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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.

Michelle Aguilar

Public Policy Fellow

Email: miaguilar@txcharterschools.org

Michelle Aguilar is a Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) Public Policy Fellow for the Texas Charter Schools Association.

Prior to joining TCSA, she served as a high school English teacher in Miami, Florida. Most recently, she worked as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission at the University of Miami, where she received her Master of Science in Education and Social Change.

Michelle is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South where she received her B.A. in Politics. At Sewanee, Michelle was selected to participate in the Tonya Public Affairs Internship Program. She served as a Congressional Intern for a Texas Congressman and worked on the marketing team for a political action committee dedicated to electing female candidates to office.

She is a third-generation San Antonian on her paternal side and first-generation Nicaraguan-American on her maternal side. She is a social justice advocate, former college cheerleader, and an avid SoulCycle rider.

Autumn A. Arnett

VP of Communications

Email: aarnett@txcharterschools.org

Autumn A. Arnett brings over 15 years of communications experience to the role of vice president for communications at the Texas Charter School Association.

Prior to joining the association, Autumn built a career as a professional storyteller and editor, centering her work around issues of equity and access in education. She is the author of Let’s Stop Calling It an Achievement Gap, which examines educational disparities in 10 major U.S. cities including Houston and Dallas, and a former editor of several national education publications.

Autumn is a frequent speaker on issues of inclusion and equity in education, and has appeared on dozens of panels on the topics. Currently, she is leading a research team examining childhood criminalization in Austin, Texas and is a member of a national planning group around democracy and civility in America convened by the Kettering Foundation. She is also a part of a team working to support and empower families locally as advocates for their own children and she serves on a number of national advisory boards around race and ethnicity in education.

The Clark Atlanta University alumna currently lives in Pflugerville, Texas with her two children, Jordyn and Alexander.

Paige Carver

Government Affairs Project Manager

Email: pcarver@txcharterschools.org

Paige brings eight years of experience in education, marketing, and non-profits to the Texas Charter Schools Association.

Paige has always been passionate about education and her passion for public Charter Schools started while she lived in Houston and worked as a special education student support specialist at Harmony Public Schools. After moving back to her hometown, Austin, Paige continued her work supporting students with special needs for three years and then moved to Education Service Region 13 where she worked in product development creating products for students, teachers, and administrators.

Paige lives in Southeast Austin with her two-year-old daughter, husband, and rescue lab-mix, Gunner.

Connor Cook

Research and Data Project Manager

Email: cocook@txcharterschools.org

Connor began working for the Texas Charter Schools Association in 2018 as a Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) Public Policy Fellow before transitioning into his current role in managing TCSA’s policy research and data projects.

Prior to his time at TCSA, Connor worked in education spaces across Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas as a teacher, consultant, and policy analyst. He is an alumnus of the Teach for America corps as well as the Urban Leaders Fellowship.

He grew up near Fort Worth, Texas and graduated from Xavier University (OH) in 2015 with an Honors Bachelor of the Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and the Public.

Katrina Corte

Special Events Manager

Email: kcorte@txcharterschools.org

Katrina Corte is responsible for coordinating the annual Texas Charter Schools Conference, as well as plan all other meetings and events with the Association.

Prior to joining TCSA, she was the Development and Travel Coordinator for International Leadership of Texas, a tri-lingual charter school with campuses throughout the state of Texas. During her time at ILTexas, she planned and executed student travel for the 7th and 8th-grade students, providing students with an interactive experience that coincided with their Texas and US History curriculum. She was also able to raise over $1.5 million from grants, individual giving, and fundraising events.

She received her degree in University Studies Leadership from Texas A&M University.

Brandon Garcia

Director of Outreach & Advocacy, Central Texas

Email: bgarcia@txcharterschools.org

Brandon Garcia brings years of experience as an educator, community organizer, and legislative professional to the Texas Charter Schools Association. Beginning his career as a social studies teacher in 2007 at Austin Can! Academy, a charter high school in East Austin, Brandon taught at-risk youth for four years in a job that he calls “one of the best in [his] life.” In 2011, Brandon returned to his home town of Dallas, Texas to attend the University of Dallas where he received his Master’s Degree in Political Theory, all while working part-time on educational outreach to local low-income students and their parents. Planning to pursue a career in academia, Brandon became a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Dallas in 2016. But in January of 2017, Brandon put his doctoral journey on hold for a chance to work for the Texas Senate as a research associate during the 85th Legislative Session. Having been bitten by the bug of Texas politics and wanting to put his studies into actual practice, he remained at the Legislature and in 2018 became a policy analyst for his very own state senator, Kirk Watson. During the 86th Legislative Session, Brandon aided Senator Watson in various policy areas and helped to shepherd four of his bills through the legislative process and into law.

Brandon lives in Austin, Texas with his beautiful wife, Laurel (who he actually met working at a charter school), and his happy, energetic little son, Noah.

Elizabeth Gunter

Development Project Manager

Email: egunter@txcharterschools.org

Elizabeth joins the Texas Charter Schools Association as a Development Project Manager. Prior to joining the TCSA she gained 11 years of experience in Corporate and Public Sales with Dell. The most recent 4 years she managed her own niche practice supporting the business functions of lobbyists and advocates in the education reform sector. Her passion for quality education and her experience in the workplace have provided her an interest in public advocacy work.

Elizabeth grew up in Houston, Texas and graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications. She lives in Austin with her husband, son and daughter.

Nadia D. Luna

Director of Membership

Email: nluna@txcharterschools.org

Nadia Luna is responsible for coordinating memberships for schools and sponsorships for solution providers. She develops earned revenue opportunities and maintains corporate supporter relationships to increase interest, understanding and support of TCSA’s mission and events. She manages the customer service and events team to increase member satisfaction, event attendance including at the annual Texas Charter Schools Conference, and oversees member portal enhancements and upkeep.

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 like herself.

Bruce Marchand, Ed.D.

Vice President of Member Services

Email: bmarchand@txcharterschools.org

Dr. Bruce Marchand brings 39 years of public education experience to the Texas Charter Schools Association, most recently serving as a Texas charter school superintendent and working previously in several large Texas ISDs as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator.

His focus is developing and coordinating education and training for new and established 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 works with prospective application teams and newly approved charters to assist them as they prepare to begin operations.

He graduated Summa Cum Laude from SFA and the University of Houston as a Danforth Scholar and received his 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, Ph.D

Director of Policy and Research

Email: tmattison@txcharterschools.org

Dr. Timothy Mattison completed his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He earned two masters degrees in Global Policy Studies and Russian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he specialized in international trade and finance. He completed his B.S. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Dr. Mattison has published scholarly work on the factors influencing teacher labor supply in Texas, and on extending Medicare to Mexico. His dissertation focused on the factors influencing teacher happiness and psychological wellness. He has also completed research studies for the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Texas Historical Commission and the United States Foreign Agricultural Service. Before joining TCSA, Timothy worked for six years as a High School Math Teacher, Instructional Coach and 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 community projects 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 the 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.

Cynthia Sanchez

Executive Assistant and Projects Coordinator

Email: csanchez@txcharterschools.org

Cynthia was born in Ft. Morgan, Colorado and raised in Zapata, Texas. She graduated from Texas A&M – Kingsville with a BA in Psychology and Sociology and has over 15 years of experience in education, both higher education and public charter schools.

Cynthia has an older son who works for a charter school and a teenager who attends one. She strongly believes and supports charter schools and their mission.

Erin Tholen

Chief of Staff

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.