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San Jose


The Board of Directors of the Mexican Heritage Corporation announced the election of new officers for the Board of Trustees. Robert Gonzales has been elected to the position of Chairman of the Board. Beth Zare has been elected Secretary and Mario Lleverino remains as Treasurer.All three are active and dedicated community volunteers and bring collectively decades of experience to the board as professionals in the areas of public school education, music education, concert performance and Fortune 500 management and entrepreneurship, respectively.

Robert Gonzales recently retired as the Director of Student Assignment with San Jose Unified School District. Beth Zare is a French Horn musician with Symphony Silicon Valley, Secretary Treasurer of the American Federation of Musicians Union Local 6 and a music teacher. Mario Lleverino is Founder and CEO of Ciano’s Modern Latin Flavors and formerly a senior management executive with Specialty’s Restaurants.

MHC today also announced the completion of a yearlong strategic planning process resulting in the realignment of its program services.  The focus of the organization’s programming will be in the area of public school music and heritage arts education. To lead this new effort, MHC has chosen veteran musician, music educator and songwriter, Orlando Castro. He joins MHC as Managing Director of Music Education.

“We are very excited about this program focus,” stated Marcela Davison Aviles, President and CEO of Mexican Heritage Corporation.  “Our mariachi music education program is expanding with numerous requests from public schools and charter organizations and we are delighted that Orlando will be leading our efforts to appropriately scale our service in a sustainable manner.”

The agency’s folk dance troupe known as Los Lupeños de San José has been transferred to the Cashion Cultural Legacy. A Silicon Valley-based nonprofit arts organization, it was founded by the late Dr. Susan Cashion, who was also a co-founder of Los Lupeños. MHC will continue to present and produce the internationally renowned cultural festival known as VivaFest, with its focus on the agency’s primary mission of arts education. An announcement of the festival schedule and artist roster will be released in the very near future.

“The transition of Los Lupeños provides an opportunity for the Cashion Cultural Legacy to complete the vision and goal of Dr. Susan Cashion to nurture the sustainable growth of the dance company for the future,” added Davison Aviles.

“I am honored and excited to assume the position of chairman of the board of this vital and respected arts agency,” stated Board Chair Gonzales. “I have devoted my career to service in the public school education system and believe passionately in the positive impact of heritage music education. I have personally witnessed how music in the schools improves academic performance and motivation.”

Gonzalez added, “I look forward to working with Marcela and her team to expand access to culturally relevant pedagogy and programs such as our mariachi and heritage arts instruction, and to develop innovative distribution strategy to ensure that all students have access to the benefit, and beauty, of music education.”


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