Park City Education Foundation is delighted to welcome two new Bright Futures team members!
Tina Goette takes the helm as BF Program Director and Valeria Sandoval has already hit the ground running as the new College Program Manager. Tina and Valeria’s expertise will be invaluable to the students in Bright Futures, one of PCEF’s 8 Signature Initiatives.
Tina Goette: Bright Futures Program Director
“I saw the Bright Futures job posting and it spoke to me on so many levels,” Tina Goette, incoming Program Director for Bright Futures exclaimed. “I’m passionate about [what BF does], I care deeply about it, and I feel I can contribute deeply to it.”
The Bright Futures Program Director job description is full of requirements. The ability to juggle program design, curriculum management, data analysis, budgets, fundraising, stakeholder coordination, team building, and staff development is essential to the success of the program, but that tally doesn’t tell the entire tale.
Because the Program Director for Bright Futures must also possess something perhaps even more critical, and it’s a hard-to-describe quality. It’s a character trait that equips her to share in shouldering the weight of college dreams for 150 students and their families.
To hear these dreams, to analyze how BF can better help students as they strive to achieve them, to help plant the seeds of these dreams into the earth, nurture them as they put down roots, and celebrate these dreams as they blossom and flourish for the incredible students who work so hard to make them happen.
Tina Goette (pronounced “Getty”) has this quality in spades.
“As I begin, I will listen,” Goette said. “And as I work to strengthen the program, I’ll have a focus on [what I call] user experience: how Bright Futures students and families experience touchpoints - how does BF help achieve goals? How does it level the playing field, increase access, and increase the ability for students to reach their full potential?”
Goette’s technical approach to Bright Futures; a comprehensive, multi-year program that supports first-generation students with the full spectrum of “college knowledge” so they can work their way to - and through! - college; is driven by that quality.
“The skills and knowledge that I’ve gained through my work teaching and training others in Baltimore public schools have equipped me to run this program,” Goette answered. “I can share these experiences. I can help provide more options and guidance to the team, students, and BF families. My goal is to build and promote team members to the point where one of our Bright Futures students takes over my job. I want our BF community to take the stage and to shine - that’s how it should be.”
Goette took a moment to think about the Bright Futures initiative.
“There’s really something about having options - it’s so self-empowering. You want to give students that autonomy. You want to make sure they have a say in their own life. There are so many obstacles for families who battle economic barriers, and I’m passionate about those things not dictating someone’s future.”
She continued, “Bright Futures has generational impact. Being a part of this program can potentially change someone’s history. And not only their history but their children’s history. And that ripples out to our community and our society.”
Valeria Sandoval: College Program Manager
Valeria Sandoval makes it look easy to travel the world.
She crossed the globe to study abroad, volunteer in Costa Rica, and sightsee with her mom. She navigated her route to and through college as a first-generation student. And now, Sandoval is carving her path through the working world.
“I knew that I wanted to work with people but I didn’t know how to get there,” Sandoval reflected.
Sandoval’s smooth surface belies the hard work it has taken to trek to this point. First, she got herself to college at Westminster University.
“I saw how hard my parents worked. They worked so hard. My mom is a big inspiration because she worked nights when I was little. My dad would take us to school and get us places. We were in constant fight or flight: there were times when we had to go without dinner because we couldn’t afford it” she shared. “I knew I wanted to give back and I knew I wanted them to be proud of me… I couldn’t just not do anything with my life!”
Sandoval’s experience at Westminster differed in lots of ways from many of her classmates.
“I was so busy, there were days I just didn’t have time to make dinner. My mom would deliver me homemade soup or even just rice and beans - something from home. That’s the support I think about. Maybe my mom couldn’t help me with academics or FAFSA applications, but she helped me get through. With food or with a text that said, ‘Have a good day’ that’s what I think about when I think of support.”
Now through college, Sandoval has both feet planted in the professional world: she has taken over the position of Bright Futures College Program Manager. In this position, she is on the other end of the spectrum - as the one who provides support to college students.
Her role includes traditional tasks; she’ll review, adapt, and deliver programming. She’ll analyze and improve the engagement, retention, and success of BF students.
“Valeria’s educational background, her level of professional expertise, and her personal experiences are so admirable,” said Kara Cody, Vice-President of Programs. “And her senior thesis even focused on how first-generation students experience college. Her work will be so valuable to Bright Futures students, and the entire PCEF team is delighted to be alongside her as she excels!”
Bright Futures, an uncommon program, includes unique duties for which Sandoval is uniquely qualified. She’ll consistently check in on every single college student. She’ll make sure they’re familiar with available resources and be present when classes, school, or life goes off the rails.
She’ll connect students to networks of support when they come up against unexpected obstacles, and marshal emergency interventions and emergency financial aid. Essentially, Sandoval will do whatever it takes to make sure students have the ability to surmount barriers to stay on track for college graduation.
Bright Futures students say having this support during their college years is a critical part of their success. Their words, valuable as gold, are backed up by numbers that speak just as loudly:
Winter/Spring 2024 Bright Futures Numbers
- PCHS Class of 2019 →
- 5 college graduates
- 4 current college students
- PCHS Class of 2020 →
- 2 college graduates
- 10 current college students
- PCHS Class of 2021 →
- 1 college graduate
- 16 current college students
- PCHS Class of 2022 → 11 current college students
- PCHS Class of 2023 →
- 23 current college students
- 1 student taking gap year
- PCHS Class of 2024 → 23 students
- PCHS Class of 2025 → 29 students
- PCHS Class of 2026 → 29 students
“I always wanted to work somewhere where I felt I was making a difference… Money is important, and it’s more important to have a fulfilling career and think to yourself, I love this. I love what I do.”
Valeria Sandoval has created her own dot on the map. She’s working to support college students on grueling journeys that echo hers, in a life that she has made into her dream destination.