Ms. Nikki Graham
Nikki Graham works on the Bank of America Charitable Foundation team and serves as Austin Market President. She is responsible for managing the Foundation’s local initiatives focused on leadership, including Student Leaders® and Neighborhood Builders®, and the Foundation’s efforts to connect individuals to meaningful employment and education through its focus on workforce development and education. As market president, she serves as the company’s enterprise leader in Austin and works with company leaders across the region to help deliver a wide range of global financial services to more individuals and businesses locally, as well as deepen relationships with existing customers.
Ms. Graham has a B.A. in Political Science from Auburn University and in 2011 she received a Community Involvement certification from Boston College. She has been recognized with the 40 under 40 award by the San Antonio Business Journal, is an alumna of Leadership San Antonio, and an affiliate member of Leadership Austin. Ms. Graham serves on the boards of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Communities In Schools of Central Texas, the Austin Community Design and Development Center, as well as the advisory council of the Junior League of Austin.
David Holody, a licensed CPA, has been employed by one of Central Texas’s largest employers, Freescale Semiconductor, for over 27 years and currently serves as their Director of Finance for Final Manufacturing Operations. In addition to serving on the Communities In Schools of Central Texas board, Mr. Holody has a long history as a volunteer with the United Way and currently serves as a member of the Finance Committee for the United Way of Greater Austin.
Born in Japan, Mr. Holody lived and worked in a number of places around the world before moving to Austin 20 years ago. He earned a Masters Degree in Finance from Arizona State University. Mr. Holody and his wife of 25 years, Karen, are the proud parents of two grown sons. When not at work or volunteering, David can be seen riding his bike around the streets of Austin or running with his faithful canine companion around Town Lake.
Christopher Kennedy, Board Chair
Christopher Kennedy is Chief Executive Officer of Leadership Austin and a small business owner. Mr. Kennedy previously had a long executive career at the Lower Colorado River Authority. In addition to his board service with Communities In Schools of Central Texas, Mr. Kennedy serves on the Advisory Board at Austin Young Chamber and the Junior League. He also serves on the Board at St. Austin Catholic Church and is a member of the Austin Area Research Organization. He has been on the Boards of the Austin Community Foundation, The Trail Foundation, Leadership Austin, and the Seton Forum.
Mr. Kennedy graduated from The University of Texas at Austin and is a huge Longhorn football fan having missed only one home football game in the last 33 years. His passion for Communities In Schools comes from a growing up in a family of educators and his understanding of the nonacademic challenges CIS helps students overcome so they can be successful in school.
Barbara Scroggie Knaggs
Barbara Knaggs has dedicated her career to public service in the areas of education and non-profit organization. She served as the Chief Operating Officer for the non-profit news organization, The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, she was Associate Commissioner for State Initiatives at the Texas Education Agency where she oversaw the implementation of statewide education programs, including early childhood education, dropout prevention and college and career readiness initiatives, adult basic education programs, and programs for limited English proficient students.
A 1987 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Plan II, Ms. Knaggs obtained a secondary teaching certificate from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in 2003.
Mark Williams has a long history of board service and civic engagement. He has served on the Communities In Schools of Central Texas board since 2012. In November 2014 he was elected to the Austin Community College Board of Trustees (Place 1). From 2004 to 2012, Mr. Williams served as the District 5 representative on the Austin ISD school board and from 2006 to 2012 he was elected by his fellow board members to serve as Board President. Mr. Williams is also on the board of the Ann Richards School Foundation, Austin Partners in Education, Austin Ed Fund, Aware Awake Alive, Capital Area Food Bank, Friends of Garza High School, Friends of Zilker Kite Festival, KDK-Harman Foundation, Longhorn Village, Tomorrow’s Child Legacy Foundation, Trail of Lights Foundation, and United Way of Texas. He serves on the leadership committee for the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium and the Division of Recreational Sports at UT-Austin.
Mr. Williams is a Leadership Austin alumni. He and his wife Linda are both graduates of the business school at UT-Austin and are die-hard Longhorn fans, having season tickets to football, men’s basketball, and women’s volleyball.
Stacy Armijo is Executive Vice President for Pierpont Communications. In that role, she manages clients, leads marketing services and oversees staff development across the statewide firm. Her professional experience spans support for many industries and includes communications planning, media relations, crisis communications, marketing, digital engagement, public affairs and more. She has been recognized by the Austin Business Journal as a Woman of Influence and she is a past winner of the Austin Under 40 Award for “Marketing, PR and Advertising.”
Ms. Armijo is also active in her profession and community, currently as a national Board Member for the American Marketing Association. Ms. Armijo holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently a lecturer in the Moody College of Communications at the University of Texas at Austin teaching “Strategies in Public Relations” to undergraduate students. She also loves spending time with her husband and two boys, ages 7 and 3.
From a very young age, Tiffany Austin knew her call to activism. She has always spoken to issues within her community. In middle school Tiffany was chosen to train with attorneys to mediate conflict amongst her peers. She served as an intern for two summers at an injury law firm and spoke in front of her entire school about goals for the student body to achieve non-violent strategies to resolve conflict. That speech was featured on the news. That moment confirmed her call to speak out on social issues that directly impact her community. The call to learn and to share her knowledge has always been a lifelong goal for her. That drive will continue with her commitment to Communities In Schools.
Octavious Bishop received a football scholarship in 1994 to the University Texas at Austin where he lettered four years and started three years on an offensive line that blocked for Heisman trophy winner Ricky Williams. He was an All Big Twelve performer, and received free-agent contracts to play in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders. Octavious was a standout offensive lineman during the 2000 NFL Europe football season, and played for the Chicago Extreme in the XFL.
After retiring from football, Octavious returned to the University of Texas at Austin where he earned both a BA and Masters Degree in the Science of Social Work. Octavious is a PhD candidate in Neuropsychology. He worked for The University of Texas football academics department for three years as an educational mentor and tutor. Octavious has also worked in five different Austin area high schools in the role of XY-Zone Coordinator working with at-risk populations for the non-profit Communities In Schools.
While advocating for the mental health and educational needs of this at-risk population, Octavious began to seek more knowledge and understanding about cognitive processes and the bio-psychological processes of individuals. During Octavious’ time with V5 he developed relationships with parents, coaches, academic advisors, trainers, and student-athletes. Octavious is passionate about issues that relate to holistically assessing educational, physical, and personal growth to develop “The Complete Athlete.”
Dr. Lucio Calzada
Lucio Calzada, Jr., Ed.D., is the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools at Hays CISD. He has 28 years of service to our country’s most precious resource, our children. He began his education career as a high school math teacher in Kingsville, Texas. He led his first school as principal of South Park Middle School in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dr. Calzada later joined the Austin ISD team, first as the principal of Fulmore Middle School, then Garcia Middle School, and he was named the principal of Austin High School in June, 2008. Under his leadership, Austin High School became a State Recognized High School. In January of 2015, Dr. Calzada was invited to join the Hays CISD executive leadership team led by superintendent, Mr. Michael McKie, as the assistant superintendent of secondary schools.
Dr. Calzada earned his doctorate in education leadership from Texas A&M Corpus Christi in 2002. He served his country as a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve. In his spare time, he has served as an adjunct professor for Concordia University and St. Edwards University because he loves teaching. Lucio is married to Dr. Donna Calzada, a fellow educator and is very proud of his three grown daughters, Amanda, Catherine and Hannah.
Michele Grieshaber, PhD is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Silicon Labs, Inc., and responsible for the company’s marketing strategies and corporate communications programs. In addition to serving on the board of Communities In Schools of Central Texas, Ms. Grieshaber is a member of Impact Austin, an adjunct professor teaching Global Business Ethics at St. Edward’s University, and a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Texas McComb’s School of Business on a variety of marketing topics.
Ms. Grieshaber has a PhD in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech and was a Fulbright scholar to France in 1988. In her spare time, Ms. Grieshaber volunteers as a docent at the Blanton Museum of Art on the UT campus. She enjoys Austin’s vibrant local food movement and is a supporter of Farmshare Austin.
Michele Guzmán, PhD
Michele Guzmán, PhD is Senior Director of Evaluation for the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization established in 2013 to provide policy research and development to improve mental health services in Texas. Prior to joining the institute, she worked at the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health for six years. In addition to leading and coordinating the Hogg Foundation’s evaluation efforts, Ms. Guzmán developed and managed grant programs related to mental health provider workforce issues and mental health research. She taught both undergraduate and graduate counseling psychology courses at The University of Texas at Austin for 10 years and served as Assistant Vice President for Diversity Education Initiatives from 2007-2011.
Ms. Guzmán received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Vassar College and completed her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the The State University of New York at Albany. She completed graduate coursework in Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston. She served for two years (2014-2016) as President-Elect and then President, of the Magellan International School Parents Association, where her two children, ages 8 and 11 attend. Michele enjoys walking, listening to audio books, and wine tasting.
Ben De Leon
Ben De Leon has served as President and Managing Director of De Leon & Washburn, P.C. since July 1, 2012. His practice focuses on the areas of administrative law, construction law, real estate law, labor and employment, appellate law, insurance law and corporate law. Mr. De Leon’s service-minded nature extends beyond his legal practice to his passion for improving the community. A native Austinite, he is fluent in Spanish, and has represented Spanish-speaking clients as a pro bono attorney through Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas since 2005.
Through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, Mr. De Leon was a Big Brother to his Little Brother, Anthony, for nearly 7 years. Ben was named the 2009 National Big Brother of the Year by BBBS of America, out of more than 250,000 mentors nationwide. He is married to Shannon Lee De Leon and they are proud parents of daughters, Anna and Winslow, and son, Henry.
Kendel Martin joined Luminex Corporation in December 2007 and currently serves as Vice President, Accounting. In this capacity, Mrs. Martin has responsibility for Finance and Accounting, Financial Planning and Analysis, and Tax. Prior to joining Luminex Corporation, Mrs. Martin held management roles as External Reporting Manager at Freescale Semiconductor, Internal Audit Manager at Cirrus Logic and Audit Senior Manager at Ernst & Young LLP.
Mrs. Martin holds a B.A. in Economics from Rhodes College and is a Texas Certified Public Accountant. In addition to serving on the Communities in Schools of Central Texas board, Mrs. Martin serves as the Vice Chair of the Finance Committee for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, on the Finance Committee of Impact Austin and on the Business Advisory Board at Westwood High School in Round Rock Independent School District. Mrs. Martin and her husband Paul are missing their daughter, who is attending Ole Miss, and spoiling their two rescue terriers.
Petie Lewis joined the Communities In Schools of Central Texas board in 2015. She was a member of the Communities In Schools WISE Women’s Giving Circle for four years. Ms. Lewis is a trustee of the PRJ Foundation and on the Seton Development Board. She served on the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School board and has been a volunteer for Lifeworks and Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. Ms. Lewis has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas. In her free time, Ms. Lewis enjoys spending time with her husband Bryan and visiting her children Margaret and Dawson who both live and work in New York City.
Judge Mike Lynch
Judge Lynch began active service on the Communities In Schools board upon retiring from the practice of law. Mr. Lynch was drawn to CIS due to its success in keeping at risk young people in school and, quite literally, out of his court. His courtroom experience convinced him of the vital importance of a positive role model and a helping hand for those young people in need in our community.
Mr. Lynch graduated from Amherst College with a degree in political science. He taught high school for one year in a small east Texas town during its first year of total integration. This experience instilled a lasting respect for, and appreciation of, those who teach, especially in difficult, economically challenged schools. Only half-joking that he needed to find an easier career, he applied to law school and attended and graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1974. Mr. Lynch practiced criminal defense law for ten years. After selling his law practice and taking two years off, he returned to law practice as a prosecutor with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Lynch was elected Judge of the 167th District Court of Travis County in 1992 and served twenty years in that position, handling felony level criminal cases and retiring at the end of 2012.
Now that he is not working fulltime in a nearly windowless courtroom, he enjoys pursuing interests that keep him outside in the fresh air, including fly fishing in the hill country or Colorado, pheasant hunting in South Dakota, bicycling and playing bad golf around Austin.
Carter McCrary is currently executive vice president at Quarri Technologies, an Austin-based internet security software company. Mr. McCrary has more than 25 years of business leadership in the technology industry as founder and executive of various companies. Previously he was president and CEO of Energetic Solutions LLC, a company that designs and manufactures a chemical-free pest repellent. Prior to joining Energetic Solutions, he was COO for Absolute Software Corporation, a publicly traded security software company and market leader in computer theft recovery, data protection, and asset tracking. Before Absolute, he was Area Vice President and General Manager at Dell: Responsible for a team of ~1800 Dell-badged employees at seven sites in five countries, including Sales, Marketing, and Operations, as well as five outsource providers with over 500 employees, with annual revenue of ~$2.4B. Prior to Dell, Mr. McCrary was president of Digital Axis, a large Value Added Reseller of computer products and consulting services.
Leticia Mendoza is a Public Affairs Manager for H-E-B. She was named H-E-B Woman of Distinction in 2008 and is a Hispanic Austin Leadership Alumni. Ms. Mendoza graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio. In addition to serving on the Communities In Schools of Central Texas board since 2015, Ms. Mendoza is also on the board for the Mexic-Arte Museum.
Gregory Perrin is a seasoned fundraising professional, trainer, mentor and creative writer. He has 24 years of combined experience in fundraising management and higher education. He is passionate about building strong institutions and uses his expertise to accomplish this at each organization he serves. As a chief development officer at several organizations, he has led staff and volunteers in securing philanthropic support, creating a culture of philanthropy, and increasing contributions, donors, and giving at all levels with innovative initiatives and events. As a consultant, he has successfully worked with organizations to plan and implement proven fundraising strategies. As a trainer, he has conducted workshops, seminars and presentations on fundraising and board development.
Mr. Perrin serves on the CASE District IV, Mid America Arts Alliance and Communities In Schools of Central Texas boards; and the advisory council for the Armstrong Community Music School. In addition to his fundraising career, Mr. Perrin has been involved in theater for more than 25 years and has directed, produced and/or performed in more than twenty plays and commercials. He studied with Edward Albee, a three time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, who selected one of Mr. Perrin’s plays for the Edward Albee Playwrights’ Workshop. He earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in theatre from the University of Houston School of Theatre. Mr. Perrin is an accomplishments playwright with five commissions to his credit.
Ellen Richards serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Austin Travis County Integral Care overseeing the areas of strategic and community planning, resource development, government affairs, communications and outreach. Richards’ has dedicated her professional and volunteer endeavors to improving public systems in order to positively impact the lives of individuals who are disenfranchised. Over the past 15 years, Richards has developed in-depth knowledge of Central Texas issues through her work with the City of Austin, Travis County and Central Health. Richards earned a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from St. Edward’s University.
Richards is the Chair Emeritus of the the Ann Richards School Foundation and actively supports the success of the school and students. Other volunteer commitments and interests include voter registration, women’s health and social justice issues.
As the owner and founder of HR Directions, Marcia Silverberg provides strategic talent management consulting as well as executive coaching and meeting facilitation for small and midsized companies and nonprofit organizations. Marcia “retired” in 2013 as Vice President, HR Strategic Initiatives and System Office Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for Ascension Health. For the six years prior she served as Sr. Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for the Seton Healthcare Family, a local health ministry within the Ascension system. Prior to her healthcare and consulting careers, Marcia spent 14 years with Mutual of New York (MONY) in both human resources and information technology leadership positions. Under her direction, MONY was designated to Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies” list three consecutive years and Seton was designated a “Best Place to Work” in Austin three times. Marcia served on the Planning-Allocations staff of the United Way of Central New York for five years.
Marcia has a Master of Social Work degree, with a concentration in Organization, Planning and Administration, from Syracuse University. She has over 20 years of experience serving on boards of directors, including the boards of United Way of Capital Area, LifeWorks, Communities In Schools, Seton Cove, Leadership Austin, and the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Marcia and her husband Barry have lived in Austin since 1995 and are the proud parents of two grown “children”.
Reyne Christopher Telles has over twenty years of experience in the fields of communication, media relations and marketing. He currently works as the Executive Director of Communication and Engagement for the Austin Independent School District where he serves as part of the superintendent’s executive team. He has worked as a television news reporter for a CBS affiliate and as a press secretary with the New Mexico State Senate. Reyne also has served as the Manager of Media Relations for the City of Austin and as the Director of Communications for Mayor Lee Leffingwell. He holds an undergraduate degree in communication and political science as well as a Masters of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
Krista Von Arx
Krista Von Arx is the Senior Engineering Manager for Factory Integration of Samsung Austin Semiconductor. She is responsible for the daily operations of four key facilities departments: Material Technology, Cleanroom Technology, Gas and Chemical Systems and Pumps/Chillers/ Scrubbers. She has over 18 years of semiconductor and engineering experience and is a recognized leader at Samsung for her leadership and mentoring of new Supervisors/Managers, along with her skill in equipment quality control and hazardous material safety management. Ms. Von Arx has been a Samsung Representative since 2011, giving seminars and presentations at the University of Texas and University North Carolina at Wilmington for Women in Engineering and Engineering Careers, including Samsung sponsorship of Walk Now for Autism Speaks.
Ms. Von Arx earned her Bachelor degree of Arts in English in 1995 with Magna Cum Laude and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1997 with Magna Cum Laude Honors from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She joined the Communities In Schools of Central Texas board in 2015. In her spare time, Ms. Von Arx enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons.
LEADERSHIP CIRCLE MEMBERS
Austin Independent School District
Suzanna Caballero and John Caballero
Vantage Bank and Austin Independent School District
Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.
Cole Law Firm
Mary Lockwood Crouch
Charisse Hughen and David Hughen
Jo Lyn Kallison and Kal Kallison
Rogers & Whitley, LLP and Community Leader
Jane Kretzschmar and Peter Kretzschmar
The University of Texas at Austin and United Way for Greater Austin
Michael R. Levy
Michael R. Levy Charitable Foundation
O’Hanlon, Demerath & Castillo, PC
Representative Elliott Naishtat
Dr. Anna Pedroza and Robert Chapin
Community Leaders and Arcadis, Inc.
Kate Rhodes and Dr. Richard Rhodes
AT&T and Austin Community College District
Liz Rodriguez and JP Rodriguez
Charles Schwab and JP Rodriguez & Qualle Investments
Southwest Strategies Group
The Entrepreneurs’ Fund
Enviro Water Minerals Company, Inc.
La Corsha Hospitality Group
Pileus Group, LLC
Dr. Gloria Williams
Austin Independent School District
Susan Wittliff and Reid Wittliff
Price Wealth Management and Wittliff Cutter, PLLC
The University of Texas at Austin