a young girl looks into a box of school supplies, as Gladys picks out which folder she would like.
Courtesy Photo

Meet Gladys, our Director of Community Impact

The SA2020 Team is growing! Gladys Hernández joins us as the Director of Community Impact after time spent as an educator and an executive director. Find out more about Gladys below, including why we may need to host an SA2020 Talent Show soon.

What brought you to SA2020?

My love for working for and alongside community has really been the connecting thread throughout my personal and professional journey. When I first moved to San Antonio, back in 2011, I entered schools in areas of concentrated poverty and great promise as an educator and was made aware of the community-wide visioning process that had taken place in 2010. I quickly learned that I, alongside fellow San Antonians, had a shared responsibility in expanding our personal and collective impact for the well-being of students and all San Antonians. As a community member, educator, and Executive Director of a nonprofit partner, I have stood alongside SA2020, learning about San Antonio’s progress toward the Community Vision and aware of the interconnectedness of the desired Community Results. I have developed such a love for San Antonio and a love for the work of SA2020, which invites us all to engage in this meaningful work. 

What are you most excited about in your new role?

I love being in relationship with folks with a deep passion for reflecting and identifying possibilities. I view the Director of Community Impact role as one of hope. I am well aware that there are historic, systemic inequities. I am also aware that we, as humans, make up these systems, and that gives me hope. This hope affirms the great power we each hold, and the greater power that can result when we work together. I look forward to celebrating incremental changes and continuing to move forward in our community’s agenda. 

Where have you been and where are you going?

I have been in a continuous state of learning, unlearning, and ideating: learning about what it means to drive towards equity and checking myself; unlearning certain mindsets and practices that don’t serve the collective well-being; ideating what can be created alongside fellow community members. This was true of my time in the classroom with students and families, this was true of my time with local school communities, and it has been true during my time engaging with folks across organizations eager to positively disrupt the education system. I am drawn to places where the community’s voice is heard and truly informs the work. I am headed towards communities honoring the humanity of all, celebrating all that each one brings, and fostering a community of transparency and accountability.

What do you do when you’re not working?

When I am not working, I am exercising, singing, dancing, resting, and delighting in quality time with family, friends, and our dog—if not diving into a Chingona Book Club monthly read.  

What might we find if I Google you?

Several guest appearances on local San Antonio podcasts, including a special speaking engagement for PechaKucha San Antonio, Vol. 35, one of my personal favorite community events, showcasing incredible local San Antonio folks. 

What’s something interesting about you that may surprise others?

I speak three languages and my mind is constantly juggling the three all at once. And I sing. I used to be a part of a special event performance group, Grupo Contraste, as well as a mariachi group at St. Edward’s University, Mariachi Alas de Oro, as their vocalist and guitarist. 

Which Community Result speaks most to you—and why?

Education! Growing up a first-generation college graduate, it is my belief that all students deserve to learn, thrive, and grow. As a local educational leader, I have made it my business to work within education organizations to apply my keen eye and creative spirit in developing and enhancing educational systems and programs that prove the possible in San Antonio’s educational landscape and beyond. By building collective impact and critical consciousness, it has become my deepened interest to grow the community’s capacity and network of education stakeholders, creating a collective of advocates and thought leaders across sectors. I have been and will remain committed to identifying opportunity and innovation within education for students. 

What are you learning right now?

Right now, I am learning how to make pão de queijo (a traditional Brazilian cheese bread recipe from my husband’s home state, Minas Gerais). 

What is your favorite thing about San Antonio?

The warmth of San Antonians coupled with the gastronomy! The Mexicana in me loves to go down the street to Bedoy’s Bakery, Las Nieves, and Alamo Candy, or shop for plantitas at Evergreen Garden Nursery, or venture even farther out to the greater San Antonio area to other incredible local spots. I love to try out new places and make friends. 

What’s on your bucket list?

Paragliding! I’ve parasailed, but ever since I watched Disney’s Rio The Movie, I have been meaning to paraglide over a gorgeous landscape. 

Favorite book(s)?

I would say my top 5 are: Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, Salsa Soul and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age by Juana Bordas, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and All About Love by Bell Hooks. (Ed. Note: rock an order of any of these at one of our local bookstores!)

Open your 25 Most Played Songs in your iTunes. List the Top 5.

Here we go! 

  1. Coelhinho da Páscoa by Galinha Pintadinha (my niece loves this song in Spanish and Portuguese!) 
  2. Que Poquito Me Conoces by Cheli Madrid
  3. Zum Zum by Daddy Yankee, R.K.M & Ken-Y, Arcangel
  4. Danca da Maozinha by Tchakabum
  5. OK – Remix by Jutha, Jessi Uribe 
More from SA2020