IMAGINARIUM of SOUTH TEXAS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Beckie Palomo, President
Beckie Palomo was born in Laredo on November 6, 1972 and after graduating Martin High School, she became the first in her family to attend college. She earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a Major in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin and later went on to graduate with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from St. Mary’s Law School.
Afterwards, Mrs. Palomo was hired as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office, where she advocated for the rights and safety of crime victims.
In 2007, she was unanimously appointed as the Community Supervision and Corrections Department Director. She oversees the rehabilitation of more than 2800 offenders on probation so as to ensure the safety of our community
In addition, Mrs. Palomo is a member of the Texas Probation Association and is Chairperson for the Legislative Committee of the Texas Probation Advisory Council. She is also active in numerous community organizations, including: Domestic Violence Coalition, Webb County Community Coalition, Webb County Bar Association, Laredo Women’s Bar Association, Imaginarium of South Texas, Women’s City Club, Habitat for Humanity-Women Build, PILLAR, South Texas Afghanistan Iraqi Veterans Association, 4H Parent and much more.
On January 1, 2013 Ms. Palomo was sworn in as the District Judge of the 341st District Court after securing the democratic nomination during the primary election on May 29, 2012.
Lisa Rogerio, Treasurer/Historian
Lisa Rogerio is a New Mexico native, originally from Albuquerque, and as she says that she “grew up as an Air Force Brat.” Mrs. Rogerio moved to Laredo after her father retired and went on to marry her high school sweetheart, Luis. They have been married for 25+ years and have three children, Victoria, Vivian, and Luis III.
She has worked for Judge Joe Lopez as the Court Administration for the 49th District Court since he took the bench in January 2007. Prior to that, she worked for Time Warner Cable as the Area Marketing Manager for sixteen years. She has been a Rotarian for nineteen years and has served as President twice. She has been on the Board of the Imaginarium of South Texas for over ten years and has served in various capacities, including President.
Sylvia O. Molina, Secretary
Sylvia Ornelas Molina was born and raised in Laredo, Texas to educator parents that believed in giving back to the community. She graduated from Nixon High School and then from The University of Texas at Arlington with a BA in Journalism. She produced phonics programs at the Laredo Independent School District’s Instructional Television Studio like Campus News, Let's Explore (a science program), and Fact O'Mania (a game show). After a few years at the ITV studio, she pursued her law degree and returned to Laredo upon graduation and has been practicing law ever since 2000.
She began her legal career at the Webb County District Attorney's office in Domestic Violence Unit and worked her way up to Chief Prosecutor. She then moved to prosecuting all felonies in the 49th District Court. After leaving the District Attorney's Office in 2004, she opened up her own law practice where her work has centered around Family Law, Delinquent Tax Collections, and Criminal Law, among other areas. She, along with several other women, were founding members of the Laredo Webb County Women's Bar Association and she served as President and Vice President. In the past, she participated with the Laredo Young Lawyers Association and Domestic Violence Unit. She has served on the boards of United Way and Catholic Social Services. She has been a member of the Imaginarium of South Texas Board of Directors since March 2014 and presently serves as secretary of the Board of Directors.
Juanita Lira, Sergeant at Arms
Juanita Lira, a native Laredoan, graduated from St. Augustine High School, attended Laredo Junior College, and received a Bachelor’s of Science from Texas A&M University and a Master’s Degree from Laredo State University. She later attended the University of Texas in Austin.
She's had a variety of job experiences with the United Independent School District; she's been a teacher, supervisor, vice principal, principal, and even interim superintendent. After retiring from the school district, she became an adjunct professor at Texas A&M International University. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Laredo Rotary Club and the Laredo Area Retired Employees Association. She was also featured in a book by Townsend Press entitled “Everyday Heroes.” Additionally, she serves on the Imaginarium of South Texas’ Board of Directors as Sergeant at Arms.
William B. Green, Board Member
William B. Green moved a lot, being the son of an Army officer, and spent several years in school at Washington, D.C. before leaving for college. He has taught AB Economics at Princeton University and even went on to join the U.S. Army himself as a 2nd Lieutenant from 1961 to 1963. He has worked at the Washington Star (1963-1971 and as assistant classified manager from 1968-1971), San Antonio Light (1972-1984 as classified manager, advertising manager, and ad director), Edwardsville Intelligencer (1985-1986 as publisher), and has been a publisher at the Laredo Morning Times since 1987.
He has also served as Chairman of Mi Laredo Goals (1989-1993) and Board Junior Achievement (1998-1999). Additionally, he has served as President of the United Way of Laredo (1997-1998), the Laredo Manufactures Association (2005, 2006), and the Laredo Gateway Rotary Club (2000-2001, 2002-2003). He has been on the Board of Directors of the Laredo Development Foundation (2009, 2010) as Vice-President, as well as with the Laredo Area Community Foundation (2009, 2010, 2011). Presently, he is on the Board of Directors at the Imaginarium of South Texas and has previously been President (2012, 2013, 2015) and Treasurer (2009, 2010).
Dr. Juan R. Lira, Grant Writer
Dr. Juan R. Lira graduated from Sinton High School, received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Texas A&M International University, a Master’s Degree from Laredo State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from The University of Texas at Austin. He has also taught in the public schools of San Antonio, Edgewood, and United Independent School Districts. In addition, he has served as a Reading instructor at Laredo Community College.
Since coming to Texas A&M International University, Dr. Lira has served as Chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Associate Dean and Dean of the College of Education, and currently serves as the Texas A&M University System Regents Professor and Associate Provost. His scholarly endeavors and research interest include the development of literacy among diverse groups of students, especially second language learners, and conditions influencing the achievement of students in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics. He has also served as one of the authors of the Lectura Spanish Reading series published by McMillan-McGraw Hill Publishing Company.
Oscar Lopez, Advisory Member
Oscar Omar Lopez is a financial advisor in Laredo, Texas with 30+ years of experience. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics. He has also fulfilled the study requirements and passed his exams to become CFP® certified. He has served on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Laredo, The Laredo UT Exes, and the Laredo Development Foundation. He has been an active Imaginarium of South Texas board member for over five years.
Oscar Lopez loves the outdoors and is an avid, traditional bow hunter, saltwater fisherman, and golfer. He is married to Adriana Martinez-Lopez and they have five children: Triana, Oscar II, Katrina, Sabrina, and Isabella.
Sandra Cavazos-Ayala, Executive Director
Ms. Cavazos has always believed that children are the most important possessions in our lives. Ms. Cavazos believes that every child has the potential to learn and that as educators, we must provide children with the best quality education. As a Reading Specialist, Ms. Cavazos is a strong advocate for reading and is very active in promoting literacy in her community.
After a 35 year career in education, Sandra retired from United ISD in June 2011 where she held the position of Executive Director for Student Services. Formally, Ms. Cavazos was Director of Discipline Management, Principal of Abraham “Chick” Kazen Elementary School (2000-2004), and Principal at United D.D. Hachar Elementary School (1994-1998). Ms. Cavazos’ experience in education for the last 35 years include: teaching six years with the Laredo Independent School District and 29 years as a teacher and administrator with the United Independent School District. In addition, Ms. Cavazos was an Adjunct Professor at Texas A&M International University with the Department of Teacher Preparation. After retirement, Sandra was hired by the Imaginarium of South Texas Board of Directors as Executive Director.
Ms. Cavazos has received many awards and recognitions from her organizations and is very active in the community. She has received the TAMIU Distinguished Alumni Award and the Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award, both in 2010. In addition, Ms. Cavazos was recognized as a 2011 Tejano Achiever by Lulac Council #12. Ms. Cavazos was also recognized in January 2012 as the New Year’s Hero of Hope, Jefferson Award. Sandra is also a proud Laredo Ambassador, appointed in May of 2013.