Chuck Cook

Interim CEO


As the Interim CEO of TCSA, Chuck Cook manages daily operations and has oversight of the policy priorities for the organization. He is also a founding board member of TCSA.

Chuck Cook continues to serve as CEO of Responsive Education Solutions (ResponsiveEd) and has been an instrumental force in Texas school choice since 1998. Chuck has lead ResponsiveEd’s expansion into one of the largest charter school systems in the state—operating more than 70 campuses, employing more than 2,200 educators, and serving more than 22,000 students in Grade K-12. ResponsiveEd’s community schools include various models such as dropout recovery campuses, specialized mission academies, and STEM high schools. Additionally, Chuck founded the Foundation School for Autism in San Antonio, the first tuition-free charter school for students with autism in the state of Texas. Chuck’s vision is to see ResponsiveEd continue its expansion into a national network of 500 high quality, character-focused schools of choice, serving 125,000 students.

Chris Busse

Vice President of Quality Services


As Vice President of Quality Services, Chris is responsible for all of the resources and programs the Association offers to help schools be more efficient and effective, including the trademark Quality Portal. In his previous role with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Mr. Busse was instrumental in defining the foundation’s strategic focus on performance management. His signature grants and initiatives included defining common indicators, planning and execution of performance management tools, and developing breakthrough intervention effectiveness tools. Mr. Busse graduated with honors from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

Lindsey Gordon

General Counsel


Prior to joining TCSA, Lindsey practiced with the law firm of Schulman, Lopez and Hoffer, LLP, representing charter schools, foundations and traditional public schools. Before returning home to Texas, Lindsey served as a Staff Attorney at Lawyers Alliance for New York, the leading provider of business and transactional legal services for nonprofit organizations in New York City, where she provided counsel to a large number and variety of non-profit organizations, including charter schools and charter-related organizations. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Lindsey practiced law in the corporate group at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York City. Lindsey was an Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Fellow at Brooklyn Law School and holds a B.A. with highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin. Lindsey is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and New York.

Amanda List

Interim Vice President of Government & Public Affairs


Amanda List served as the association’s first Director of Advocacy from 2008-2015. She’s advocated for charter school policy at the state and federal level, and help build the association's grassroots network. List has championed the regulatory and legislative reforms necessary to help charter schools flourish. As liaison to a myriad statewide advocacy coalitions, the TEA, and State Board of Education, Amanda has developed a deep understanding of the interview process and charter climate in Texas. Amanda started her own consulting business and continues to advocate for education reform in Texas. As interim Vice President of Government & Public Affairs, Amanda will defend the association’s legislative gains and position TCSA for continued success.

Christine F. Nishimura

Deputy General Counsel


Christine brings over a decade of education and legal experience to the TCSA Deputy General Counsel position. As a Teach For America corps member, Christine taught middle school at Aspire Public Schools, a charter school in Huntington Park, CA. While in law school, Christine worked with fellow Teach For America Alumni to create a restorative justice program at an Austin area middle school. Immediately following law school, Christine received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship to work at Disability Rights Texas where Christine practiced special education law. She is also an adjunct professor at The University of Texas School of Law teaching trial skills courses. Christine received her B.A. from the University of Michigan, her J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law, and is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas.

Maria-Theresa Sigua

Law Clerk


Maria began her work with charter schools at the Charter School Policy Institute where she assisted in promoting The Next Step Campaign, the campaign that would eventually lead to the inception of the TCSA. Prior to joining TCSA, Maria spent several years in the venture capital and investment banking industries and co-owned and operated a small business. Maria holds a degree in Business Management from St. Edwards University and is a current J.D. Candidate at St. Mary’s School of Law.

Erin Tholen

Director of Development


As the TCSA Director of Development, Erin builds and implements strategies to engage corporate and philanthropic partners to support the Association’s mission through a diversified funding portfolio. Her collaborative experience across multiple sectors supports the Association’s goal of connecting key decision-makers with one-another to drive results. During her five years with TCSA, Erin has overseen all membership programs and managed earned revenue and cooperative agreements. Before moving to Texas, Erin worked for a large, community-based non-profit agency in California. There, she connected families, schools, local government and local foundations to implement a ground-breaking results-based accountability structure for schools in Santa Barbara County. She graduated with honors from The University of Arizona and received her Master of Education from Arizona State University.

Laura Kelly

Director of Quality Services


As the Director of Quality Services, Laura assists leaders and governing teams with their strategic planning and performance improvement efforts and she supports start-up teams in organizational creation, culture building, and business model validation. Additionally, Laura oversees the Quality Framework tools and data systems used by TCSA’s member schools to increase educational and operational performance. Prior to joining the TCSA team, Laura led the charter school quality, educational productivity, and organizational improvement efforts for the Institute for Public School Initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin (IPSI). While there, she spearheaded the Institute’s conversion from a bureaucratic, paper-laden department into a telecommuting, paperless, learning organization. Formerly in the private sector, Laura has worked in education reform for the last eleven years and specializes in organizational effectiveness and school quality. Laura graduated with summa cum laude from St. Edward’s University with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration.

Chris Bash, MBA

Director of Marketing


As Director of Marketing, Chris provides TCSA with marketing plans and support needed to achieve the mission, objectives and directives of the association. Chris has almost 20 years of experience in business, marketing and design. During his career, he has worked across 7 vastly different industries, most recently spending eight years in the finance sector. Chris holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelors of Arts degree with honors in Advertising, both from Texas Tech University.

Martha Fernandez

Director of Civic Affairs and Advocacy


Prior to joining TCSA as the Director of Advocacy, Martha served as Director of Government Affairs and Community Advocacy for Uplift Education. She led programming for family and community engagement for a network of 12,000 students and families, and helped connect them with local resources and their government officials through a program called Parent University. Before joining Uplift Education she worked in organizing and educating parent leaders in her community to help advocate for their students' post-secondary matriculation. Martha graduated with honors from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in bilingual education in early childhood to sixth grade.

Bruce Marchand, Ed.D.

Director of Training Services


Dr. Bruce Marchand brings 35 years of public education experience to TCSA, serving in several large Texas independent school districts as a teacher, principal, curriculum director, and executive director of elementary education. From 2010-2016, Dr. Marchand served as superintendent of Pineywoods Community Academy charter school in Lufkin, Texas, where under his direction the school grew by more than 800 students and increased its budget by nine million dollars. His focus is helping existing charters expand enrollment while improving quality, as well as assisting charter applicants and new schools in establishing effective operations that will maximize student performance. He holds a doctorate in Educational Administration from Texas A&M – Commerce where his study on factors related to charter failure in Texas has been presented at several national research conferences and is considered an important addition to the existing literature on improving charter school efficacy.

Elliott Nguyen

Director of Charter School Growth and Development


Elliott Nguyen is the Director of Charter School Growth and Development at TCSA. He has more than ten years of experience in the non-profit and education sectors. Leveraging his experience in campus operations, student and family engagement, and school launches, Elliott seeks to expand current charter school networks within Texas, recruit out-of-state operators to the Lone Star State, and identify and develop future charter school leaders. Prior to his tenure at TCSA, Elliott worked at IDEA Public Schools leading the work around operational readiness for the entire network and was most recently the Assistant Principal of Operations in K-10 school in Austin. Elliott’s experience also includes his work at the Junior Statesman Foundation in Washington, D.C. Elliott has degrees in Political Science and East Asian Studies from Wittenberg University in Ohio.

Geanene Trahan

Director of Financial Operations


Geanene brings eight years of nonprofit experience including financial forecasting, strategic planning, fiscal grant management, and executive leadership. Prior to joining TCSA, Geanene served as the Vice President of Operations and Finance at Easter Seals Central Texas. Geanene has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Dillard University.

Nadia D. Luna

Member Services Associate


Nadia Luna served as TCSA’s Office Manager for nearly four years and has recently transitioned into her new role as Member Services Associate. She is responsible for coordinating memberships for schools, solution providers and supporters of Texas charter schools and hopes to continue TCSA’s record of strong member engagement. Prior to joining TCSA, she was the executive assistant and compliance paralegal at a workers’ compensation law firm, but was drawn back into education, having previously served as a School Success Intern for Breakthrough! Austin during her undergraduate career at the University of Texas. There she helped create first-generation college students. Working with charter schools over the last few years has proved to be fulfilling and she looks forward to cultivating relationships with school leaders across Texas.

Alyssa Townsend, CMP

Conference Planner


Alyssa joined the TCSA team in 2014. She is responsible for the planning and execution of the TCSA Annual Conferences and other meetings to ensure they reflect the strategic objectives of the TCSA through streamlining event logistics and communications. Alyssa began her career in the hotel industry working for Bellagio and Hyatt in hotel sales and event management. In addition to her experience in the hospitality industry, she has a Bachelor of Science in Event Management from UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

Erika Rocha

Central Texas Outreach & Field Manager


Erika Rocha is the Central Texas Outreach & Field Manager for Central Texas at TCSA. Erika works closely with various Austin public charter schools’ staff empowering parents to advocate for students on a wide range of different issues both at the state and local level. With these efforts, Erika is creating a road map for the rest of the state to follow. Erika has worked on several state and local elections increasing voter participation and helping neighbors organize their communities. In addition, she has worked with the President’s non-profit organization on issue-based campaigns advocating alongside community leaders promoting sensible policy.

Janie Muñoz

Office Manager


Prior to joining TCSA, Janie worked for the University of Texas at Arlington’s (UTA) Center for Environmental Excellence as an Operations Manager for six years. While at UTA, she assisted in staff training, developing policy guidelines, general agency outreach and project management of an environmental contract held with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that covered the entire state of Texas. She has over ten years in public service with other state agencies such as the TCEQ and University of Texas (UT) at Austin. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Communications Studies from UT Austin.