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Staff

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LAEF's Staff Members
Jim Chavez
Executive Director
(303) 446-0541 Ext. 1
 
Jim Chavez is the Executive Director of the Latin American Educational Foundation. He has served as the Executive Director since 2003. Prior to his appointment as Executive Director,
Jim served on the Board of Directors for LAEF for six years. 
 
Jim has dedicated much of his professional life working for education related causes. As a board member and staff member of the Colorado Student Obligation Bond Authority, Jim was instrumental in creating Colorado’s first prepaid college tuition program, which became known as CollegeInvest, and then worked across the country to develop and implement numerous state college savings programs or Section 529 plans. He began his career as a
certified public accountant with the firm Ernst & Young. 
 
Jim is an active member of the community, serving on the boards of many organizations, including the Colorado Nonprofit Association, Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Denver Housing Authority and the ILIFF School of Theology. Additionally, Jim is a Colorado Commissioner for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
He is a graduate of Colorado State University.
Melissa Muniz
Student Services & Programs Manager
(303) 446-0541 Ext. 2
 
Melissa Muniz is the Student Program Services Manager at the Latin American Educational Foundation. She has served in her role since 2021.
 
Melissa has a passion for helping students pursue their postsecondary goals. This passion stems from the professional roles she has had in secondary educational settings and her own experience as a first generation college student.
 
Melissa graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. After her time at CSU, she completed a year of service with AmeriCorps. She takes pride in building capacity and engaging communities to better support students' overall success. Outside of work, Melissa is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in School Counseling and Guidance Services at the University of Colorado Denver. She is a proud LAEF alumna
and is excited to serve other LAEF scholars.   
Claire Schmitt
Development & Administration
(303) 446-0541 Ext. 4
 
Claire Schmitt is the Development and Administrative Coordinator at Latin American Educational Foundation. She has served in her role since January of 2022.
 
She graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2018 where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. She has a background in business administration and real estate.
 
In her free time Claire enjoys exploring Denver’s culinary scene, volunteering at her local food pantry, Growing Home and spending time in the mountains whether it be camping, biking, hiking or snowboarding. 
Kimberley Villegas
Marketing & Communications 
(303) 446-0541 Ext. 3
 
Kimberley Villegas is the Marketing and Communication Coordinator at the Latin American Educational Foundation. She has served in her role since 2018.

She is a graduate form the University of Colorado Denver where she earned her degree in Business Administration with a double major in Business Management and Human Resources. She is a first generation college graduate and a proud LAEF alumna.
 
She is currently in involved in serving her community. She volunteers at the Colorado Coalition for the Educational Advancement of Latinxs, CoCEAL, as part of the Communications Committee. In the future she would like to earn a Master's degree in Business Administration.