Leadership Team

Lowell Ballard
Director of Technology Support Services

  lballard@hcde-texas.org

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.

Darlene Breaux
Director of the Research and Evaluation Institute

  dbreaux@hcde-texas.org

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. 

Ecomet Burley
Director for Safe and Secure Schools

  eburley@hcde-texas.org

Ecomet Burley  is the director of the Center for Safe and Secure Schools at HCDE. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Texas Tech University and a master's degree in public administration and supervision from Stephen F. Austin University. Before joining HCDE in 2015, He was superintendent at La Marque Independent School District. Burley's achievements and accomplishments include being a 30-year educator with 27 years in administration at all levels. He was also honored as the all-time best defensive tackle for the Texas Tech Red Raiders football team.

Dr. Lisa Thompson Caruthers
Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment

lcaruthers@hcde-texas.org

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.

Joe Carreon
Director of Construction

  jcarreon@hcde-texas.org

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.

Marion Cooksey
Principal of Highpoint School East

  mcooksey@hcde-texas.org

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.

Carie Crabb
Senior Director of School-Based Therapy Services

  ccrabb@hcde-texas.org

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. 

Stephanie De Los Santos
Director of Client Engagement

  sdelossantos@hcde-texas.org

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.

Jeff Drury
Director of Choice Partners Cooperative

  jdrury@hcde-texas.org

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.


Dr. Frances Watson-Hester
Senior Director of the Teaching and Learning Center

  fwatson-hester@hcde-texas.org

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

  vkeys@hcde-texas.org

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.

Gayla Rawlinson-Maynard
Director of Center for Grants Development

  @hcde-texas.org@hcde-texas.org

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

  amays@hcde-texas.org

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. 

Bill Monroe
Director of Purchasing

  bmonroe@hcde-texas.org

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 

  amoten@hcde-texas.org

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

  vpeacock@hcde-texas.org

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.

John Prestigiacomo
Director of Maintenance 

 jprestigiacomo@hcde-texas.org

 

Bio Coming Soon!

Stephanie Ross
Director of Adult Education

  sross@hcde-texas.org

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.

Rosa Maria Torres
Business Services

  rmtorres@hcde-texas.org

Rosa Maria Torres is the chief accounting officer of Business Services at HCDE. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Southwest Texas State University. Before joining HCDE in 2010, she worked as finance director at Cotulla ISD. Her achievements include the first accomplished Government Finance Officers Association award received by HCDE on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Her professional affiliations include Texas Association of School Board Officials and the Government Finance Officers Association.

Lidia G. Zatopek
Director of Educator Certification and Advancement

  lzatopek@hcde-texas.org

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.