We are inspired by innovative ideas, passionate about education, and dedicated to Houston’s students and families. Our team’s mission is to increase the number of children succeeding in high-quality learning environments.
LEADERSHIP AND SUPPORT
STRATEGY AND INVESTMENTS
Chief Executive Officer
Alexandra “Alex” Hales Elizondo is the founding CEO of Good Reason Houston. Prior to launching Good Reason Houston, Alex served as the Executive Director of Teach For America Dallas-Fort Worth, leading a team of 50 staff members and a network of 1,200 educators. During her tenure, the DFW region grew by 160%. She and her team tripled the number of teachers deployed, doubled their annual fundraising, and significantly increased student achievement.
During this period of rapid growth, TFA DFW was the pace-setting region across the TFA network in both teacher performance and teacher culture indicators. Simultaneously, Alex and her team sparked educational innovation in North Texas by re-imagining teacher training in DFW and designed a new training institute in collaboration with other local education organizations including Dallas ISD, Southern Methodist University, and Momentous Institute.
Alex started her career as a first grade teacher in South Louisiana, and in 2009 was named East Feliciana Parish Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year. She is a graduate of Lake Forest College and Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Chief Program Officer
As Chief Program Officer, Elliott oversees Good Reason Houston’s program team, which includes district and school support, early childhood work, and human capital strategy.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Elliott served as an Associate Superintendent in Spring Branch ISD where he led several district-wide efforts – including strategy, school redesign, leadership capacity-building, and innovation – designed to deliver on the district’s goal that every child ultimately earns a postsecondary credential. He also worked for KIPP Houston Public Schools as a teacher, school leader, and district leader while supporting numerous national expansion efforts for the KIPP Foundation during a rapid-growth phase. He started his educational career teaching 5th grade in Houston ISD.
Elliott holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters of Education in Supervision and Administration from National-Louis University, and a Doctor of Education in Professional Leadership – Special Populations from the University of Houston.
Chief Advancement Officer
As the Chief Advancement Officer, Rachel leads the fundraising strategy for Good Reason Houston, building a strong base of supporters to ensure every child, in every neighborhood, excels in a world-class public school in Houston.
She brings more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit development, working with small grassroots organizations to leading international fundraising campaigns. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Rachel was an Executive Director with CCS Fundraising, leading a $150 million campaign to build pediatric cancer centers in Africa with the Global HOPE project at Texas Children’s Hospital. Previously, she led major gifts efforts at Teach For America, strengthening leadership level gifts across Texas, and at the United Nations Foundation on a global campaign to end malaria.
Rachel earned a Bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, where she started her career as a major gifts fundraiser. As the daughter of a third grade teacher, she is excited to be working towards a goal of ensuring every child has access to an excellent education.
Chief Strategy and Investments Officer
As the Chief Strategy & Investments Officer, Delicia helps set the vision for Good Reason Houston and develop the tools and resources required to execute against that vision.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Delicia was a Senior Manager at the Monitor Institute by Deloitte where she worked closely with nonprofit and foundation leaders on issues related to strategy, growth, and operational effectiveness. She also worked as an Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow, where she helped YES Prep Public Schools develop a long-term talent strategy for identifying and cultivating future school leaders.
Delicia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Computational & Applied Mathematics and Managerial Studies from Rice University as well as a Master of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. A native Houstonian, she is committed to ensuring every child in her hometown has access to a world-class education.
Chief of Staff
As Chief of Staff, 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.
Managing Director of Harris County Promise
As Managing Director of Harris County Promise, Paris works with K12 and higher education partners in our region to improve postsecondary outcomes. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Paris served as Co-Founder and Executive Director of College Beyond where she led with a clear-eyed focus on improving outcomes for the most vulnerable students and raised college retention rates by double digits, more than any other open-access intervention in the region.
A first-generation college graduate, Paris has spent her career improving educational access for economically disadvantaged students. She has worked in admissions, financial aid, and student advising at the college level, in public and private secondary schools, college success nonprofits, and as a strategic advisor and trainer for several national educational organizations.
Paris holds a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies with a focus on educational inequality from Harvard College and a Master of Education in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Managing Director of External Partnerships
As Managing Director of External Partnerships, Faria works closely with funders to develop and implement strategies that will maximize their investments towards Good Reason Houston’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.
Managing Director of District Support and Talent
Courtney leads the development and implementation of Good Reason Houston’s talent 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.
Director of Finance
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.
Director of Policy
Veronica leads Good Reason Houston’s policy and advocacy work, which includes advocating for state policies that will improve outcomes for Houston’s students. She is the founder and President of Periscope Strategies, a consulting firm that works with clients to identify which governmental lever impacts their work – local, regulatory, or legislative – and provides strategic advice and direction in planning a response.
Veronica has over a decade of experience in government affairs, legal advocacy, and strategic consulting. Based out of Houston and Austin, she has also lived in San Antonio, giving her a broad network of relationships across the state.
Veronica previously served as Vice President of Government & Public Affairs for the Texas Charter Schools Association, practiced law with Walsh Gallegos Trevino Russo & Kyle P.C., and led government relations for the Houston Independent School District.
Veronica received her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law and a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work from Texas State University. She is licensed to practice law in Texas and Illinois.
Manager of Data and System Solutions
As Manager of Data and Systems Solutions, Robert maintains the Salesforce-based case management system to track student progress to and through college and ensure successful program outcomes for Harris County Promise.
Robert began his Information Technology career as an intern at San Jacinto College and worked there for over 10 years as a Programmer and Business Analyst. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Robert supported higher education clients to assess, convert, customize and implement ERP systems as a Senior System Analyst at Ellucian and supported K-12 clients as a Senior Business Analyst at BrightBytes.
Robert earned a degree in Applications Programming from San Jacinto College. He is excited to support college access and success for every child in our community.
Manager of Family and Community Engagement
As Manager of Family and Community Engagement, 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.
Manager of College and Career Access
Victoria leads Good Reason Houston’s college and career initiatives, which includes a region-wide FAFSA completion campaign dedicated to increasing the number of students in Houston receiving a postsecondary credential and earning a living wage.
Victoria started her education career as a middle school teacher in Philadelphia and has spent nearly a decade working to improve outcomes for students. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Victoria developed the Family Learning Academy in Houston ISD before joining Spring Branch ISD to lead family engagement work. While at SBISD, she oversaw the successful launch of the Family E3 Framework.
Victoria earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Texas at Austin and her master’s in urban education from the University of Pennsylvania.
As a native Houstonian, Victoria is excited to continue working to support positive outcomes for students in her community.
Manager of Advancement
As Manager of Advancement, Quinn works to build and strengthen relationships with supporters and community partners of Good Reason Houston.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Quinn worked at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning as the Assistant Director of Development and Alumni Engagement. In this role, Quinn led the annual giving and stewardship programs as well as managed the Taubman College Alumni Council. She also implemented programming to increase philanthropic engagement in the student and young alumni communities.
A Michigan native, Quinn attended the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Philanthropy, Advancement, and Development. As a first-generation college graduate, Quinn is excited to advance Good Reason Houston’s mission of increasing equity and access to high-quality education.
Manager of Scholar Success
As Manager of Scholar Success for Harris County Promise, Selam collaborates with high school and higher education partners to ensure that students successfully transition to college, persist to completion, and access living-wage employment.
Selam began her career in education with AmeriCorps in Washington, DC where she supported efforts to improve learning outcomes for students. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Selam worked at the Posse Foundation as a Trainer and Program Director. In her roles there, Selam partnered with high schools, community-based organizations, and partner colleges and universities to recruit and select Posse Scholars from partnering Houston school districts and support them through their college graduation.
Selam holds a Bachelor of Arts in African & African-American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Arts in History from George Washington University. As an HISD graduate and Houstonian, Selam is excited to continue working to ensure that all Houston students have the resources and supports to persist and thrive in their postsecondary education.
Manager of Strategy and Investments
As Manager of Strategy and Investments, 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.
Manager of Talent and School Support
Meredith-Leigh is Good Reason Houston’s Manager of Talent and School Support. She is deeply experienced in teacher training and development, recruitment and retention of excellent teachers, and early-childhood instruction. Meredith-Leigh is committed to cultivating a pipeline of outstanding talent and retaining excellent educators in the greater Houston area.
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 then 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 developing new teachers. Through her work with TNTP, Inc. and the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators, Meredith-Leigh has coached, trained, and helped certify over 250 new teachers.
Manager of Early Learning
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.
Director of District Support
As the Director of District 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.
Manager of District Support
As the Manager of District Support, Jaime directly supports Good Reason Houston’s partner districts and schools to increase the number of students learning in high-quality schools.
Jaime began his career in education as a bilingual elementary teacher in the Houston Independent School District. He has worked at Teach For America; coaching new teachers and facilitating learning in Diversity & Inclusiveness work. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, he formed part of the Instructional Leadership Team at Baker Ripley’s Promise Community Schools. In his role, he oversaw curriculum, assessments and professional development to ensure that teachers used high-quality instructional materials. His favorite part of the role was coaching teachers to be effective classroom practitioners.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Jaime studied Political Science and US Latino Studies.
Manager of Strategy and Investments
As Manager of Strategy and Investments, Stefanie supports Good Reason Houston’s strategy and resource development. 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.
Director of Program Planning and Implementation
As Director of Program Planning and Implementation, Kiran leads internal efforts to maximize productivity, streamline strategic initiatives, optimize program implementation, and coordinate between teams.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Kiran was the Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President at Teach for America. She also worked as the Managing Director of the Alumni Education Leadership team at Teach for America-Chicago, where she helped grow the number of alumni school leaders in Chicago Public Schools. She taught first grade in Houston for five years and started as a Teach for America corps member. Kiran began her career in investment banking in New York City.
Kiran holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Vanderbilt University as well as a Master of Business Administration from Rice University. She completed the Rice Educational Entrepreneurship Program in 2011.
As the Graphic Designer, Courtney handles communications, graphic design, and social media.
Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Courtney spearheaded digital marketing and social media in the healthcare industry. She also has led a number of graphic design projects for a variety of clients through her creative freelance business.
Courtney earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston-Downtown. Her passion for education was ignited by her service on a local parent teacher association board and a political action committee, where she worked closely on crafting education reform recommendations for the state legislature. She is excited to continue her impact on education with her work at Good Reason Houston.
Finance and Operations Associate
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 Executive Assistant, Abby supports CEO Alex Hales Elizondo and the rest of the Good Reason Houston team to ensure smooth day-to-day operation. Abby earned her bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University where she studied Human Rights and Sociology.
She developed her passion for education after working at a preschool during college. Prior to joining Good Reason Houston, Abby began her career at SEARCH Homeless Services.
As an HISD graduate, she is excited to work for an organization that champions high-quality education and access for students and families in her hometown.
Director of New School Creation
As the Director of New School Creation, 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.
Chief Public Affairs Officer
As Chief Public Affairs Officer, Cary provides clarity, direction, and focus to Good Reason Houston’s communication, policy, and community engagement efforts.
Cary brings over a decade of experience in public education and public affairs. He began his career as an elementary school teacher. Cary has held various positions at Teach For America, including as Executive Director of the Dallas-Fort Worth region. During his tenure, the organization secured nearly $35M in funding and grew to serve over 60,000 North Texas public school students daily. He also served as the Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman William “Mac” Thornberry in Washington, D.C.
Cary earned a Bachelor’s degree from Davidson College. He is a graduate of Texas public schools and is proud to call Houston home.
Manager of District Support
As Manager of District Support, Michelle works on Good Reason Houston’s district improvement strategy with a focus on school turnaround efforts. She supports school districts and additional partners in their work to improve educational experiences and outcomes for both teachers and students.
Michelle started her career in consulting at Deloitte where she worked with clients on their Talent, Performance, and Compensation strategies. Following her passion for education, Michelle decided to join Teach for America as a corps member in Houston in 2015. She taught Kindergarten and 1st grade at Ridgecrest Elementary in Spring Branch ISD and was recognized as Campus Teacher of the Year during the 2019-2020 school year. Michelle also worked at KIPP in Houston as part of her Policy and Advocacy Summer Fellowship with Leadership in Educational Equity (LEE).
Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Rice University and is completing her 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.
Director of Communications
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!