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.
Interim Executive Director / Program 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.
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
- Contact for: program and academy questions, sponsorship, marketing & media
Karina recently graduated from East Early College High School in Houston ISD and is part of the inaugural class of Mission Squash. She currently attends University of St. Thomas in Houston Texas where she is pursuing a degree in English. Karina works part-time with Mission Squash support the after school programming.
- Contact for: gifts, donation receipts
Shi-Kela Banks is a proud wife, and a grateful mother of four. Originally from Michigan, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2005. She went on to achieve a master’s degree in Education from Lesley University in 2009. Shi-Kela is entering her fifteenth year in the education field. She spent eight years working for the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) as a Kindergarten teacher and Interventionist. She spent five years working in the Houston Independent School District as a Fourth grade Math teacher and Instructional Excellence Coach. In this role, she helped to develop the instructional skills of beginning teachers through coaching conversations and instructional planning. During the Covid 19 pandemic Shi-Kela made the difficult decision to walk away from the classroom as her role as a mother began to supersede her role as a teacher. Shi-Kela believes “Teaching is a work of heart” and her passion for education lead her back to the classroom part time as well as accepting the opportunity to serve as the Executive Assistant with Mission Squash. As a parent of a Mission Squash scholar, she believes that Mission Squash is making a difference in young scholars lives by providing equitable access and opportunity through sports and academics. Shi-Kela recognizes the impact the program has had on her son and is excited to be a part of the Mission Squash family!
Board of Directors
Alistair Barnes, Chair
George Strake IV
Dr. Rick Cruz
Dr. Hilda R. Davis
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.
Mariella De Jong
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.