Press Releases

10,000 Degrees Expands Leadership Team with New Appointments and Promotions

10,000 Degrees Hires Vanessa Bishop as Chief Program Officer and Eileen Tsai as Regional Director South Bay; Organization Also Announces Five Director Level Promotions

San Rafael, Calif. (September 1, 2021)10,000 Degrees, an organization dedicated to empowering students to enter and graduate college in seven Bay Area counties, is pleased to announce the appointment of Vanessa Bishop to chief program officer. Bishop brings 17 years of education and nonprofit leadership experience to her new role at 10,000 Degrees. Additionally, Eileen Tsai has been named regional director South Bay. Tsai brings over three decades of deep experience in strategy, fundraising, marketing, and partner management to the organization.

Along with the two additions to its leadership team, 10,000 Degrees announced the promotions of three 10,000 Degrees alumni: Rondell Gibson to director of North Bay programs, Tania Requenes to director of community college success, and Gracie Francisco to director of institutional advancement. In addition, 10,000 Degrees promoted Christopher Gonzales to director of strategic growth and school partnerships, and Karla Santiago to program director of 4-year success and alumni.

“We’re pleased to welcome Vanessa and Eileen to the 10,000 Degrees family. Their impressive education and nonprofit backgrounds, abilities to perform at the highest level, and demonstrated successes align well with the needs of 10,000 Degrees,” said Kim Mazzuca, 10,000 Degrees president and CEO. “I would also like to congratulate Rondell, Tania, Gracie, Christopher, and Karla on their new roles. Their professional and personal experiences bring a unique perspective to their work and an understanding of the challenges facing many students today. We couldn’t be happier with their continued dedication and contributions to the organization, and our community.”

About Vanessa Bishop
As chief program officer, Vanessa Bishop oversees and supports all of 10,000 Degrees’ college access and college support programming with the goal of increasing the organization’s impact in advancing college success. Bishop will also focus on maximizing the organization’s impact and reach through thoughtful strategic planning, strong partnerships, and data-driven innovations. Prior to joining 10,000 Degrees, Bishop founded My Forever Village, a nonprofit that supports young people who are transitioning out of foster care. She also served as entrepreneur at Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), executive director, managing director and program director at Citizen Schools, program director intern at Math Power, teacher leader at the Hazelwood School District, and was a teacher at the Jennings School District.

Bishop holds a Master of Arts in school leadership and development from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, an Educational Specialist degree in educational leadership and administration from Walden University, a Master of Arts in teacher education and professional development from Lindenwood University, and a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and teaching from the University of Missouri—Saint Louis. Bishop is an advisory board member at Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence.

About Eileen Tsai
As regional South Bay director, Eileen Tsai is responsible for building relationships with individuals, corporate and institutional partners to grow 10,000 Degrees’ resource base in the Peninsula and South Bay to support expanding South Bay programming. Prior to joining 10,000 Degrees, Tsai served as director of major gifts and director of donor relations at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, where she managed the nonprofit’s portfolio of multi-year giving and oversaw gift processing of 2000+ donations annually. She also served as director of development at (Silicon Valley Education Foundation), managing partner at Creative Apptitude, college and career manager at Westmont High School, worldwide partner marketing manager at McAfee, Inc. (Intel), strategy project manager at Visa U.S.A., marketing strategist at RoverLive, partner marketing strategist at Intuit, project manager at Reuters Singapore, and assistant vice president at Citibank (Asia Pacific, Hong Kong).

Tsai holds a Master of Business Administration in marketing from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor of Science degree in operation research and industrial engineering from Cornell University. Tsai is active in the Boys & Girls Club’s Future Grads program where she mentors high performing and first-generation college-bound students by providing guidance in college selection, application process, and scholarship opportunities.

Rondell Gibson
As director of North Bay programs, Rondell Gibson is responsible for 10,000 Degrees Early College and Career Awareness (ECCA) and North Bay College Access programs. He also oversees the College Access team, and the Panthers Get Degrees program that he helped launch in Marin City. Prior to his promotion, Gibson was program manager (southern and central Marin), and senior college advisor at 10,000 Degrees. Before joining 10,000 Degrees, Gibson was a banker at Wells Fargo. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Saint Mary’s College of California. Gibson is a board member at Marin Promise Partnership, and volunteers extensively in several community-based organizations including Marin City’s Public Safety Committee, Marin County Sheriff’s Department in Marin City, and Marin City Boxing Gym.

Tania Requenes
As director of community college success, Tania Requenes supervises and supports 10,000 Degrees’ community college program managers in Marin, Sonoma, and San Francisco. Her team is responsible for ensuring community college students from low-income backgrounds receive the support needed to graduate college. Prior to her promotion, Requenes was student advisor of the 10,000 Degrees Summer Intensive program, a college success fellow, and program manager at the organization. Before joining 10,000 Degrees, Requenes worked at the Marin and Novato YMCA of San Francisco as the human resources specialist. Requenes is also an adjunct counselor at College of Marin. She holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of San Francisco, a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis, and an Associate of Arts degree from Santa Rosa Junior College. Requenes is a member of the College of Marin Transfer Advisory Committee and College of Marin EOPS Advisory Committee, a fellow at UCLA Law Fellows Program, and scholar at LevelBar, a pre-law preparation program.

Gracie Francisco
As director of institutional advancement, Gracie Francisco is responsible for managing all aspects of the 10,000 Degrees foundation grant portfolio. Prior to her promotion, Francisco was program manager, college advisor, college access fellow, and student advisor at 10,000 Degrees. She was also a scholarship recipient of 10,000 Degrees. Before joining 10,000 Degrees, Francisco served as an assistant teacher at San Anselmo Preschool and Afterschool Center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Francisco has been active with Circle K International and the greater Kiwanis International organization and is currently a board member at Buckelew Programs.

Christopher Gonzales
As director of strategic growth and school partnerships, Christopher Gonzales leads strategy, implementation, and supervision of 10,000 Degrees expansion efforts into new and existing markets. He is also responsible for building and leveraging school and community partnerships to deepen the organization’s school collaborations and extend its student reach and support services. Prior to his promotion, Christopher Gonzales was program director (new markets), program manager, and college advisor at 10,000 Degrees. Before joining 10,000 Degrees, Gonzales was program coordinator and recreational leader at After School Programs, City of Chino, and program specialist, program leader, and program aid at After School Programs, City of Moreno Valley. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with a minor in education from the University of California, Davis, an Associate of Arts degree in social sciences from Riverside City College, and a marketing strategy certificate from Cornell University.

About Karla Santiago
As program director of 4-year success and alumni, Karla Santiago is responsible for overseeing the 10,000 Degrees Young Professionals Council (YPC) and alumni network, current undergraduate scholars, and 4-Year Success team, who provide year-round college and career success programming across all regions. Prior to her promotion, Santiago was college success manager and college success advisor at 10,000 Degrees. Before joining 10,000 Degrees, Santiago served as academic affairs manager at College Track, and human services specialist at Public Allies San Francisco/Silicon Valley in which she took part in the organization’s leadership development program. Santiago holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociocultural anthropology from the University of California, San Diego.

To learn more about 10,000 Degrees, or to donate, please visit

MEDIA, PLEASE NOTE: For questions, or to request an interview with a 10,000 Degrees representative, please contact Alaina Baum at or at (415) 451-4019.

About 10,000 Degrees®
10,000 Degrees® is a leading college success nonprofit in California that supports students from low-income backgrounds to and through college. 10,000 Degrees serves more than 12,000 students and their families each year with comprehensive wraparound support, college and financial aid counseling, near-peer alumni coaching, scholarships, and financial aid management. Unlike most other college success organizations, there is no GPA requirement to participate in 10,000 Degrees programs. Powered by Fellows, near-peer coaches who are recent college graduates and often alum of 10,000 Degrees, they are embedded in high school and college campuses to help students navigate life both on and off-campus and throughout their college success journey. With this innovative support model, 10,000 Degrees achieves unmatched success rates: Over 80% of 10,000 Degrees four-year college students earn bachelor’s degrees, compared to 31% of their peers nationally. 10,000 Degrees community college students transfer to and graduate from four-year colleges at a rate that’s three times the national average. 10,000 Degrees students also graduate with 88% less student loan debt than the national average. 10,000 Degrees operates in seven Bay Area counties – San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Santa Clara – and works in 28 high schools, 26 community colleges, and over 130 four-year colleges and universities across the nation. For more information about 10,000 Degrees, please visit