Meet the Staff

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Villa Finale's National Trust Staff

Jane Lewis, Executive Director

Lewis assumed her role on June 11, 2012. She brings a wealth of valuable experience to the position. She has been a volunteer at Villa Finale since September 2010; is the past president of the board of directors of the Monte Vista Historical Association, the largest historic district in Texas; and is a member of the San Antonio Conservation Society. Additionally, Jane serves on the Historic District Design Guidelines Advisory Committee and the Historic Districts Council of the San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation.

Prior to joining the National Trust, Lewis served as Vice President of Outsourcing and National Director of Sales for IKON Legal Document Services, where she worked for 15 years.  At IKON her responsibilities included profit and loss ownership, business planning, revenue generation, staffing and management.  As a consultant, she has developed productive sales and operating structures for diverse organizations, including legal services outsourcing providers.  Among her interests, Jane enjoys world travel, collecting rare books and on the culture and history of the Southwest, art and architecture.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Art, Master of Arts in English; Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas.  Graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin in Literature, Spanish and Comparative World Religions.
Click here to email Jane Lewis

Averie Buitron, Executive Assistant
Averie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Texas A&M University, and recently completed a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from John Hopkins University. She worked in the museum at the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum and comes to Villa Finale from the San Antonio Museum of Art, where she was the Assistant Manager in the museum gift shop and, most recently, held the position of Curatorial Assistant for Latin American Art. With her understanding and appreciation of many aspects of museum organization and management, Averie brings a versatile set of skills to Villa Finale.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Texas A&M; Master of Arts, Museum Studies, John Hopkins University. Click here to email Averie Buitron.

Orlando Cortinas, Buildings and Grounds Manager

Orlando is a native of San Antonio.  From 1999 to 2007, Orlando bravely served our country in the United States Marine Corps in Iraq.  His work background and experience includes residential construction and commercial landscaping.  When not tending to Villa Finale’s buildings and grounds, Orlando enjoys outdoor activities such as gardening, running and biking, as well as learning about history, photography and cooking.  Orlando has been with Villa Finale since April, 2009.

Education: Horticulture, Palo Alto College, San Antonio, Texas
Click here to email Orlando Cortinas

Sylvia M. Gonzalez, Manager of Public Programs

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Sylvia moved to San Antonio in April, 2008 to work at Villa Finale.  In addition to her work at Villa Finale, Sylvia is also active in the National Trust's diversity initiatives and is moderator of the Trust's Latino Preservation Listserv.  Prior to Villa Finale, Sylvia was Assistant Collections Manager at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in City of Industry, California where she created the Curator for a Day program; the program received an award from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).  Sylvia has over 20 years of experience in the museum field, a career she began as a volunteer.  On her "down-time," Sylvia enjoys reading non-fiction, writing, visiting historic locations, cycling, running and cheering for her hometown Dodgers.

Education: American and Modern European History; Minor, English Literature, California State University, Long Beach
Click here to email Sylvia Gonzalez

Meg Nowack, Curator

Meg Nowack, Curator, is responsible for the 12,000 objects that reside in Villa Finale’s main residence.  She graduated from the George Washington University with a Masters Degree in Museum Studies and obtained a position at the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, DC, another National Trust Historic Site.  She, and her husband, moved to San Antonio in 2006 to assist in the opening of Villa Finale.  2012 marks her fifteenth year with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Education: MA Museum Studies, George Washington University
Click here to email Meg Nowack

Karina Serna, Visitor Services & Museum Shop Coordinator

Karina began with Villa Finale as a collections intern.  As an intern, she was the photographer behind many of the images used for Villa Finale's marketing projects.  As Visitor Services & Museum Shop Assistant, Karina fields incoming phone calls for tours, programs and handles group reservations as well as coordinates all aspects of the Museum Shop.  Karina is the friendly face folks see when purchasing tour admissions at Villa Finale's Carriage House. 

Education: BFA, Photographic Illustration, Rochester Institute of Technology
Click here to email Karina Serna

Sarah Simister, Senior Visitor Services Associate

As Senior Visitor Services Associate, Sarah is responsible for scheduling volunteers and leading guided tours of Villa Finale. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from the University of the Incarnate Word, a Master of Arts in History and a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Previously, Sarah worked as an intern at the San Antonio Missions National Park as a researcher and writer for the UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination for the San Antonio Missions. She was also a National Trust for Historic Preservation Diversity Scholar in 2012.

Education: History and Political Science, University of the Incarnate Word; MA History, Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation, University of Texas at San Antonio
Click here to email Sarah Simister