Education and Enrichment Leadership Team
The divisions of Education and Enrichment support K-12 education in greater Harris County.
The Center for Safe and Secure Schools provides school safety audits, threat assessment workshops and develops restorative practices programs for schools and districts. The Teaching and Learning Center provides a wide variety of professional development opportunities for educators though workshops and onsite trainings. Educator Certification and Advancement prepares candidates for state certification as teachers, principals or superintendents. The Center for Grants Development guides strategies to generate public and private resources to support HCDE projects and offers grant assistance services to Harris County school districts and charters. The Research and Evaluation Institute provides needs-assessment and other research-based services for the educational community. Education and Enrichment also manages the largest Adult Education program in Texas; offering workforce training, GED Exam preparation and ESL classes across Harris County.
Director for Safe and Secure Schools
Julia Andrews is the director of the Center for Safe and Secure Schools. Andrews has served since early 2018 as the school culture and climate specialist for the Center for Safe and Secure Schools. She has been responsible for conducting numerous school safety audits; leading and facilitating restorative practices training; and developing threat assessments for schools and districts. Prior to coming to HCDE, she was a teacher and assistant principal in Cypress Fairbanks and Houston ISDs. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa, master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and is actively pursuing her doctorate in organizational leadership at Abilene Christian University.
Director of the Research and Evaluation Institute
Darlene Breaux is the director of the Research and Evaluation Institute at HCDE. Breaux is a national trainer, former principal and special services coordinator who has served 19 years in education. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University and a master’s degree in educational management with principal certification from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. Her credentials include certifications in both English as a second language and special education, and she is a member of Kappa Delta Pi National Honor Society. She is a former board member of the Alief YMCA, and currently serves the community as a board member of Alief ISD.
Director of Center for Grants Development
Gayla Rawlinson-Maynard is the director of Center for Grants Development at HCDE. She holds a bachelor's degree in social work from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master's degree in sociology/social research from Sam Houston State University. Before joining HCDE in 1999, she was manager of the Funding Source at University of Houston. Rawlinson-Maynard's achievements and accomplishments include establishment of the Southeast Texas chapter of Grant Professionals Association. Her professional affiliations include Women Professionals in Government.
Director of Adult Education
Stephanie Ross is the director of Adult Education at HCDE. Ross earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas Southern University and a Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix. She also holds a graduate certificate in project management from DeVry University. Prior to joining HCDE, Ross was campus director for Vista College in Beaumont. Her professional expertise includes business strategies; academic and workforce program development; and student recruitment and enrollment. She is a member of the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and the National Black MBA Association.
Dr. Frances Watson-Hester
Senior Director of the Teaching and Learning Center
Frances Watson-Hester is the senior director of the Teaching and Learning Center at HCDE. She holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Grambling State University and master's degrees in counseling and administration from Texas Southern University. Before joining HCDE in 2015, Watson-Hester was a middle school principal at Lamar Consolidated ISD. Her achievements include being named principal of the year in 2008-2009.
Lidia G. Zatopek
Director of Education Certification and Professional Advancement
Lidia G. Zatopek is the director of Education Certification and Professional Advancement at HCDE. Zatopek holds a bachelor's degree in Russian Studies and a master's degree in educational leadership and administration from the University of Houston. Before joining HCDE in 2001, she worked as the Principal Certification Academy manager at Houston ISD. Zatopek's achievements include being president of Texas Alternative Certification Association. Her professional affiliations include the National Association for Alternative Certification and the Texas Council of Women School Executives.