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 Technology Support Services
Lowell Ballard is the director of technology support services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in information systems from George Mason University. Prior to HCDE, Ballard served as the chief information officer at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, where he coordinated university-wide IT initiatives in a high-growth environment. His 25 years of technology experience include extensive work with information technology (IT) strategy, IT security/disaster recovery and business intelligence. Ballard is also a certified Information Systems Security Professional and holds a number of additional leadership and management certifications.
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.
Dr. Lisa Thompson Caruthers
Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment
Lisa Thompson Caruthers is the director of the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment at HCDE. She holds a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a master's degree in social work from Washington University and a doctorate from University of Houston's Graduate School of Social Work. Before joining HCDE in 2001, she worked as an organization development coordinator at the Houston Arts Alliance. Her professional affiliations included the American Leadership Forum and the Texas Partnership for Out-of-School Time.
Director of Construction
Joe Carreon is the director of Construction at HCDE. Carreon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in Political Science and a Bachelor of Science in Engineer Technology - Structural Analysis & Design. Before joining HCDE in 2018, Carreon worked with the Houston Housing Authority where he managed the following projects: an $800,000 Community Park in 5th Ward; an $8M Rehabilitation of HHA Office Building; and a $23M Affordable Housing- Multifamily. He has more than 10 years of construction management experience, including his own small construction business. His professional affiliations include US Army Veteran and Houston Livestock & Rodeo Western Arts Committee Member.
Principal of Highpoint School East
Marion Cooksey is the principal of Highpoint School East at HCDE. Cooksey holds a master's degree in educational administration from Texas Southern University and a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Texas Southern. Before joining HCDE in 2006, he worked as assistant principal at North Forest ISD. Cooksey's professional affiliations include Texas Association for Alternative Education and Texas Association of Secondary School Principals.
Senior Director of School-Based Therapy Services
Carie Crabb is the senior director of School-Based Therapy Services at HCDE. She graduated from Houston Community College and later obtained her master’s degree in physical therapy from Texas Women’s University. Before being named senior director, Crabb served as a therapist with HCDE at various school districts in Harris County. Her achievements include serving on the advisory board for the Houston Community College and Wharton County Junior College Physical Therapy Assistant programs and being a guest lecturer at the Texas Women’s University doctoral program for physical therapy.
Director of Records Management
Curtis W. Davis is the director of Records Management Services at HCDE. Davis holds an associate's degree in accounting from Massey Business College. Before joining HCDE in 2002, he worked as an accounts manager at Iron Mountain Records & Information Management. His achievements include employee of the year at Iron Mountain in 1991. He is a member of the Association of Records Managers and is certified through the Health Insurance and Portability Act.
Stephanie De Los Santos
Director of Client Engagement
Stephanie De Los Santos is the director of client engagement division. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media and Spanish and a Master of Education from Houston Baptist University. Before joining HCDE in 2017, she was director of communication in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. Prior to her years of service in CFISD, she taught in Aldine ISD for nine years. De Los Santos’ professional affiliations include National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA), Houston Area School Public Relations Association (HASPRA), Go Public, Leadership North Houston Alumni Board and Community Leadership Committee for CFISD.
Director of Choice Partners Cooperative
Jeffrey Drury is the director of Choice Partners cooperative at HCDE. Drury holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas. Before joining HCDE in 2015, Drury had 20-plus years of sales, marketing and management experience in facility-related areas. His achievements and accomplishments include serving as supervising senior auditor for a corporate internal audit team of a Fortune 50 company. His professional affiliations include the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions.
Director of Communications
Dave Einsel is the director of Communications at HCDE. Einsel is a veteran journalist and was named director after serving as multimedia manager at HCDE since 2017. He acted as thee department's chief photographer, created a variety of printed marketing materials and created graphics and videos for web and social media.
Before joining HCDE, Einsel was senior manager for communications and publications at Houston Independent School District. Previously he led the photography department at the Houston Chronicle, where he worked for 18 years. He is an alumnus of Texas A&M University.
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.
Dr. Victor Keys
Principal of AB School West
Victor Keys is the principal of AB School West at HCDE. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration, a master's degree in counseling and a doctorate in education administration from Texas Southern University. Before joining HCDE in 2007, he worked as interim principal at Booker T. Washington High School. Keys was featured on CNN as an education expert as he shared his views on dropout prevention. His professional affiliations include the Texas Association for Alternative Education and the Council of Administrators of Special Education.
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.
Dr. Anthony Mays
Senior Director of Schools Division
Anthony Mays is the senior director of the schools division at HCDE. He is a 15-year education leader and holds a bachelor's degree from Huston-Tillotson College, a master's degree from Texas State University and is currently earning his doctorate degree from Tarleton State University. Before joining HCDE, Mays served as a principal at Emmett J. Conrad High School in the Dallas Independent School District. Mays is a member of the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators, Texas Association of Secondary School Principals and is listed in Who's Who Among America's Teachers.
Director of Purchasing
Bill Monroe is the director of purchasing at HCDE. Monroe holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Texas Tech. Before joining HCDE in 2015, he worked as director of purchasing at Calallen ISD. Monroe's achievements and accomplishments include CPA certification, CPPO certification and TASBO certification. Monroe's professional affiliations include TASBO and TxPPA
Dr. Anthony Moten
Principal of Fortis Academy
Anthony Moten is the principal of Fortis Academy at HCDE. He holds an undergraduate degree from Langston University, a master’s degree in education administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce and a doctorate degree from Lamar University. Before joining HCDE in 2017, he was the longtime leader and principal at West Orange Middle School in West Orange Independent School District. Moten helped transform the school that was failing to meet state standards. Under his leadership, West Orange earned eight Texas Education Agency distinctions.
Venetia L. Peacock
Senior Director of Head Start
Venetia L. Peacock is the senior director of Head Start at HCDE. Venetia holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Houston and a Master of Business Administration degree in business from LeTourneau University. Before joining HCDE in 2000, she worked as Early Childhood Quality Initiative Coordinator at Initiative for Children, Inc. Peacock's achievements include a UCLA Head Start Management Fellowship. Her professional affiliations include the Texas Head Start Association Board and the University of Houston Athletic Alliance Board.
Director of Maintenance
John Prestigiacomo is the director of maintenance and operations for HCDE. Prestigiacomo graduated from University of Texas in Austin with a communications degree in radio, television and film, and began his career working for a startup television network for two years. In 2003, Prestigiacomo joined the HCDE maintenance department as a maintenance worker for several years before being promoted to director of maintenance in 2017. Prestigiacomo’s professional affiliations include the Texas Association of School Business Officials and the Texas Energy Managers Association.
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.
Stephanie Wright is chief accounting officer for Business Services at Harris County Department of Education. The Texas certified public accountant formerly served as executive director at Lone Star College for seven years where she provided leadership and strategic direction within the accounting and financial reporting divisions. In addition to preparing monthly financial statements and board reports for the college, she facilitated the annual external audit and prepared the comprehensive annual financial report.
The Woodlands resident earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and Master of Science from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Her broad financial experience spans both private and public sectors.
Principal of AB School East
Donna Trevino-Jones is the principal of Academic and Behavior School East (ABS East) at HCDE. The former Arlington ISD principal earned a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Methodist University, a Master of Science form Texas A&M-Commerce and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree. She has numerous years of experience as a school leader in Spring, Dallas and Pflugerville ISDs. Trevino-Jones began her career as a bilingual teacher. The mother of two college graduates says she believes in the power of education to provide avenues of choice so that students can pursue their passions.
Lidia G. Zatopek
Director of Educator Certification and Advancement
Lidia G. Zatopek is the director of Educator Certification and 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 2011, 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.