Staff Biographies

David Dunn, Executive Director

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.


Maria-Theresa Sigua,

Executive Assistant to Executive Director

As the Executive Assistant, Maria-Theresa Sigua manages all affairs concerning the Executive Director. She also juggles a multitude of responsibilities associated with operations, coordinates all member council meetings, and serves as one of the project managers for the annual statewide charter school conference. 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 Candidate for Doctor of Jurisprudence at St. Mary’s School of Law.


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.


Denise Pierce,

General Counsel

Denise Pierce is an attorney who joined the Association in February 2009 after 14 years of representing school clients including charter schools, traditional public schools, and community colleges. She also was an attorney with the Texas Association of School Boards and helped TASB develop member services. Denise is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and Texas A&M University.


Kevin Coleman, Director of Financial Operations

As Director of Financial Operations, Kevin Coleman provides TCSA with financial, business and administrative supports needed to achieve the operational and financial objectives of the Association.  Kevin is an experienced manager who has a focus on operational and fiscal excellence for nonprofits.  He has leadership experience in healthcare organizations in Oregon, Washington and Texas and has significant accomplishments in administrative, financial, strategic planning, stakeholder relations and community activities.  Kevin has a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Eastern Washington University and a Bachelors degree in Business from Fullerton State University.


Lindsey Gordon, Director of Legal and Policy Services

Prior to joining TCSA as the Director of Legal and Policy Services, 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.

Laura Kelly, Director of Quality

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.


Brian Levy, Director of School Support Services

Brian brings a wealth of operational, entrepreneurial, sales, and management experience to TCSA. As National Loan Origination Manager at Chase, he improved loan processing operational efficiency from two days to two minutes. As Director of Sales for CIT Group, Brian was instrumental in building a cohesive network between higher education institutions and high school counselors to the benefit of students and their families. Brian will apply this experience to helping individual members and developing services for our collective membership.


Nadia Luna, Office Manager

Nadia Luna joins TCSA as Receptionist and Office Manager, bringing with her over 5 years of administrative and legal assistance experience. Prior to joining TCSA, she worked as executive assistant/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 and looks to expand her educational experience into the charter schools movement.


Toni Templeton, Quality Initiatives Data Analyst

Toni provides TCSA with vast experience in education, having been a teacher, assistant principal, and instructional specialist. Most recently, Toni worked as the Annual Yearly Progress Specialist at Austin CAN! Academy and played a critical role in the school's rapid improvement. In this role, Toni disaggregated school results and helped teachers and administrators utilize this real-time information for the benefit of their students. In her work with TCSA, Toni will bring this experience to our members across the state, as well as analyzing and communicating charter results to our external stakeholders. Toni holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.


Erin Tholen, Member Services Associate

Erin is proud to join the Texas Charter Schools Association as the Member Services Associate. Erin started her career in the non-profit sector working for a large community-based non-profit agency in California. There, she worked with families, schools, local government and local foundations to implement a ground-breaking results-based accountability structure for schools in Santa Barbara County. In addition to her experience collaborating with organizations across multiple sectors, she has a Bachelor of Art in Communication and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. In her role at TCSA, she is responsible for coordinating membership for charter schools, sponsors and supporters of Texas charter schools.

Regional Training Team
TCSA's Regional Trainers will deliver programs locally to strengthen critical areas of charter school performance. We have selected these four amazing trainers who have a demonstrated and proven skill set for presenting customized training solutions to address charter school needs and improve the leadership and staff within our members' charter organizations.  

Dr. Lisa Stanley, Regional Trainer, Dallas

Dr. Lisa Stanley has had a successful 23-year career in education. Her educational experience began as a remedial reading instructor while attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and then transitioned into teaching a self-contained high-school class at an alternative school for 4 years. After moving to Texas in 1995, she completed her graduate degrees in Psychology and Educational Leadership while working as the Assistant Director of an alternative school. In 2001, she joined the founding team at Texas Education Centers, serving as a Campus Principal and Director of Special Education. With 9 school years of charter school experience at the campus level, she became the Assistant Superintendent in 2009 and was named Superintendent in 2011. Additionally, she served as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas teaching multiple sections of Special Education Law, served as a grader for both Pearson Educational Services and College Board, and has provided training and consultation for other charter schools around the state.

Martina P. Van Norden, Regional Trainer, Dallas

Martina Van Norden is founder of the Center for Educational and Economic Development (CEED) and serves as the organization’s senior educational consultant. Martina has worked with charter schools for almost two decades having served in positions ranging from lead teacher and instructional coach to accountability officer and charter school leader. Martina has served as an educational consultant to community and faith-based organizations committed to developing effective charter schools programs. She has served in Washington, DC as an advisor for the Consortium of Career Development Charter Schools to support their efforts to provide career and technical education programs for the district, while meeting traditional-school performance outcomes. Martina has also worked as a transformation leader for charter schools in school improvement, restructuring, or facing closure due to charter revocation. Martina received her Bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in Mass Media Arts-Public Relations. She earned her education certifications from Trinity College, and studied at the Leadership Institute at George Mason University Master’s program.

Dr. Jacqueline Lookabaugh, Regional Trainer, Houston

Dr. Jacqueline Lookabaugh brings 21+ years of educator and administrator experience utilizing best practices. Prior to retiring in 2013, Dr. Lookabaugh was Superintendent of Schools, Federal & State Programs Director and Special Education/ Programs Director, and when called upon, principal of an open enrollment charter. In less than 104 calendar days Dr. Lookabaugh was responsible for actually building a small school district from the ground up for a newly granted charter school for 350+ students in grades K-12. As a Texas state certified educator, she has taught English Language Arts, Pre-Algebra and Occupational Preparation for special program students in grades 9-12 in independent school districts.  In addition to holding a principal certification, Dr. Lookabaugh has supervised, coordinated and facilitated Special Education ARD/IEP meetings and departments. Dr. Lookabaugh received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Lamar University. She was a juvenile probation officer in Beaumont & Pt. Arthur, Texas prior to becoming a Special Education teacher. She also received a Master of Education in Administration and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership at Lamar University.  Currently, Dr. Lookabaugh provides educational consulting services in Leadership & Accountability, Organization & Staff Development, Special Education Program Analysis, Federal & State Program Maintenance, Teacher & Administrator Mentoring and conducts Comprehensive Needs Assessments.

Linda Murphy, Regional Trainer, Houston

Linda has over 40 years of experience in Texas schools, working for 20 years as a classroom teacher in a variety of assignments including: Early Childhood programs, Special Education, Bilingual, and English as a Second Language classrooms. After working for two years as a Middle School Counselor, Linda worked for ten years as the district Director of State and Federal Programs. It was in this capacity that she facilitated campus and district comprehensive needs assessments, the development of improvement plans, and deepened her own knowledge of programmatic requirements. The knowledge and skills gleaned prepared her well for the subsequent roles, as a Grant Writer for a regional collaborative and ultimately as an Assistant Superintendent. The overall experiences and varied specialized certifications have been of value in working as a Professional Service Provider for over ten years, working to assist schools to exit the state and/or federal improvement processes. In that capacity, Linda has worked with a variety of charter schools across the state, assisting each of them to successfully meet accountability standards.