Tamara is the Executive Director for the School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. Prior to serving as ED, she was the Director of Multicultural Leadership for 1stACT Silicon Valley. From 2003 to 2008 she served as Executive Director of MACLA/ Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana in San Jose, California. From 1999 – 2003 she served as Program Director for the newly opened Washington United Youth Center, a partnership between Catholic Charities and the City of San Jose. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Western State Arts Federation and President of the Board of Directors for ACE Charter Schools in San Jose. Tamara is also co-founder of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute, a leadership development program for people of color working in arts, culture and entertainment now housed at the School. A traditional Aztec dancer for the past 14 years, she is a member of Calpulli Tonalehqueh Danza Azteca of San Jose. Originally from Escondido, CA, Tamara holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Literature from Stanford University.
As the Associate Director for the School of Arts and Culture, Vanessa ensures that the School has the strong administrative infrastructure it needs to best serve the San Jose community. Previously, Vanessa served as the Director of Finance at Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, where she managed 26 government grants and contracts and developed the financial systems needed to bring Next Door’s finance function back in-house after being outsourced. She was also part of the team at Cultural Initiatives Silicon Valley, an arts organization that sunset in 2006, after establishing programs in arts education, leadership development, and civic engagement in the arts. Vanessa has a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of San Francisco, and a M.B.A. with a concentration in Accounting from Golden Gate University.
Program Developer & Events Coordinator
Nelly started her work at the Mexican Heritage Plaza as an events coordinator intern in 2011. She earned her B.S degree in Recreation Administration with a specialization in Sports and Entertainment Facility Management from Fresno State in May 2011. During her college years, she was involved with the Sports and Entertainment Facility Management Club which helped members research and develop skills to advance in this industry. Originally from Five Points, Nelly is happy to be living in San Jose and experience the rich culture of a growing city. She is now proud to be a part of the School where arts education is empowering the community.
Marketing & Design
Omar & the Kooltura Marketing team, currently under a partnership with the School of Arts & Culture, enjoy the ability to handle all design work & assist with marketing efforts to drive the school forward. From the beginning of the school’s opening Kooltura Marketing played an important role in the initial branding and marketing vision.
After obtaining his bachelor’s in marketing from San Jose State University, Omar, along with his wife, launched their own marketing and design business with the goal of helping small business owners maximize results through specialized strategies. The company’s mission is to assist clients with marketing solutions including planning, implementation, graphic design and web design services.