Dr. Julian Nava Learning Academy

Dr. Julian Nava Learning Academy


Welcome to Dr. Julian Nava Learning Academy’s (JNLA) GEAR UP Team!

Students begin their GEAR UP journey in 6th and 7th grade all the way to their first year of college!

JNLA students are part of a unique cohort model where they will receive an array of services including workshops, field trips, and college advising. We also provide leadership, scholarship, internship opportunities and much more with the intention of preparing our students for college.

Your GEAR UP team is here to support you and your families. You will be able to find us in room 121. Feel free to stop by our office to get to know what we are all about!


  • Contact GEARUP
  • Room 121

Our Staff

  • Michelle Sánchez

    Site Coordinator

    • Colleges: Dickinson College (Posse Scholar) Bachelor of Arts. Boston College, Master’s in Education and History Teaching Credential. UCLA, Master’s in Education and Administration Credential.
    • Favorite Movie: “Anything for Selenas”
    • Favorite Food: Steamed Mussels and Chifrijo
    • My biggest influence:  Mis padres and my older brother. I am proud daughter of immigrant parents from México and Costa Rica.
    • Why I love my job: I love being able to support my students beyond the classroom with their post-secondary careers. I can continue my passion for access and equity in a new capacity, passing on my own experiences as a first generation college graduate, coordinating GEAR UP’s resources and partnerships to support the next generation.
  • Elizabeth Torres

    Elizabeth Torres

    Community Representative

    • College: Glendale Community College
    • Favorite Movie: Under the Same Moon
    • Favorite Food: Italian and Mexican (caldo de res & milanesa)
    • My biggest influence: My biggest influence has been my husband, who has given me all the unconditional support to give our children a better future, meeting their goals and becoming professionals.
    • Why I love my job: I love being able to help parents with information so that our students can continue to study and pursue their careers.
  • Xochitl Gomez

    Academic Advisor

    • College: California State University, Los Angeles
    • Favorite Movie: The Notebook & The Little Rascals
    • Favorite Food: Tacos & Pasta
    • My biggest influence: My parents have always been and continue to be my #1 fans. They’ve created a dream pathway for me, and I’ve been able to fulfill those dreams as well as mine own.
    • Why I love my job: I love that I can be a support system away from home for many students. Along the years, I will be able to grow and learn alongside them and see them mature and discover the opportunities available to them and their families.
  • Sindy Ayala

    Sindy Ayala

    Academic Advisor

    • College: University of Southern California
    • Favorite Movie: Zoom
    • Favorite Food: Panes con Pollo
    • My biggest influence:  My mother has been my main influence in life. She gave everything in order to provide a better life for her family. Everything I achieve, I achieve for her.
    • Why I love my job: I love my job because it gives me the opportunity to uplift and empower my community. I can ensure those I serve have the knowledge and skills to achieve their goals and aspirations in life.