Richard Vitale, President
Mr. Vitale was born and reared in Dallas, Texas and is a proud graduate Woodrow Wilson High School, Class of 1991. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mr. Vitale joined a Bank of America predecessor company in 1994, and upon graduation, he returned to North Texas with the Bank. He currently is a Senior Vice President at Bank of America and leads the Bank’s Not-for-Profit Healthcare and Institutions Practice for North and Central Texas. He is Founding President of the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation.
Gary Griffith, Vice President
Gary Griffith was elected to the Dallas City Council in May 2003 and served two terms through June 2007. He believes strongly in community service and gives his volunteer time by serving on a variety of boards for charitable organizations in Dallas. Mr Griffith grew up in East Dallas and is a proud graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, Class of 1966.
Leigh Peden Straughn, Secretary
A longtime East Dallas resident, Leigh Peden Straughn attended Lakewood Elementary, K.B. Polk Elementary, J.L. Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School (Class of 1991). Before leaving the workforce to spend more time with her family, Leigh worked as a management consultant in the Houston office of McKinsey & Company and as a director in the advertising department of The Dallas Morning News. In addition to keeping up with her four active sons and her spouse, she devotes significant time to activities and causes in support of public education. Leigh presently serves on the boards of the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA, the William B. Travis PTA, and Lakewood Elementary’s SBDM Committee and PTA. She also volunteers through the Children & Family Ministry at The Church of the Incarnation. She graduated magna cum laude from Rice University and holds an MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.
Margaret Hughes, Treasurer
Margaret Hughes received an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and a Masters in Accounting from Southern Methodist University. Upon graduation, Margaret joined PricewaterhouseCoopers initially in their audit practice but later moved to the tax department where she focused on individuals, family offices, and estate planning. Margaret is currently a Tax Manager for Unity Hunt Inc., the family office for Lamar Hunt. Margaret lives in Dallas with her husband, Grayson, and enjoys volunteering through Junior League of Dallas, taking walks with their two dogs – Annie and Mia, and cooking new recipes.
Alejandra is the founding Program Director of the Principal Impact Collaborative (PIC), a leadership program for experienced public school principals in DFW. Prior to PIC, she discovered her passion for education while serving as the Operations and Program Manager at Educate Texas / Communities Foundation of Texas. She began her career in the private sector, as a financial analyst in the energy sector and then as a management consultant with Boston Consulting Group in Dallas. She received her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Princeton University and her MBA from Columbia University.
Lauren Berryman grew up in Lakewood and attended Lakewood Elementary, JL Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School. She received an undergraduate and Masters degree in Accounting from Texas A&M University and is a licensed CPA. She spent 8 years at PwC in the tax department serving high net worth individuals and family offices before accepting a position as Tax Manager for Petrus Trust Company, the family office for Ross Perot. Lauren lives in Lakewood with her husband, Ben and their 2 year old son Luke, and are expecting a second little boy March 2020. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading new books and exercising.
Millicent Boykin has an extensive background in nonprofit management, community engagement and program development. She serves as Chief Program Officer for VolunteerNow, one of the most active volunteer centers in the country. Millicent is a Leadership Dallas alumna and an active community volunteer. Her board service includes Reading Partners North Texas and Best Buddies Dallas/Fort Worth. Millicent was born in East Texas, but ventured north for college. She holds a degree in Psychology from Northwestern University.
Jonathan Feinstein is the son of first-generation college graduates, the proud product of a public school education that exposed him to diverse educators and friends, and a former middle school teacher in his home state of North Carolina. After leaving the classroom in 2007, he was hired by imc2, a strategic and creative agency based here in Dallas, to author its first corporate social responsibility report. Over the following four years, he led strategic initiatives to improve the agency’s impact on employees, clients, local communities, and the environment. These efforts included a pro bono program, which delivered more than $2 million in strategic and creative marketing services to selected nonprofits since 2009, with a special focus on education organizations in Dallas. Jonathan has served as the Director of Community Engagement for The Commit! Partnership since its founding in early 2012. Jonathan earned a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
Maria Hasbany is a passionate advocate for public education and a full-time volunteer. She has held the role of President for the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA, Lakewood Elementary, J.L.Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School PTAs and has served on their SBDM committees. She currently sits on the DISD Attendance Boundary Advisory Committee and the District 2 Parent Advisory Council. Maria was awarded the 2014 Volunteer of the Year by the Woodrow Wilson Community Foundation and the Texas PTA Extended Service Award from Lakewood Elementary and J.L.Long. Maria lives in Lakewood with her husband Michael and their two children.
Laura Hayes is Chief Academic Officer for EdisonLearning, a leading international educational services provider with nearly a generation of experience creating effective and sustainable solutions to raise student achievement. In this role, she is responsible for the implementation of the company’s extensive portfolio of proven K-12 solutions, including: school improvement and management of charter and district schools, Bridgescape Academies focused on dropout prevention and recovery, state-wide virtual high schools, and eCourses – a full online curriculum. Having honed her skills during a thirty-year career as a highly successful teacher and administrator, Laura has a thorough understanding of the ingredients of outstanding schools. With EdisonLearning, she has served as Vice President of Education Services, and as Senior Director of Achievement to a large number of the company’s partners. Prior to her role with EdisonLearning Laura has held roles including National Director of Foundations for New Leaders for New Schools, Director of Education for the Foundation for Community Empowerment, Senior Director at Texas Education Agency, Director of Mathematics for DISD, Principal, Dean and Teacher. Throughout, she has been at the forefront of innovation in relation to student motivation, curriculum, effective learning and staff development. Laura holds numerous educational certifications, including those as: Teacher, Mid-Management, Supervisor, and Superintendent. She earned her undergraduate degree from Bishop College in Dallas, and her Master of Science from University of North Texas.
Jody Hodges is currently the Senior Vice President & Manager of Healthcare Banking of the Dallas market at Bank of Texas. Hodges previously held the position of Senior Vice President with Bank of America within the Greater Texas Commercial Banking group. He currently serves on the board of the White Rock YMCA. While at Bank of America, he also served on the Fort Worth Leadership Council, as the past chairman of the American Heart Walk and March of Dimes March for Babies campaigns. Hodges earned his bachelor’s degree from West Texas A&M University as Cum Laude. He earned his MBA from Texas Christian University and graduated with distinction. He also holds a Series 7 and 63 investment license. He currently resides in East Dallas with his wife, Nikki, and their two children.
Marketing and PR veteran Sara Hundley has more than 15 years’ experience in building brands and developing and implementing campaigns that connect with consumers. She brings a cross-disciplinary approach to marketing and PR that encompasses management, operations, marketing and product development that can help all brands she works with create effective strategies to meet business goals and objectives. Hundley is a Texas Tech alum, and lives in East Dallas with her husband and two children. She is the former PTA president (2014-2016) at Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, current executive board member for both Stonewall Jackson and J.L. Long Middle School PTA’s and Wilshire Heights Neighborhood Association Director.
Jeff Kitner serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the NDCC, Jeff was a litigation/regulatory attorney and partner with Jackson Walker. Jeff is actively involved in local civic initiatives, including as the City Council District 11 representative to the Dallas Park and Recreation Board, President of Friends of the Northaven Trail, and with DISD on the Kramer Elementary SBDM. Jeff has been an active and engaged member of the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation’s Scholarship Advisory Committee for a handful of years. A native of Dallas, Jeff is a graduate of Emory University and the University of Texas School of Law
Dustin Marshall is CEO of Hazel’s Hot Shot, an expedited freight and logistics company headquartered in Dallas, TX. Hazel’s focuses on time-critical shipments and operates via several divisions which provide an array of transportation services. Prior to joining Hazel’s, Marshall was a manager in the Chicago office of Bain & Company. Mr. Marshall is deeply involved in the Dallas-Ft. Worth community and is passionate about education reform. He serves on the Board of Reading Partners Dallas and the Board of Governors for Uplift Education. He is a recipient of the Dallas Business Journal’s “40-under-40” award, an alumnus of Leadership Dallas, and a finalist for the Dallas Foundation’s “Good Works Under 40” award. Marshall has a bachelor of science (BS) in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. He and his wife, Denise, reside in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas with their four children.
Adam Miller is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Matthews Southwest, a full-service private real estate development company with operations throughout the United States, Canada, and EMEA. He has been a member of the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation Scholarship Committee for four years. Adam has a passion for education and an interest in supporting the DISD feeder system in East Dallas. He has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Butler University and a Master of Science in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife, Natalie, live with their two boys in East Dallas. Their oldest is attending Geneva Heights Elementary where they have been pivotal supporters of Project Refresh for the past four years.
Sarah Nicholson has worked in communications for nearly 20 years, promoting entities ranging from startups to well-known consumer brands. She’s specialized in communications strategy and copywriting, with an emphasis on media relations. Since returning to Dallas, her hometown, in 2009, Sarah’s worked within agencies and as a freelancer. Sarah and her husband live in East Dallas with their three daughters. As a volunteer, Sarah has been an active member her church, Vice President of then-Stonewall Gardens, and an executive board member of the PTAs at Mockingbird Elementary and JL Long Middle School. She is PTA President for JL Long for 2018-19, and from now until 2021, she will have children at Mockingbird, Long and WWHS. Sarah’s a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she studied politics
Randy Patterson is a lifelong Dallas resident having attended Lakewood, Long and Woodrow; Class of 1982. After graduating from East Texas State University with a Business & Finance decree he has worked in the financial industry and currently is with PlainsCapital Bank as Assistant Vice President & Senior Commercial Real Estate Closer. Passionate for public education that is inclusive and benefits the diversity of Dallas, he has been active with PTA and SBDM in a variety of positions including past Woodrow PTA President and currently serves as Woodrow Alumni Association President. Active with Wilshire Baptist Church, serving on its Social Advocacy Committee and volunteering in the community with various groups supported by the church. His headshot is attached.
Spencer Patterson is an attorney with Grable Martin Fulton PLLC. His practice focuses on various aspects of intellectual property law, including US and international patent and trademark preparation and prosecution, patent portfolio management, and strategic intellectual property protection and enforcement. Previously, Patterson had his own practice following several years practicing at three large law firms, including 10 years as a partner at the intellectual property law firm of Fish & Richardson P.C. He earned an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He has served as a member of the Greater Dallas Chamber’s Technology Business Council and is active in the Friends of Lakewood Elementary School. He and his wife have a son at Lakewood E.S. and are passionate about strengthening the public education opportunities provided in East Dallas and throughout the state.
Courtney Rogers is a Baylor University graduate and current manager in Dallas ISD where she is responsible for expanding the district’s Personalized Learning initiative. Prior to joining Dallas ISD, she managed philanthropic and government partnerships for the education nonprofit Reasoning Mind, and completed an AmeriCorps teaching fellowship while earning her master’s degree in education. She was a 2016 Dallas County Fellow with Leadership ISD, and currently serves as the chair of the marketing advisory committee for the W.T. White feeder pattern.
Eric Schenkelberg is vice president of operations for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. He began his career with the YMCA 26 years ago in a small town in Iowa and after several years of running youth sports, adult sports and summer day camp, Eric moved to Dallas and worked as a program director at the Irving YMCA (a branch under the umbrella of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas). He then worked as executive director in Abilene for four years, and later moved to Arlington to serve as vice president of the YMCA. While there, he opened a new building and renovated two others. After that, Eric moved to Houston for six years before returning to Dallas and the White Rock YMCA, which is also a branch under the umbrella of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas.
Leah Ekmark Williams
Leah Ekmark Williams is a seasoned PR strategist and tactician, serving as president of Dala Communications, a full-service public relations agency. An accredited PR professional, Leah’s expertise lies in creating and implementing communications campaigns for B2B and B2C clients in industries ranging from real estate, construction and engineering to healthcare, financial services and retail. She excels at developing integrative media relations strategies that combine traditional communications campaigns with digital/social media plans. Named to the Dallas Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 2018 list, Leah is committed to giving back and mentoring others through her involvement in professional and industry organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, PRSA Dallas and Leadership Dallas 2019.
Michelle Wilner grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and attended college at University of New Mexico where she graduated with a BA in University Studies concentrating interdisciplinary studies of Sociology, Community Health, and Business Administration. Michelle is currently utilizing her wide-ranging skills and passion for health and education at The Concilio as VP of Strategy. In this position she blends the perfect mix of life and work experience, passion, intuition, curiosity, and collaboration to be a trusted thought partner to the CEO and leadership team. Michelle has been with The Concilio for four years in diverse roles starting as program coordinator, grants manager, and in her most recent position