Gina Gianzero, Executive Director


Dr. Gianzero is deeply committed to improving educational outcomes for inner-city youth. Since 2012, Dr. Gianzero has led DEEP by bringing partner organizations together in a variety of research-guided collaborative efforts focused on ensuring that children in southeast San Diego public schools are successful as they move along the education pipeline from cradle to college and career. Her deep commitment to early literacy led to her appointment to the board of directors for the San Diego Council on Literacy. Dr. Gianzero also worked for ten years with the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) based at San Diego State University.  She led many of NCUST’s evaluation teams in identifying high-performing urban schools across the nation. In her capacity as an Executive Coach, she guided networks of principals in reflecting upon their work and provided individual coaching for principals interested in replicating best practices in their own schools.

Maria Horsley, Ph.D., Evaluation Researcher


 Maria Horsley is a doctoral candidate in the field of leadership studies at the University of San Diego. Ms. Horsley has over 15 years of experience conducting anthropological and educational research nationally and internationally and has been an educator and volunteer working with traditionally underserved groups in San Diego since 2003. She has participated in and trained locals in field-based data collection in seven countries - projects have been related to the fields of education (including the disciplines of science, math, and technology), educational leadership, and primate behavioral ecology, and most have involved the monitoring and evaluation of community-based interventions aimed at improving academic and/or conservation-related outcomes. Ms. Horsley received her B.A. in anthropology, and her M.A. in teaching international relations and social sciences, both from the University of San Diego. 

Ana Hernandez, Program Administrator


Ana Hernandez is a graduate of San Diego State University (SDSU) with a degree in Child and Family Development. She brings to DEEP a wealth of first-hand knowledge of the experience of underrepresented students. She is especially passionate about finding ways to assist parents in supporting their children’s early learning and development. Her bilingual skills ensure that language is never a barrier to engaging the Spanish-speaking parent community. Ana supports DEEP’s work in program recruitment, implementation, and evaluation. She is also an immigration rights activist and undocumented herself. She is determined to break down the barriers that many underrepresented students face during their elementary-school years.

Lucia Urias


Parent leaders are integral to all facets of DEEP’s work.  Lucia Urias coordinates outreach between DEEP and parents at Chollas-Mead Elementary, DEEP's largest partner school.  A mother of two young daughters, Lucia is a strong believer in the importance of early reading in children’s development.  She leads DEEP’s efforts to recruit parents to participate in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge, as well as in other DEEP programs for parents offered on campus.  She is also active in her school’s PTA.