Our Team

Christina Mireles
Executive Director
650-779-5001   |   christina@peninsulacollegefund.org

Christina grew up in San Jose, CA and attended Harker Academy (grades 3-8; now known as The Harker School) and Presentation High School (9-12) on academic- and need-based scholarships. She then went on to Tufts University where she earned a BA in Political Science with thesis honors, followed by a Master in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University. Prior to joining PCF, Christina served as Deputy Director at Escuela Popular, a K-12 charter school in East San Jose that serves a predominantly Latino student population, many of whom are recent immigrants.

For nearly nine years, she spearheaded Escuela Popular’s operations – strategy, HR, compliance, legal, finance, and board relations. Christina entered the charter school landscape through Ed Tec, a mission-driven for-profit company providing back-office services to charter schools throughout the United States. Christina began her career nearly 20 years ago as an attorney with Crowell & Moring, a Washington, D.C. law firm. She is currently on the Board of Directors of Oxford Day Academy, a charter school in East Palo Alto. Given her personal story, Christina is passionate about serving minority and low-income students who need just a little extra support to realize their dreams. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling for pleasure and spending time with her three children and her husband.



Denise Villamil
Director of Career Services
650-727-6563   |   denise@peninsulacollegefund.org

Denise Villamil joins PCF after 15 years in program design/evaluation, relationship building, and management development within the corporate and non-profit sectors. Throughout her career she has been actively involved in developing diverse workforces’ personal and professional development, and consulting organizations in program management and strategic direction. She has a passion for helping individuals realize their career aspirations and highest personal potential. Denise graduated magna cum laude in Business Management from National University. A native Californian, Denise enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and giving back to the community through volunteering her time and talents to various non-profit organizations.



Katie Bettendorf
Program Coodinator
650-779-5433   |   katie@peninsulacollegefund.org

Katie Bettendorf moved to sunny California to earn a Master’s in Linguistics from UC Davis. Previously, she graduated as a Presidential Scholar of Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish, with minors in International Relations and TESOL. In between her studies, Katie worked abroad teaching English where she developed a passion for understanding how language, learning, and culture are intertwined. That passion was enhanced during her time at UC Davis, where her studies and research reframed her interests with goals of social justice and equity in learning.



Yadira Antonio
Program Coodinator
408-585-5022, ext.4033   |   yadira@peninsulacollegefund.org

Yadira M. Antonio is a native of San Jose, CA. Prior to joining PCF, she's worked as a college adviser fellow for UC Berkeley's Destination College Advising Corps (DCAC). As a fellow, she worked assisting minority, first-generation and low-income students of color with the college application process. Yadira graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. While at USC, Yadira continued to pursue her interest in education and also discovered her passion for immigration policy. Yadira is passionate about assisting and supporting school staff, students, parents and communities in order to increase students’ academic attainment.



Rocio Castaneda
Program Coordinator
650-779-5002    |   rocio@peninsulacollegefund.org

Rocio Castaneda was born in El Paso, TX along the Texas-Mexico border and lived in Juarez, Mexico until she was 10 years old. She attended Emory University in Atlanta, GA where she majored in International Studies and Spanish. Her experiences at Emory allowed her to see the great inequity in education that many students of color and first-generation Americans experience. After graduation, she joined Teach For America and taught bilingual kindergarten in Dallas, TX and later in San Antonio, TX. She is passionate about bilingual education, early childhood education, working and supporting high school graduates on their way to college, and working with immigrant communities.



Veronica A. Rueda
Program Coordinator
650-779-5000   |   veronica@peninsulacollegefund.org

Veronica A. Rueda is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Art History. A San Jose native, she attended River Glen Bilingual Immersion School and Abraham Lincoln High School. After college, Veronica served as a College Advisor at Pioneer High School through UC Berkeley’s college access program, Destination College Advising Corps. As a College Advisor, she gained experience working with first-generation, low-income, underrepresented students and helped them apply and transition to college. Veronica is passionate about empowering students and families to reach their educational goals. She also hopes to help other artists and creatives alike feel like they have a place in academia.