CAST Schools » CAST Schools » CAST STEM » Columbian City and School Leaders Launch Economic Development Visit at CAST Schools

Columbian City and School Leaders Launch Economic Development Visit at CAST Schools

A group of educators from the Colegio San Jose de Las Vegas and Colegio Hontanares in Medellín, Colombia begin their visit at CAST Schools to learn about their unique model for STEM programs and its ecosystem made up of mentors, projects and resources from the industry. The delegation also includes representatives from Ruta ^n, an economic development organization whose purpose is to improve the quality of life through science, technology and innovation for Medellín residents.

CAST Schools curated a two-day visit that highlights its reinvention of schooling to maximize opportunities for students while also preparing them to be college-ready, career-ready, and life-ready. CAST will also highlight the importance of building relationships and partnering with industry, higher education, and local civic leaders.

Day 1 – Monday, March 21, 2022
CAST Tech High School637 N Main Ave, San Antonio, TX 78205


Time Topic
9:00 am –

9:30 am


Description: Jeanne Russell, CAST Schools Network Executive Director welcomes the international delegation along with CAST Tech Principal and SAISD Superintendent, Dr. Robert Jaklich.

Jeanne Russell, CAST Schools Network, Executive Director

Dr. Melissa Alcala, CAST Tech High School, Principal

Dr. Robert Jaklich, SAISD Interim Superintendent

10:00 am – 11:00 am Panel #1: CAST & Higher Education

Description: Discussion regarding CAST’s relationship with higher education and university partners.

Dr. Shari Albright, CB Foundation President (moderator)

Dr. Angela Breidenstein, Trinity University

Samantha Gallegos, Alamo Colleges District

Dr. Michael Villarreal, University of Texas at San Antonio – Urban Education Institute

Dr. Henrietta Muñoz, Texas A&M University – San Antonio

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Panel #2: CAST Partnership Coordinators

Description: CAST Schools Partnership Coordinators describe their role as it relates to connecting students with industry for job, internship, and mentorship opportunities.

Katie Chain, H-E-B and CAST Board Member (moderator)

Amir Samandi, CAST Tech

Catelyn Vasquez, CAST Lead

Dr. Anthony Khosravi, CAST Med

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Panel #3: CAST Tech Industry Partners

Description: Some of CAST Tech’s industry partners discuss their experience with students and describe the process of hosting them for jobs, internships, and mentorships. They address how students co-create and cultivate their relationship with industry.

Yvette Benavides, CAST Board Member (moderator)

Rene Dominguez, TRTF/Velocity TX and CAST Board Member

Natalie Karney, Jobward

Steffi Ockenfels, CPS Energy

Erik Nieves, Plus One Robotics

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Reception – location TBA

Dr. Lyssa Ochoa, SAVE Clinic (Kick-Off/Welcome)

Councilman Manny Pelaez (Kick-Off/Welcome)


Day 2 – Tuesday, March 22, 2022
CAST STEM High School11914 Dragon Ln Building 800, San Antonio, TX 78252


Time Topic
9:00 am – 9:30 am Welcome

Description: CAST STEM High School Principal Ravae Shaeffer welcomes the international delegation along with SWISD Superintendent Dr. Lloyd Verstuyft and District 4 Councilwoman Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia.

Ravae Shaeffer, CAST STEM High School, Principal

Dr. Lloyd Verstuyft, SWISD Superintendent

Councilwoman Adriana Rocha-Garcia, District 4

9:30 am – 10:00 am Panel #1: Welcome to CAST STEM High School

Description: CAST STEM Students describe their experience at CAST STEM and discuss what initially interested them in CAST’s unique model.

(CAST STEM student, moderator)

CAST STEM Student Panel

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Panel #2: Working Lunch with CAST Teachers

Description: CAST Teachers explain their collaboration with students around a different curricular model offered by CAST Schools.

Jennifer Maestas, CAST (moderator)

Carol Harle, CAST Leadership Coach

Melissa Walters, CAST STEM

Yamilett Pilar, CAST STEM

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Panel #3: CAST STEM Industry Partners

Description: Two of CAST STEM’s original industry partners discuss the value proposition of CAST to industry.

Lisa Lewis, CPS Energy and CAST Board Chair

Katie Chain, HEB and CAST Board Member

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm Panel #4 Workforce

Description: A group of San Antonio workforce leaders explain how CAST has played an essential role in enhancing San Antonio’s economic mobility strategy.

Jeanne Russell (moderator)

Dr. Krystal Peralez, SA WORX

Ana Salazar, City of San Antonio Workforce Development Office

Shantelle Artis, Workforce Solutions Alamo

David Marquez, Bexar County

*Speakers subject to change.


About CAST Schools Network:
The Centers for Applied Science & Technology (CAST Schools) is a San Antonio-based nonprofit made up of five career-themed, tuition-free public high schools and one Pre-K through 12 Academy. CAST Schools’ mission is to reinvent schooling in order to maximize options for students while preparing them for college, career, and life. Students select a school based on interest, set personal goals, and design their school experience, informed by industry and other partners. Through experiential learning, CAST Schools’ students tackle real-world projects designed by local employers and civic leaders and work in teams alongside mentors from the field. CAST Schools target makers and doers who will thrive in a hands-on setting informed by student voice and agency. Open to all students in the San Antonio region, CAST Schools include high schools CAST Lead, CAST Med, CAST STEM, CAST Teach, CAST Tech and the pre-K through 12 Advanced Learning Academy.  Schools are co-created with local employers and in partnership with area public school districts, including East Central, Northside, San Antonio, and Southwest ISD. For more information, visit

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Copyright © 2021 CAST Schools


The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Network is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. CAST Schools are partnership schools with a focus on STEM careers, project based learning and work-based learning. Key partners include public school districts, higher education institutions, and local employers from target industries.