Leadership Team

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Joyce Akins

Director of the Center for Grants Development
Email: jakins@hcde-texas.org

Joyce Akins is the director of the Center for Grants Development. Her academic and employment backgrounds include education, research and evaluation, international relations, and nonprofits. Prior to joining HCDE, Joyce was an evaluator with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where she researched and analyzed a variety of federally funded programs ranging from children’s preventive health care to international trade and development. She also worked with a nonprofit refugee assistance organization, participating in grant writing, volunteer management, and community development.

While at HCDE, she has helped mobilize over $60 million to enhance HCDE programs, including afterschool services, Head Start, adult education, therapy services, professional development for teachers in STEM and special education, and other activities to garner support for HCDE programs.

Joyce is an active member of the Southeast Texas Chapter of the Grants Professional association. She received her master’s in public affairs and bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Texas at Austin. She also has a master’s degree in international relations from Syracuse University.

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Dr. Julia Y. Andrews

Director for the Center for Safe and Secure Schools
Email: jandrews@hcde-texas.org

Dr. Julia Y. 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 CSSS.  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 at Cypress-Fairbanks and Houston ISDs. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa, a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University, and her doctorate in organizational leadership from Abilene Christian University.

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Cynthia Brunswick

Senior Director of Center for Educator Success
Email: cynthia.brunswick@hcde-texas.org

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Dr. Lisa Thompson Caruthers

Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment (CASE)
Email: 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 include the American Leadership Forum and the Texas Partnership for Out-of-School Time.

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Joe Carreon

Director of Construction
Email: 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.

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Carie Crabb

Senior Director of School-Based Therapy Services
Email: 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.

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Curtis Davis

Director of Records Management
Email: cdavis@hcde-texas.org

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. 

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Stephanie De Los Santos

Director of Marketing and Client Engagement
Email: sdelossantos@hcde-texas.org

Stephanie De Los Santos is the director of Marketing and 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.

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Jeff Drury

Director of Choice Partners Cooperative
Email: 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.

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Dave Einsel

Director of Communications and Creative Services
Email: deinsel@hcde-texas.org

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 the department's chief photographer, created a variety of printed marketing materials, and created graphics and videos for the web and social media. Before joining HCDE, Einsel was the 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.

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Travita Godfrey

Principal of Fortis Academy
Email: travita.godfrey@hcde-texas.org

Travita Godfrey serves as principal of Fortis Academy, HCDE’s recovery high school. Godfrey’s 22 years of experience as an educator, prevention specialist, and counselor equip her to lead the school for teens recovering from addiction. The certified principal holds a Master of Counseling and numerous therapy certifications. With a philosophy focused on community service, she says she is dedicated to building trust within her school community and leading with empathy. She sees Fortis as a safe haven for students’ academic and personal growth. The former coordinator of secondary counseling in Humble ISD and husband are parents to five children and two miniature schnauzers.

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Kendra Jackson

Director of Purchasing
Email: kjackson@hcde-texas.org

Kendra Jackson is the Director of Purchasing. Kendra has served in the Purchasing Division since 2009. Before being named the Director, she served in many roles, including the Assistant Director. Kendra is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of the Purchasing Division. Prior to coming to the HCDE, she worked for Humble ISD in the Purchasing Division and The University of Texas Health Science Center. Kendra holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston-Downtown. 

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Dr. Victor Keys

Principal of AB School West
Email: 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.

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Marcia Leiva

Chief Accounting Officer
Email: mleiva@hcde-texas.org

Marcia Leiva is the Chief Accounting Officer for HCDE. She has held the role since November of 2021. Leiva joined HCDE in June of 2018 as the Head Start Accountant. Prior to coming to HCDE, she spent 6 years as a Senior Financial Auditor in private and public companies as well as the oil and gas industry, working in Portugal and Angola. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Financial Auditing from Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa and master’s degree in Financial Auditing from ISCAC Coimbra Business School, both in Portugal. She has taken her CPA courses at Lone Start College in Houston. 

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Dr. Charles Ned

Senior Director of Schools
Email: cned@hcde-texas.org

Dr. Charles Ned has been dedicated to creating and supporting innovative programs and schools to serve administrator, teacher, and student learning needs for the past 23 years. Most of Dr. Ned’s professional career was at Humble ISD, where he served as a director, principal, associate principal, assistant principal, and teacher. Dr. Ned is a proud alumnus of Southern University – Baton Rouge, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His education path continued at the University of Houston where he earned his doctorate in professional leadership in 2012. Dr. Ned’s leadership focuses on a clear vision, ubiquitous communication systems, and using the collective power of the team to carry out the mission of educating every child so they are prepared to be a contributing member of the community. In December 2020, Dr. Ned joined the Harris County Department of Education as the senior director of schools, where he oversees the daily operations of four specialty schools serving students from over 40 ISDs.

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Venetia L. Peacock

Senior Director of Head Start
Email: 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's 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.

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John Prestigiacomo

Director of Maintenance 
Email: jpresetigiacomo@hcde-texas.org

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.

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Stephanie Ross

Senior Director of Adult Education
Email: 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.

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Donna Trevino-Jones

Principal of AB School East
Email: dtrevino-jones@hcde-texas.org

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 from 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.

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Courtney Waters

Principal of Highpoint East
Email: cwaters@hcde-texas.org

Courtney Waters is the principal of Highpoint School East at HCDE. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction from Prairie View A&M University. Courtney has over 25 years of experience in education. Prior to joining HCDE, she worked for multiple district administrations, including Galena Park ISD, San Diego City Schools, Spring ISD, and Cypress Fairbanks ISD in roles ranging from Coordinator of Student Support Services to Assistant Principal. She joined HCDE in 2018 as an Assistant Principal. Waters's professional affiliations include the Texas Association of School Principals (TASSP) and the Texas Association for Alternative Education (TAAE).