Kent School District GEAR UP Achievers 2019 - 2020
A full-time GEAR UP Student Success Specialist will provide resources and support for your student as they transition from middle to high school, throughout high school, and into their first year of post-secondary education.

You can count on GEAR UP Achievers to:
  • Provide tutoring, mentoring, and/or after school programs.
  • Help students and families understand the cost of post-secondary education and how to pay for it.
  • Provide college visits, worksite visits, and/or summer programming each year to help students prepare for post-secondary education and explore career pathways.
  • Partner with families to help understand and support their student's educational and career aspirations.
  • If the student is eligible for the College Bound Scholarship, GEAR UP will assist with making sure they are taking the steps necessary to sign up and remain eligible.
Alejandra Baires-Ramirez
GEAR UP Student Success Specialist
Meridian Middle School/Kentwood High School
Hi! I am the GEAR UP Students Success Specialist previously at Meridian Middle School, transitioning to Kentwood High School in the fall. I am SO EXCITED to be working for students and families from Kent School District. A little bit about myself is that I am half Salvadorian and half Guatemalan, and Seattle raised, I also speak Spanish! I am the first person in my family to go to college and earn a bachelor’s degree with a major in Human Development and a minor in Psychology. I am where I’m at in my career and life, because of many who have encouraged, mentored, and have believed in me. I cannot walk this world alone, we need each other to build one another, and to do work in our community. My mission is to serve others, and to continue to give back to my community, the community that has made me the person I am today. 
Rachel Aleaga-Tofa
GEAR UP Student Success Specialist
Meeker Middle School/Kentridge High School
Talofa! I am the GEAR UP Student Success Specialist at Meeker Middle School, transitioning to Kentridge High School in the fall. Students refer to me as “the college lady” or Mrs. Rachel. I am the first person in my entire family to go to college and earn a degree. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Washington - Seattle. Go Dawgs! I have worked in the education field for over 5 years, ranging from Pre-K-12 to higher education. I love working with students and families and helping them reach their educational and career goals! I am excited to continue to work with students and families for the next 6 years with this GEAR UP grant. I have a lot of exciting things planned for Meeker students and families this year and can’t wait to share! Outside of work you can find me spending time with my family, watching Netflix, or dancing hula. I look forward to meeting all my students and their families! 
Erika Enciso-Castillo
GEAR UP Student Success Specialist
Mill Creek Middle School/Kent-Meridian High School
Hola, my name is Erika Enciso-Castillo, I’m the newest GEAR UP Student Success Specialist at Mill Creek Middle School, transitioning to Kent-Meridian High School in the fall. A little bit about me: I’m a product of the Kent School District, I was a student at Mill Creek Middle School 2005-2006, then I attended Kent-Meridian High School from 2006-2010. After graduating, I attended and graduated from Eastern Washington University with Children’s Studies & Spanish degree. The work I do with our students and parents is so personal to me, as a first-generation student, and a daughter of immigrants, I can relate to our students and their needs because not too long ago, I was in their shoes. After graduating college, I right away realize that my love and passion was to serve our first-generation students, and I’m delighted I can do what I love here in my own community. 
Elisa Aguayo Munoz
College & Career Readiness Manager
Kent School District
Hello Kent GEAR UP families and students! I am so excited to be supporting you for the next 6 years. I'm a KSD alumni myself, having attended Neely-O'Brien and Kent Elementary Schools, Sequoia and Mill Creek Middle Schools, and Kent-Meridian High School. I am a first-generation college graduate from the University of Washington with a major in Early Childhood and Family Studies. I have worked in the education field for over 8 years, supporting students ranging from 6 mo. old babies to college students. It is my honor to be serving my home community, and look forward to building a great partnership with each of you.
We introduced GEAR UP Achievers at Mill Creek Middle School's Latinos Unidos families had the opportunity to learn about the College Bound Scholarship, listen to a keynote speaker from one of MC's partner organizations talk about her experience as a first-generation college student. The night concluded with a performance by Kent-Meridian High School's mariachi band and several rounds of loter í a.
During DiscoverU Meeker Middle School GEAR UP students participated in college and career exploration activities during lunches. One activity included having students write their educational goals on a graduation cap. Students were also invited to take pictures at a photobooth!
UPRISE Education Summit
All three of our GEAR UP Achievers middle schools participated in the UPRISE Education Summit. UPRISE engaged our Pacific Islander students in critical discussions about their education and empowered them to see the knowledge and value in their PI heritage through keynote speakers and powerful workshop sessions.
Meridian, Meeker and Mill Creek students attended this year's Y-WE STEM Exploration day. Students had the opportunity to listen to a panel of women STEM leaders, a keynote speaker, and attended multiple STEM workshops. The entire event was hosted and run by women of color.
Meeker and Meridian students participated in a field trip to Green River College to learn more about student life, financial aid, and listened to a panel of current students speak about their experience as a GRC Gator. Students also got a tour of campus!
Meeker Middle School/
Kentridge High School
Rachel Aleaga-Tofa
Meridian Middle School/
Kentwood High School
Alejandra Baires-Ramirez
Mill Creek Middle School/
Kent-Meridian High School
Erika Enciso-Castillo
You can also contact us by emailing [email protected]