Governor Abbott Appoints Seventeen To The Continuing Advisory Committee For Special Education
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Shemica S. Allen, Teresa A. Bronsky, Jo Ann Gama, Stephanie Y. Martinez, Jana C. McKelvey, and Kristen K. Tassin and reappointed Erin S. Wilder to the Continuing Advisory Committee for Special Education for terms set to expire on February 1, 2019. He also appointed Karen W. Beasley, Elizabeth A. “Beth” Donaldson, Rachel A. Dreiling, Kristine H. Mohajer, Agata K. “Agatha” Thibodeaux, and Jo Ann Garza Wofford and reappointed Jana S. Burns, Julia Wesley Erwin, Robin H. Lock, and Laurie Goforth Rodriguez for terms set to expire on February 1, 2021. The committee provides policy guidance on special education and related services for children with disabilities in Texas.
Shemica S. Allen of McKinney is CEO and founder of Personalized Learning Solutions, LLC. She is a member of the Council of Parent Attorney and Advocates and the National Association for Professional Special Education Advocates. She is a former coach for the Special Olympics of Texas. Allen received a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Science in kinesiology from Texas Christian University.
Teresa A. Bronsky of Plano is head of school for Bridge Builder Academy in Richardson. She is a member of the Plano ISD Special Education Advisory Committee and House District 67 Educational Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the National Association of Special Education Teachers. Bronsky received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education with a specialization in special education from Texas Woman’s University.
Jo Ann Gama of Edinburg is the co-founder, president, and superintendent of IDEA Public Schools. She is also a founding board member of Latinos for Education. She is a former teacher with Teach for America, former member of the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Gama received a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Boston University and a Master of Education in educational leadership from the University of Texas Pan American.
Stephanie Y. Martinez of Laredo is the student success coordinator at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. She was previously appointed as a student regent to the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. She is a Big Sister for Laredo Big Brother Big Sister and volunteers for Casa de Misericordia, South Texas Food Bank, and Laredo Animal Protective Services. Martinez received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Texas A&M International University, where she is also currently completing her Master of Art in communications.
Jana C. McKelvey of Austin is a founding member and steering committee member for Texans for Special Education Reform, member of the Eanes ISD Parent Working Group and a project advisory committee member for the Young Leaders for Safe and Inclusive Communities’ Project at SAFE (Stop Abuse For Everyone). She also volunteers for Camp Grace at Austin Oak Church and as an educational consultant. She is a former member of the Eanes ISD Digital Learning Task Force and a former volunteer for the Westlake Chapter Young Men’s Service League and the Global Orphan Projects. McKelvey received a Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University.
Kristin K. Tassin of Missouri City is an attorney at Dry & Tassin, PLLC and is co-founder and director of the charitable organization, Father’s Joy. She is a trustee for the Fort Bend Independent School District, member of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce and the Exchange Club of Sugar Land, and a fellow of the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation. She was also the founding president of the Heritage Rose Elementary Parent Teacher Organization and has served on the Heritage Rose Campus-Based Leadership Team, FBISD Parent Advisory Council, FBISD Steering Committee for Facilities Planning, and FBISD Educational Futures Conference and chaired a local legislative district advisory team on education. She has been a FBISD student mentor since 2013. Tassin received a Bachelor of Science in quantitative business analysis from Louisiana State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Louisiana State University Law School.
Erin S. Wilder of Round Rock is a statewide transition specialist and certified rehabilitation counselor for the Texas Workforce Commission. Wilder received a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Texas Tech University and a Master of Education in vocational rehabilitation counseling from The University of Texas at Austin.
Karen W. Beasley of Bronson is a former special education resource/inclusion teacher for the Jasper Independent School District. She is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, Autism Society of America, and Autism Speaks. Beasley received a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies from Stephen F. Austin State University and an autism intervention certification from University of North Texas, and is completing a Master of Education in foundations in behavior analysis from the University of Cincinnati.
Elizabeth A. “Beth” Donaldson of Stowell is an education specialist for Windham School District. She is a member of the Texas Educational Diagnosticians’ Association, Legacy Christian Parents, Teachers and Friends and former volunteer of Some Other Place. Donaldson received a Bachelor of Science in education, a Master of Education in special education, and a diagnostician certification from Lamar University.
Rachel A. Dreiling of Dallas is a pediatric nurse practitioner in the emergency department at Children’s Health. She is a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Pediatric Nurse Certification Board. She is also a member of the Shelton School Parents Association and the Parish Episcopal School Parents Association and former member of the Junior League of Dallas. Dreiling received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a Master of Nursing from Texas Woman’s University.
Kristine H. Mohajer of Leander is the education program specialist for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. She is a member of the Austin Community College Foster Student Committee, Texas Children’s Commission, and the Texas Head Start Advisory Board. Mohajer received a Bachelor of Science in journalism and business administration from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Master of Public Administration from Texas State University.
Agata K. “Agatha” Thibodeaux of Katy is an executive assistant at The Frontline Group, LLC. She is a member of Katy Independent School District Parent Teacher Association and former member of the American Marketing Association. Thibodeaux received a Bachelor of Arts in marketing from Metropolitan State University in Denver.
Jo Ann Garza Wofford of New Braunfels is a vice president and senior fiduciary administrator for Wells Fargo Investment Fiduciary Services. She is a member of the New Braunfels Parent Teacher Association and the New Braunfels Independent School District’s Special Education Parent Advisory Committee, a group which she was instrumental in creating. She is also a former member New Braunfels Parent Advisory Committee and the District Education Improvement Committee. Garza Wofford received a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from The University of Texas at Austin.
Jana S. Burns of Saginaw is director of special populations for Region 10 Education Service Center and is a former director, principal and teacher for Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD. She is a member of the Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Council of Women School Executives, Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education, and Association of Education Service Agencies. Burns received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Texas, a Master of Educational Leadership from Texas Woman’s University, and a certificate in education leadership from Tarleton State University in Stephenville.
Julia Wesley Erwin of Austin is an attorney. She is a member of the Lake Travis ISD Special Education Parent Advisory Committee and the Texas Education Agency Accountability Policy Advisory Committee, secretary and treasurer of the Lake Travis Athletic Booster Club, parent coach and volunteer for Texas Special Olympics. She is a former member of Texas Young Lawyers, former president of the Lake Travis Middle School Athletic Booster Club, and parent representative of the LTMS “Olweus” Committee. Erwin received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and Spanish from Texas Tech University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Houston Law Center.
Robin H. Lock of Lubbock is a vice dean for the College of Education and professor in the College of Education Special Education program at Texas Tech University. She is a member of the Special Education Information Center (SpedTex) State Advisory Board and Learning Outcomes Project Education Faculty Workgroup for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Lock received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education, a Master of Education in special education, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in in learning disabilities from The University of Texas at Austin.
Laurie Goforth Rodriguez of Dickinson is the director of special programs for Dickinson Independent School District. She is president-elect of the Gulf Coast Association of Special Educators and committee member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. She is also past president of the Arc of the Gulf Coast. Rodriguez received a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from Oklahoma State University and a Master of education from the University of Houston.