Support Councils

Early Childhood

Grades 4-12

Higher Ed



Human Capital

The Early Childhood support council is comprised of 25+ members from the educational, philanthropic, nonprofit and business communities that are dedicated to providing all children in our community with a quality early childhood education. The council works to ensure that all Dallas County enter kindergarten ready to learn and are on track for literacy skill development by the end of 3rd grade. The council meets monthly to review local data and align on collaborative actions. In the first phase of the councils work, two collaborative action networks have been initiated to focus on improving literacy outcomes in 14 elementary schools educating ~8,000 children in South Oak Cliff and Molina feeder patterns. The collaborative action networks will use ongoing and timely data collection to drive decision making, identify practices that work and implement them throughout their schools. Once practices have been proven, the council will advocate for spreading those practices throughout our community. In the next phase of work, the council will focus on ensuring access to a quality early childhood education for children 0-5 years of age so all children in our community enter school with the skills necessary to be successful.

Kim Barnes
Peter Beck
Mary Jane Bowman
Dr. David Brown
Nell Carvell
John Castle, Jr.
Alan Cohen
Elna Davis
Regen Horchow Fearon
Marnie Glaser
LeAnn Kite Hampton
Susan Hoff
Charis Hunt
Mary M. Jalonick
Dr. Helena Mosely
Esmeralda Ortiz
Dr. Margaret Owen
Dr. Donna Persaud
J. Puckett
Vincent Reyes
Lisa Oglesby Rocha
Dr. Raul Rojas
Melanie Rubin
Martha Stowe
Dora Torres-Moron
Paula Turicchi
Juany Valdespino-Gaytan
Cynthia Yung


Kim Barnes
Head of Early Childhood, Greenhill School

Biography coming soon.


Peter Beck
CEO, The Beck Group

Peter Beck joined The Beck Group in 1981 after graduating from Princeton with a civil engineering degree followed by an MBA from Stanford. After serving in a construction management role on projects, Peter assumed responsibility for the firm as CEO in the early 1990’s enabling him to pursue his passion for integrating the disciplines. In 1999, Beck merged with a 40 person architecture firm and began to build a design practice in all offices including Dallas, Austin, Denver, Atlanta, Tampa, and Mexico City. The Beck Group has averaged over $700 million in design and construction services over the past five years. Over the past few decades, The Beck Group has developed a keen focus on exceeding customer expectations, best reflected by an 85 percent customer retention rate. The firm has also invested heavily in strategic technologies to integrate knowledge across the disciplines which it now licenses to many firms in the AEC industry. Among other distinctions, The Beck Group has been recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the “Best 100 Companies to Work For”.

Peter currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Southwestern Medical Foundation; The Dallas Foundation, which he chaired; the Dallas Citizens Council; the Design Futures Council; and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Council at Princeton University which he formerly chaired. He has served on the Board of the Greater Dallas Chamber, which he chaired in 2001, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission, and the Stanford Business School Trust.

He and his wife, Nancy, live in Dallas. They have two children, Spin and John, who both attend the University of Texas in Austin.


Mary Jane Bowman
Elementary Language Arts Facilitator and Dyslexia Services Coordinator, Grand Prairie ISD

Biography coming soon.


dr_brown_headDr. David Brown
Prof. of Curriculum and Instruction, Texas A&M University

Dr. David Brown has been a professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas A&M University-Commerce for 34 years. He received his B.S., M.Ed. and Ph.D., from Texas A&M University-Commerce, formerly named East Texas State University. Dr. Brown has taught primarily graduate courses in research methodology, curriculum design, early literacy development, and math/science within Early Childhood Education. Additionally, he has chaired and served on a variety of departmental, university and national committees.Prior to coming to A&M University-Commerce, he served as a classroom teacher within the Dallas Independent School District. He taught kindergarten, first grade and a kindergarten/first mixed age class. His experience as a teacher of young children, lead him to begin his journey as an instructor, consultant, mentor, and advocate for building a strong early literacy foundation for all children.Dr. Brown is considered by many to be a very knowledgeable leader within the preschool movement and a highly recognized researcher in the areas of Emergent Literacy and Early Childhood Education. He has been a consultant to the Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Texas Education Agency, and numerous early childhood centers, and elementary schools across the country. Dr. Brown currently serves as the Principal Investigator in the Head Start of Greater Dallas Inc., Math/Science Project, where he has lead and trained teams of early childhood researchers in gathering, analyzing and reporting student data.

In addition, Dr. Brown has served as a member of the Education Committee of the Southern Regional Education Board, where he provided research and recommendations to legislators on critical issues in public education. In 2007, Dr. Brown was considered for a Texas State Board governmental appointment by Governor Rick Perry.

Dr. Brown has several publications on Literacy and Young Children, and holds memberships in the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Association for Childhood Education International, National Head Start Association, Society for Research in Child Development, American Educational Research Association, and the International Reading Association. He has consulted with numerous publishing companies including Scholastic, DLM, and Frog Street Press in the area of curriculum development and implementation. He currently serves as a National Advisor for the popular children’s television program, Sesame Street.


carvellNell Carvell
Senior Advisor, SMU Preschool Teacher Education

Prior to retiring in 2005, Nell spent 40 years teaching preschool children through adults in both public and private schools, and ending her career directing two programs and teaching at SMU. Mrs. Carvell is the creator/author of the highly acclaimed Language Enrichment Activities Program, (LEAP), a community service/educational project, with a focus on children at risk for failure. Her work with Head Start children was recognized as a model preschool program by the George W. Bush administrations both at the gubernatorial and presidential levels.


castleJohn R. Castle
Executive Vice President (Ret.), EDS

John Castle, a Dallas attorney, is a former Executive Vice President of EDS Corporation, having retired in 1999. EDS was a global information technology company doing business in over 50 countries, with over 125,000 employees and revenues of approximately $20 billion prior to its acquisition by Hewlett Packard.

Castle’s EDS responsibilities included legal affairs, corporate communications, community affairs, government affairs and public relations. He also served on EDS’ Management Board. Prior to joining EDS in 1988, he was a partner in the Dallas law firm of Hughes & Luce from 1974 until 1988. Hughes & Luce has now been acquired by K&L Gates.

Castle graduated in 1964 from the University of Texas with honors and, in 1967, from the University’s School of Law with honors. He has served as president of the University of Texas Law School Alumni Association and is a former trustee of the UT Law School Foundation. He is a member of the American, Texas and Dallas bar associations and is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. In 1998, Castle received the ADL Jurisprudence Award.

Castle is a past chairman of The Dallas Foundation, is currently the chair of The Bridge, Dallas’ homeless assistance center and TexProtects, and is on the boards of directors of The Foundation for Community Empowerment, The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, Reconcilliation Outreach, the Interfaith Housing Coalition, the Episcopal Center for Renewal, Nurse Family Partnership– national office, and the Center for Public Policy Priorities. Castle has previously served on the Boards of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Points of Light Foundation, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. In 2007, Castle received the “Trailblazer for Youth” award from the Texas Network of Youth Services in Austin, Texas.

He and his wife, Dorothy, have a daughter Amy Gray, who is a lawyer in Dallas, Texas, and married to Tom Gray, and two grandchildren, John Boone and Sullivan Elizabeth Gray. They are members of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation where he currently serves on the vestry. Castle has also chaired a strategic planning committee and a capital campaign for the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas.


castleAlan Cohen
Executive Director of Early Childhood Education & Community Partnerships, Dallas ISD

As Executive Director of Early Childhood Education & Community Partnerships for Dallas ISD, Alan is focused on providing children aged 0-5 years old the supports necessary to reach kindergarten developmentally on track for success.

After some early success in the private sector, Alan dedicated his career to public education when he was awarded a fellowship by Education Pioneers to work with the Commit! Partnership, a regional collaborative dedicated to coordinating data-driven cooperation among the many educators, non-profits, foundations and community advocates working hard to support student achievement in Dallas County.

In addition to his work with Dallas ISD, Alan chairs the nonprofit selection committee for Carry The Load, a national charity dedicated to honoring and supporting frontline military, law enforcement, firefighters, rescue personnel, and their families.

Alan received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2010, and his BA in Sociology from Tulane University in 2005.


Elna Davis
Chief Elementary Education Officer, Grand Prairie ISD

Biography will be coming soon.

Marnie Glaser
Community Volunteer and Former Professor, UT Dallas

Prior to her role as a Community Volunteer focusing on early childhood education, Marnie worked as a clinical lecturer at UT Dallas in the Department of Brain and Behavior Sciences. Focusing on the neurological basis for communication, her courses highlighted the importance of the brain development in the first seven years of life and the need for appropriate stimulation and language exposure to lay the foundation for future learning. Prior to UT – Dallas, Marnie worked as a speech-language pathologist serving clients at both the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation and Dallas ISD before moving to the University of Texas at Dallas to run their Communication and Learning Center. At CLC, she focused on teaching assessment and treatment of brain injury to graduate students in the Brain and Behavior Sciences program. Earlier in her career, Marnie also taught in public schools in both Los Angeles and Houston through the Teach for America program and worked on the Texas House Education Committee during its rewrite of the Texas Education Code in 1995. Marnie currently sits on the board of Head Start of Greater Dallas.

Marnie earned her Masters in Communication Science and Disorders at U.T. – Dallas and earned her B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.


horchowRegen Horchow-Fearon
Founder and CEO, PlumLife

Regen Horchow Fearon is Founderx and CEO of PlumLife, which is an online product she designed to help meet the scheduling and communication needs of busy families and small offices. In addition to running her own business, Regen serves on the Board for Signature Bank Dallas.

Regen has spent most of her life focused upon the lives of young children starting as a student teacher during high school (Foster Elementary, DISD). She has served as a teacher, school counselor, head of school, mother and, for the last 25 years, as a civic leader for a variety of organizations serving young children and their families.

In the Dallas community, Regen’s service includes previous leadership positions at the Child Care Group, Dallas Assembly, Dallas Foundation, Junior League of Dallas, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Dallas County Community College Foundation Board, Dallas for Children, Educational First Steps, Girls’ Adventure Trails, The Hockaday School, Planned Parenthood. (selected list) Currently, Regen serves as the Chairman of the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative, an initiative of over 25 Dallas area foundations working together to make measurable progress toward school readiness for one of Dallas’ most needy neighborhoods.

A Dallas native, Regen is a graduate of The Hockaday School, Yale University and holds a M.Ed from the University of North Texas, Regen is married to craniofacial surgeon, Jeff Fearon, and has a daughter in college and twin girls in middle school.


hamptonLeAnn Kite Hampton
Director of Preschool Services, Region 10 Education Service Center

LeAnn Kite Hampton is Director of Preschool Services in the Division of Instruction at Region 10 Education Service Center (ESC). Region 10 ESC serves 80 school districts and 36 charter schools in the counties of Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Rockwall and a portion of Van Zandt. Preschool Services staff provide training, technical assistance and ongoing support for Pre-kindergarten and the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities. In addition, Region 10 ESC is the grantee for Head Start and Early Head Start, serving 952 children in Head Start and 168 infants, toddlers and pregnant women in Early Head Start. The Head Start program partners with 20 school districts, and the Early Head Start program partners with 3 school districts. As Director of Preschool Services, LeAnn provides leadership and oversight to these programs.

After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Education and Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Baylor University, LeAnn began her career in Garland ISD in 1979. She served preschool, elementary, middle school and secondary students as a Speech Language Pathologist for eight years before working as a teacher/case manager in Parents in Partnership, the district’s Early Childhood Intervention program, for infants and toddlers. After a year in that position, she started a new role in the district in which she worked with parents in the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) and assisted with the transition of families from the Parents in Partnership program to PPCD. She also worked with families as the children transitioned from the PPCD program into kindergarten or a different Special Education placement.

LeAnn moved to Region 10 ESC in October 1990 to be a consultant for the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities and gradually assumed more responsibilities in the new Head Start program that the ESC had begun. She was promoted to a leadership role and has overseen the growth of the program from 469 children to the current combined enrollment of 1,120. She and her team acquired funding to implement several initiatives including the Early Head Start project, the expansion of Head Start into new districts and counties, the Texas Early Education model (TEEM) for Pre-K, Head Start, and child care programs, the national pilot for Early Head Start Enhanced Home Visiting model, and the Early Learning Mentor Coach project for Early Head Start.

LeAnn currently serves on the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office Advisory Committee, the Collin College Child Development Advisory Board, the Dallas ISD Early Childhood Advisory Committee, and the Texas Education Agency Early Childhood Improvement Committee. She also is involved in many activities at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.


Susan Hoff
SVP of Community Impact, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Since joining in early 2009, Susan has been responsible for the oversight of the United Way’s Community Impact Grants – a strategic effort which annually awards over $20 million to area nonprofits, public policy and advocacy initiatives, and program development, implementation, and evaluation. She also co-led the strategic planning process that resulted in the development of the United 2020 goals and strategies for the United Way.

Prior to joining the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas team, Susan was the CEO and President of ChildCareGroup, a Dallas based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, delivering and expanding the best child care services available outside the home. She also previously served as the executive director of Educational First Steps and the Good Shepherd Community Center and as a senior leader at Rainbow Days. Her professional experience includes the positions of teacher, child care center director, and parent educator in domestic violence and drug abuse prevention programs. Susan is a well known children’s advocate at the local, state, and national levels.

Susan is the past president of the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children and served on an advisory committee for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She is the board chair of the Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition (TECEC) and the chair-elect of the Dallas Social Venture Partners (DSVP) board. Susan also serves on the Board of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars, the Jr. League of Richardson and the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health.

A native of Midland, Texas, Susan earned a degree in bilingual/bicultural education from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and completed graduate work in early childhood education at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and post graduate work in public administration and policy analysis at the University of Texas at Dallas.


huntCharis Hunt
Executive Director, College & Career Readiness for Elementary School, Richardson ISD

Charis began her career as a teacher in Bossier Parish schools in Louisiana before moving to Richardson ISD in the year 2000. She has spent that last 12 years as a classroom teacher, math specialist, assistant principal, principal, and most recently Executive Director in the area of College & Career Readiness for Elementary schools, all in RISD.

Her entire educational experience has been dedicated to working with students and families in Title 1 schools and raising their performance rates. One of her proudest accomplishments was raising her former elementary campus from recognized to exemplary and maintaining that rating during her 5 year principalship. The campus also earned the distinction of being named a Distinguished Title 1 school for 3 years in a row.

Though earning these achievements through the state accountability system have been rewarding, the focus on preparing students from low SES environments for their global futures is her true passion. Charis understands the early childhood preparatory stages that create a sense of urgency for pre-kindergarten readiness as well as elementary indicators for timely graduation. She is passionate about being a member of Commit!’s Early Childhood Council and making a difference for the children in the Dallas community.


jalonickMary M. Jalonick
President, The Dallas Foundation

Mary Jalonick, President of The Dallas Foundation , was hired in 1987 as The Foundation’s first full-time employee. The Foundation was established in 1929 as a community foundation to provide a way for Dallas citizens to make gifts and bequests, the income from which would primarily support the charitable causes of the city and county of Dallas.

A lifelong resident of Dallas, Mary’s background was in the volunteer sector and she continues to be involved in the nonprofit community. She has served as President of the Board of Trustees of The Hockaday School, Girl’s Adventure Trails, Educational Opportunities, Inc. and the Charter 100 of Dallas. Additionally she is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, at the University of Texas in Austin

Past board memberships include the Center for Nonprofit Management, the Foundation for Callier Center for Communications Disorders, the Greater Dallas Planning Council, the Greater Dallas Council of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Dallas Women’s Foundation, Dallas Chapter, American Red Cross, Hope Cottage Children’s Bureau, the Jr. League of Dallas, the Executive Board of the Algur H. Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, the Tejas Girl Scout Endowment Foundation, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, the Conference of Southwest Foundations and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers in Washington , D.C.

Mary participates in several national initiatives for the Council on Foundations. She serves as past chair of the National Standards Action Team and a current member of the Community Foundation National Standards Board.


moselyDr. Helena Mosely
Assistant Superintendent for Achievement and Student Services, Lancaster ISD

Dr. Helena Mosely’s extensive education service background includes ten years as an elementary school principal. Effective August 2010, Dr. Mosely took on the leadership position as Assistant Superintendent of Achievement and Student Services with Lancaster Independent School District, which she currently holds. Her office’s responsibilities involve working with the curriculum development, instructional services, state laws and the state board of education rules, local board of trustees policies, approved administrative procedures, principal evaluations, conflict resolution and campus and department budgets. Her office’s main focus is to establish a PK-5 grade educational program that addresses the needs of students and the mission of the school district. Dr. Mosely received her B.S. Ed from Cheyney University in 1990, and her M.Ed from Sul Ross State University in 1995. In 2008, she received a Doctor of Ministry from Vision International University.


Esmeralda Ortiz
Director of Community Relations, SMU – Center on Communities and Education

Biography coming soon.


owenDr. Margaret Owen
Director, Center for Children and Families, The University of Texas at Dallas

My research focuses on children’s development in the context of family relationships and the implications of maternal employment and early child care experiences for children’s development and family relationships. In these interrelated pursuits her research has contributed to greater understanding of what constitute important interpersonal influences in children’s lives, how family relations and child care experiences influence the young child’s development, and how contexts of development are interrelated.

Some of my early work documents the influence of close, confiding marriages in the development of involved, sensitive mother-infant and father-infant interactions and, in turn, the development of secure infant-parent attachment relationships. It also addresses the detrimental effects of parents’ marital conflict on children’s attachments to their parents, particularly with respect to insecure/disorganized qualities in the infant-parent relationship.

I was a Co-Principal Investigator in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development 1990-2007, collaborating with investigators across the country in a prospective longitudinal study of the effects of early child care on over 1300 children and their families. The study followed the children from birth through age 15, guided by an ecological developmental framework that brings together information about the child care environment, the home and family, school experiences, peer experiences, and individual differences among children in understanding trajectories of children’s development across multiple domains. One of my contributions to the study was in designing the protocol for the longitudinal assessments of mother-child and father-child interactions and training and supervising the ratings of all of the study’s videotapes of parent-child interactions from 6 months through age 15 years. Findings from the study have addressed (1) characteristics of child care for infants and toddlers across various types and forms of care; (2) associations found between the use of child care and demographic and attitudinal characteristics of families; and (3) associations between child-care experiences and children’s relationships with their mothers, adaptive and maladaptive social behavior, cognitive and language development, peer relations, qualities of mother-child interaction, health, and school achievement from preschool through middle school. Effects of early child care have been documented through adolescence. In addition numerous reports of developmental processes in children have been published from the study. In current follow-up work, we are studying the teens’ romantic relationships and attachment styles in their senior year of high school.

In the Dallas Child Care Project, we studied developmental effects of relationship-focused child care for low-income ethnically diverse children in Dallas and variations in the quality of care provided by accredited centers serving low-income children in the Dallas area.


persuadDr. Donna Persaud
Medical Director of Pediatrics for Community Medicine, Parkland Health & Hospital System

In addition to overseeing pediatrics for Parkland’s community medicine, Dr. Persaud volunteers in the Pediatric Department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Persaud’s research includes being the co-investigator in a study of HPV vaccine completion rates, investigator for Macrosomia and BMI in pregnancy and co-investigator for a study of integration of mental health services in primary care. Her clinical interests include program development for a patient-centered medical home, integration of mental health services in primary care, electronic medical record development to promote evidenced-based care, population care and epidemic obesity.


J. Puckett
Senior Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group

J. has been with BCG since 1989 and has held a number of key leadership roles in the firm. He is currently a member of BCG’s Americas Leadership Team and leads the firm’s Organization Practice in the Americas. He also leads BCG’s public education transformation practice globally. He has worked extensively with public and private sector entities on important strategic, organizational and operational transformation efforts. He has hands-on experience in strategy development, enterprise building, large-scale transformation, organization design, HR effectiveness, leadership development, process reengineering, cost reduction, asset productivity improvement, performance management, change management, and stakeholder engagement. Recent examples of his work include:

  • Organizational design and effectiveness project for the US Department of Education
  • Transformation plan development and implementation support for multiple urban districts and states (e.g. New Orleans, Dallas Independent School District, Delaware)
  • Launch plan development for the National Math and Science Initiative
  • Comprehensive teacher effectiveness plan development for multiple large urban school districts
  • Higher education support (e.g. strategy, fund raising and development, new programs)

Prior to joining BCG, Mr. Puckett worked for IBM. He received a B.S. in Computer Science and Religion from Duke University, and an M.B.A. in Finance and Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the Boards for The Dallas Foundation and the Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Advisory Board for Teach for America. J. resides in Dallas, TX with his wife of 25 years and their four children.


Vincent Reyes
Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning

Biography coming soon.


rochaLisa Oglesby Rocha
Founder, AVANCE-Dallas

Lisa Oglesby Rocha, has demonstrated a lifetime’s passion for building strong children, families and communities. Sixteen years ago, Lisa saw the educational gap in the growing Hispanic community and knew preventative measures needed to be taken to stop any growth in that gap. Initiating AVANCE-Dallas in 1996, she along with her team worked with the evidence-based Avance model and adapted it for the Dallas community, serving children at the critical brain development stage of birth-3 while also equipping often-overlooked parents to support their children’s education from cradle to college.

Since 1996, Avance-Dallas has transformed the lives of more than 17,500 at-risk children and parents and grown into a results-driven organization serving more than 3,000 parents and young children annually at 33 Dallas County sites. During her tenure at Avance-Dallas, Ms. Oglesby Rocha established a strong organizational reputation for excellence, measurable results, family transformation, and strategic innovation to resolve community needs. Consequently, the Avance-Dallas team has equipped thousands of parents to get involved in their children’s education starting at birth and continuing through graduation and college, and stimulated thousands of children in the critical early years of development so they start kindergarten ready to succeed in school. Avance-Dallas graduates in the Dallas ISD have consistently achieved a higher cumulative attendance rate than their Dallas ISD peers and outperformed their Dallas ISD peers on state standardized TAKS tests.

Ms. Oglesby Rocha has been honored by a number of groups, including the “Outstanding Individual Award” from the Women’s Council of Dallas County and the “Dreamers, Doers, and Unsung Heroes Award” from the Real Estate Council. She has served on the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health Board of Directors, the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Children & Families Advisory Council, Dallas Achieves, the Dallas Mayor’s Every Child Ready to Read Initiative, and the Women’s Council of Dallas County.

Prior to Avance-Dallas, Ms. Oglesby received her Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, followed by a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has also served as Executive Director of Trinity River Mission, a West Dallas outreach effort to support families to break their cycle of poverty through education. She along with her team, established Trinity River Mission as a 501(c)3 organization and involved hundreds of volunteers to foster community development and self-sufficiency, providing wide-ranging, innovative bilingual educational programs.


Dr. Raul Rojas
Assistant Professor of Bilingual Development and Child Language, The University of Texas at Dallas

Biography coming soon.


rubinMelanie Rubin
Director, Dallas Child Care Alliance

Melanie Rubin is a policy consultant in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Melanie has extensive experience in needs assessments, grant writing and policy development.

She currently serves as the Director of the Dallas Child Care Alliance and the Comprehensive System Plan Consultant for the Dallas County Texas Home Visiting Project. Melanie has worked with ChildCareGroup as Director of Marketing, Director of Public Affairs and now as a consultant. She was successful in devising a method to draw down previously unused federal dollars to Texas and has been instrumental in working to improve statewide child care policy. Additionally, Melanie was Project and Coalition Director for the Building Better Beginnings project for the Texas Association for Mental Health and Interim Executive Director of Texans Care for Children. Melanie has actively participated in the last ten state legislative sessions, developing legislative agendas, identifying funding sources, building coalitions and facilitating the passage of legislation.

Prior to her public affairs work, Melanie worked with Andersen Consulting in Change Management in Dallas and Houston.


Martha Stowe
Executive Director, Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation

Biography will be coming soon.


Dora Torres-Moron
Executive Director, Language and Literacy, Dallas ISD

Biography will be coming soon.


TuricchiPaula Turicchi
Senior Vice President of Women and Infants Specialty Health, Parkland Health and Hospital System

Paula Turicchi, FACHE, is the senior vice president of Women and Infants Specialty Health (WISH) at Parkland Health & Hospital System. She oversees Women and Infants services including one of the largest maternity services in the U.S. She is responsible for labor and delivery, inpatient post partum, newborn nursery services, the neonatal intensive care unit, 12 women’s ambulatory clinics and an obstetrics and gynecology urgent care center. Grant programs include family planning, breast and cervical services, Dallas Healthy Start and Parkland’s Nurse Family Partnership. Turicchi has spent more than 16 years at Parkland, beginning in 1988 as an administrative resident. She went on to become administrative director and then vice president of Women and Children’s Services before forming Paula Turicchi Health Care Consulting in 1998. Paula then returned to Parkland in 2006 as program administrator for Family Planning. She soon became vice president of WISH and was named to senior vice president in 2008.

Turicchi is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, DFW ACHE Forum, and Dallas Medicaid & CHIP Regional Advisory Committee. She was honored by the National Association of Public Hospitals (NAPH) as a 1997 Fellow for designing and implementing managed care programs in safety net institutions, and is a recipient of awards from NAPH and CMIO Magazine for use of the EMR to manage influenza in pregnancy.

Turicchi received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas and a master’s in health care administration from Trinity University. She lives in Dallas with her husband, Tom, and their two children. Both Paula and Tom have been involved in Dallas ISD school activities including PTA and the Site Based Decision Making Committee.


Juany Valdespino-Gaytan
Director of K-2 Curriculum and Instruction, Dallas ISD

Biography coming soon.

yungCynthia Yung
Executive Director, The Boone Family Foundation

Cynthia Yung currently serves as Executive Director of The Boone Family Foundation, a resource for social change. In this role, she is responsible for identifying and recommending grants for nonprofit organizations that focus on supporting programs which advance equity for women and girls, improve quality of life for children and promote environmental stewardship.

Ms. Yung also serves on advisory boards for Ignite Texas, The Real Estate Council Community Fund, United Way Income Impact, and Texas Women Ventures and steering committees for the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative and Highland Park United Methodist Global Outreach. More than a decade of volunteer work on international mission trips and serving on nonprofit boards have paved the way for Ms. Yung’s transition from the corporate world to the nonprofit world.

A Telecom industry veteran, her previous corporate career includes roles in sales, strategic marketing, manufacturing operations and finance for Nortel Networks. Ms. Yung earned a Chartered Accountant designation at Ernst & Young and a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Canada.


The Grades 4-12 Support Council serves as a critical thought leader for how we might better align and execute our collective efforts across grades 4-12 in Dallas County. The Council is comprised of 14 members, including representatives from five public school districts, two charter networks, two institutions of higher education, and the philanthropic and nonprofit communities. Council members focus on seven indicators along the cradle-to-career continuum: 4th Grade Math, 8th Grade Math and Science, PSAT, SAT/ACT, High School Graduation, and Postsecondary Enrollment. The initial priority of the Council is postsecondary enrollment, as Commit! recently began to facilitate the Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) after a successful pilot period at Educate Texas. TxCAN is a cross-sector coalition of high school counselors, central office staff focused on college- and career-readiness, college admissions representatives, and college access providers. Members collaborate to increase the number of Dallas County students who are enrolling in a postsecondary institution through joint outcomes-based projects. The 4-12 Support Council has guided the strategic planning of TxCAN with data analysis, knowledge and experience sharing, and general network support. Once TxCAN is fully operational, the Council will shift focus to STEM efforts.

Heather Ashwell-Hair
Anna Michele Bobadilla
Vicki Bridges
Rev. Gerald Britt
Ashley Bryan
Dr. David J. Chard
Elizabeth Fritze
Alex Hales
Rich Harrison
Steve Hinkley
Patti Kieker
Dr. Helena Mosely
Dr. Gabrielle Polk
Tegwin Pulley
Dr. Ann Smisko
Aleta Stampley
George Tang


Heather Ashwell-Hair
Secretary, Texas PTA

When Heather Ashwell-Hair moved to Texas from Ontario, Canada, over 17 years ago, she didn’t know the turn her career would take. Not being work authorized but having been a parent educator in many different capacities including a home mediator model early childhood intervention program with at-risk families, implementation of a “Warm Line” for parents to call before they reach a crisis point, and a Talk Radio Host on parenting issues, as well as a college instructor for the Early Childhood Education Program, she was well equipped to volunteer at the local public school. She was quickly identified as a potential PTA leader and has become a full-time professional volunteer at the largest child advocacy organization in the state.

Heather is currently serving as Secretary to Texas PTA following two terms as Parent Education Programming chair. She has served in a variety of positions at elementary, middle and high school as well as ISD Council and Regional PTAs. As an officer with Texas PTA, Heather plays a vital role as she has been appointed to several key leadership and governance committees. She is a Texas PTA life member and has received an extended service award. As a result of her leadership in Texas PTAs, she was also selected by National PTA to serve as a Field Service Committee member.

With a passion for parent education, Heather continues to travel the state presenting parenting courses, as well as professional development workshops for schools and other organizations. Heather holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Mohawk College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Development Studies from the University of Waterloo. She and her husband live in Carrollton and have three children.


bobadillaAnna Michele Bobadilla
Senior Associate VP for Outreach Services & Community Engagement; Assistant Provost for Hispanic Student Success, The University of Texas at Arlington

Michele Bobadilla serves as the liaison to Commit! for University Crossroads, a P-16 council which she helped co-found. She is a native Dallasite who, over the last 34 years, has demonstrated her commitment and civic responsibility through active involvement in education initiatives, civic boards, and volunteer organizations. She champions higher education for others by promoting access and equity through extensive outreach and community partnerships.

Ms. Bobadilla established the Society of 100 Endowed Scholars’ Fund in cooperation with the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the GDHCC Institute for Leadership and Business Education, and community partners. As chair of the Stars on the Rise Scholarship Program, she helped raise over $3.4 million dollars in 2011 resulting in 210 student scholarships. Michele also served on the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s scholarship committee in order to help them grow and forge vital partnerships beneficial to area students.

Ms. Bobadilla has served as a Board of Director on twenty-five boards of organizations providing vital services to our community, and she has actively maintained her civic/community involvement by serving on over fifty committees addressing the needs of the community-at-large. Through University Crossroads, she has been able to impact over 12,500 students through free SAT Math Prep Classes offered in Dallas and Fort Worth. As Vice Chair of the National League of United Latin American Citizens’ Education Commission, Ms. Bobadilla was able to impact policies and raise awareness of the educational needs of Latino students in the PK-20 pipeline.

Michele has received numerous honors throughout her career as an educator, mentor and advocate, including her most recent induction into the Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame becoming the first Latino/a in the storied history of one of Dallas’ oldest schools to receive this honor.


Vicki Bridges
Chief of Secondary Education, Grand Prairie ISD

Biography will be coming soon.


brittReverend Gerald Britt
President and CEO, CitySquare

The Rev. Gerald Britt joined CitySquare in September 2004 to further his lifelong work serving those around him. His pastoral and community experience and wisdom are rich assets to CitySquare.

A high profile community leader for many years, Gerald has strong ties to the political, faith and business communities of Dallas. These connections will be valuable to CitySquare as it reaches deeper into South and East Dallas. Gerald most recently served as Senior Pastor for the New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, located in the heart of far South Dallas . During his 22 years there, he led the church in significant growth and organizational change. Through his work in the church and surrounding neighborhoods as well as years of leadership in Dallas Area Interfaith, Gerald has distinguished himself as one of Dallas’ most influential community leaders. He has been out front on many city issues, from advocating for better care for Parkland Hospital patients to increasing voter turnout in South Dallas, among others.


Ashley Bryan
Director of Planning and Special Projects, Dallas ISD

As a native of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Ashley grew up in and then taught at local public schools. Today, she continues to serve Dallas students as the Director of Planning and Special Projects at Dallas ISD. In this role, Ashley supports multi-faceted and cross-functional projects in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Prior to her current role, Ashley was an Associate at Commit! where she focused on strategy and project management of all initiatives across grades 4-12. Ashley also taught 7th and 8th grade Spanish in Oak Cliff and spent summers developing new teachers at Teach For America’s Houston Institute.

Ashley graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 with dual degrees in the Plan II and Business Honors programs and from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2012 with a Master’s in Education in Education Policy and Management.


Dr. David J. Chard
Dean, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, SMU

David is the Leon Simmons Endowed Dean and founding dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. A lifelong educator having taught in both public schools for eight years and at the higher education level for over 16 years, David also serves as a Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University. Since his arrival at SMU, Dr. Chard has focused on making the Simmons School a national leader in research and development on education reform.

Dr. Chard has been the principal investigator on numerous federal research projects including topics such as response to intervention (RTI), reading, reading comprehension instruction, and early childhood mathematics. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of Oregon, he has been awarded state and federal research and training grants totaling over $10 million. David has published more than 90 articles, monographs, book chapters, and books on instructional interventions and modifications in mathematics, reading and expressive writing. He is a member of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, the American Mathematical Association, a Past President for the Division for Research at the Council for Exceptional Children, and a member of numerous national and regional boards supporting high quality educational opportunities for all children. He is the author of numerous instructional programs on reading, early literacy intervention, language arts, and mathematics spanning K-12 education and has been a classroom teacher in California, Michigan, and in the U. S. Peace Corps in Lesotho in southern Africa.


Elizabeth Fritze
Program Director, Teach for America – DFW

Biography coming soon.

untitledAlex Hales
Executive Director, Teach for America – DFW

Alexandra Hales is the Executive Director of Teach For America-Dallas/Fort Worth. She began her career in education in 2007 when she joined the South Louisiana Teach For America corps as a first grade teacher. Alex set rigorous expectations for her students, modeled leadership through her ongoing involvement in the school community, and fostered high levels of student achievement. As a second-year teacher, Alex was selected by her fellow educators as the top elementary teacher in the district and was named East Feliciana Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year. In 2009, Alex was a key leader in opening the Teach For America charter region in Dallas-Fort Worth, where she first served as a manager, teacher leadership development and was quickly promoted to leading all teacher support and development initiatives. Under Alex’s leadership, corps members have become valued members of their school communities. In a 2011 independent survey of local school leaders employing corps members, partner principals reported that their corps members made a positive difference in their school community. Ninety-seven percent reported they would hire another corps member if they had an open position to fill, and hundred percent indicated that their corps members are as or better prepared than other new teachers.

Alex earned her BA from Lake Forest College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in Political Science and History, captained the women’s varsity swim team, and served as Student Government president.


untitledRich Harrison
Chief Academic Officer, Uplift Education

After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1998, Rich taught middle and high school English in New York City for 5 years and in Denver for 2 years. In his first school leadership role, Rich doubled as a principal and English teacher for KIPP: Cole College Prep – the first conversion charter school in the nation.  He then served as the founding Middle School Director for the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST), the highest performing school in terms of student achievement and growth in Denver Public Schools. In his last year in this role, his school was awarded the EPIC Silver Award by New Leaders for New Schools and Mathematica for having the 2nd highest value-add student growth out of all high performing charter middle schools in the nation.

Rich joined Uplift Education in the summer of 2011 to lead the Teaching and Learning Team.  At Uplift, he oversees curriculum, instruction, and assessment, as well as the development of the instructional technology and data integration, network-wide performance management and goal setting, and manages the school directors at four school clusters: Pinnacle Preparatory in Oak Cliff (K-2), Hampton Preparatory (K-3; 6-12) in south Dallas, Infinity Preparatory  (K-2; 6-7) and Laureate Preparatory (K-4; 6-7; 9).  He brings a wealth of experience around school start up, leadership transformation, organizational culture, and academic systems, and looks to continue his learning and leadership at Uplift so that it can become an International Baccalaureate (IB) network serving over 13,000 scholars in the region.


Steve Hinkley
Vice President, Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Biography will be coming soon.

pattiPatti Kieker
Deputy Superintendent, Richardson ISD

Patti Kieker has been an educator for 39 years and is currently Deputy Superintendent in the Richardson ISD. Before becoming Deputy Superintendent, Ms. Kieker served as a classroom teacher at both the elementary and secondary levels; assistant principal and principal at the elementary level; Executive Director – Special Student Services, and Assistant Superintendent – Human Resources.

Ms. Kieker received a Bachelors of Science degree from McNeese State University and a Master of Science from Stephen F. Austin University. She has completed doctoral work through the University of North Texas.

Ms. Kieker is actively involved in many educational and civic organizations and has received several honors and awards including the Outstanding Woman of Today from Richardson Altrusa.


moselyDr. Helena Mosely
Assistant Superintendent for Achievement and Student Services, Lancaster ISD

Dr. Helena Mosely’s extensive education service background includes ten years as an elementary school principal. Effective August 2010, Dr. Mosely took on the leadership position as Assistant Superintendent of Achievement and Student Services with Lancaster Independent School District, which she currently holds. Her office’s responsibilities involve working with the curriculum development, instructional services, state laws and the state board of education rules, local board of trustees policies, approved administrative procedures, principal evaluations, conflict resolution and campus and department budgets. Her office’s main focus is to establish a PK-5 grade educational program that addresses the needs of students and the mission of the school district. Dr. Mosely received her B.S. Ed from Cheyney University in 1990, and her M.Ed from Sul Ross State University in 1995. In 2008, she received a Doctor of Ministry from Vision International University.


Polk_GabrielleDr. Gabrielle Polk
Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Schools, DeSoto ISD

Dr. Gabrielle Polk is the assistant superintendent for elementary learning and accountability for DeSoto ISD. In this position she supervises elementary campuses, special education and the curriculum department. She is diligently working to help bring DeSoto ISD to the next level. Dr. Polk is particularly proud of the implementation of dual language and full-day pre-K in DeSoto ISD.

She received her Bachelor of Applied Arts, Masters in Counseling, Masters in Special Education, and Doctoral in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Multicultural Diversity all from Lamar University. She holds several Texas education certifications including: Superintendent, Principal, Counseling, Diagnostician and others.

Dr. Polk’s leadership spills over into her social and civic duty. She currently holds or has held positions on both state and regional levels including: Recording Secretary, BAABSE; Treasurer, Texas Alliance of Black School Educators; 1st Vice President Zeta Phi Beta graduate chapter; Regional Nominating Committee – Zeta Phi Beta Southern Region (Louisiana and Texas); Vice President of Public Relations – Young Women’s Department – Eastern Progressive District Association; and Board of Directors of Angela’s Outreach. She also served on the senior usher board at Antioch MBC, under the leadership of Dr. John R. Adolph.

A native of Houston, Dr. Polk is the proud mother of two children, Everette and Autumn. In her spare time, Dr. Polk enjoys traveling with her fiancé, LaVelle.


tegwinTegwin Pulley
DFW Director, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity – STEM Equity Pipeline

Tegwin Pulley is a woman on a mission. Across business, civic, and educational sectors her mission is nothing short of creating environments where inspiration, opportunity, and achievement are available for all. At Texas Instruments (TI), she had a track record, which resulted in TI being recognized as one of the best companies to work for, in addition to TI winning more than 180 awards for diversity, work-life, and inclusive

Tegwin has a history of building programs, enterprises, and partnerships where none existed before, including the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) Technology Education Council and the Regional Workforce Leadership Council. Tegwin has served on more than 35 community boards and chaired 10 nonprofit organizations, ranging from the Texas Engineering and Technology Consortium to the Women’s Center to the TWU Board of Regents.

Recently Tegwin retired from TI where she was vice president responsible for workforce development and diversity. She continues to provide consulting for both businesses and educational institutions, including recently serving as Executive Director of High-Tech High Heels, a program to encourage and prepare girls to pursue technology-related degrees.
Tegwin now dedicates most of her time to NAPE as Texas Director of the STEM Equity Pipeline™. She is responsible for bringing top-level leadership to the NAPE board and Business Alliance Council. With a collaborative spirit and strategic approach, she supported the successful development and deployment of NAPE’s Micromessaging to Reach and Teach Every Student© training, NAPE’s STEM Equity Career workshops and the High-Tech High Heels Physics Camp for girls. Her work helped hurdle NAPE forward in its mission, enabling NAPE to reach more than 700 educators in Texas in 18 months.

Diversity remains Tegwin’s top priority in both her vocation and avocation. Throughout her career, she has mentored, coached, and sponsored many women and men in STEM and continues to do so. Currently, she serves on 10 boards and advisory boards including the American Institute for Diversity and Commerce and the McDonald Observatory and Leadership Women. Congratulations to Tegwin Pulley for embracing Diversity in Technology Leadership.


Smisko, AnnDr. Ann Smisko
Chief Academic Officer, Dallas Independent School District

Dr. Ann Smisko is the Chief Academic Officer for Dallas ISD. Dr. Smisko is responsible for the curriculum, instruction and support to ensure that students master the knowledge and skills needed to graduate from Dallas ISD college and career ready. Prior to joining Dallas ISD, Dr. Smisko served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at the Austin Independent School District. She also served with the Texas A&M University System and the Texas Education Agency for over twenty years. During her tenure at TEA, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the statewide Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum, the development and administration of the Texas Assessment Program and the review, adoption, and purchase of textbooks and instructional materials for every student in the state. Dr. Smisko has served at the national level as a USDE Peer Reviewer for state accountability systems and as a member of the Work Group on Science Assessments for the National Academy of Science.


Aleta_stampleyAleta Stampley
Board Member, Teach for America & Reading Partners

Aleta Stampley was the Director of K-12 Education and Community Relations for Texas Instruments. Stampley joined Texas Instruments in September 2012 and is responsible for developing and driving the overall strategy, execution and evaluation of all K-12 Education Programs supported by Texas Instruments. As a member of the Corporate Citizenship Team she strives to channel Texas Instruments’ more than $11 MM in philanthropy, employee giving, in-kind technology and volunteer support to the most critical gaps along domestic and international education continuums.

Prior to joining Texas Instruments, Stampley worked for 15 years at Bank of America (BAC) as a Community Relations Senior Vice President where she managed Philanthropic, Community Development and Associate Volunteer Programs for the 20,000+ BAC employees in the North Texas Region. As a member of the Local Market Delivery Team, she focused on individuals and communities that often lack access to resources by providing support in the areas of Education, Workforce Development, Affordable Housing, Health & Human Services and the Arts. At Bank of America, Stampley oversaw $3MM+ in charitable giving annually.

Stampley is an active member of the community and plays a key role in the support of numerous organizations including St. Philip’s School and Community Center, Parkland Hospital and CitySquare. She is a board member of Big Thought, Commit! and Teach for America. She also serves on the Dallas Regional Chamber Education Advisory Committee, the United Way Education Advisory Council and the TREC CDFI Advisory Council. She is a former member of the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee and was the 2008 Fund Development Chair of The Real Estate Council Foundation. Stampley is a graduate of Leadership Dallas (Class of 2004) and was the 2008 Chair of the Leadership Dallas Alumni Board. From 2008 – 2012 Stampley served as the Management Advisor for Bank of America Community Volunteers, a team that grew from averaging 30,000 volunteer hours annually in 2007 to averaging over 100,000 hours of community service annually from 2008 – 2012.

In 2010 Stampley received the Leadership Dallas Distinguished Alumni Award. The award emphasizes the importance of active involvement in the Greater Dallas region and serves to encourage and provide a role model for others. In 2005, Stampley received the “She Knows Where She’s Going Award” from Girls Inc.-Dallas, presented to women who have overcome obstacles and become a role model to young women.
Stampley is a graduate of the Washington University St. Louis School of Fine Art where she majored in both Advertising Design and Illustration.

Stampley and her husband Samuel reside in McKinney, TX and are the proud parents of five children – Charmaine – 22, Amen Ra -22, Coleman – 20, Samuel III – 18 and Khaila -17.


George Tang
COO, Texas High School Project, Communities Foundation of Texas

As Chief Operating Officer for the Texas High School Project at CFT, George ensures THSP’s day-to-day operations align with its mission of preparing all Texas students graduate high school ready for postsecondary success. Prior to joining THSP, George co-founded Rosetta, an advertising agency fueled by its analytical approach to designing actionable marketing strategies. He was responsible for external client cultivation and management at Rosetta, along with developing its intellectual property and internal infrastructure. After returning to Dallas from New York in 2009, George began to focus on the significant gaps and challenges in our education system. THSP allows him a data-driven platform to marry his entrepreneurial passion with his desire to help all students achieve solid foundations for their futures. George earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting from New York University and is a Dallas native and graduate of J.J. Pearce High School.


The Higher Ed / Workforce support council focuses on ensuring that all young adults in Dallas County enroll, persist, and complete a postsecondary program that yields a credential with labor market value. Consisting of 20+ members encompassing the college and university, business, foundation, nonprofit, and other communities, the council meets monthly to translate data insights into collaborative opportunities (e.g., efforts to reduce remediation or improve retention). The support council uses three key community indicators to measure its progress: Postsecondary Enrollment, 1st Year Postsecondary Retention, and Postsecondary Completion. Specific action networks are presently in development.

Anna Michele Bobadilla
Tynesia Boyea-Robinson
Dr. Mary Brumbach
Sandra Coulson
Creslond Fannin
Angela Farley
Robin Ford
Mel Fuller
Eric Griffin
Deana Harrell
Laura Irvine
Linda Johnson
Laurie Larrea
Dr. Barbara Lerner
Sylvia Lopez
Anna Mays
Dr. Michael K. McLendon
Jeffrey Miller
Alfreda Norman
Marcia Page
Forrest Parrott
Alexandria Perez
Eric Reeves
Gretchen Riehl
Aimee Rincon
Wynn Rosser
Byron Sanders
Debbie Shewmake
Candy Slocum
Sandi Smith
Joseph Supino


bobadillaAnna Michele Bobadilla
Senior Associate VP for Outreach Services & Community Engagement; Assistant Provost for Hispanic Student Success, The University of Texas at Arlington

Michele Bobadilla serves as the liaison to Commit! for University Crossroads, a P-16 council which she helped co-found. She is a native Dallasite who, over the last 34 years, has demonstrated her commitment and civic responsibility through active involvement in education initiatives, civic boards, and volunteer organizations. She champions higher education for others by promoting access and equity through extensive outreach and community partnerships.

Ms. Bobadilla established the Society of 100 Endowed Scholars’ Fund in cooperation with the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the GDHCC Institute for Leadership and Business Education, and community partners. As chair of the Stars on the Rise Scholarship Program, she helped raise over $3.4 million dollars in 2011 resulting in 210 student scholarships. Michele also served on the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s scholarship committee in order to help them grow and forge vital partnerships beneficial to area students.

Ms. Bobadilla has served as a Board of Director on twenty-five boards of organizations providing vital services to our community, and she has actively maintained her civic/community involvement by serving on over fifty committees addressing the needs of the community-at-large. Through University Crossroads, she has been able to impact over 12,500 students through free SAT Math Prep Classes offered in Dallas and Fort Worth. As Vice Chair of the National League of United Latin American Citizens’ Education Commission, Ms. Bobadilla was able to impact policies and raise awareness of the educational needs of Latino students in the PK-20 pipeline.

Michele has received numerous honors throughout her career as an educator, mentor and advocate, including her most recent induction into the Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame becoming the first Latino/a in the storied history of one of Dallas’ oldest schools to receive this honor.


boyeaTynesia Boyea-Robinson
CEO, Reliance Methods

Tynesia Boyea Robinson is the CEO of Reliance Methods, a technology services firm of choice for organizations seeking innovative solutions that achieve both business and community impact. Prior to launching Reliance Methods, she was the founding executive director of Year Up, National Capital Region, a nonprofit committed to providing significant growth opportunities for underserved young adults. Her wide range of experiences in information technology, Six Sigma, and international business development make her a valuable asset to the Year Up team. She has led growth from a class of twenty-two students and eight corporate partners in 2006 to a class of nearly five hundred students and more than three hundred corporate partners in 2009. A performance-assessment tool that she created for Year Up was recognized by the Bridgespan Group as an industry best practice.

Prior to joining Year Up, Tynesia held leadership roles in several business units at General Electric. She was responsible for integrating processes, policies, and more than two hundred employees into GE Mortgage Insurance. Earlier in her career, she led several eBusiness and process-improvement projects at GE Transportation Systems. In addition to her work responsibilities, Tynesia was the community service chair for the GE African American Forum and a mentor to young adults through various community and faith-based groups.

Tynesia, who holds a dual degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University, received her MBA from Harvard Business School, where she won the Harvard Student Association MBA Award, played the lead in their annual musical satire, and was a founding member of the HBS student group Business Plan for Black America (BPBA), commissioned by the NAACP to improve education, economics, and opportunities for disadvantaged African Americans.


brumbachDr. Mary Brumbach
Executive Director of Strategic Funding, DCCCD

With more than 30 years of experience in external funding, Dr. Brumbach has served in a variety of roles, including president, with the Council for Resource Development. She also has served at the national and international levels with the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is a former chairman of the board of CFRE International. Dr. Brumbach, a Fulbright Scholar, has received distinguished service awards from the Council for Resource Development, the Community College Humanities Association, and the Texas Association of Schools of Art. She was named the 2002 Fundraising Executive of the Year by the Dallas Chapter of AFP.

Dr. Brumbach has been responsible for over $100 million in successful proposals including 14 recent Texas Skills Development Fund proposals with major local companies. Among the proposals are the $3.5 million gift from the Ellison Miles Foundation to build a Geotechnology Institute—one of the largest cash gifts ever received by a community college in the nation—and the new $3.4 million Head Start Center on the Brookhaven campus that serves as the child development lab school as well as provides child care for low income parents. Dr. Brumbach’s responsibilities include leading the DCCCD efforts in Stimulus funding (over $7 million) and working with two statewide consortia of community colleges.

Dr. Brumbach’s current board appointments include the Dallas Regional Chamber Advisory Committee for Education, and the Council for Resource Development. She holds degrees from the University of North Texas and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in art, art history, and art education.


Sandra Coulson
Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Program, Mesquite ISD

Biography coming soon.


farleyCreslond Fannin
Director of College and Career Readiness/Career and Technical Education/AVID, Lancaster ISD

Creslond Fannin is the Director of College and Career Readiness/Career and Technical Education/AVID for Lancaster ISD overseeing numerous programs for grades Pre-K3 through 12. She was also on the grant award-winning team that brought STEM Education to Lancaster, creating a STEM for All District with a $4.2 million dollar grant from Texas Instruments Foundation. For the past four years, she has initiated and implemented the More Than a Diploma Initiative, which was founded by Mayor Marcus E. Knight and Superintendent Michael D. McFarland as a partnership between the City of Lancaster and Lancaster ISD to provide the students with more choices and opportunities after graduation.

In addition to her role at Lancaster ISD, Fannin has also been an adjunct professor at El Centro College in downtown Dallas for over 10 years. Upon her return from Africa, where she was a visiting scholar during the summer of 2007 at the University of Ghana at Legon, her purpose became clear.

Fannin is a graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor of Communications degree and a Master of Education degree from Texas A&M-Commerce.

farleyAngela Farley
Vice President, Public Policy and Education, Dallas Regional Chamber

Ms. Farley has over 15 years of experience working in North Texas as a community volunteer which spurred her to become a School Board member and education advocate. As a Certified Management Accountant, Ms. Farley worked as an internal consultant with several national firms, including Haynes and Boone, serving clients in highly regulated industries, particularly on government contracts and accounting investigations. Most recently, Ms. Farley was the CFO of Command and Control Environments in Grapevine, TX.

At the Dallas Regional Chamber, Ms. Farley focuses on advocacy and programs associated with education issues from pre-K through higher education. Ms. Farley is the current President of the Uplift Irving Board, sits on the District-wide Uplift Board, and participates in the Audit Committee. She and her husband Travis have two sons that currently attend public school in North Texas.


Robin Ford
College & Career Readiness Coordinator, DeSoto ISD

Biography coming soon.


Mel Fuller
Executive Director for College and Career Readiness, Richardson ISD

Biography coming soon.


farleyEric Griffin
Sustainability Manager, Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas

Eric Griffin is the Sector/Sustainability Manager at Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas. He is responsible for initiating and implementing sector-based workforce development strategies to support long-term sustainability within priority industries. He also solicits private and federal funding opportunities to support sector initiatives. Eric has a Bachelors of Political Science from SMU as well as a Masters in Environmental Management and a Masters in Public Policy from Duke University.


Deana Harrell
Director of Advanced Academics, Coppell ISD


IrvineLaura Irvine
President, Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Laura Irvine joined Methodist Health System in 1996 as an administrative resident at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. In three short years, she advanced to vice president of Methodist Charlton Medical Center. In 2001, she accepted a position as senior vice president of planning and marketing for Methodist Health System, a position she held until her promotion to president of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. In March 2011 she was appointed president of Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

As senior vice president, Irvine brought together more than 80 members of Methodist’s administration, medical staff, board of directors, and community to create the system’s first-ever comprehensive strategic plan. She was also instrumental in planning our first major expansion in more than 25 years, an 80-bed hospital in Mansfield with a nearby imaging center and doctor’s office complex.

Irvine holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baylor University and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University.

Irvine’s accomplishments have been recognized by several professional organizations with awards such as the inaugural Young Healthcare Executive of the Year award by the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, the Up and Comers award by Modern Healthcare magazine, and the Early Career Healthcare Executive Regent’s Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives. In 2012, Methodist Dallas and Irvine were honored by inclusion in the Becker’s Hospital Review list of “100 Leaders of Great Hospitals” as well as “Women Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know.”


Linda Johnson
Executive Director of College and Career Readiness, Dallas ISD

Biography coming soon.


Laurie Larrea
President, Workforce Solutions

Laurie has the honor of serving as the President of the Dallas County Workforce Development Board – Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas. “Achieving competitive solutions FOR EMPLOYERS through quality people and FOR PEOPLE through quality jobs“ is the mission of this business-led and employer-responsive Board. Capping a career in employment programs spanning more than thirty years, Laurie has served the Board as the chief executive since 1996, and served as Executive Director of the preceding organization, the Private Industry Council of Dallas, Inc. beginning in 1989. Ms. Larrea has served three dynamic boards in Texas including Director of Programs for the Houston Job Training Partnership Council and Director of the Southeast Texas Employment and Training Program/PIC in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area. As a private employment and training consultant, Laurie‘s work included conference planning; procurement, negotiation and contract training; and planning for various councils and contractors – the Texas Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Labor.

An alumnus of Lamar University in Beaumont, Laurie earned a B.S. in Psychology with emphasis in Industrial Psychology. She is married to a workforce colleague, Robert and they have one son, Alex.


lernerDr. Barbara Lerner
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies, Texas Women’s University

Barbara D’Auria Lerner, Ph.D. serves Texas Woman’s University as Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Partnerships. She brings more than 30 years experience as a teacher, scholar, administrator and consultant. Her research and teaching have focused on collaboration in education. As Associate Provost, she oversees core curriculum and undergraduate academic programs, as well as collaborative activities in which TWU engages with school districts and 2-year colleges to establish seamless transitions in preschool through post-secondary education.

Dr. Lerner facilitates public school and university partnership programs, including the TWU High School Advantage Program, enabling high school students to earn college credit prior to high school graduation. She serves as liaison to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as the Regional College and Career Readiness Special Advisor for the north central Texas region. Dr. Lerner holds degrees from The George Washington University (B.A., M.A.) and from Texas Woman’s University (Ph.D.).


Dr. Sylvia Lopez
Director of Counseling Services, Dallas ISD

Biography coming soon.


Anna Mays
Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management, DCCCD

Biography coming soon.


McLendonDr. Michael K. McLendon
Professor of Higher Education Policy and Leadership; Associate Dean at the Simmons School of Education and Human Development, SMU

Dr. Michael K. McLendon is a professor of higher education policy and leadership and the associate dean at the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. Prior to his appointment at SMU, Dr. McLendon served for thirteen years as a professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University, where he also held roles as executive associate dean of Peabody College of Education and as director of several graduate and undergraduate programs.

Dr. McLendon’s scholarship and teaching focus on governance, finance, and public policy of higher education. A primary strand of his research involves analysis of the factors shaping policy change, innovation, and reform for higher education at both the state and campus levels. Among his recent studies are ones that examined the determinants of state adoption of new accountability and financing policies in higher education; the factors associated with changes in state funding for public colleges and universities; and, the impacts of new policies and management practices that have aimed to increase the performance of postsecondary systems and institutions.

The results of these and of other studies have been published in leading journals of the fields of educational policy and of higher education studies, including The Journal of Higher Education, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis,Research in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, American Journal of Education, Teachers College Record,Educational Policy, Journal of Education Finance, and Higher Education: Handbook of Theory of Research.

Much of his research has been supported by foundations and by public agencies. He has been as a principal investigator and a lead consultant on a variety of national studies, including ones funded by the Lumina Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Association of Governing Boards of College and Universities. He also consults with national and state policy organizations, state boards of higher education, and governors and legislatures.

Dr. McLendon teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on state policy and politics of higher education, university governance and administration, and postsecondary education finance. He also has taught seminars and survey courses on American public policy and on leadership. He is a recipient of a number of awards from Vanderbilt University in recognition of outstanding teaching.

Actively involved in several professional associations, Dr. McLendon has served as an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). Additionally, he serves or has served on a number of editorial boards, including those of Research in Higher Education and Review of Higher Education. He is a former associate editor of Higher Education: Handbook of Theory of Research and former co-editor of the Politics of Education Yearbook.

Dr. McLendon earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy from the University of Michigan, an M.S. in higher education from Florida State University, and a B.A. in political science from Baylor University. Prior to undertaking doctoral studies, he served as a policy analyst in the Florida House of Representatives and as a staff member in the United States Senate, in Washington D.C. In 2007, he was named a distinguished young alumnus of his undergraduate alma mater.


Jeffrey Miller
Executive Director of College Readiness, Grand Prairie ISD

Biography coming soon.


Alfreda Norman
Vice President and Community Affairs Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Alfreda B. Norman is the Vice President and Community Affairs Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and leads the Community Development team, which supports the Federal Reserve System’s economic growth objectives by promoting community and economic development and fair and impartial access to credit. Her responsibilities include the oversight and strategic direction of the Dallas Fed’s work in leading and facilitating coalitions, collaborations and partnerships that focus on community development; conducting extensive research and training; writing in?depth publications; and organizing and hosting conferences, workshops and policy forums.

Prior to joining the Bank in 2004, Norman was one of the first neighborhood development officers hired by Bank of America in Texas in 1992. In charge of developing a strategic community development plan to extend credit to low? and moderate?income communities, she went on to assume statewide Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) responsibilities with Bank of America’s mortgage lending group. In addition to banking, Norman has been a supervisor in the city of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and held management positions at the Container Store headquarters in Dallas. Norman earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Graduate School of Retail Banking.


marcia-pageMarcia Page
President and CEO, Education is Freedom

Ms. Page joined Education is Freedom (EIF) in May 2010 specifically selected to serve as President and CEO because of her extensive experience in urban education and her knowledge of educational technology and government processes. This combination of skills made her uniquely suited to lead an organization facing the challenges of urban education.

Prior to joining EIF, Page was President and CEO of the Foundation for Community Empowerment (FCE) in Dallas, Texas as a loaned executive from Texas Instruments. During her tenure at FCE, she honed the Foundation’s strategic vision to build communities, enact systemic change and utilize research to measure effectiveness and success. Specifically, she spearheaded an award winning initiative for Dallas ISD helping to improve the effectiveness and capacity of school principals.

As evidence of her skills, Ms. Page is known for her ability to quickly grasp the big picture, work collaboratively and develop processes that get results. She is high energy and has the intellectual horse-power to grasp new concepts and business models and be decisive in a fast-paced, multifaceted organization.

In addition to her professional qualifications, Page is passionate about creating and fostering real change in the urban educational system. Her primary goal is to “challenge cynicism and complacency about what children in urban schools can accomplish.” As a testament to her dedication to help urban schools, despite her other accomplishments (including the Malcolm Baldridge Award), she is most proud of the Scholarship Program endowed by Texas Instruments for African American Females demonstrating excellence in Mathematics, Engineering and Technology.

Ms. Page holds a B.S. degree in Management and Organizational Behavior, with emphasis in Accounting and Computer Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Additionally, Page has earned management certifications from Harvard University (Governmental Policies & Practices) and the University of Indiana (Business Strategy).


Forrest Parrott
Executive Director of Internal Communications, AT&T

Biography will be coming soon.


perezAlexandria Perez
Student Regent, University of North Texas System Board of Regents

Alexandria C. Perez has been appointed by Governor Rick Perry to serve as the 2012-2013 Student Regent on the University of North Texas System Board of Regents. Ms. Perez has recently graduated from the University of North Texas at Dallas with a degree in Criminal Justice and will continue with her graduate studies in Criminal Justice at UNT Dallas. Alexandria plans to attend the new UNT Law School.


Eric Reeves
Founding and Managing Director, Industry+Education Texas

Eric is a native Texan who spent ten years in the North Carolina State Senate where he chaired the Senate’s technology committee, served as an Appropriations Chair and on the Education Oversight Committee. Prior to the Senate, Eric served on the Raleigh City Council for two terms and has spent most of his professional life focused on public policy issues.

In addition to public policy, Eric served as the General Counsel and Director of Public Affairs for, the nations largest provider of online facility management software tools for schools. Eric’s interest in SchoolDude is directly related to school infrastructure needs and issues associated with safe, healthy, education work conditions in school facilities. Eric also advises and consults with government oriented technology companies on a range of issues. Eric’s nonprofit focus relates to innovative educational programs and projects designed to improve student outcomes by increasing opportunities for those that need it the most.

Eric received his undergraduate degrees from Duke University and his law degree from Wake Forest University. He serves on the following Boards: SMU School of Education; UNT-D Foundation; NAPE-Equity Business; Perot Education; Commit! Human Capital.

Eric seeks to utilize his business, legal, public service and non-profit experience for the benefit of our community.


Gretchen Riehl
Executive Dean of Science and Physical Education, Eastfield College

Biography will be coming soon.


Aimee Rincon
Executive Director of College Readiness, Uplift Education

Biography coming soon.


rosserWynn Rosser
President and CEO, Greater Texas Foundation

Wynn Rosser joined the foundation as executive director in January 2007 and was promoted to president and chief executive officer in January 2012. He is responsible for the foundation’s day-to-day operations and translating the strategic intent of the foundation’s Board of Directors into daily operations. Active in professional organizations, Rosser is a member of the Grantmakers for Education Board of Directors and serves as vice chair. Additionally, Rosser serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Lyceum. He serves as a lecturer and member of the graduate faculty in theBush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

Rosser graduated from Texas A&M University in the fall of 1989 with an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Development. As part of his undergraduate education, he completed 27 hours at Kilgore College, the community college serving his hometown of Kilgore, Texas. In May 2011, Rosser was awarded an associates of arts from Kilgore College through reverse transfer. Both of Rosser’s graduate degrees are from Texas A&M. His master of science in Agricultural Education was completed in December 1993, and he earned a doctorate in the Administration of Higher Education in 1997. Rosser’s dissertation covered the topic of financial resource development in higher education and was recognized by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education with the 1999 H.S. Warwick Research Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in the area of Alumni Relations and Educational Advancement. In 2006, Rosser was named a Distinguished Former Student of Texas A&M University’s Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications.

Rosser’s career path following his undergraduate work began with experience as a corporate sales representative. After completing master’s coursework in 1992, he began working for the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students as director of campus programs. The first staff member to hold that position, Rosser remained with the Association until August 1996. From September 1996 to August 1998, he served as a visiting faculty member and undergraduate adviser in the Department of Agricultural Education and primarily taught courses in leadership development. In September 1998, Rosser joined the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs as assistant to the vice president. He became assistant vice president for student affairs in September 2001. In February 2005, Rosser was appointed to the position of chief of staff and assistant vice president for student affairs. Rosser began service as the foundation’s executive director in January 2007.

He enjoys reading, running, cycling, and spending time with family and friends. He is married to Dr. Manda Hays Rosser. Wynn and Manda have a daughter and two sons. The Rosser family is involved in their church where Wynn serves as a deacon.


Sanders,ByronByron Sanders
Executive Director, Dallas Education Foundation

Byron Sanders is the Executive Director of the Dallas Education Foundation, a non-profit charitable and educational organization that benefits Dallas Independent School District. Founded in 2006, the Foundation has been a channel for the philanthropic, foundation, and corporate communities to support initiatives and programs benefitting the students of the 2nd largest public school district in Texas. Previously, Byron served as Vice President of Group Excellence, a mentoring and tutoring organization that engaged the energy and passion of college students and young professionals to help youth from at-risk environments unlock their academic potential. With the help of Byron’s leadership, Group Excellence grew to serve more than 50,000 students throughout the state of Texas and was recently named the country’s #5 fastest growing education company in Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500 List. Byron is the current Chairman for the Young Leaders in Education, an education service and advocacy organization with the SMU Simmons School of Education. Furthermore, as a Partner with Dallas Social Venture Partners, as well as Leadership Dallas, Leadership DISD, the Mayor Star Council, and Greenhill Alumni Board, Byron is a relentless advocate for a students-first approach to education. Recently, Byron was recognized in the Dallas Business Journal’s 2012 Top Forty Under 40 list. Byron has BSBA in Marketing from the University of Tulsa and his greatest joy is his family, a wife and two young children.


Debbie Shewmake
Administrative Officer for Instruction, Mesquite ISD

Biography coming soon.


slocumCandy Slocum
Executive Director, Interlink

Candy Slocum is recognized throughout North Central Texas and the state, as an innovator who has received numerous awards and citations for bridging the gap between business, government, and education.

Candy is Executive Director of North Central Texas InterLink, Inc., a regional business~education alliance that was named a Model Program by the State of Texas for impacting education programs in North Central Texas public schools. Trained by the State of Texas Labor Market Information Department, She has been is a Labor Market Strategist since 1991, forecasting the occupations and industries that will be in demand in the future. Under Candy’s leadership, InterLink has been recognized as a Model Program by the State of Texas. A successful entrepreneur, she owned Candy Slocum Realtors which was acquired by Merrill Lynch Realty.

Among other accomplishments, she served as Assistant Vice-President of Education at the Greater Dallas Chamber where the program that she administered was recognized by President Reagan as a Model National Program. She has produced and hosted 26 cable productions on education and community issues for Dallas and Austin cable stations. She was awarded a Proclamation by the Dallas City Council for her contribution to the City, recognized by the Dallas Independent School District for over twenty years of advocacy, and presented a State Life Membership in the Parent Teachers Association by her community. During her real estate career, her peers at the Greater Dallas Board of Realtors recognized her as Salesman of the Year, and the Career and Technology Directors Association of Texas recognized Candy as its Outstanding State Community Volunteer. She honored was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society, by Collin County Community College District.

An Alumnae of Leadership Texas, Candy serves on numerous boards and committees in the North Central Texas Region and Texas. She recently served as an appointee to the Texas Education Agency Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills Review Committee for Career and Technical Education. She has also served on appointed positions on the Dallas Mayor’s International Education Committee, City of Dallas Tax Equalization Board, City of Dallas Citizen’s Safety Committee, and the Texas State Neighborhood Revitalization Committee. A believer in term limits of elected officials she just finished two terms as President of the Board of College Mound Water Supply Corporation where she served for six years.

Along with husband Pete, Candy is living her dream as owners of a small ranch east of Dallas, where they raise Black Brangus cows and American Quarter Horses.


Sandi Smith
Sr. VP of Operations, Junior Achievement

Biography will be coming soon.


Joseph Supino
Director of Business Operations, Aerotek

Biography will be coming soon.


The Data Support Council is comprised of representatives of education, non-profit, business, philanthropic, and government agencies from Dallas County who are thought leaders and experts in their fields. The Data Support Council's broad purpose is to act as a collective thought partner by supporting and advising other councils and Action Networks spanning across all indicators. Its 14 members meet every eight weeks to discuss education data and testing policy issues, guide Commit!'s Community Scorecard indicator calculations, and inform Commit!?s activities. The Data Support Council members contribute their time, expertise, advice and ongoing support.

Dr. Rodney Andrews
Dr. Tamela Horton
Dr. Whitcomb Johnstone
Dr. Kristin Kuhne
Donna McAda
Dr. Cecilia Oakeley
Dr. Richard Plott
Missy Rowe

Dr. Becky Sheppard
Anisha Srinivasan
Dr. Karen Thierry
Debbie Youngs


andrewsDr. Rodney Andrews
Director, Texas Schools Project

Dr. Rodney Andrews is the director of Texas Schools Project and the University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center. As such, Dr. Rodney leads the Texas Schools Project and UT Dallas Education Research Center teams in their work to conduct independent research to benefit education in Texas. In additional to his responsibilities as director, Dr. Rodney is also a senior researcher with Texas Schools Project where he collaborates with principal investigators, participates in the federally-funded National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), and performs independent research with data housed at the UT Dallas Education Research Center. He is also an assistant professor of economics at the UT Dallas School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences.

Dr. Rodney’s areas of expertise include economics of education, labor economics, public finance, and applied microeconomics. Rodney received his doctorate degree in economics from the University of Michigan.


drydenDr. Tamela Horton
Executive Director of School Improvement, Lancaster ISD

Dr. Horton serves as Executive Director of School Improvement for Lancaster ISD. In this capacity she supports campuses in the development and implementation of student-centered programs and resources that maximize student learning and achievement outcomes.

She began her public education career in East Texas, where she served for twelve years as a high school math teacher in Tatum ISD and Longview ISD. In the Metroplex, she served as an assistant principal in Duncanville ISD. She served in Dallas ISD as the Principal of Rosie Sorrells School of Education and Social Services at Townview Center. While serving in this capacity, she led the campus to a 2011 USDE Blue Ribbon campus designation. She also served as principal of Lancaster High School, where she implemented the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) to provide a professional development foundation that enhanced teacher quality and supported increased student learning.

Tamela earned her Ph.D. in K- 16 Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington. She earned her Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Tyler.


johnstoneDr. Whitcomb Johnstone
Division Director of Planning, Evaluation & Research, Irving ISD

Dr. Whit Johnstone serves as the Division Director of Planning, Evaluation and Research with the Irving Independent School District. He is charged with monitoring and evaluating the success of programs in the district, ensuring quality and integrity in student assessment and PEIMS data, maintaining relationships with outside partners and vendors, and leading a diverse group of professionals in assessment, data analysis, data management and program evaluation. Dr. Johnstone began his career in educational evaluation as a program evaluator with the Fort Worth ISD. Over the span of his career Dr. Johnstone has served in advisory roles at the state and national level, including past service on the State Accountability Educator Focus Group and the Commissioner’s Accountability Advisory Committee. Dr. Johnstone currently serves as the Texas local education agency (LEA) representative on the National Forum for Education Statistics, an advisory group to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.


staff_kkuhneDr. Kristin Kuhne
Research and Evaluation Analyst, Educate Texas

Kristin Kuhne is a Research and Evaluation Analyst at Educate Texas. Her primary responsibilities include conducting quantitative and qualitative research on our statewide educational initiatives. Prior to joining Educate Texas, Dr. Kuhne worked at the Texas Schools Project/Education Research Center at UT Dallas as a Research Associate. Her work there included the evaluation of a variety of educational interventions from early childhood to high school. Dr. Kuhne received her doctorate in public policy and political economy from the University of Texas at Dallas where she also earned a master’s in public affairs. She also holds a bachelor’s in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and was employed in the financial services industry before doing her graduate work.


Donna McAda
Admin Officer, Mesquite Independent School District

Biography coming soon.


Cecillia_OakleyDr. Cecilia Oakeley
Executive Director of Evaluation & Assessment, Dallas ISD

Cecilia Oakeley currently oversees the Evaluation and Assessment Department for Dallas ISD with over 60 evaluation and assessment staff. Oversight and responsibilities include district, state, and federal accountability (No Child left Behind) systems, state and local assessments, and program evaluation. She has been with Dallas ISD for 30 years serving in different capacities of program evaluation, Court Desegregation Order reports, and Assessment. She has served 14 Dallas ISD superintendents (including interims). Dr. Oakeley received her Ph.D. in 1986 in Educational Research from New Mexico State University.


PlottDr. Richard Kent Plott
Director of Decision Support, Eastfield College; Facilitator for the District Office of Institutional Research, Dallas County Community College District

Dr. Richard K. Plott, serves as Director for Decision Support at Eastfield College (one of the seven colleges for the Dallas County Community College District). Decision Support provides administration of Knowledge Management through Executive Information Systems, Accountability Efforts, and Business Intelligence. As Facilitator for Institutional Research at the district research office, he provides leadership for current research efforts and serves as point person for many of the initiatives which involve the utilization of standards and statistics for the district.

Dr. Plott has previously served as Executive Director for Institutional Effectiveness at Cisco College, Associate Vice President for Institutional Research & Effectiveness at Texas State Technical College – Harlingen, and Information Technology Manager for Decision Support at The University of North Texas. He has also served as a College Liaison with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges and continues to present at many state/regional conferences promoting Knowledge Management through a combined model of Decision Support. With over 17 years of experience as both faculty member and administrator to secondary and postsecondary institutions, he continues to honor his personal and professional commitment toward excellence in teaching and learning. Dr. Plott holds degrees from the University of Texas at Dallas (B.A., M.A.T.), Curtin University – Perth, Australia (Ph.D.) and engaged in further studies at Florida State University.


roweMelissa Rowe
Executive Director, Department of Assessment and Research, Grand Prairie ISD

Melissa “Missy” Rowe began her educational career teaching high school mathematics in her hometown of Grand Prairie. Missy’s teaching responsibilities included AP statistics, and she had the opportunity to serve the College Board as a reader for the AP statistics exam. While teaching, Missy served as a consultant for Texas Instruments and a national trainer for College Preparatory Mathematics educational program.

Missy left the classroom to support new teachers to the district as a learning team coach. Soon after, she was invited to apply her statistics background in the department of Assessment and Research where she has supported data-driven decision making at the district and campus level more than seven years and has been the Executive Director for three years. Missy is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Administrative Leadership for Teaching and Learning.


Dr. Becky Sheppard
Executive Director of Assessment and Accountability, DeSoto ISD

Biography will be coming soon.


Anisha Srinivasan
Program Director, Uplift Education

Biography will be coming soon.


UntitledDr. Karen Thierry
Director of Education Research, Salesmanship Club Youth & Family Centers

Since September 2012, Karen Thierry has served as the Director of Education Research with the Salesmanship Club’s J. Erik Jonsson Community School. Karen received her Ph. D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Throughout her 12 years of experience in research and evaluation, the focus of her work has been on children’s cognition and learning and the application of research and theory in this area to applied settings (e.g., education, social work, law). Karen has worked at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland), where she was a recipient of an Intramural Research Training Award, and at Rutgers University (Camden, New Jersey) as an Assistant Professor of Psychology. Just prior to joining the Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers, Karen was a program evaluator with the Dallas Independent School District.


Debbie Youngs
Director of Research, Accountability, and Assessment, Coppell ISD

In third grade, Debbie Youngs knew she wanted to be an educator. Lazy summer afternoons spent teaching neighborhood friends how to multiply triggered a love for teaching in Debbie. This passion came naturally as she was surrounded by educators in her family, including her grandmother who taught her to read.

Knowing that education was in her future, Debbie sought out a university known for preparing educators. Due to its reputation as a former Teacher’s College, she attended Sam Houston State University for her Bachelor’s Degree. When her children were grown, she went back to college to obtain her Master’s Degree at The University of North Texas. Debbie began her career as a fourth grade teacher in Spring ISD and has enjoyed teaching in Spring ISD, San Angelo ISD, Duncanville ISD, Northside ISD, and Coppell ISD. Over the last thirty years, she has enjoyed being a classroom teacher, an ESL facilitator, an assistant principal, a Summer School principal, a Fine Arts Director, and, most recently, the Director of Research, Accountability, and Assessment for Coppell ISD.

Debbie is the 1st Vice-President of the TEPSA Region X Board, a member of ASCD, TSNAP, TASA, and MATS.


The Advocacy Support Council is comprised of a bipartisan group of highly respected state legislators representing Dallas county, along with school board members from partner districts and experts in advocacy work. The Advocacy Support Council has three key functions (i) to convene local advocacy groups to share knowledge of priorities, so that where there is consensus, we can mobilize around that consensus to advocate with a stronger, more effective voice for policies that will improve educational outcomes, (ii) to serve the Commit! action networks by advocating for (or against) policies at the local, state, or federal level that have been identified by such action networks as a critical component (or roadblock) to moving the academic indicators targeted by the action network, and (iii) to arm elected officials and advocates in the community with data so that they may more effectively advocate for public education priorities.

Rep. Rafael Anchia
Rep. Dan Branch
Sen. John Carona
Lanet Greenhaw
Rep. Eric Johnson
Mike Morath
Scott Orr
Rep. Bennett Ratliff
Eric Reeves
Sen. Florence Shapiro
Rep. Jason Villalba
Sen. Royce West


anchia-rafaelRep. Rafael Anchia
Texas State Representative District 103

Rafael Anchia was elected in November 2004 as the representative of House District 103 in the Texas House of Representatives. District 103 covers a western corridor of Dallas, including parts of North Oak Cliff, West Dallas, La Bajada, Los Altos, Love Field, North Park and portions of the cities of Irving, Farmers Branch and Carrollton.In the 83rd Legislative Session, Representative Anchia serves as Chair of the International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee and is a member of the Urban Affairs Committee.

His high school marks earned him a scholarship to Southern Methodist University, allowing him to triple-major in Latin American Studies, Spanish and Anthropology and graduate with Honors. During college, he attended the Centro Estudiantil Internacional in Madrid, studying Spain’s, art, literature, politics and history and their influence in the Americas. A generous scholarship drew Representative Anchia to Tulane University in New Orleans for his law studies where he concentrated on international and public law.

Representative Anchia began his public service at the local level where he was twice elected to the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Independent School District – the nation’s 12th largest. During his tenure as a Trustee, he helped lead the successful effort of the Dallas ISD to win public approval of a $1.37 billion school bond package.

Representative Anchia is an attorney with the law firm of Haynes & Boone, LLP. He specializes in public and corporate finance. In addition to his legal work, Representative Anchia has distinguished himself in pro bono service and contributions to his community, earning his prior firm’s 2000 Pro Bono Associate of the Year award. In 2003, Representative Anchia also received the “Rising Star” award from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas for contributions made to improving the lives of young people in his community. And in 2005, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) honored Representative Anchia as its national “Man of the Year” at its annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.In November 2006, Anchia won unanimous re-election to the Board of Directors, and was chosen Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund for a three-year term.

Anchia also is a member of various professional, civic and charitable organizations, including: the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association, the Dallas Assembly, the SMU Clements Center on Southwest Studies and the Oak Cliff Lions Club.


branchRep. Dan Branch
Chairman, House Committee on Higher Education, Texas House of Representatives

Representative Dan Branch serves as a member of the Texas House of Representatives from Dallas (Dist. 108). Elected in 2002, as a Republican, he represents downtown and central Dallas, as well as the Town of Highland Park and the City of University Park. Rep. Branch is the Chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education, a member of the Legislative Budget Board, and serves on the Calendars, Redistricting and Elections Committees. This year, he was re-elected by his House colleagues in North Texas to lead the Dallas Area Legislative Delegation for his second term. In addition, he serves as Co-Chairman of the Joint Oversight Committee of Higher Education Governance, Excellence, and Transparency, and he serves on the Select Committee on State Sovereignty. Prior to chairing the Higher Education committee, he chaired a select committee on education finance, and served on the Appropriations, Public Education, Calendars and Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committees, as well as the Select Committee on Federal Legislation.

Last session, Chairman Branch led the successful efforts to develop more Tier One universities in Texas, reform the Top 10% college admissions law, and provide more interactive technology in public school classrooms. The Council of State Governments designated his classroom technology bill as model national legislation, and 8 states have adopted or are considering similar bills. His legislative efforts have earned him high marks from many sources, including The Dallas Morning News and Austin American-Statesman; both Texas Monthly and Capitol Inside listed him among their “best” of the 2009 and 2011 sessions of the Texas Legislature.

In addition to his service in the legislature, Branch is a corporate lawyer and shareholder of Winstead PC. He is a former judicial clerk to Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope and a former aide to the late U.S. Senator John Tower. Branch is a member of the bars of Texas, New York and the District of Columbia.

Beyond his professional service, Branch chairs the board of SMU’s John Tower Center for Political Studies and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a former president of The Dallas Assembly and a former Chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority, appointed by Governor George W. Bush. In 2009, Branch was elected to serve on the board of the Texas Education Reform Foundation and was appointed to serve on the Southern Regional Education Board’s Legislative Advisory Committee by Governor Rick Perry. In addition, he is an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow and a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas.

Branch is a graduate of the SMU School of Law, an alumnus of the Institute on Comparative Political & Economic Systems at Georgetown University and holds two undergraduate degrees from Oklahoma Christian University. Dan and his wife, Stacey, are the parents of five children.


caronaSen. John Carona
Chairman, Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, Texas Senate

First elected to the Texas Legislature in 1990, Senator John Carona is now in his sixth term in the Texas Senate, representing District 16 in Dallas County. Previously, Senator Carona was elected to three terms in the Texas House of Representatives. Senator Carona has distinguished himself in the Texas Legislature as an effective leader in addressing issues such as education, health care, criminal justice, banking, economic development, transportation, and homeland security – authoring or sponsoring over 550 bills that have become law and helped to streamline Texas government. Senator Carona currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, Joint Chairman of the Legislative Oversight Board on Windstorm Insurance, and as Co-Chairman of the Joint Committee to Study Seacoast Territory Insurance. He also serves as a member of the Senate Criminal Justice, Education, and Jurisprudence committees. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee and as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting.

Through the years, Senator Carona has been honored by a variety of organizations for leadership in the Texas Legislature. With recognitions from business associations, animal advocates, child advocates, to teacher groups, and law enforcement – John Carona has been named a “Hero,” three times a “Crime Fighter of the Year” a “Trailblazer,” the “Most Valuable Player – Texas Senate,” a “Maverick Who Mattered” and two times one of the “Ten Best Legislators,” just to name a few.

Senator Carona has been a resident of Dallas since early childhood. Raised in East Dallas, he graduated from Bryan Adams High School and then, in 1978, went on to earn Bachelors of Business Administration degrees in insurance and real estate from The University of Texas at Austin. He currently serves as president and CEO of a successful international realty management firm employing over 8,000 people. Senator Carona is married, a proud father of five children and grandfather to five – so far.


greenhawLanet Greenhaw
School Board Trustee at Richardson ISD, Director of Public Policy & Education at the Dallas Regional Chamber

Lanet Greenhaw was elected to the RISD Board in 1998. She previously served in a number of positions for the RISD Council of PTAs and has worked with the District Planning Committee. Before being elected to the Board, Mrs. Greenhaw was area chairperson for the successful 1996 Vote Yes Bond Campaign. She has completed all requirements by The Texas Association of School Boards and has been designated as a Master Trustee.

In addition, she serves as an elder at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church. She is a 1999 graduate of Leadership Richardson. Mrs. Greenhaw earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Oklahoma State University and has worked as a newspaper reporter, and has extensive experience in the areas of public and media relations.


ericRep. Eric Johnson
Texas House of Representatives

Eric Johnson represents District 100, which includes parts of Mesquite and Dallas, in the Texas House of Representatives. He was first elected in a special election in April 2010. He was re-elected in November 2010 and again in November 2012. Today, he serves on four prominent committees: as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, as Vice Chair of the House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics, the House Committee on Elections, and the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations. He also serves on the House and Senate Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education, Governance, Excellence, and Transparency.

In 2011, Representative Johnson was selected to participate in the Emerging Leaders Program by the State Legislative Leaders Foundation. He was also awarded the 2011 Achievement Award by the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program. In September 2011, the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce named Representative Johnson one of its “Five Outstanding Young Texans” and in October 2011, the Dallas Regional Chamber bestowed upon him its first ever “Courage in Public Service Award” for his work in higher education.

In 2012, Representative Johnson was named to the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) and joined an ACYPL delegation that visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories, meeting with current and emerging leaders in the region. In December 2012, Representative Johnson was the only member of the Texas Legislature to participate in President Obama’s first ever meeting with a delegation of African American state legislators.

Representative Johnson serves as ex officio member of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce and a board member of both the Dallas Arboretum and the West Dallas based Voice of Hope Ministry. On the national stage he serves on the Executive Committee of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Recently, Representative Johnson helped form the Young Texans Legislative Caucus (YTLC), to highlight and address the needs of younger Texans, particularly speaking to the state’s long-term investments in education, infrastructure, and the management of our natural resources. He has been elected to serve as chair during the current 83rd Legislative Session.

Representative Johnson is a graduate of Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in History. He then went on to earn a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.


morathMike Morath
Trustee, Dallas Independent School District

Representing Board of Trustees District 2, Mike Morath took office in May 2011. For the past decade, Morath served as President of Minute Menu Systems, a company that assists childcare providers in administering a federal food program for low-income children. His company streamlined that federal program, improved the quality of nutrition offered, and helps feed roughly one million children a day throughout the U.S. He has had a passion for public education for years, is an avid reader of information about school reform, and believes firmly that our school system can be changed so that all of our students succeed, no matter what their backgrounds.

With a belief system that continually calls him to serve others, Morath has participated in numerous volunteer activities, locally and internationally. He has volunteered in our schools and juvenile justice facilities and as a mentor Big Brother. He helped organize a trip to orphanages in southern India to set up clean running water systems, and he volunteered at an eye clinic in rural Mexico, where he was lucky enough to meet another volunteer, Dr. Laura Vondra, who is now his fiancé.
Never one to shrink from a challenge, Morath has hiked Mount Rainier in Washington and climbed mountains near Mount Everest in Nepal.
He received a BBA, summa cum laude, from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in two and a half years, thanks primarily to the International Baccalaureate curriculum offered at his public school alma mater, Garland High School.

The youngest member of the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, Morath also is the only trustee who has never drawn an opponent.


Scott Orr
Vice President of Public Affairs, Fidelity Investments

Scott is Vice President of Public Affairs for the Texas region of Fidelity Investments, returning to Fidelity in January 2012 to serve in this role. He is a member of the regional executive leadership team and is responsible for all of Fidelity’s governmental relationships at the local, state and federal levels. He also oversees its civic and community relations efforts, including volunteerism for Fidelity’s 5,200 Texas-based employees and working with its strategic nonprofit partners and other charitable programs. Prior to his return to Fidelity, Scott spent a decade as a nonprofit leader in the Dallas area, serving as the President of two nonprofit organizations and seven years as a School Board Trustee for Coppell Independent School District. In Scott’s original career with Fidelity Investments, he worked for 12 years as a research analyst, portfolio manager and money market group leader in the fixed income department of Fidelity Management & Research, ultimately managing over $12 billion in 11 separate municipal money market funds. Scott is a Chartered Financial Analyst and earned a BBA degree in accounting from Abilene Christian University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


424568Rep. Bennett Ratliff
Texas State Representative District 115

Hard Working Family Background

  • Bennett is a 50-year old Civil Engineer
  • Graduate of University of Texas (B.S. Civil Engineering)
  • Bennett’s wife, Beccy, is a former public school teacher
  • Bennett & Beccy have been married 27 years with 3 grown children
  • All children are graduates of local public schools
  • 17 year homeowner in Coppell
  • Elected School Board Member & Community Volunteer
  • Former School Board Vice-President
  • District 115 Republican State Representative-Elect
  • Bennett’s Father (Bill Ratliff) is former Republican Lt. Governor of Texas


Eric Reeves
Founding and Managing Director, Industry+Education Texas

Eric is a native Texan who spent ten years in the North Carolina State Senate where he chaired the Senate’s technology committee, served as an Appropriations Chair and on the Education Oversight Committee. Prior to the Senate, Eric served on the Raleigh City Council for two terms and has spent most of his professional life focused on public policy issues.

In addition to public policy, Eric served as the General Counsel and Director of Public Affairs for, the nations largest provider of online facility management software tools for schools. Eric’s interest in SchoolDude is directly related to school infrastructure needs and issues associated with safe, healthy, education work conditions in school facilities. Eric also advises and consults with government oriented technology companies on a range of issues. Eric’s nonprofit focus relates to innovative educational programs and projects designed to improve student outcomes by increasing opportunities for those that need it the most.

Eric received his undergraduate degrees from Duke University and his law degree from Wake Forest University. He serves on the following Boards: SMU School of Education; UNT-D Foundation; NAPE-Equity Business; Perot Education; Commit! Human Capital.

Eric seeks to utilize his business, legal, public service and non-profit experience for the benefit of our community.


Florence Shapiro
Sen., Texas State Senate

Florence Shapiro began her career in the Texas Senate in 1993. A former small business owner, her journey into Texas politics began years prior and miles away from the Texas Capitol. While she’s been a highly effective advocate on behalf of her constituents in District 8, her career in public service spans four decades. As a former public school teacher, she first entered elective office as a Plano City Council member. Following six terms on the Council, she was elected Mayor of Plano. During this time, she also served as President of the Texas Municipal League and the North Texas Council of Governments.

Senator Shapiro’s issues while serving in the Senate have been many. A champion of children, she passed landmark legislation to protect against sexual predators. Her series of bills known as Ashley’s Laws, protects against, adjudicates, and punishes sex offenders whose victims are children. These laws, which went into effect in 1995, were national benchmarks, and Senator Shapiro continues to dedicate herself to improving the safety and security of our children.

In 1999, Senator Shapiro became chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee and committed herself to the issue of transportation, creating the first fund for Texas mobility. In 2003, the Senator became chair of the Senate Education Committee, where she passed legislation to overhaul the state’s school finance system. Her landmark legislation, House Bill 1, significantly lowers property taxes, provides more money for schools, along with a teacher pay raise and the first-ever incentive pay program, educational reforms at the high school level to promote college readiness and curb dropouts, and more meaningful accountability for schools.

Her consistent leadership over the years has earned the Senator many honors. Senator Shapiro was recently honored by Dallas Can! Academy with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The Academy, a non-profit organization giving young Texans a second chance through relationship-based education, presented the award to the Senator at the Academy’s 17th Annual Motherhood Luncheon. Senator Shapiro was recognized for her outstanding contributions to education and her work to improve the lives of children across Texas while also showing great dedication to her family and community. Prior to this recognition, she was named to the Legislative Honor Roll by the Texas Association of Realtors, was awarded Inside Collin County Business’s Celebration of Enterprise Award for the public official business partner of the year, the Government Technology Conference’s Bob Bullock Award for Public Stewardship, Girl Scouts of the USA Tejas Council’s Real Women Award, and the Outstanding Service Award from Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.

Today, the Senator serves as Texas representative to The Council of State Governments (CSG) Education Policy Task Force. She also serves on the Southern Regional Education Board and the Education Commission of the States, coalitions of elected officials and education leaders that address issues such as long-range planning, policy proposals, and the advancement of education among the states. Senator Shapiro is also an appointee to the Governor’s Criminal Justice Advisory Council, Co-Chair of the Study Commission on Region C Water Supply, and a member of the Standing Committee on Education for the National Conference of State Legislators.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Senator Shapiro holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. In addition to chairing the Senate Education Committee, she currently serves on the Senate Committees on Finance; Transportation and Homeland and Security; and Administration. She and her husband, Howard, live in Plano. They have three children and nine grandchildren.


jason-villalba_1Rep. Jason Villalba
Texas State Representative District 114

A fourth-generation Texan, Jason was born in Dallas at Methodist Hospital. As the son of an airline mechanic, from an early age Jason was taught to work hard, study diligently, act with integrity and do what’s right. As a young man, Jason mowed lawns, worked as a checker at Walmart and a stockboy at a local hardware store to help out his folks. The first in his family to graduate from college, Jason worked his way through Baylor University where he studied Economics and Finance, then graduated from the University of Texas School of Law.

As a former financial analyst and as a partner at one of Dallas’ most respected law firms, Jason has hands-on experience working with and advising growing businesses and start-ups and dealing with complex financial and corporate transactions. As our State Representative, Jason will put his diverse business and financial experience to work to grow our economy, create high-wage jobs, cut wasteful spending and keep our taxes at current or lower rates.

As the product of Texas public schools and father of two young girls who will soon attend elementary school in the Dallas ISD, the quality of our public schools is not just a campaign issue to Jason – it’s personal. That’s why as our State Representative, Jason will work tirelessly for meaningful public education reform that broadens charter schools, includes intra-district school choice for our parents and requires more accountability from our administrators and teachers. Like you, Jason believes that improving our schools will strengthen our communities, our economy and our future.

An active member of our community for more than a decade, Jason currently serves on the development committee of the Dallas Zoo and is an active member of the Dallas Children’s Trust. Jason has served on the Board of the Dallas Housing Finance Corporation, as the appointee of City Councilmember Ann Margolin, and he has served as a member of the Dallas County Citizens Election Advisory Committee, as the appointee of County Commissioner Maurine Dickey.

Jason is the immediate past Vice-Chair of the Dallas County Republican Party and the current Chairman of the Dallas Chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly. In 2006 and 2010, Jason was named as a delegate to the Republican Party of Texas State Convention. As our State Representative, Jason will strive for conservative, bold, results-driven solutions that keep Texas great and that make life better for all of our families and citizens.


sen royce westSen. Royce West
Texas State Senator District 23

Royce West was first elected to the Texas Senate in November 1992. Since taking office he has represented the 23rd Senatorial District on behalf of the citizens of Dallas County in the Texas Legislature. During his tenure, Senator West has been named by Texas Monthly as one of the 25 most powerful people in Texas politics, been selected for the magazine’s biennial “Ten Best Legislators in Texas” list, and has twice been named as an “Honorable Mention.” Senator West has also received mention on the Associated Press’ “Movers and Shakers” list, and Texas Insider named Senator West to its 2009 “Best Legislators” list.

On April 17, 2006, Senator West was sworn in by his fellow state senators to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate until January 2007. As President Pro Tempore, Senator West was second in the line of succession to be Governor of Texas, and assumed the top leadership position whenever Governor Rick Perry and Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst were out of the state.

Senator West is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Jurisprudence and is a member of Senate committees on Education, Finance, Health and Human Services, Higher Education and Intergovernmental Relations. He has recently been appointed to the Medicaid Reform Waiver Legislative Oversight Committee as well as the Joint Interim Committee to Study the Public School Finance System. Senator West also serves on the following national and regional organizations:

  • Education Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC)
  • Standing committee on Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce of the National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL)
  • Standing committee on Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce of the National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL)
  • Education Commission of the States
  • Intergovernmental Affairs Committee of the Council of State Governments; and the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council

Senator West’s key initiatives include the creation of college admission opportunities for all students, including the establishment of the University of North Texas at Dallas and a new law school in downtown Dallas. His legislation created the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center at Prairie View A&M University; increased funding for at-risk youth programs, awarded greater compensation to victims of violent crime, established new standards for child care, enhanced enforcement of protective orders and instituted more efficient uses of criminal justice resources through legislation that created a system of progressive sanctions. During the 2009 Legislative Session, Senator West passed legislation that created a kinship care program whereby qualified relatives can receive state support to help raise children who could otherwise become part of the foster care system.

Since 1993, Senator West has sponsored the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program. The program has provided college students from Senatorial District 23 with paid employment in their respective fields of study. In 1996, Senator West established a Student Advisory Committee (SAC) to obtain the perspectives of junior high and high school students on legislative and community issues and to expose them to volunteer opportunities in the community.


The Human Capital Support Council Behind successful students are talented and dedicated teachers, principals, administrators, and the people preparing and supporting them. The Human Capital Support Council works to improve cradle-to-career student outcomes by collectively strengthening the quality of the educator pipeline, developing and retaining effective educators, and elevating education as a revered profession. Meeting monthly, members include human resource leaders from area school districts, their higher education and alternative certification talent partners, private sector businesses, and foundations.

Garrett Boone
Carmen Darville
Charles Glover
Tawana Grover
Alex Hales
Demetreus Liggins
Fernando Medina
Rhonda Nelson
Sarah Cotton Nelson
Roosevelt Nivens
Jeremy Smith
Lacey Tomanek
Ellen Wood


booneGarrett Boone
Chairman Emeritus, Container Store

Garrett Boone never considered a career in retailing. Instead, he grew up aspiring to become an architect, later opting for a bachelor’s degree in European history from Rice University and a master’s degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin. But he was bit by the retailing bug soon after returning home from college, and that bug would later develop into a business venture that would spark a new retail category.

By 1976, Boone, an avid woodworker as well, was determined to start his own business. Leaving his job, Boone and two friends, Dallas architect John Mullen, and Kip Tindell (Chairman and CEO), a colleague from Montgomery Ward and Storehouse, discussed the idea of opening a handmade furniture store. After two years of creating furniture prototypes, preparing cost analyses and investigating companion products, they scrapped this home furnishings idea for an original retail concept: a store devoted entirely to storage and organization products for the home. The idea came to Boone following a visit to a home improvement show in Dallas in January, 1978. Tindell, Boone and Mullen decided to open a retail store offering an exceptional and eclectic mix of products devoted to helping people simplify their lives. Before the store was opened, the initial name “Basics” was changed to a more suitable and exciting name for their unique venture – The Container Store. With the unique and innovative products selected, The Container Store’s first location at Preston Road and Forest Lane in North Dallas was unveiled on July 1, 1978.

Boone’s love for retailing remains true today. That bug that bit him in 1969 is still apparent. As Chairman Emeritus, he frequently visits the company’s 56 stores to work the sales floor and to interact with customers and employees. His commitment to maintaining the company’s unique culture has played a vital role in The Container Store being selected by FORTUNE magazine as a “Best Company to Work For” 13 years in a row. In 2006, along with Kip and Sharon Tindell (Chief Merchandising Officer), Boone was inducted into the Retailing Hall of Fame. In his role as Chairman Emeritus at The Container Store, he attends all new store openings, major celebrations and cultural events as well as conducting ‘Selling with Garrett’ seminars

In 2006, Garrett Boone co-founded Texas Business for Clean Air in an effort to derail a fast track initiative to construct 11 coal-burning energy plants in North Texas using out dated air quality controls. Their efforts in promoting ‘clean air is good for business in Texas’ have been heralded nationally and recently were the subject of a Robert Redford documentary Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars. Texas Business for Clean Air was 2010 recipient of the CATEE Outstanding Nonprofit Organization of the Year. In 2007 Boone was First runner-up for Texan of the Year awarded by The Dallas Morning News.

Boone sits on the Boards of the YMCA of the USA and the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas where he just concluded a successful $28 million capital campaign as chairman. He is on the Board of Directors for The Woodall Rogers Park Foundation, Trinity Trust Foundation, The Boone Family Foundation, North Texas Commission Clean Air Task Force and TreeHouse, Inc. He is highly involved in the Trinity Paddling Trails and Bird Count Initiatives and is a member of the advisory board for The Dallas Women’s Foundation, Teach for America. He is an advocate for public education and served on the Dallas ISD Star Commission to share business best practices with DISD.


booneCarmen Darville
Chief of Human Capital Management, Dallas ISD

Carmen Darville has been serving as an Executive Director of the district’s Human Capital Management department for the past year. In that capacity, she has led all recruitment, staffing, and special systems while moving the district toward a fully automated application system. Darville began her career as an English teacher in Alief ISD near Houston. She later led teacher recruitment efforts in the Chicago area and then returned to Texas to lead all recruitment and selection of campus-based personnel for Houston ISD. She holds a dual degree in English Literature and Communication Sciences from Case Western Reserve University and has her M. Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas.


gloverCharles Glover
Senior Fellow, Bellwether Education Partners

Charles is a Senior Fellow with Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. He focuses on both Talent Services and Strategic Advising at Bellwether. Prior to joining Bellwether, Charles served as the Chief of Human Capital Management for Dallas Independent School District. He was on a senior Cabinet that oversaw and led an urban district with more than 158,000 students and 20,000 employees. During this time he established rigorous teacher and principal selection models grounded in research-based competencies of “predictive success indicators,” and led significant change management by implementing a casebased support model for principal and school needs. Charles was the founding Executive Director of TFA-Dallas/Ft. Worth in 2009, and in that capacity oversaw its growth into one of the Teach for America’s largest regions. His career in education began as a middle school teacher and a coach with the Durham Public Schools. He currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Education Opens Doors and HOBY–Texas North. Charles earned his M. Ed. at Harvard University and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University.


Alex Hales
Executive Director, Teach for America – DFW

Alexandra Hales is the Executive Director of Teach For America-Dallas/Fort Worth. She began her career in education in 2007 when she joined the South Louisiana Teach For America corps as a first grade teacher. Alex set rigorous expectations for her students, modeled leadership through her ongoing involvement in the school community, and fostered high levels of student achievement. As a second-year teacher, Alex was selected by her fellow educators as the top elementary teacher in the district and was named East Feliciana Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year. In 2009, Alex was a key leader in opening the Teach For America charter region in Dallas-Fort Worth, where she first served as a manager, teacher leadership development and was quickly promoted to leading all teacher support and development initiatives. Under Alex’s leadership, corps members have become valued members of their school communities. In a 2011 independent survey of local school leaders employing corps members, partner principals reported that their corps members made a positive difference in their school community. Ninety-seven percent reported they would hire another corps member if they had an open position to fill, and hundred percent indicated that their corps members are as or better prepared than other new teachers.

Alex earned her BA from Lake Forest College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in Political Science and History, captained the women’s varsity swim team, and served as Student Government president.


Demetreus Liggins
Executive Director of Human Resources, Grand Prairie Independent School District

Demetrus Liggins is the Executive Director of Human Resources for the Grand Prairie Independent School District. He has 15 years experience as an educator. He hold a bachelors and masters degree from California State University Fresno, Principal and Superintendent Certification from Stephen F. Austin University and a educational leadership doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.


nelsonRhonda Nelson
Senior Director of Strategic People Initiatives, Uplift Education

A recognized human resources leader known for building the strategic vision to achieve recruitment and development organization goals, Rhonda Nelson has formalized network wide recruitment practices and initiated professional development for potential internal leaders at Uplift Education. As Senior Director of Strategic People Initiatives, Rhonda leads all recruitment efforts, career progression practices and reward & recognition strategies. Her overall goal is to recruit high level candidates who will receive meaningful evaluations and effectively grow in their position and into others.

With over eight years HR experience ranging from HR Assistant at Dallas Housing Authority to HR Generalist at United Way, Rhonda joined Uplift Education, a growing charter school organization as the Director of Human Resources standardizing processes on compensation, benefits, compliance reporting, employee relations and personnel transactions. She soon moved into her current position with the growing demand to recruit, retain and reward valuable staff.

Rhonda holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and MBA from Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Dallas. She also maintains an active membership with SHRM and Dallas HR. Rhonda also had the honor of being selected to participate in the inaugural class of the KIPP Leadership Design Fellowship 2012, which brought a dynamic group of reform-minded educators, engaged in a community practice around effective principal hiring and development programs.


Roosevelt Nivens
Ass. Superintendent of Achievement and Organizational Management, Lancaster Independent School District

When asked his philosophy on education, Roosevelt Nivens takes a bold stand, “Educating our young people is my ministry. I welcome the responsibility of teaching young boys how to become young men, how to take responsibility for their own actions, and how to love their families. I teach them they are to be great men, husbands, and fathers…in that order. I also have the opportunity to show the young ladies how they are to be treated by a man and I am able to show them nothing is more important than self-respect.”

Roosevelt teaches three simple principles to his students; make people happy to see you coming and not going, be dependable, and be productive. His passion is to cultivate a school district environment where young men and young women are encouraged to mature into responsible adults.

Roosevelt was born and raised in Langston, Oklahoma. Education comes naturally to Roosevelt; his dad, Roosevelt Sr., was an educator for 46 years and his mom, Barbara, was a teacher for 36 years. In 1990, Roosevelt majored in Education while attending Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia, on a football scholarship. He later graduated from college in 1995 and realized his life-long dream of playing professional football. However, his football career was quickly halted due to an injury and he found himself executing his “back-up plan”, using his degree in education.

In 1996 he began his teaching and coaching career with Dallas Independent School District and later, in 2001, he found his way to the principalship with Lancaster Independent School District. He has served as Assistant Principal at Lancaster Jr. High and Lancaster High School. He later moved, in 2005, to become Principal at Lancaster Middle School. His last campus position was Principal of Lancaster High School for four years. He currently serves the students, staff, and community as Assistant Superintendent of Achievement and Organizational Management; and is completing a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University – Commerce.


Jeremy Smith
Rainwater Charitable Foundation (RCF)

Jeremy joined the Rainwater Charitable Foundation team in 2009. RCF is private family foundation whose giving primarily focuses on PK-12 public education and medical research in neurodegenerative diseases both in the US and abroad.

Within education, the mission of the RCF is to help the nation’s most underserved students with a focus on a) expanding high-quality early childhood education options for parents, b) promoting high-quality school leadership and c) supporting cradle to career efforts in North Texas and South Carolina. The foundation also recently began making grants to efforts in India and East Africa.

Prior to joining Rainwater, Jeremy worked in management consulting for four years, first with McKinsey & Company, serving clients in consumer packaged goods, technology and health care; and later as an Associate Director with DenuoSource LLC, primarily in marketing and organizational design.

Prior to McKinsey, Jeremy worked in operations research at Merck & Co., where he managed global ops improvement projects in both Latin America and Asia. Jeremy is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, the Harvard Divinity School. He received his BS in engineering from the University of Arkansas. He currently serves as a board member at East Dallas Community Schools and the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health.


Lacey Tomanek
Managing Director of Partnerships & Human Capital, TFA – DFW

Biography coming soon.


Ellen Wood
Co-Founder, Teaching Trust

Ellen spent two decades working in the investment, healthcare and real estate industries, with her last role as a partner and portfolio manager at Carlson Capital in Dallas, Texas. In 2005, she refocused her career and interests on education and at-risk youth. She serves on various education-focused foundation boards and grant committees including Dallas Social Venture Partners, the 0-5 Funders’ Collaborative and the Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation. She is a member of the Education Task Force for West Dallas and has had a nearly two decade commitment to Girls Inc. Ellen also serves as a member of the Investment Committees for the MR and Evelyn Hudson Foundation, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, and the Texas A&M Foundation (advisory member). She has also served in multiple roles at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, most recently as a member of the Business School Fund and chair of multiple class reunion fundraising campaigns. She was the recipient of the John Gardner Volunteer Leadership Award in 2006. Ellen received an MBA from Stanford University and a BBA in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. She has also earned both a CPA and CFA designation.