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Staff

Staff

Starlee Coleman

Chief Executive Officer

Email: scoleman@txcharterschools.org

Starlee Coleman has 20 years of experience turning public policy ideas into laws. Through strategic public affairs and PR campaigns, grassroots engagement, and coalition development, Starlee has contributed to the passage of dozens of bills in state legislatures, Congress, and at the ballot box.

As CEO, Starlee’s role is to oversee the daily operations of the organization and help ensure that TCSA’s policy recommendations cross the finish line, whether the finish line ends at a Governor’s desk, city hall, on an election ballot, or in the courtroom.

Prior to coming to TCSA, Coleman founded SchoolForward LLC, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. that advances education reform policies. The firm advises a number of high-profile clients, including the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Starlee’s work has earned a Templeton Freedom Award for Best Initiative in Public Relations in 2008 and the Spark Freedom Award for Best PR Campaign.

Starlee has done hundreds of media interviews, including formerly having a weekly appearance on the NBC affiliate in Phoenix, Ariz., where she debated current affairs with a leading elected official. She has appeared on nationally-syndicated radio and TV programs, including CNN, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, FoxNews and Fox Business, Wall Street Journal Live, NPR’s 1A, and the Lars Larson Show. Starlee has delivered dozens of speeches on current affairs to civic groups and presented at several conferences on effective communications and marketing strategies, and on crisis communications.

Coleman earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at Arizona State University. She lives in Austin with her husband, daughter, and rescue pup.

Chris J. Bash, MBA

Director of Marketing

Email: cbash@txcharterschools.org

Chris provides TCSA with marketing plans and support needed to achieve the mission, objectives and directives of the association. Chris has over 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.

Chris has lived in Austin since 1999. He currently resides with his wife Jen and two children, Graham who is seven and Ruby who is three along with their elderly rescue chocolate lab, Rus.

Connor Cook

Public Policy Fellow

Email: cocook@txcharterschools.org

Connor grew up in North Texas suburbs and has worked in education spaces for over five years prior to joining TCSA. Since graduating from Xavier University in 2015, he has worked primarily as an educator, first teaching high school Spanish in southern Arkansas as part of the 2015 Teach for America corps, then as a middle and elementary teacher in Baton Rouge, and finally as a staff educator at a children’s museum in Baton Rouge. In addition to his experiences teaching, Connor has worked in education through policy and consultancy work. In 2017, he investigated youth homelessness in Fort Worth and school district responses to housing crises in Dallas as part of the Urban Leaders Fellowship. At TCSA, Connor will work alongside the legal and policy team to research and analyze policies relevant to TCSA’s constituents.

Elizabeth Cross

Staff Attorney

Email: ecross@txcharterschools.org

Elizabeth brings over a decade of educational and legal experience to the TCSA Legal Team. Prior to law school, Elizabeth taught high school social studies in a large district in North Texas. During law school, Elizabeth was highly active in multiple student organizations. She was an elected Honor Court Justice for the student government association and helped develop a peer court program for at risk high school students. She also was instrumental in the creation of the Juvenile Jurisprudence Association, a new law student organization dedicated to helping middle and high school students. Elizabeth was a staff writer for St. Mary’s Law Journal. She earned her B.A. from The University of North Texas and her J.D., cum laude, from St. Mary’s University School of Law.

Addie Gomez

Email: agomez@txcharterschools.org

A native of a small West Texas town, Addie has worked in political communications and public education policy for over ten years. Since 2012, she has guided the legislative and regulatory efforts of a coalition of public schools, representing over half of public charter school students before Texas lawmakers. Before advocating for the needs of public charter school students, Addie served three state lawmakers in the Texas Capitol. During that time, she shepherded dozens of proposals through the legislative process. While she has experience in issues ranging from public health to transportation funding, public education has long been her passion.

A proud graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Addie is married to Mike, a fellow Longhorn and native Texan.

Laura Kelly

Director of Quality Services

Email: lkelly@txcharterschools.org

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.

Nadia D. Luna

Director of Membership

Email: nluna@txcharterschools.org

Nadia Luna 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.

Bruce Marchand, Ed.D.

Director of Training/Chief Operating Officer

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 developing and coordinating education and training for charter governance boards, CEOs, teachers, and other school staff to assist schools in their successful operation and to help charter leaders to meet the professional training requirements as set forth by the state of Texas. Bruce also helps to direct many of the day to day operations of the association. 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.

Timothy Mattison

Public Policy Fellow

Email: tmattison@txcharterschools.org

Timothy is a Wisconsin native who moved to Texas in 2005 for graduate school at UT-Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. During his graduate program he conducted research for the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Department of Agriculture and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. He is currently writing his dissertation in UTSA’s PhD of Educational Leadership Program. Before joining TCSA, Timothy worked for six years as a High School Math Teacher, Instructional Coach and (most recently) as an Assistant Principal in San Antonio. Timothy is a proud animal-lover and devotes his free time to his four dogs. He also volunteers in a variety of projects and organizations that promote non-violence.

Shreé Medlock

Vice President of Strategic Engagement

Email: smedlock@txcharterschools.org

Shree’ partners with key stakeholders and partners to build out statewide grassroots political strategy, drive execution, report progress and assist with internal communications for high-intensity campaigns on behalf of public charter schools.

Shreé has worked in the advocacy arena for almost twenty years leading state-based advocacy teams and working with others to create, expand and implement school choice options including charter schools and vouchers. Additionally, Shreé has designed and delivered seminars and workshops to inform and empower parents to advocate for more educational opportunities for their children.

Shreé has two children, Brandon who resides in Dallas, TX and Jennifer, a 2nd-year teacher, who lives in Memphis, TN.

Janie Muñoz

Operations and Events 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.

Elliott Nguyen

Director of Charter School Growth and Development

Email: enguyen@txcharterschools.org

Elliott 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.

Christine F. Nishimura

General Counsel

Email: cnishimura@txcharterschools.org

Christine brings over a decade of education and legal experience to the TCSA 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.

Erin Tholen

Director of Development

Email: etholen@txcharterschools.org

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.

Alyssa Townsend, CMP

Director of Events

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.

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.