Governor Abbott Names Chair And Appoints Nine To Family And Protective Services Council
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Dorothy Jean Calhoun, Aureka Simpson, and Janice Washington to the Family and Protective Services Council for terms set to expire February 1, 2019. Additionally, the Governor appointed Omedi “Dee Dee” Arismendez, Greg Hamilton, and Davina Hollin for terms set to expire February 1, 2021, and appointed Liesa Hackett, Bonnie Hellums, and Matt Kouri for terms set to expire February 1, 2023. Kouri will serve as the presiding officer of the council. The council is charged with studying and making recommendations to the commissioner regarding the management and operation of the Department of Family and Protective Services.
Dorothy Jean Calhoun of Missouri City is a retired psychologist, who provides psychotherapy, as a volunteer therapist at Freedom Center Church. She retired from federal government services, where she worked with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools and the Department of Defense in Asia and Europe, before working at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, National Board for Certified Counselors, and the Texas Retired Teachers Association and a former gubernatorial appointee to the Early Childhood Intervention Advisory Committee, where she was the State Collaboration Director for Texas Head Starts. Calhoun received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Ball State University Teachers College, Master of Science in school administration from Indiana University, and a Doctor of Education in clinical psychology from Ball State University Overseas.
Aureka Simpson of Desoto is a regional human resource business partner for Flowserve. She is a member of My HR Networking Group, former staffing co-chair of the Professional Emphasis Groups for Dallas HR, and a former member of Fort Worth HR and Society for Human Resources Management. Additionally, she is a former gubernatorial appointee to the Early Childhood Intervention Advisory Committee and the Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Council. She is a board member and volunteer for the Emmet J. Conrad Program and a former volunteer for United Way Campaign Funds and North Texas Leaders and Advocates. Simpson received a Bachelor of Science in education from Texas A&M University – Commerce and a master’s degree in business and secondary education.
Janice Washington of Corpus Christi is an Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) college prep teacher for West Oso ISD. She previously, served as a social worker for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services working in investigation, conservatorship, family preservation, adoption, and ended her 10 year career as the regional foster/adoption recruiter. She is a former board member of the Junior League of Corpus Christi. Washington received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Corpus Christi State University and received a special education teaching certificate from Texas Educator Alternative Certification.
Omedi "Dee Dee" Cantu Arismendez of Alice is the recruiter and business service representative for Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend at the Alice Career Center. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Alice and an assistant governor and governor's aide and of the Rotary District 5930 Area-6. Additionally, she is a member of the Alice Chamber of Commerce, Jim Wells County Fair Association, and the V.F.W. Ladies Auxiliary Post 1760, past-regent of the Catholic Daughters of America- St. Jude #1770, and former president of the Area 9 Parent Teacher Association. Arismendez received a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science from Texas A&M University – Kingsville.
Greg Hamilton of Hutto is retired as the Sheriff for Travis County. He is former president of FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) Executive Board and the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association, former board member of Austin Community College Criminal Justice, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, Governor George W. Bush’s DWI Task Force, and former director and member of Sheriff’s Association of Texas. Additionally, he is former president of Capital Area Law Enforcement Executives and a former board member of The Salvation Army Advisory Board, Council on At Risk Youth Advisory Board, Charter Review for the City of Pflugerville, Austin Children’s Shelter Board, and the Council on At Risk Youth Advisory Board. Hamilton received a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Southwest Texas State University.
Davina Hollin of Corinth is the manager of crisis programs at Denton County MHMR. She is a volunteer and advocate for foster youth and a member of ACCEPT, a group for youth, foster alumni, and young adults, and she is a former youth care worker at Cumberland Children's Home. Hollin received a Bachelor of Social Work from Texas Woman’s University and a Master of Social Work from Texas A&M University – Commerce.
Liesa Hackett of Huntsville is an accountant III for the City of Huntsville. She is a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, Government Finance Officers Association, and the American Payroll Association. She is the Walker County Leo Club Lion Advisor, membership chair and former president of the Huntsville Lions Club, and chaplain and former zone chair of the Lions Clubs International District 2-S2. She is a member of the City of Huntsville Veterans Affairs Advisory Board, former president of the Huntsville Leadership Institute, and former board member of CASA of Walker, San Jacinto & Trinity Counties. Hackett served in the U.S. Army for 14 years. She received a Bachelor of Science in business from Excelsior College.
Bonnie Hellums of Houston is a visiting judge and previously served 20 years as judge of the 247th Family District Court in Harris County, and started a Family Drug Court and Infants and Toddlers Court for Harris County. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Houston Bar Association, and American Bar Association and a fellow of the American Psychotherapy Association and the Texas Bar Foundation. She is former member of the Supreme Court Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families and the Texas Office for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities Board. Additionally, she is a board member of Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, DePeichin Children’s Center, Transformation Foundation, The Recovery Center, Behavioral Health for Children, Youth Development Center, and the Sobering Center. Hellums received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and religion from Southern Methodist University, a Master of Education in counseling and psychology, and a Juris Doctor degree from South Texas College of Law.
Matt Kouri of Austin is president of Good Works Strategic Advisors. He is a former gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Adoption Review Committee and is a member of the Austin Area Research Organization and Texas’ Choose Life Advisory Committee. He is co-founder and advisor for Fostering Hope Austin, co-founder and leader of Hope in Ethiopia and Bridges of Grace Adoption and Foster Care Ministry, and a former board member of Austin LifeCare. Kouri received a Bachelor of Arts in economics and English from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago.