Chief Executive Officer
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Policy Officer
Director of Advancement, Individual Giving
Director of Advancement, Institutional Giving
Advancement Associate, Institutional Giving
Managing Director of District and School Support
Managing Director of District and School Support
Managing Director of Emerging School Support
Director of Emerging School Support
Director of System and Schools Support
Manager of District and School Support
Manager of Emerging School Support
Director of Talent Pipelines
Director of Communications
Manager of Community Outreach
Director of Advocacy
Manager of Policy
Manager of Advocacy
Digital Communications Associate
Director of Finance & Administration
Manager of Finance & Administration
Director of Strategy and Learning
Manager of Learning and Evaluation
Education Pioneer Impact Fellow
Education Pioneer Impact Fellow
Education Pioneer Impact Fellow
Education Pioneer Impact Fellow
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As Chief Executive Officer, Cary is responsible for the organization’s vision and long-term strategy. He leads the nonprofit in working with school and community partners to improve public school education in Houston with a focus on equitable student outcomes.
Cary brings nearly 15 years of experience in public education and public affairs. He began his career as a public school elementary teacher, and has held various positions at Teach For America, including as Executive Director of the Dallas-Fort Worth region. He served as the Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman William “Mac” Thornberry in Washington, D.C. and most recently served as Chief External Affairs Officer for Good Reason Houston, where his responsibilities included communications, policy, and advancement.
Cary earned a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College. He is a graduate of Texas public schools and is proud to call Houston home.
As Chief Operating Officer, Ashley supports Good Reason Houston’s internal priorities, operations and special projects. She works closely with the CEO to foster a high performance culture driven by our core beliefs and grounded in diversity, equity and inclusiveness.
Before joining Good Reason Houston, Ashley was the Director of Consulting and Management Services at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. There, she led a team responsible for all non-traditional lines of business. Ashley also served as a founding team member of New Schools for Baton Rouge, a nonprofit working to improve educational outcomes; co-founder of a workforce development program that teaches basic computer coding skills to youth; and a founding teacher and grade level leader at the highest performing elementary school in post-Katrina New Orleans through Teach For America.
Ashley holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
As Chief Financial Officer, Faria works to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of Good Reason Houston through the effective allocation of its resources. She manages the organization’s financial and administrative functions, oversees the design and implementation of policies and practices that ensure the team is set up to deliver against its goals, and leads the organization’s investments process and other significant initiatives that impact the broad organization. Prior to this role, she served as the Head of Advancement at Good Reason Houston, leading a fundraising team and working closely with funders to secure and maximize private investments towards the organization’s vision, mission, and goals.
Previously, Faria led institutional giving at Teach For America Dallas-Fort Worth, where she partnered closely with corporate, foundation and government funders investing in the organization’s work towards educational equity in North Texas. Prior to that, Faria spent years working in management consulting and began her career focused on corporate philanthropy at the Citi Foundation in New York City.
Faria holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Human Rights from Barnard College, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Rice University. As a native Houstonian, Faria is proud to be working with an organization committed to dramatically increasing equitable access to high quality education for students in her hometown.
As Chief Policy Officer, Veronica leads Good Reason Houston’s public policy and advocacy efforts, which includes advocating for local and state policies that will improve outcomes for Houston’s students.
Veronica brings over 15 years of experience in education policy and advocacy. Most recently, she led a consulting firm that provided government relations, strategic advice and counsel, and legislative research and analysis to nonprofit, business, and philanthropic entities.
Veronica began her career as a school social worker before receiving her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law. She has a Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work from Texas State University. As a Klein ISD graduate, she is excited to be part of an organization dedicated to increasing the number of children succeeding in high-quality public schools.
As Director of Advancement – Individual Giving, Adriana works to connect philanthropic resources with strategies to provide an excellent and equitable education for all students. She oversees the organization’s individual giving fundraising streams including major gifts, annual fund, and events. In her role, Adriana has planned and executed a large-scale event attended by 700 individuals, helped raise over $20 million, and significantly increased the number of Good Reason Houston supporters.
For more than 10 years, Adriana has leveraged philanthropic and community resources to support organizations across the Houston area in various roles, including grant-making, corporate giving, endowment stewardship, events, and major gifts. Her previous organizations include YES Prep Public Schools, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, and CHILDREN AT RISK.
Adriana is a proud Houstonian and graduate of Rice University and thrilled to continue the work of ensuring every child in every neighborhood has access to a high-quality education.
Stefanie joined the Good Reason Houston team in 2019. For her first three years, she serves as a member of the Strategy and Transformation team where she served as lead for our external investments processes and supported with strategy and resource development and special projects. She has now pivoted to serve as a member of our Advancement team and serves as Director of Advancement for Institutional Giving.
She started her education career as an elementary school teacher in Houston and has spent more than eight years in education in the Houston community.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Stefanie worked as Manager of School and Community Partnerships at Families Empowered. In her role there, she partnered with diverse school options, supported new school launches, and developed a strong understanding of the Houston education landscape in an effort to support the growing number of families searching for a great school for their child.
Stefanie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and International Relations from Colby College as well as a Master of Business Administration from the Jones School of Business at Rice University. As a native Houstonian, Stefanie is committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure that every child has access to a quality education and the opportunity to live a choice-filled life.
As an Associate of Advancement, Molly supports Good Reason Houston’s fundraising program with a focus on institutional giving. She helps identify, cultivate, and communicate with local, state, and national corporations and foundations that partner with Good Reason Houston to increase the demand for and supply of great public schools in Houston. Molly will collaborate with her colleagues in Advancement and other team members at Good Reason Houston to raise $45 million toward high-quality seats for Houston students during our Phase II campaign.
Before joining the team at Good Reason Houston, Molly worked in client-facing and administrative roles at homeless services nonprofits, SEARCH Homeless Services and Family Eldercare, for five years. She also has experience in memory care, adult day care, and youth development nonprofit environments.
Molly is fortunate to have a Bachelor of Psychology and Religious Studies degree from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a proud third-generation Houstonian and grateful for the opportunity to grow her career at Good Reason Houston.
Courtney leads the development and implementation of Good Reason Houston’s district and school improvement strategy to ensure that every child in Houston has access to game-changing educators.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Courtney launched Teach For America’s pre-service training program in Dallas – Fort Worth which prepared 400 high-quality educators to teach in local school districts. During her time at TFA, Courtney also oversaw the development of teacher training and student-facing curriculum, coached new teachers, and facilitated community partnerships.
Courtney began her career as a middle school math teacher in Dallas ISD. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s of Arts in STEM Education from Southern Methodist University.
As the Managing Director of District and School Support, Becca directly supports Good Reason Houston’s partner districts and schools as they work to increase the number of students in their district learning in a high-quality school.
Becca began her career in education as a bilingual elementary and middle school math teacher, and has six years of experience teaching in both traditional districts and high-performing charter networks. During her time in the classroom, Becca served as a mentor for teaching fellows and supported her school’s parent association. She also made the Honor Roll for The New Teacher Project’s Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice.
Becca earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Spanish from DePauw University before joining Teach For America. She also received a master’s degree in social work from The University of Chicago where she researched the social-emotional learning supports students need to succeed.
Becca is excited to combine her classroom teaching experience with her research expertise in order to strategize with districts and create the best outcomes for our youngest Houstonians.
As the Managing Director of Emerging School Supports, Meron is committed to supporting the launch of innovative, community-driven schools.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Meron served overseas helping school leaders implement best instructional practices into their schools. Prior to that, Meron led a large elementary school in H.I.S.D. focused on integrating rigorous academics with a music and arts curriculum. Meron started her career in education as a Teach For America corp member where she taught and then led within YES Prep Public Schools. She was a founding teacher and administrator for YES Prep’s inaugural district-charter partnership campus.
Meron hold a Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. John’s University; as well as a Master of Business Administration from Rice University where she completed the Rice Educational Entrepreneurship Program. Meron is currently working on her doctoral dissertation focused on creating new learning environments through district-charter partnerships.
As Director of Emerging Schools Support, Jaime leads aspects of Good Reason Houston’s work with emerging campuses. He has provided data analysis and teacher professional development for growing charter schools and manages relationships with the area’s larger Charter networks, supporting their growth to increase the number of students learning in high-quality schools.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Jaime worked at BakerRipley Community Schools and at Teach For America. In his roles, he designed professional development, created curriculum materials and coached teachers. He started his career in education as a bilingual teacher at Gallegos Elementary in HISD.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Jaime studied Political Science and U.S. Latino Studies.
As Director of System and Schools Support, Michelle leads several Good Reason Houston school transformation projects. She collaborates with system and school leaders, along with partner organizations, to plan and implement school turnaround and improvement efforts in areas such as school leadership, instruction, culture, and family and community engagement. Michelle also supports systems and schools through rigorous progress monitoring, including data analysis and action planning, and builds capacity for continuous improvement as measured by increased student achievement and growth, closing of equity gaps, and positive feedback from staff, students, and families.
Michelle started her career in consulting where she worked with clients on Talent, Performance, and Compensation strategies. Following her passion for education, Michelle decided to join Teach for America as a corps member and taught Kindergarten and 1st grade in Spring Branch ISD for 5 years. As a teacher, Michelle supported her campus’ redesign, served on the District and Campus Improvement Teams, launched student data tracking, and interned at KIPP in Houston as part of a Policy and Advocacy Summer Fellowship with Leadership in Educational Equity (LEE).
Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Rice University and M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction / Personalized and Blended Learning at Texas Tech University. Michelle is dedicated to making high-quality schools the expectation in Houston and ensuring educational opportunity and access for every child.
As a Manager of District and School Support, Mirella works on Good Reason’s Houston’s district and school strategies to support school turnaround initiatives and increase student access to high-quality education.
Mirella began her career in education as a middle school math teacher and dean of instruction at KIPP schools in Austin and Houston. During her time in the classroom, she served as a teacher leader, instructional coach, department chair, and district curriculum writer. She received the Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award and the Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award. Before joining Good Reason Houston, Mirella led initiatives for a community development nonprofit focused on Social and Emotional Learning and the social determinants of health with schools, youth, and families.
Mirella earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and her M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston.
As the Manager of Emerging School Supports, Kellie directly supports Good Reason Houston’s partner districts and schools to increase the number of students learning in high-quality schools.
Kellie began her career in education as a middle school English and AVID teacher in Alief ISD. Her passion for teaching English led her to engage in array of experiences such as writing curriculum, facilitating at several national conferences, being a board member of West Houston Council of Teachers of English (WHACTE) and Texas State Liaison for Conference on English Leadership (CEL). She has over a decade of experience working in underserved, underestimated communities infusing social justice and culturally responsive practices into her work with students and faculty alike. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Kellie was an Instructional Leader and Administrator for YES Prep Public Schools.
Kellie earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Texas State University and her M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction specializing in Literacy Studies from the University of Houston – Victoria. She grounds her relentlessness to the pursuit of equity in education to Frederick Douglass’ philosophy that “education is emancipation.”
Ellie leads Good Reason Houston’s early childhood work, which includes a region-wide pre-K enrollment campaign that provides parents with the information they need to ensure their child is ready for kindergarten. Ellie also leads the Early Matters Council, a coalition of early childhood leaders from school districts, local Head Start programs, private childcare, and the nonprofit sector.
Ellie started her education career as a Teach For America corps member where she taught high school at KIPP San Antonio. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Ellie spent four years working with education nonprofits in Houston where she managed projects related to strategic planning and parent engagement.
Ellie earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s of public health from UTHealth. As a fourth generation Houstonian, she is passionate about working to ensure that every student in our community is school-ready by kindergarten.
Meredith-Leigh Pleasants is the Director of Talent Pipelines and leads Good Reason Houston’s strategy to increase the number of diverse, skillful teachers and leaders in Houston. Meredith-Leigh strategically advises area school districts on launching and strengthening teacher and leader pipelines. She has led regional teacher recruitment efforts resulting in more than 250 new teachers from high-quality teacher pathways hired in partner districts. Meredith-Leigh also leads Good Reason Houston’s efforts to promote grow-your-own pathways, paid-teacher residencies, and innovative recruitment strategies in local school districts. Meredith-Leigh also serves as a member of the Texas Education Agency’s Educator Preparation Stakeholder Group.
Meredith-Leigh began her career in education as a Teach for America corps member in New Orleans, Louisiana. After teaching kindergarten and first grade in turnaround schools, Meredith-Leigh served as an instructional coach and as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Early Childhood Programs for a New Orleans charter network. Under Meredith-Leigh’s leadership, the network’s early childhood programs earned statewide honors for outstanding gains. In addition to working in schools, Meredith-Leigh has extensive experience coaching and developing new teachers. As a facilitator and instructor for TNTP, Inc. and the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators, Meredith-Leigh has coached, trained, and helped certify over 250 new teachers.
As Director of Communications, Stephanie leads Good Reason Houston’s internal and external communications, manages and strengthens its brand, and elevates issues of school quality across the City of Houston.
For more than 10 years, Stephanie has managed communications and marketing efforts at nonprofits throughout Houston. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, she worked at the headquarters of the national social enterprise Genesys Works. Before that, she led marcomm strategies at two exceptional educational institutions: Incarnate Word Academy and St. John’s School.
Stephanie received her Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and she has passionately advocated for nonprofits ever since!
As Manager of Community Outreach, Jamaur drives innovation in direct partnership with school districts, communities, and families across the Houston region. He is in charge of setting a vision and long-term goals for Good Reason Houston’s framework to engage and empower families.
Before joining Good Reason Houston, Jamaur spent time in nonprofit management, as a Community Engagement Manager for some of Houston’s largest organizations: establishing sustainable 501c3s, leading project management, and bridging the gaps between social, academic, and civic organizations in Second and Third Wards, as well as South Houston.
An Educator at heart, this T.E.A. Certified Generalist, spent ten and a half years in Title One schools across Spring and Houston I.S.D.s, teaching General and Special Education, Gifted and Talented, E.S.L. and Emerging Learners. He has served in a capacity of leadership roles from District Teacher of the Year, to Campus Culture Specialist, and Community and Family Liaison. Through his passion, he was able to establish several cultural and family programs which still run in districts today.
An Alumni of one of Texas’ few Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Prairie View A&M University, Jamaur studied Journalism and Behavioral and Political Sciences. He is also active in postgraduate advocacy and service through various alumni networks, including his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.
As the Communications Associate, Jahnara focuses on content development and maintaining Good Reason Houston’s external communications channels.
Prior to joining the Good Reason Houston team, Jahnara worked with various nonprofit organizations to design and implement strategies to optimize their brand presence through digital, social, and mass media.
Jahnara earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Prairie View A&M University and is currently working towards a Master of Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing, from Texas Woman’s University.
As Director of Advocacy, Belinda leads Good Reason Houston’s advocacy strategy to build community, support advocates, and drive engagement around Good Reason Houston’s shared vision for great public schools. She oversees the development of the organization’s Parent Leadership Institute and Parent Fellowship programs, which supports parents with educational advocacy and brings more parent voice into the decision-making process.
Belinda got her start in education in the classroom and went on to spend several years in the nonprofit space focusing on community organizing, community engagement, leadership development, and voter turnout. Her previous organizations include Baker-Ripley, Houstonians for Great Public Schools, and Conation Now, LLC.
Belinda is a native Houstonian and a graduate of Texas public schools. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Government and English from Georgetown University, and an MBA from the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.
As Manager of Policy, Trista keeps a pulse on policy discourse that impacts education at the state and local levels to help inform Good Reason Houston’s advocacy work.
Trista began her career at Harris County Public Health, where she focused on social impact research and public relations. Prior to joining the Good Reason team, she worked with Houstonians for Great Public Schools, dedicating her time to making school board education policy accessible and laser focused on supporting students.
Trista received her bachelor’s in Mass Communications from Texas State University before earning her Juris Doctor from W&L Law.
As the Manager of Advocacy, Jasmine implements the organization’s advocacy strategy, including working with community partners and parents across Houston. She supports with the development and coordination of parent leaders to achieve Good Reason Houston’s shared vision for great public schools.
Jasmine began her career in education as a middle school math teacher. She spent four years working in Title I schools in Spring and Klein ISD. During her time in the classroom, she noticed how certain students were impacted by systemically discriminatory discipline policies and instructional practices on campus. In response, Jasmine became a founding member of her campus’ equity coalition, designed to target and address the racial and socio-economic barriers to a high-quality education.
Jasmine is a native Houstonian and a graduate of Texas public schools. She attended Baylor University, where she was an International Studies major with a minor in Business Administration, and she received her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Houston.
As the Digital Communications Associate, Keven supports Good Reason Houston’s mission through digital communications efforts, including website management, social media management, and email marketing, to advocate for high-quality seats in public schools and celebrate education across the greater Houston area.
Originally from Oregon’s rain-soaked hills of Portland, Keven pursued humanitarian work by partnering with nonprofits, such as Habitat for Humanity Portland Region, Kinship House, and others, to bolster their external image and reach. After leaving the rainy state for warmer climates in Houston, Keven now aids Good Reason Houston in its strategic communications planning, brand awareness, and efforts to increase the number of students learning in high-quality public schools in the Houston area.
Keven earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Journalism and Communications at the University of Oregon.
As the Director of Finance, Michelle cultivates strong financial health of the organization through the creation and execution of fiscal management policies and practices including budget planning, reporting and contract management.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Michelle was Director of Finance and Administration at Autism Centers of Michigan where she helped shape the strategic initiatives to advance the growth of the organization through increased access to autism services in the community.
A native of Michigan, Michelle earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Saginaw Valley State University as well as a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University. She is excited to support the commitment of providing every child access to an excellent education.
As Manager of Finance, Cristina supports all Good Reason Houston operations including finance and office management.
She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston where she studied nonprofit management. She developed a deeper understanding and passion for nonprofits through her previous work at the United Way of Greater Houston and Ronald McDonald House Houston.
As an HISD graduate and Houston native, Cristina is thrilled to work with the Good Reason Houston team in pursuit of our mission to increase the number of children exceeding in high-quality learning environments.
As Director of Strategy and Learning, Luna supports Good Reason Houston’s strategy and resource development. Luna started her education career as a Teach For America corps member in Houston.
She has worked as a teacher at KIPP and Uplift Education and as a Program Manager for EMERGE, a college access organization. She also worked for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to develop new areas of investment.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Luna was a member of the school redesign team at Spring Branch ISD where she supported 25 campuses in their efforts to use design thinking principles to reimagine school and personalize learning for every child.
Luna earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s of public affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs. As a first-generation college graduate, she is deeply committed to ensuring every child has equitable opportunities to attain a world-class education.
As the Manager of Learning & Evaluation, Eliana ensures that Good Reason Houston’s efforts are guided by data and that lessons learned from the organization’s work are shared across the community to amplify impact. She oversees the codification of various projects including School Transformation efforts through the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) model and Pre-K enrollment and quality. By codifying lessons learned, Eliana equips the community and various stakeholders with a multitude of outcomes generated by the Good Reason Houston team. Eliana also leads the organization’s internal impact monitoring process, strengthening strategy and outcomes across the organization.
For over a decade, Eliana has been an instructional leader across Houston area public schools. Her passion for teaching and learning has been fueled by serving in various roles throughout her career including writing specialist, curriculum writer, and instructional coach. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Eliana served as the ELA multi-classroom leader at a Title I high school in Spring Branch ISD, where she led and supported literacy initiatives resulting in improved reading levels, EOC STAAR results, and school accountability ratings.
Eliana earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. She then earned her master’s degree at The University of Texas at Austin in Rhetorical and Language studies.
As the Education Pioneer Impact Fellow, Walter will support Good Reason Houston’s work with district and school improvement strategy amongst other responsibilities.
Before joining Good Reason Houston, Walter was a Teach for America Corp member in Boston. During his time with Teach for America, he was a Math Teacher, Athletic Director, and Math Department Chair at Phoenix Charter Academy Chelsea. Walter concurrently earned his Master’s of Education and Curriculum from Boston University during his Teach for America service.
As an Education Pioneers Impact Fellow, Ashli supports Good Reason Houston’s Learning & Evaluation team by analyzing data, reporting insights, and evaluating and transforming processes. She is passionate about bringing context, equity, and humanity to the forefront of data conversations and excited by building team capacity through the use of data automation and visualization tools. Since October 2022, she has helped enable internal decision-making by analyzing and reporting on STAAR achievement trends over time and helping Good Reason Houston spatially visualize both their reach and the overall quality of schools across Houston.
Before becoming a Fellow, Ashli worked as a Purpose & Inclusion Manager at PwC and was focused on project management and data reporting for programs supporting more equitable outcomes for people of color both inside and outside of the firm. Prior to that, she supported the firm’s skills-based volunteering activities through reporting, communications, and purpose activation.
Ashli is a Georgia native who earned her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University where she majored in Human and Organizational Development and minored in African American and Diaspora Studies. She also earned a Master of Accountancy from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management and is a Certified Public Accountant.
As an Education Pioneer Impact Fellow, Kelsey will support a full evaluation and redesign of Good Reason Houston’s investment process. She will support in the investment process throughout the year and work closely with other members of the team on additional special projects that will be identified in the coming months.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Kelsey was the Program Director of a nonprofit in New Orleans focused on improving the literacy of students in underserved school districts. Kelsey began her career as an elementary school teacher in New Orleans. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Tulane University. Her work has been driven by the potential to make a difference in the lives of young people and their families by making a positive impact on student achievement and social change.
As an Education Pioneer Impact Fellow, Janiel will be supporting the Talent Pipelines project to retain excellent educators in the greater Houston area.
Janiel has enjoyed several years of studying and researching education topics specifically, the equitable and culturally sensitive representation of racialized identities in education among Black students and teachers as well the influence of foreign capital flows on Black tertiary education. She is committed to communicating the power of storytelling and civic agency through curriculum and effective teacher training. They actively celebrate the inherent political nature of public education.
Before Good Reason Houston, they spent over 5 years working in domestic and international education nonprofits. Most recently, she worked with the National Association of State Boards of Education researching state policies regarding the U.S. Early Childhood Education workforce. She currently holds an M.Ed. in International Education from The George Washington University.
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