Governor Abbott Appoints 20 To Texas Early Learning Council

January 18, 2019 | Austin, Texas | Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Katherine Abba, Ph.D., Sarah Abrahams, Courtney Arbour, Travis Armstrong, Ed.D., Weldon Beard, Terrie Breeden, April Crawford, Ph.D., Sam Eng, Alferma Giles, Ph.D., Melissa Horton, Beck Huss-Keeler, Ph.D., Ramah Leith, Jerletha McDonald, Dana McGrath, Jacquie Porter, Julie Richards, Teresa Robledo, Stephanie Rubin, Kierstan Schwab, and June Yeatman to the Texas Early Learning Council for terms to expire at the pleasure of the Governor. Additionally, the Governor named Jacquie Porter chair of the council, and Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott will serve as honorary chair.

The Texas Early Learning Council serves as Texas’ state advisory council as required by the federal Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007. The Council utilizes its breadth of stakeholder representation to increase coordination and collaboration across state agencies and local program and service providers in order to improve the quality of and access to early childhood services across Texas. In 2019, the Council will lead a statewide birth-five needs assessment and strategic plan as part of Texas’ Preschool Development Grant project.

Katherine Abba, Ph.D. of Houston is chair of the Department of Education for Houston Community College.

Sarah Abrahams of Austin is a Deputy Associate Commissioner for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Courtney Arbour of Austin is the Interim Deputy Director of Workforce Solutions for the Texas Workforce Commission.

Travis Armstrong, Ed.D. of Graham is the Director of Early Learning for Wichita Falls Independent School District.

Weldon Beard of Nacogdoches is the Director of Head Start and Early Head Start for the Greater East Texas Community Action Program.

Terrie Breeden of Wimberley is the Section 619 Lead Coordinator for the Texas Education Agency.

April Crawford, Ph.D. of Pearland is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Program Implementation for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Children’s Learning Institute.

Sam Eng of Waller is Director of the Texas Asian Peace Officer Association.

Alferma Giles, Ph.D. of Richmond is Director of the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Children’s Learning Institute.

Melissa Horton of Carrollton is a franchise owner with Primrose Schools and President of the Texas Licensed Child Care Association.

Becky Huss-Keeler, Ph.D. of Houston is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Ramah Leith of Austin is the State Child Health Coordinator for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Jerletha McDonald of Arlington is a licensed home child care center provider and the owner and director of Kiddie Corner Learning Center.

Dana McGrath of Austin is Director of Early Childhood Intervention Program for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Jacquie Porter of Hutto is the Director of Early Childhood Education for the Texas Education Agency.

Julie Richards of Paige is Director of Field Operations for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Teresa Robledo of San Antonio is an early childhood teacher at San Antonio College Early Childhood Center.

Stephanie Rubin of Austin is CEO of the non-profit organization Texans Care for Children.

Kierstan Schwab of Austin is the Executive Director of the Texas Public Broadcasting Association.

June Yeatman of Austin is a lead teacher for the Austin Community College Children’s Lab School.