is a firm believer that “education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world” but only with adequate access and support. Alexandra is dedicated to lifelong service in low-income communities

Santiago Moran

Squash and Wellness Director

Santiago grew up in the Bronx, New York, graduating from Connecticut College with a BA in economics and minor in Latin American studies. He is an alumnus of the CitySquash program. With assistance and support from CitySquash, Santiago gained entrance to Avon Old Farms, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the Northeast, with a full scholarship. He was part of their varsity squash team all four years.

After obtaining a further scholarship to Connecticut College, he played on the men’s squash team all four years and continued to grow as a player.

Santiago’s interests outside of squash include soccer and track and field. He is excited to serve Mission Squash and help the program and the scholars reach their goals.

Maggie Trendell

College Access Director

Maggie Trendell is a passionate educator who strives to provide equity and access to all students and families through the pursuit of post-secondary education and certifications pathways. Maggie has worked with students from 5th through 12th grade for the last 14 years in Houston ISD prior to joining Mission Squash.

As the College Access Coordinator for Lamar High School in HISD, Maggie had the pleasure of learning and working with students from diverse backgrounds with a variety of goals for post-secondary. Maggie was also the Magnet Coordinator for HISD and a Magnet Coordinator for Hamilton Middle School in the Heights. She worked to make the application process streamlined and easier for HISD families by moving to an online format. She was also one of the main authors of the 2018 MPERC grant awarded to HISD for 15 million dollars to help fund STEM magnet programs at 6 different HISD schools.

Having lived in Houston for the last 17 years, being able to make a difference in the lives of Mission Squash Scholars in Houston is the highlight of her career.

Steffi Halow

Development Coordinator

Steffi recently graduated from Rice University with a Bachelors in English and Sociology and a certificate in Spanish. While Steffi considers herself a native Houstonian, she spent the first half of her life living across the country and attending international school overseas in London and Brussels. Ever since this unique childhood experience, Steffi loves meeting people of different backgrounds from across the world.

In college, Steffi concentrated in Creative Writing, and her career aspiration is to become a professional screenwriter for film and television. Steffi searches for stories that start conversations and can make a positive and meaningful impact on her community. To continue to hone her creative side, Steffi is currently writing two screenplays and scripting a podcast that features Houston activist organizations. 

Steffi was first exposed to the effects of educational inequity through her position as Senior Interviewer for Rice Office of Admissions. Tasked with interviewing—and hearing the life stories of—prospective students, Steffi noted how school districts and their resources can tangibly and severely limit students’ opportunities to expand their skill set and craft their personal narrative for admissibility into college. Steffi believed that the question of students’ “extenuating circumstances” was both too targeted and only scratched the surface of the pervading opportunity gap within the United States. 

Steffi was also a Division I varsity athlete and understands how sports can open doors and contribute important life skills. After both COVID-related safety concerns and an injury disrupted her senior year of competition, she is excited to begin running again and possibly find new training buddies within the Mission Squash teams. 

Benji Newman

Executive Assistant

Benji is a Texas native and recently graduated from the University of Houston with a B.A in history and concentration in law, values, and policy. During his time in college, Benji focused on learning about other cultures and what they faced outside of the classroom. Because of that experience, he believes in teaching the younger generations that you can be anything you want if you put your mind to it. Having been in Houston for 4 years, Benji has embraced the Houston culture and is willing to see the city grow from the ground up, starting with the younger generation, and believes Mission Squash is the place for that growth.

Benji’s career aspiration is to become a defense attorney in the state of Texas. Helping others who don’t have a voice due to the lack of resources is what drives Benji in his passion for law. Being active in Houston with youth is where it starts. Benji believes that, if we can break the cycle of injustice and racism at a younger age, then the world would be in a much better place. Bringing that same mindset to Mission Squash would not only benefit the team, but the young scholars we have with Mission Squash as well.

Benji was also a college basketball athlete before transferring to the University of Houston, and is able to understand how sports can be a gateway to furthering your education at the college level. Outside of Mission Squash, Benji’s interests include basketball and traveling. He is thrilled to serve and make a difference in the future scholars at Mission Squash and the Houston community.

Board of Directors

Alistair Barnes, Chair
Arnaud Dasprez
Noor Iqbal
Chris Laporte
Stuart McGeoch
Charlie Neuhaus
Andrew Sprague
Carol Sugimoto
Alfredo Vilas

Advisory Council

Jim Pierce
Zia Rahman
Rick Wahlstedt
Alister Walker

College Access Council

The College Access Council is a dynamic group of individuals with a passion for helping Mission Squash scholars discover potential colleges and universities. Each volunteer council member is assigned 1-2 scholars to work with weekly from 11th grade through high school graduation as they explore potential career paths, finalize school lists, and complete college applications. Our monthly council meetings ensure that our team works together to support the individual and holistic needs of each scholar during the college application process. 

Mindy Battenfield
Doo Chung
Mariella De Jong
Gayle Farris
Melissa Halow
Noor Iqbal
Luna Rey – Executive Director
Maggie Trendell – College Access Director

 

For information about joining our board or one of our councils, please contact the Executive Director.

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