Founding Leadership Team
Mr. Stephen Holte, founding President, Cristo Rey Orange County High School, has spent the past 15 years in Catholic education serving organizations committed to being engines of opportunity for students from under-resourced communities. Throughout his career, Mr. Holte has built a reputation as a mission-driven leader focused on providing educational access to students of limited means and empowering them to succeed beyond their wildest dreams.
Mr. Holte began his career as a 4th grade teacher at St. Paul Catholic School in San Antonio, TX as a part of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Service Through Teaching Fellows Program. After ACE, Mr. Holte became the Director of Holy Cross Associates, a post-graduate service program which offers participants an opportunity to integrate their Catholic faith through Service, Community Living, Prayer, and a Simple Lifestyle.
In 2009, Mr. Holte joined Christ the King Jesuit College Prep’s advancement team in its first year of operations. He would spend nearly a decade with the 20th school in the Cristo Rey Network, rising from Development Officer to Vice President of Advancement. During his tenure at Christ the King, Mr. Holte raised over $50M in philanthropic support for operations, endowment, and capital needs, helping to grow the school from an abandoned Catholic elementary school to a 100,000 square foot, $30M campus. Working closely alongside the President, Principal, and Director of Corporate Work Study, Mr. Holte was a critical member of the school’s leadership team.
Most recently, Mr. Holte was the Assistant Dean for Advancement at Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago, the first-of-its-kind associate’s degree program offers a rigorous liberal arts education to a diverse population at an affordable cost. During his three years as Assistant Dean, Mr. Holte collaborated to secure over $17M in support for the college and its alumni. He was a member of the Dean’s Leadership Group as well as Loyola University’s Advancement Division Leadership Team.
Mr. Holte sits on the Ignatian Spirituality Project’s Board of Directors and Christ the King Jesuit College Prep’s Advisory Board. He is also a member of ACE Advocates for Catholic Education. Mr. Holte holds a B.B.A in Finance and Business Economics and an M.Ed in Curriculum, both from the University of Notre Dame. He has also participated in multiple professional development programs including the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management nonprofit management program.
Mr. Holte’s education as well as his work experience uniquely prepares him for leading Cristo Rey Orange County as the founding President.
Founding Vice President of Advancement, Steffanie Early
Mrs. Steffanie Early is the founding Vice President of Advancement for Cristo Rey Orange County. She is responsible for garnering philanthropic support for Cristo Rey’s mission and for building partnerships with individuals, businesses, foundations, and community leaders to ensure a strong foundation and bright future for the school. As the beneficiary of a Catholic education, she is deeply committed to providing the life-changing Cristo Rey education that Orange County students deserve.
Prior to joining Cristo Rey, Mrs. Early served as Vice President of Advancement at Servite High School in Anaheim, CA and was the first woman to hold an executive position at the venerable all-boys school. In her role as VP of Advancement, she was responsible for the development, admissions, and communications departments. She has managed annual giving programs, major gift outreach, advancement services, corporate and foundation relations, fundraising events, planned giving, and prospect research.
Prior to her nearly 8-year tenure at Servite, Mrs. Early served as Director of Community Relations for Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF). Her work at IPSF included planning and executing all aspects of the annual campaign, coordinating with corporate, individual and municipal partners who had a shared interest in quality education, as well as managing communications and public relations.
Mrs. Early spent more than ten years honing her management skills in corporate human resources. She holds a BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Notre Dame and resides in Irvine with her husband and two children, Michael and Claire, who are both alumni of Catholic schools.
Founding Director of Admissions, Monica Reynoso
Monica Reynoso is the Founding Director of Admissions. She brings over 7 years of admissions in higher education with a background in marketing and strategic management. In her most recent role as Director of Admissions at Marymount California University, she led the Admissions team in recruitment, strategic planning and events for prospective students and their families. She enjoys working in a small school setting, as it provides a unique opportunity to work closely with students alongside many dedicated professionals truly committed to seeing students excel in and out of the classroom.
During her years in college recruiting, she managed the Orange County and San Diego County territories, building and establishing relationships with local public and private high schools and organizations. An Anaheim native, Reynoso holds a Bachelor of Business Management and Marketing and an MBA from Marymount California University.
Founding Director of Strategy and Operations, Dr. Linda Nguyen
Dr. Linda Nguyen is the founding Director of Strategy & Operations of Cristo Rey Orange County High School. Dr. Nguyen is dedicated to Catholic education and is committed to building student-centered educational experiences that ultimately create paths toward opportunity and access for students.
Beginning her career in education in 2014, Dr. Nguyen served as a Campus Minister at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles, focusing primarily on student outreach, student spirituality, and international pilgrimages. Shifting focus from higher education to secondary education, she served again as a Campus Minister and also taught Theology to freshman and sophomore girls - first at Marymount High School and then Notre Dame Academy High School in Los Angeles.
Dr. Nguyen began working with Cristo Rey Orange County High School in 2021 as the Feasibility Study Director. In partnership with the feasibility study committee and many volunteers, Dr. Nguyen obtained 36 letters of intent from founding corporate partners, surveyed over 400 community members, selected a future school site, and raised $3 MM to support the start up operational costs of Cristo Rey Orange County. Dr. Nguyen joins the founding leadership team with excitement to continue the work of the feasibility study team.
Dr. Nguyen holds a B.B.A. in Marketing, an M.A. in Theological Studies, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Social Justice, all from Loyola Marymount University. Dr. Nguyen has presented her research at local and national conferences. She is a proud member of the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu.