Friendswood ISD Education Foundation
Ashley Adair graduated from Texas A&M University in 2017 with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing and certifications in Nonprofit Management and Event Planning. She is also a 12-year senior and member of the 2013 graduating class from Friendswood High School. Prior to stepping into her current role as the Executive Director of the Friendswood ISD Education Foundation, Adair served as an Associate Development Director and Corporate Market Director for the American Heart Association.
YES Program Coordinator
Jessica has 13 years of recovery and currently works a 12-Step Program. She is passionate about helping others by sharing her story and letting others know that people with the same experience can overcome addiction. Jessica has worked in different treatment settings such as outpatient, medicated-assisted treatment, co-occurring disorder, and residential programs. Currently she is Y.E.S (Youth Empowered by Sobriety) program coordinator for rise recovery and is working with adolescents in school districts with Rise Recovery in San Antonio, TX. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Applied Science, Certification in Addiction Studies, and Certificate level in Drug and Abuse Counseling.
Red Oak ISD Education Foundation
Karen Anderson has served as the Executive Director of the Red Oak ISD Education Foundation for 13 years. Funding priorities include innovative classroom grants as well as support in teacher recognition and district initiatives. She also provides oversight of the district volunteer and Community Partner programs.
College Station ISD Education Foundation
In her 13th year as executive director of the College Station ISD Education Foundation, Teresa has a strong passion to bring excellence to public schools. As a product of public schools and a 1988 journalism graduate of Texas A&M University, she has worked in many areas including communications, public relations, graphic design and sales. She is a 2015 Texas A&M College of Education Dean’s Roundtable recipient and has won numerous Texas School Public Relations Association Star Awards and Texas Education Foundation Network Awards. Teresa has been happily married to her Aggie Professor husband, Mark, for 34 years and they are blessed with 3 sons, 3 daughter-in-loves, and 7 grandchildren.
Brian Brandt is President of Core Insights, a Texas-based company providing training and facilitation for non-profits and businesses. He has devoted his life to developing stronger leaders and organizations. His expertise revolves around board training, leadership, and communication. He frequently speaks at conferences on board development and engagement, human resources issues, leadership, and strategic planning. He recently co-authored a book entitled, The Ambassador’s Journey: A parable about nonprofit board leadership. They have previously published Blind Spots: What you don’t know CAN hurt you. Brian holds a Master’s Degree in Global Leadership as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.
Sr. Vice President
Extraco Banks- College Station
Mark Browning is a Senior Vice President and Trust Officer with Extraco Banks in College Station. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.B.A. in Finance and holds the Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor designation from the American Bankers Association. Prior to this, he was a Planned Giving Officer at the Texas A&M Foundation. He is married to Nancy and has three adult children. Mark volunteers with non-profits including the Lamar University College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Board, the Somerville ISD Education Foundation, and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
Underwood Law Firm
Janet Bubert focuses her practice on representing the boards of numerous independent school districts, charter schools, and education foundations. She advises clients on all aspects of education and nonprofit law and represents clients before federal and state courts and other agencies. Janet regularly provides training for school and nonprofit boards, administrators and staff. She is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences and is privileged to support the efforts of those advocating for Texas public schools.
Foundation Innovation, LLC
Shawn Callaway became the President and Owner of FI in August 2022. He started his career in nonprofit management in 1993, having accrued 30 years of experience in non-profit management and has been part of the FI team since 2015. From religious and education to business and economic development non-profits, Shawn has served in most roles of non-profits from Board Member all the way to President/CEO. Shawn is also finishing his service as the first executive director of the award-winning Aledo ISD Education Foundation, which has raised over $4.5 million dollars since its founding in 2013.
Garland ISD Education Foundation
Lisa serves as the President of the Garland ISD Education Foundation. She has been in this role for the past nine years. Lisa has more than 30 years nonprofit fundraising and management experience with the majority of her professional career serving in executive roles for Junior Achievement in Abilene, Austin and Fort Worth. Lisa earned a BBA with a concentration in Marketing from McMurry University in Abilene, TX.
The Richardson ISD Foundation
Cameka L. Crawford is the executive director of The Richardson ISD Foundation, where she provides strategic leadership to advance the organization’s mission. Previously, Cameka was the CEO of the Keller ISD Education Foundation, where she created a scholarship that helped more than 1,500 high school students take Advanced Placement exams. Cameka has 20 years of experience providing leadership to help organizations like the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Verizon, and the African American Museum in Dallas achieve their goals. One of her proudest moments was partnering with the NFL to produce the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s first Public Service Announcement.
Vice President of Child and Family Strategy
Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Jennifer Esterline, MPAff is Vice President of Child and Family Strategy at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. Jen has 25 years of experience working in nonprofit and education policy. In her role at the Meadows Institute, Jen works with the Child and Family Policy Team to develop and implement statewide strategy for student and educator mental health across the education continuum. Before her role at the Meadows Institute, Jen served as a program and development director for nonprofit and higher education institutions, and then the executive director of a family foundation where she founded the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC), a grantmaker collaborative of private family, corporate, and community foundations across the state working to promote, protect and improve Texas public and higher education through advocacy and public policy.
Sanger Education Foundation
Valerie was one of three who envisioned the formation of the foundation and was instrumental in the organization and development of the Sanger Education Foundation. She brings over 30 years of experience in non-profit fundraising having served with for-profit and non-profit organizations along with providing training with non-profit organizations to build strong board leadership, best practices, organizational structure and program development. In 1999 Mrs. Foster was chosen as a recipient of the Texas State Board of Education Heroes for Children for contributions and dedication to Public Education. She has been awarded Citizen of the Year by the Sanger Area Chamber of Commerce in 2005 and again in 2013. Valerie served on the Texas Education Foundation Network Conference Committee and currently serves on the TEFN Advisory Committee. She earned her CEFL in September 2016 through NSFA and the National University in San Diego. Valerie retired after 25 years of service from Sanger ISD as the District’s Community Outreach Director in 2019 and currently serves exclusively as the Executive Director for the Sanger Education Foundation. Valerie is the owner and primary consultant of Strategic Foundation Development, Inc. providing consulting, strategic planning and board development training for local and area nonprofits.
The Ripple Effect
Steve Harper is on a mission to help individuals and organizations practice and leverage The Ripple Effect to grow better cultures, stronger communities and more actionable, mutually rewarding networks. A captivating speaker, entrepreneur and business strategist, Steve is leading a movement of CONNECTION through podcasts, Ripple events and online communities for Ripplers worldwide. In his popular book, The Ripple Effect: Maximizing the Power of Relationships for Your Life and Business, Steve uncovers the secret to creating memorable, long-lasting connections and the critical impact they make in one’s personal and professional life. As an expert trainer and coach, Steve’s unique and refreshing view of how individuals, organizations, and even our society must reach outside the box to connect is changing lives and impacting corporate bottom-line dollars. Honing a leveraged system for achieving business success as CEO of two software companies, Owner Insite and Facility Insite, Steve has incorporated the signature Ripple DNA into every aspect of operations, from the technology to the team’s approach for supporting their clients.
Michel Hudson, CFRE, has more than 30 years experience guiding nonprofits and associations, in the roles of staff, volunteer, board member, and consultant. Her company, 501(c)onsulting – established in 2001, focuses on board retreats and strategic planning, and she has worked with many education foundations through event support and serving as an Interim Executive Director. Self-professed as addicted to volunteering, she has served as a member of the board and executive team of a number of organizations, including the Pflugerville Education Foundation. Michel has been a frequent speaker at conferences for CASE, AHP, AFP, APRA, and TEFN, among others.
Social Work Coordinator
Brian Jaklich, LCSW serves as the Social Work Coordinator for Harlandale ISD. Mr. Jaklich is a clinical social worker and is in his 28th year working for Harlandale. He coordinates the social work services for the district and serves as a liaison with several community partners. Mr. Jaklich also oversees the Harlandale Care Center, our in-district mental health counseling initiative. His previous experience includes working in corrections and deaf education. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Texas in Austin.
Lauri Kelley attended Texas Woman’s University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Public Health and is currently pursuing her master’s at UT Tyler in Healthcare Administration. She has worked at Health Care Services Corp (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas) for ten years, during that time she has worked in various roles across the organization. Currently, Lauri leads a team of proposal writers for the Proposal Department. Lauri has a background in Community Affairs and Public Relations and has served the local community for many years. She continues to serve through board service on the Richardson ISD Foundation Executive Board, as state chair for the women’s business resource group at BCBSTX and sits on the board of Inspired to Help. She is a Leadership Richardson graduate of class 35 and served as a ROC for two years for the Richardson chamber. Lauri is known as a “giver” and continues to enjoy volunteering in communities across the metroplex. Her favorite pastime is being active outdoors, supporting local small businesses, and spending time with family and friends.
Amy Lane brings 15 years of nonprofit management experience to the Foundation Innovation consultant team. She serves currently as a Vice President at the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind. Previously, she served as the Executive Director at the North East Educational Foundation (NEEF) for one of the state’s largest school districts, North East ISD. Under her leadership, NEEF awarded more than $3 million in grants, all raised through grassroots funding, and doubled the size of their investments.
Jennifer Lehman and her husband Schuyler started Mission Advancement in 2007, and she has managed the day-to-day operations of the business since that time. Today, Jennifer serves as President & CEO and enjoys leading company efforts and strategy, building and managing a strong team, and staying engaged with many client projects. Jennifer has served nonprofit organizations in a variety of capacities since 1994. A native of Dallas and graduate of the SMU MBA/Nonprofit Management program, her focus began in the nonprofit arts world and then shifted to a broad range of organizations, including social service agencies, schools, and ministries. A highlight was working as a volunteer manager for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Jennifer has served as a nonprofit consultant since 1997, conducting feasibility studies, leading capital campaigns, and managing events for a variety of organizations around the country. She loves building relationships with nonprofit leaders and helping them realize the potential within their organizations to achieve big goals. In her spare time, she loves music, reading, podcasts, and travel. However, she mostly loves being a mom to her daughter Ellie, a Belmont University student, and her son Jack, an online college student who plays junior ice hockey in Boston.
Texas Grants Resource Center
Amy Loar is currently heading up of the Texas Grants Resource Center (TGRC). With 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit community, where she served in programmatic, development, and executive leadership roles, Amy helps connect the grant-making and grant-seeking communities in Austin and Central Texas as well as work with the Center for Community Engagement’s directors to vision the future of programming for the TGRC. This role allows Amy to work in the community with partners as well as with community-engaged faculty and students, Amy completed her undergraduate work at The University of Texas at Austin and has a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT-Austin.
Frisco Education Foundation
Allison Miller has been with the Frisco Independent School District since 1999. Prior to taking on her role as director of the foundation in 2006, she worked at Frisco High School and in the superintendent’s office. Allison also served as a board member on the foundation chairing the community relations committee. Moving to Frisco in the early nineties and working in one of the fastest growing cities and school districts in the nation, Allison has seen first-hand the impact such growth can have on a district and its education foundation as both their greatest challenge and their biggest inspiration. When she moved to Frisco in the early nineties, the distinct was home to four campuses and just over 2,000 students. Today, in 2023 Frisco ISD is home to 75 campuses serving more than 67,000 students. Currently, Allison serves as the Director of Community Relations for Frisco ISD and as the Director of the Frisco Education Foundation. After 24 years serving the students and staff of Frisco ISD, Allison has made the bittersweet decision to retire at the end of this school year, giving herself and her family the gift of time. It has been a great ride! I will miss each of you my dear EF friends! Keep up the fantastic work!
Donor Relations Staff
College Station ISD Education Foundation
With over 20 years of tenure in the nonprofit sector, Ericka Mitchell is a self-motivated professional with successful experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations, management and event planning. She has worked with College Station ISD Education Foundation for 5 years, growing their grant income from $0 to $100,000. Ericka is married with 2 kids, and enjoys church and volunteer activities. She loves going on new adventures like trapeze, parasailing and snowshoeing.
Chief Community Engagement Officer
Humble ISD Education Foundation
Jerri is the Chief Community Engagement Officer for Humble ISD. She graduated from Houston Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology and then from Sam Houston State University with a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. She started her career as a mental health therapist in Mississippi. In 1999, she moved back home to Texas and specifically, Humble ISD. Just as Jerri is inspired by educators, she strives to inspire others in changing the world, one underfunded classroom at a time.
AISD Education Foundation
Laurin Moore has been engaged in education communications and awareness since 2011. Beginning her marketing career at Texas State University, she then moved to Houston where she led change management teams and internal corporate communications at multiple blue chip companies. Returning to her roots, she transitioned back to public school communications in 2018 at Angleton ISD in the PR department. Promoting the necessity and benefits of a robust public education system has become a passion and in 2021 she become the Executive Director of the Angleton ISD Education Foundation.
League of Extraordinary Fundraisers
Rachel has worked every side of the Rubik’s cube that is the nonprofit sector. When she was 26 Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit empowering girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card. Several years later she had raised over 10 million and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show. Today Rachel delivers online workshops and courses to transform people into confident, successful fundraisers. Learn more about Rachel at www.rachelmuir.com
Cara Nichols has spent the last decade designing and redefining corporate philanthropy and community engagement at one of the nation’s largest technology companies. She developed an innovative model of direct community investment via the Rackspace Foundation that not only increased employee engagement with the goals of the business but delivered visible community impact through unique community interaction. It wasn’t long before other companies and colleagues at other firms began asking for the “Rackspace model.” It was at this point the necessity to tell her story became imperative.
The New Corporate Citizen was written as the roadmap to enable others to invest in communities using this accessible, authentic model and threefolded was founded to guide organizations along that journey.
Today Cara consults with companies and foundations to help them meaningfully invest in their communities. She shows them that it’s not about the amount of the check – it’s about creating a threefold effect on the community, on employees and on the business itself.
Austin Ed Fund
Ryan O’Donnell has been an educator for two decades, with the last 16 years all in Austin ISD. He’s held various roles at two elementary schools, including as a 3rd & 4th grade teacher and math specialist, as well as a STEM Specialist for the Eastside Vertical Team. As a district administrator, Ryan worked as a Coordinator of Educator Effectiveness where he specialized in developing a new teacher appraisal and compensation system. He currently serves as the Partnerships Coordinator with the Office of Innovation and Development supporting schools across the district with fundraising strategies including building partnerships, grant writing, and crowdfunding resources, and he also manages the Austin Ed Fund grant program.
Suzi Pagel has a unique blend of nonprofit and educational experience. She served as a classroom teacher, volunteer coordinator for the City of Woodway, and Program Coordinator for Keep Knoxville Beautiful prior to becoming the first director of the Midway ISD Education Foundation where she served for more than 20 years. Suzi now serves as a consultant and lead strategist at Foundation Innovation, LLC, working with school districts to establish, jumpstart, or strengthen existing education foundations. Suzi holds a CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) credential and has also received the Junior League of Waco’s Golden Wing Award for excellence in volunteerism and Professional Fundraiser of the Year by the Centex Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Director of Communications & Foundation
Beeville ISD/Beeville Education Foundation
Patti Pawlik-Perales has enjoyed a diverse career in public education, serving school districts across South and Central Texas in the areas of educational television, communications, public relations, marketing and service to education foundations. She has worked across the state, telling the good news about Texas Public Schools, working in Brownsville, San Benito, New Braunfels, San Antonio-Alamo Heights and Beeville ISD’s. She has been a career-long member of the Texas School Public Relations Association in which she has served in numerous leadership roles, including leading the organization as President in 2013-2014. She is always happy to meet and network with colleagues and to learn from all she encounters! She is honored to be sharing and learning alongside her colleagues and fellow board members at TEFN!
Round Rock ISD Partners in Education Foundation
Marianne Reap is the Executive Director for Round Rock ISD Partners In Education Foundation. Following Sales management positions with the Quaker Oats Company (Gatorade line), Johnson & Johnson (introduction of Splenda sweetener) and Infotainment World (division of IDG Books – Entertainment area-Video Games) she entered the non-profit world becoming the Executive Director for the Foundation. She has been the Executive Director for the past 14 years and also owns her own company representing residential developers in creating communities in the area. As the Executive Director, she has had the opportunity to help train and consult for a number of other Foundations and Foundation Boards across Central Texas. She and her husband of 32 years are the parents of three college graduates, an Aggie, a Longhorn and a Bobcat and counts her blessings every day to have the opportunity to support and raise funds for students and teachers in Round Rock ISD.
Superintendent of Schools
Thad Roher graduated from Barclay College in 1991 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education. He received his Master of Science in Education Administration from Fort Hays State University in 1995. He is also a member of the 1986 graduating class from Friendswood High School. Prior to stepping into his current role as Superintendent of Schools, Roher served as a K-12 principal in Haviland, KS, an assistant principal at Friendswood High School, an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum for both elementary and secondary and as Deputy Superintendent in Friendswood ISD, overseeing the business operations for the district.
Instructional Assistant Professor & Director of Philanthropic Initiatives & Capacity Building
Texas A&M, Bush School, Center for Nonprofits & Philanthropy
Dr. Angela Seaworth, ACFRE is an Instructional Assistant Professor and Director of Philanthropic Initiatives & Capacity Building at Texas A&M University’s Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy. She has 25+ years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a professional fundraiser and consultant. She developed fundraising as a functional expertise early in her career and has consulted with multiple education foundations, in Texas, regarding board training and strategic planning. She serves on AFP Global’s Research Council. Seaworth earned her Ph.D. in Philanthropic Studies at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and her MBA from the University of Chicago.
Dickinson ISD Education Foundation
Tamara Sherrod has served as the Director of the Dickinson ISD Education Foundation since 2021. Funding priorities include innovative teaching and classroom grants, campus and district-wide program support, and awarding student scholarships. Tamara holds a BBA in Marketing from Texas Christian University, an MBA from the University of Central Florida and brings over 10 years of strategic partnership development, program and event management, and marketing experience to her position.
Kenny Sigler has worked with nonprofits for over a decade. His career began at a nonprofit management consulting firm. As the Vice President of Operations and Senior Consultant, he led fundraising campaigns, assessments, and strategic planning.
He went on serve as a development director for a nonprofit organization in the education sector. Afterwards, Kenny led a fundraising team at an academic medical center as the executive director of advancement services. There he helped lead capital campaigns, major gift strategies, and department operations.
Today, Kenny owns a private fundraising consulting practice where he helps organizations create and implement effective fundraising strategies.
McKinney Education Foundation
Ashley has served the McKinney Education Foundation in the role of Executive Director since 2017 and other positions since 2007. The focus in McKinney is growing scholarships awarded to graduating seniors and supporting teachers and staff through grants.
Ashley has vast experience with fundraising, event planning, donor cultivation, and sustainable program success.
While her husband and two daughters come first, Ashley further serves her community with the Kiwanis Club, First UMC McKinney leadership team, and Girl Scouts.
Erica Vllarreal Ekwurzel
Erica V. Ekwurzel, CAP®, CFRE, MPAff, is founder of CivicAIM, a philanthropic consulting practice focused on increasing the capacity of grantmakers. With experience as a professional fundraiser, research scholar in philanthropic strategy, grantmaking program officer, and consultant focused on social impact, Erica brings extensive perspective to her work. Additionally, Erica is a consultant with Foundation Innovation. Erica holds a BA from Austin College and a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers and is a 21/64 Certified MultiGenerational Philanthropy Advisor. Erica is also a proud board member of the Austin Ed Fund.
CFBISD Educational Foundation
Donna Wald brings a breadth of experience in nonprofit management, higher education and public-school administration and has proudly served with the foundation since 2011. Donna’s prior experience includes leadership roles in university advancement and development, community relations and board governance.
A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Ms. Wald holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Art in Speech Communication with extensive research in Persuasive Communication and Narcissism. In her spare time Ms. Wald can be found behind the podium teaching at many of the Dallas-area community colleges and serving as a volunteer to organizations promoting education and academic pursuits
Santa Fe TX Education Foundation
Executive Director for the Santa Fe TX Education Foundation, Gina Welsh has served in this capacity for over 3 years. Gina has been nominated as a Women in Leadership Awards (WILA) nominee in 2021, and most recently featured as a Woman of Influence in March 2023. She serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Santa Fe Texas Chamber of Commerce, Inc and on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Education Foundations (NAEF). The Santa Fe TX Education Foundation was awarded 2021 Non-Profit of the Year by the Santa Fe Texas Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
Director of Mobile Mental Wellness Collaborative
Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Melissa has over 26 years of experience as a Texas public educator, including experience as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator. Melissa’s most recent role in education was Senior Director of Student Support Services in Edgewood ISD, where she supervised district counselors and social workers and worked directly with the San Antonio Mobile Mental Wellness Collaborative to provide free mental health services for all students and staff, and with many other community partners to provide resources and education for the Edgewood community. In her role as Senior Director, she also advocated for homeless, foster students, and teen parents while developing social-emotional learning systems and curricula for the district and managing state school improvement grants. Melissa is also proud of her work as a turn-around principal, leading the team of educators at Heather Glen Elementary in Garland ISD out of the Improvement Required process by raising the campus’s state accountability score from an F to a B in one school year. She has worked as a campus principal at all levels, including as an alternative school principal in the North Dallas area serving students in need of credit recovery, behavioral interventions, and a transitional program for 18-22 year old students learning job skills. Melissa is studying for a doctorate in Educational Leadership with a research focus on the role of social-emotional learning and wellness in academic achievement and continuous improvement in schools.
In her role at the Meadows Institute, Melissa oversees the day-to-day operations of the Mobile Mental Wellness Collaborative. She uses her school administrative experience to work closely with participating school districts and collaborating partners to provide a cohesive mental wellness program.