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Staff

Staff

David Dunn

Executive Director

Email: ddunn@txcharterschools.org

The Executive Director of TCSA is David Dunn. David most recently served as Chief of Staff to the U.S. Secretary of Education. Mr. Dunn's experience includes service as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Associate Executive Director and chief lobbyist of the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), and 15 years in education and fiscal policy analysis for the state of Texas.

Chris Busse

Vice President of Quality Services

Email: cbusse@txcharterschools.org

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

Email: lgordon@txcharterschools.org

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.

Christine F. Nishimura

Deputy General Counsel

Email: cnishimura@txcharterschools.org

Christine brings over 9 years of education and legal experience to the TCSA Director of Legal and Policy Services position. As a Teach For America corps member, Christine taught middle school at Aspire Public Schools 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 an adjunct professor at The University of Texas School of Law teaching trial skills courses. Christine also sits on both a local and national alumni board for Teach For America. 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.

Erin Tholen

Director of Development

Email: etholen@txcharterschools.org

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

Email: lkelly@txcharterschools.org

As the Director of Quality, Laura Kelly oversees the Quality Framework tools used by TCSA’s member schools to increase educational and operational performance. Previously, Laura led the charter school quality, educational productivity, and organizational effectiveness efforts for the Institute for Public School Initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin (IPSI). Ms. Kelly spearheaded the Institute’s conversion from a bureaucratic, paper-laden department into a telecommuting, paperless, learning organization. Formerly in the private sector, she has worked in education reform for the last seven years and specializes in organizational effectiveness and school quality. Ms. Kelly graduated with highest honors from St. Edward’s University with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration.

Paula Moeller, Ed.D.

Director of Training Services

Email: pmoeller@txcharterschools.org

Dr. Moeller is an experienced leader in education with more than 20 years of experience in the development of curriculum, training and educational programs and products. Her work is focused on using technology to innovate educational systems and improve future college and career opportunities for students. She led national and statewide initiatives while working at the Texas Education Agency, Texas Instruments and the University of Texas at Austin. Paula holds a doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

Martha Fernandez

Director of Civic Affairs and Advocacy

Email: mfernandez@txcharterschools.org

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.

Chris Bash, MBA

Director of Marketing

Email: cbash@txcharterschools.org

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.

Christine Isett

Director of Communications

Email: cisett@txcharterschools.org

Christine Isett serves as the Director of Communications for the Texas Charter School Association. In this role she develops and implements strategies to effectively disseminate information to various public and stakeholder groups through the media, inter­-governmental channels, and proactive campaigns. Christine most recently served as a Senior Communications Specialist at the U.S. Department of Education since 2007. Prior to assuming this role, she held several other positions within the Department since 2004. Christine’s experience includes various state and local campaigns in Texas. She began her career in public service as a staff assistant for U.S. Senator Phil Gramm. Isett is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Public Relations.

Maria-Theresa Sigua

Director of Administrative Operations

Email: msigua@txcharterschools.org

Maria manages all affairs concerning the Executive Director. In addition, she juggles a multitude of responsibilities associated with operations, as well as managing member council meetings, managing the member council leadership elections, and working as the liaison between staff and the TCSA Board Members. 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.

Bruce Marchand, Ed.D.

Director of Charter School Growth and Development

Email: bmarchand@txcharterschools.org

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

Email: enguyen@txcharterschools.org

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

Email: gtrahan@txcharterschools.org

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

Email: nluna@txcharterschools.org

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

Email: atownsend@txcharterschools.org

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

Email: erocha@txcharterschools.org

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

Email: jmunoz@txcharterschools.org

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.