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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Tom Castro, Chair

El Dorado Capital

Tom is an experienced businessman having run a media company, oilfield service company, and managed private equity. He has worked on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. but equally important, Tom has devoted countless hours to organizations educating America's children, and serves on the Board of Yes Prep Public Schools in Houston, the National Board of Teach for America, and Spellman College in Atlanta. He has formerly served as a board member for the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the National Council of La Raza in Washington, D.C., and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago. Tom resides in Houston with his wife, Jacqueline, a native of Bogotá, Columbia, and their two teenage children.

William Glasgow, Vice Chair

Prime Management

For over 20 years Mr. Glasgow has been involved with the Prime Management group of companies, acting as President for its operating and investment entities for the past 10 years. Mr. Glasgow has a broad operating and investment background, including experience in education, telecommunications, cable TV, and as a partner in several venture capital funds. Mr. Glasgow graduated Magna Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University in 1981 and received his MBA from the University of Texas in 1985.

Soner Tarim, Treasurer

Harmony Public Schools

Dr. Tarim serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Superintendent of Harmony Public Schools. Dr. Tarim received his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Engineering and master’s degree in Aquatic Science from Ataturk University, Turkey, and his doctorate in aquatic ecology from Texas A&M University. Dr. Tarim is one of the founding members of Harmony Public Schools, and has served in his current role since 2000. He is a certified Texas School Board Member Trainer and serves as a Board member for the Texas Region-IV Education Service Center. Dr. Tarim is a professional biologist and ecologist, and has taught courses in biology, ecology, management and physical education at the high school, college and graduate school levels. He has also organized numerous symposiums and science projects for colleges and high schools.

Dr. Jennifer Goodman

Odyssey Academy

Dr. Jennifer S. Goodman has served Odyssey Academy (OA) as Superintendent since February 2005. During her tenure, OA has grown from a single campus district of less than 200 PK-8th grade students to a multi-campus district of over 1,100 PK-HS students spanning Galveston County. Dr. Goodman is responsible for governance, accountability, compliance, staffing, academic oversight, and instructional leadership. She is active in the community through committee work and serving on boards for Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Sea Star Base Galveston, and her church. She also has been active with TCSA as past annual conference chair, committee member, legislative testimony, and serves as board member as the Council Member Chair. Prior to her joining Odyssey Academy, Dr. Goodman worked as an education consultant from 2001 – 2005 providing professional development for smaller learning communities, master schedule development, and work involving aligning out-of-state assessments to TEKS. From 1999 – 2001, she served in administration at Alvin High School, a 5A high school in Alvin ISD, as the Assistant Principal of the Senior Class and the following year served as the Associate Principal for the entire staff and student body. Prior to her education management experience, Mrs. Goodman worked as a teacher at Creekside Intermediate School in Clear Creek ISD from 1994 – 1999. Although the majority of her tenure in CCISD was spent in the math department, she specifically taught algebra, pre-algebra, middle school math, reading, physical education and coached tennis and cheerleading. Dr. Goodman earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She also earned a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Math minor, both from Texas A&M University. She is a TEA certified teacher, administrator, superintendent, and board trainer with over 20 years of experience in education.

JoAnn Gama

IDEA Public Schools

JoAnn Gama was born and raised in the north side of Houston. After graduating from Sam Houston High School in 1993, JoAnn attended Boston University on a full scholarship. In 1997, she joined Teach For America, a national corps of high-achieving leaders who commit two years to teach in public schools in low-income communities. Upon moving to the Rio Grande Valley, JoAnn enrolled at the University of Texas-Pan American and earned her master’s degree in Educational Leadership. JoAnn taught 4th and 5th grade English as a Second Language in Donna, Texas. After one successful year of teaching, JoAnn was nominated by her peers as the campus Teacher of the Year. In 1998, JoAnn co-founded the IDEA Academy within the Donna Independent School District with fellow Teach For America corps member, Tom Torkelson. After one year as a “school within a school,” JoAnn and Tom applied for a state charter in order to open their own charter school. In August 2000, they opened the IDEA Academy Charter School with 150 students in grades 4-8. As co-founder and chief of schools, JoAnn has helped lead the replication efforts of the original school. Currently, IDEA Public Schools educates nearly 36,000 students in 61 schools across 3 regions—the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio and Austin. The mission of IDEA Public Schools is to prepare students from underserved communities for success in college and citizenship. Currently, over 93% of graduates are on 80 college campuses in 23 different states across the nation, where they continue to receive support and guidance from IDEA. In 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked IDEA College Preparatory Donna as the 13th best high school and second best charter high school in the nation. That same year, IDEA Public Schools was the first-ever charter organization to be named the best school system in the state of Texas (H-E-B Excellence in Education Award). Today, The Washington Post’s latest rankings of America’s Most Challenging High Schools ranked all seven of IDEA’s eligible College Preparatory high schools in the top 200 high schools nationwide and in the top 50 in Texas. In 2017, IDEA Donna, IDEA Quest and IDEA Frontier were ranked in the top 1% of all public high schools in the United States and the top 40 best public charter schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. JoAnn received the prestigious Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership in 2009 and was appointed to President Barack Obama’s White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in 2010. JoAnn resides in Edinburg, Texas with her husband Juan, a Regional Director of Operations for Simon Properties, and their two children, Gaeland and Jimena.

Michelle Bonton

The Rhodes School

Michelle L. Bonton is a veteran educator and visionary leader with a passion for children. She is committed to improving education through a transformational school design model that brings all stakeholders to the table. She challenges stakeholders to do their part in creating community and student success through the concept of CREW. The concept of CREW is one of accountability and ownership. Over the last 25 years, as a teacher, counselor, school leader, and charter school founder, Michelle has been blessed to impact the lives of thousands of children and their families using the CREW principle. By providing a model, experiences and proper tools, she empowers staff, community members and students to be active participants in their lives. This sense of ownership prompts integrity, fairness and responsible, autonomous action. As the founder and administrative CREW leader of The Rhodes School and The Education Valet, Inc., Michelle even wove the principle of CREW into the mission of The Rhodes School: To develop a crew that produces critical thinkers with the character to lead. Through servant leadership embodied in the principles of CREW, Michelle has led The Rhodes School to tremendous growth from just 97 students and one campus in year one to more than 1,400 students across 4 campuses today, all of which consistently meet or exceed state and national standards for student performance. Further, under Michelle's leadership and direction, The Education Valet, Inc., formed a strategic partnership with the University of Texas Children's Learning Institute and now provides early childhood training to staff in more than 42 early learning centers in underserved neighborhood across our city. This program has impacted more than 1,000 children since the partnership began 5 years ago, and has received state and international recognition. Michelle's professional preparation includes school leadership training and Mid-management certification from Stephen F. Austin University, a Master's degree in counseling from Prairie View A&M University, and a Bachelor's degree in Professional Writing from the University of Houston Downtown. She is a prolific speaker, former radio talk show host, grantwriter, and community advocate. She is also an education policy specialist who regularly gives public testimony on proposed laws and regulations related to education. Michelle is a wife of more than 30 years, a mother of 3 children, a grandmother, and above all, a committed Christian.

Eddie Conger

International Leadership of Texas

Superintendent Eddie Conger graduated from Texas A&M University in 1981 with a degree in Business Management. After graduation, Eddie went on to serve 20 years in the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer. After retiring as a Major from the Marine Corps in 2001 while stationed in Okinawa, Japan, with his family, Eddie taught 5th grade Math in Dallas ISD and 7th grade Math in Garland ISD. He served a year each as Assistant Principal at a middle school and a high school in Garland ISD before leading Hillsboro Jr. High School for two years in which each of those two years the campus was rated by the Texas Education Agency as a Recognized campus. In 2008, Eddie was selected to lead Dallas ISD’s Thomas Jefferson High School. Within his four years at Thomas Jefferson, the team significantly increased the graduation rate from only 52% to 81%, met all federal academic AYP standards, and started a Chinese language and student exchange program on a campus whose students were nearly 90% low social economic. By 2012 Thomas Jefferson had the largest Chinese program in Dallas ISD with over 600 students studying Chinese. Eddie resigned to lead the International Leadership of Texas Charter School District that he developed and which was approved on November 16th, 2012 by the Texas State Board of Education. The mission of ILTexas is to prepare students for exceptional leadership roles in the international community by emphasizing servant leadership, mastering English, Spanish, and Chinese, and strengthening the mind, the body and the character. In August 2013 ILTexas opened its first campuses with over 2,500 students making it the largest first year charter school in the history of Texas. In August 2014 ILTexas opened two additional campuses and served over 4,600 students with over 6,000 students on a waiting list to attend. In 2015 the Texas Commissioner of Education approved ILTexas expansion request and currently there are five new campuses under construction with expected enrollment in September 2016 to be over 10,000 students working hard to master three languages. ILTexas is recognized by the College Board, Hanban, and the 100 Thousand Strong organization in Washington DC as the fastest growing k-12 schools in the United States teaching the Chinese language.

Alfredo Segura Jr., Board Secretary

New Frontiers Charter School

Alfredo Segura Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer for New Frontiers Charter School district serving more than 700 students south of downtown San Antonio. Under his leadership, the district continues to grow and recently opened an Early College High School in partnership with Palo Alto College. The eldest son of migrant workers who spoke mostly Spanish, Mr. Segura recognizes the importance of education as the foundation for achieving the American dream. He brings the first-generation perspective to policy and legislative discussions across Texas. Mr. Segura currently serves as Board Secretary to the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA). He is a former board member of the Educational Service Center, Region 20; the Texas Charter School Academic and Athletic League; the Texas Charter Schools Association and the Association of Charter Educators. He is a Certified Provider for board and administration trainer by the Texas Education Agency and a member of the Southside San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Richard Baumgartner

Rise Academy

Richard Baumgartner is the Founder and Director of Rise Academy, a charter school located in Lubbock, TX that began operations in September 1999. A few years after graduating from Kalamazoo College in 1984 with a B.A. in political science, Baumgartner began his career in education as a teacher trainee with renowned educator Marva Collins at her school in Chicago. Baumgartner taught for several years under Collins and gained valuable experience in instructional delivery, curriculum design, and multi-grade strategies. Drawing from his educational experience in Chicago, Baumgartner returned to his hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1995 where he and his then-wife worked to create Northside Preparatory School. The school opened in September 1996 as the city’s first charter school in the low-income, minority community of Kalamazoo. Despite early evidence of academic success under his leadership, Baumgartner was separated in 1997 from the very school which he created due to persistent board conflict. In early 1998 Baumgartner began the efforts to establish Rise Academy in Lubbock. Since the academy began evaluation under the Texas rating system, Rise has been rated “Exemplary” or a school of “Distinction” numerous times and has expanded to include grades pre-k through 8th. Currently Rise Academy enrolls about 265 students. Baumgartner has served as a Small Schools representative from the Membership Council of TCSA and has been active on the advocacy committee with TCSA on behalf of Texas charter schools.

Matt Abbott

Wayside Schools

Matt Abbott is the CEO of Wayside Schools, a fast growing college preparatory public charter school serving South Austin. Over the last five school years Matt has transformed Wayside Schools from a small single campus charter school of 240 students into a multi-campus charter district serving over 2,000 students in South Austin. Under Matt’s direction, Wayside Schools is creating the only public and comprehensive International Baccalaureate (IB) college preparatory prek-12th grade education program serving the City of Austin. Prior to joining Wayside Schools Matt most recently served as the Director of Training Services for the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA). At TCSA, he worked to develop, direct, and manage training and technical services programs in the areas of charter school growth, law, business operations, and academic programming. Matt also taught high school Social Studies before TCSA. Matt holds a B.B.A. in Business Management from Saint Edward's University and a M.A. in Public Policy and Public Administration from the University of York, in the United Kingdom. He sits on the St. Edward's University School of Education Advisory Committee, is a member of TASBO, TCSA and a 2015 graduate of Leadership Austin: Essentials and received the 2015 Austin Under Forty Award (AU40) for his success in Youth and Education.

John Armbrust

Austin Achieve Public Schools

John has spent a decade serving as teacher and school-site and central office administrator, in both traditional public and charter schools. In South-Central Los Angeles, he served as director for Teacher Effectiveness for the Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), a network of high-performing charter schools. John’s responsibility was to administer a $60 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation measuring teacher effectiveness and performance. While at ICEF, he was a Strategic Data Project Fellow through Harvard University. John began his education career in Atlanta through Teach For America, which helps ensure low-income youth receive quality education. He recently founded Crossbow Educational Consulting, which supports districts and states as they implement improved teacher evaluation processes.

Lori Fey

Outside Insight, LLC

Lori Fey has been pursuing her passion for data-driven excellence in public and nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years. She has been a champion and driving force for data and technology as key improvement tools from her early days as director of the Early Warning System for the Texas Department of Insurance to her long tenure in results-oriented philanthropy with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Lori was instrumental in launching several significant initiatives for the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, including the formation of Texas Charter Schools Association in 2008. She served as the founding secretary for the board of directors and led the search for the founding executive director, David Dunn. Her consistent focus on quality supported the funding and development of TCSA’s breakthrough Quality Framework. Her work at the foundation culminated in the development and launch of the Ed-Fi Alliance, an organization providing backbone education technology tools to improve instruction and advocacy for data standards and system interoperability. Under her leadership, the Alliance drove adoption of the Ed-Fi Data Standard to include 26 states representing 50+% of the nation’s 49.5 million public education students and 3.5 million teachers. Currently, Lori’s work focuses on assisting organizations with improvement and expansion efforts through her consulting practice, Outside Insight. She continues to serve on the selection committee for Dell Scholars - a college completion and scholarship program for low income, high potential students - and to mentor and support the next generation of Texans – her grandchildren. Lori lives in Austin with her husband of 35 years, Francis, and can often be found on the Butler Trail at Lady Bird Lake or in the airport, departing for or returning from adventures to far-flung places like Antarctica and Uganda. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.

Virginia Lannen

Pegasus School of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Virginia Lannen is a Founder, Chair and CEO of Pegasus School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a First Generation Charter School, located in downtown Dallas. Ms. Lannen currently serves on the board of Charter Schools Now, the Texas Charter School Association’s affiliated 501(c) (4) organization and on the Legislative Committee for TCSA. Previously she served as Member Council Chair and Board Member of TCSA. Additionally, she serves on the National Coordinating Committee for the Coalition of Public Independent Charter Schools and as a Board Member of the Texas League of Community Charter Schools. Ms. Lannen was one of the Founders and Board Members of the Association of Charter Educators, the first Association dedicated to the interests of Texas Public Charter Schools and their students. She has been a trainer and charter school course provider for other charter school officers and directors. Ms. Lannen received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Austin College in Sherman, Texas and her J.D from the University of Texas School of Law.

Brent Wilson

Life School

Brent Wilson received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University in 1995, and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree in 2014. He joined the Life School Executive Team as Chief Operations Officer in July 2009 after a fourteen year career in the private sector. In 2010 Brent became Superintendent of Life School where he oversees and manages the Academic, Operations, and Financial Departments of the district. Before joining Life School of Dallas, Brent developed his collaborative, systems-based management style in diverse and varied corporate settings. He has worked and performed management coordination for a world-wide pharmaceutical marketing and sales company, Merck & Co. He helped manage several major multi-year projects in the energy sector for Kvaerner Oilfield Products. At another world-wide corporation, Brinker International, he served as an operational manager while overseeing logistical channels between Brinker International and other private sector companies. Brent brought his strong, well-rounded management abilities to Life School of Dallas where he is leading the organization as it transitions from the growth phase into maturity by building and strengthening infrastructure, creating and refining systems and processes, and instilling a professional management culture at all levels of leadership. LifeSchool of Dallas has been featured in the Dallas Morning News, Dallas Talk Radio, KLIF and other forms of social media. Brent is married to Kirstin Booher Wilson and they have two children; Cooper and Kaitlin.

Chris Barbic

Senior Education Fellow

Claire Thielke, retired USA Track & Field athlete, is COO - Investment Management at Hines Interests. She manages the activities of the Investments & Performance Committee, has served on the Hines Strategy Committee, and serves as an advisor to the Hines IT Steering Committee. She has also held positions in construction management for the Hines Southwest Region and investment management for the Hines Emerging Markets Funds. Claire has served as a board member or outside strategy advisor to businesses including Memorial City Bank, Consumer Solutions inc., and 1Spire Ventures and is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors. Claire earned her undergraduate degree in Urban Planning and Design from Stanford University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 2.5 years as captain of the track and field team and Stanford BCSC Valedictorian. After completing her Masters in Construction Management from Stanford’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as the program’s youngest graduate, Claire continued on to earn her Degree of Engineer from Stanford’s Civil Engineering Ph.D Department in 2009, conducting dissertation research on green retrofitting and seismic upgrading for historic buildings. She has written scholarly contributions on green building, city planning, adaptive reuse, and urban revitalization.

Claire Cormier Thielke

Hines Interests, LP

Claire is the COO of Hines, the global real estate developer and property manager. With facilities funding, her experience in construction management/real estate could give TCSA valuable new expertise. She is in her mid 30s and part of a rising generation of business leaders in Texas and the U.S. As an African American woman, she is unique in the top ranks of U.S. real estate. Claire was a track star at Stanford on her way to the Olympics. Shortly after graduation she was diagnosed with cancer. This ended her track career but thankfully she made a full recovery. Her father is a retired partner at the Vinson and Elkins powerhouse law firm and was a Yale law classmate of Hillary Clinton’s, who is Claire’s godmother. She is part of Houston’s philanthropic leadership. She serves on the boards of: Legacy Community Health Endowment (Chair) that provides healthcare to the uninsured in the Gulf Coast; MD Anderson; and, the Emerge Mentorship for inner-city high school kids. Claire would bring to TCSA: business acumen and a strong business network; political ties in Democratic circles; and generational, geographic, gender and ethnic diversity. Claire and her family are well known to ex-TCSA Chair Rod Paige.

George Pedraza

Wells Fargo Public Finance

George joined Wells Fargo Public Finance in August 2008 from UBS Investment Bank’s Municipal Securities Group. He is responsible for developing and maintaining banking relationships with Texas-based municipal issuers. He has worked on more than $4 billion of bond financings for Texas clients, including Alamo Community College District, Bexar County, City of San Antonio, El Paso County, El Paso PSB, City of Laredo, Laredo ISD, CPS, SAWS, City of Corpus Christi, City of McAllen, City of San Marcos, Cameron County, TXDOT, Nueces County, Webb County, Williamson County and various other school districts and municipal entities. Prior to joining UBS, George served as an Assistant to the City Manager for the City of San Antonio. In addition, he previously worked for Chase Securities, Inc. as a municipal bond investment banker. Prior to Chase, he worked in New York City with the Sumitomo Trust & Banking, Co., Ltd. as a municipal credit associate. He currently serves on the Board of the Architectural Foundation of San Antonio, as a Director of the Center for State & Local Government Excellence (Washington, DC), and as a Director of the Tecaboca-Marianist Center for Spiritual Renewal in Mountain Home, Texas.He is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio, holds a Master of City & Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University. He holds Series 7, 53 and 63 licenses.

Joe Hoffer

Schulman, Lopez, Hoffer & Adelstein, LLP

Joseph “Joe” Hoffer’s practice areas include: (1) civil litigation; (2) labor and employment; (3) board governance including due process hearings and grievances, open meetings act and public information act; (4) business transactions including public procurement and contracting, False Claims Act, trademark and copyright, and inter-local and shared services arrangements; (5) student law including special education, discipline, civil rights and grievances; and (6) administrative law, including appeals of state agency action. Mr. Hoffer attended Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas and Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos receiving his B.A. summa cum laude. He attended St. Mary’s University School of Law, receiving his Juris Doctor. While in law school, Mr. Hoffer served on the Editorial Board of the St. Mary’s Law Journal, serving as Research/Articles Editor his third year and as a staff writer his second year. Mr. Hoffer was on the law school Dean’s List and graduated in the top of his class. Mr. Hoffer is admitted by the Supreme Court of Texas. He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas. Mr. Hoffer is a member of the State Bar of Texas Administrative and Public Law Section, School Law Section and Labor and Employment Law Section. Mr. Hoffer currently volunteers on the regional board for Teach for America San Antonio. He is or has been a member of the Texas City Attorneys Association/Texas Municipal League, Texas Council of School Attorneys, Randolph Metrocom Chamber of Commerce, Judson ISD Education Foundation, Inc., Education Law Association, the Military Child Education Coalition and National Alliance of Public Charter School Attorneys.

Yvette Ostolaza

Sidley Austin LLP

Yvette is one of the most respected corporate lawyers in Texas. She runs the Dallas office of Sidley and Austin, one of the largest international law firms in the U.S. She also serves on the governing board of the firm. Her clients are large and medium sized corporations. She counsels them on governance, regulatory and general corporate matters. Yvette’s peers have recognized her for her accomplishments in law and business. Legal publications regularly name her as one of the state’s top billers, which is rare for female attorneys. Yvette has participated in panels discussing “Not For Profit Entities Confronting Today’s Challenges: Best Practices in Corporate Governance.” She is active in civic and community affairs and has a passion for serving underprivileged children. Yvette would bring to TCSA: strong corporate and law firm relationships in Texas and nationally; geographic, ethnic, and gender diversity; and, business and legal expertise.