Project Description

The Grades 4-12 Support Council serves as a critical thought leader for how we might better align and execute our collective efforts across grades 4-12 in Dallas County. The Council is comprised of 16 members, including representatives from five public school districts, two charter networks, two institutions of higher education, and the philanthropic and nonprofit communities. Council members focus on six indicators along the cradle-to-career continuum: 4th Grade Math, 8th Grade Math and Science, PSAT, SAT/ACT, and High School Graduation. The council has helped seed a postsecondary enrollment network, the Texas College Access Network of North Texas (TxCAN – NT), as well as two Early Math action networks in Grand Prairie ISD and DeSoto ISD, reaching over 8,900 students across 15 schools.

Heather Ashwell-Hair
Vicki Bridges
Rev. Gerald Britt
Ashley Bryan
Dr. David J. Chard
Elizabeth Fritze
Alex Hales
Rich Harrison
Steve Hinkley
Patti Kieker
Dr. Helena Mosely
Dr. Gabrielle Polk
Tegwin Pulley
Dr. Ann Smisko
Aleta Stampley
George Tang

Heather Ashwell-Hair
Secretary, Texas PTA
When Heather Ashwell-Hair moved to Texas from Ontario, Canada, over 17 years ago, she didn’t know the turn her career would take. Not being work authorized but having been a parent educator in many different capacities including a home mediator model early childhood intervention program with at-risk families, implementation of a “Warm Line” for parents to call before they reach a crisis point, and a Talk Radio Host on parenting issues, as well as a college instructor for the Early Childhood Education Program, she was well equipped to volunteer at the local public school. She was quickly identified as a potential PTA leader and has become a full-time professional volunteer at the largest child advocacy organization in the state.

Heather is currently serving as Secretary to Texas PTA following two terms as Parent Education Programming chair. She has served in a variety of positions at elementary, middle and high school as well as ISD Council and Regional PTAs. As an officer with Texas PTA, Heather plays a vital role as she has been appointed to several key leadership and governance committees. She is a Texas PTA life member and has received an extended service award. As a result of her leadership in Texas PTAs, she was also selected by National PTA to serve as a Field Service Committee member.

With a passion for parent education, Heather continues to travel the state presenting parenting courses, as well as professional development workshops for schools and other organizations. Heather holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Mohawk College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Development Studies from the University of Waterloo. She and her husband live in Carrollton and have three children.

Vicki Bridges
Chief of Secondary Education, Grand Prairie ISD
Biography will be coming soon.

brittReverend Gerald Britt
President and CEO, CitySquare
The Rev. Gerald Britt joined CitySquare in September 2004 to further his lifelong work serving those around him. His pastoral and community experience and wisdom are rich assets to CitySquare.

A high profile community leader for many years, Gerald has strong ties to the political, faith and business communities of Dallas. These connections will be valuable to CitySquare as it reaches deeper into South and East Dallas. Gerald most recently served as Senior Pastor for the New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, located in the heart of far South Dallas . During his 22 years there, he led the church in significant growth and organizational change. Through his work in the church and surrounding neighborhoods as well as years of leadership in Dallas Area Interfaith, Gerald has distinguished himself as one of Dallas’ most influential community leaders. He has been out front on many city issues, from advocating for better care for Parkland Hospital patients to increasing voter turnout in South Dallas, among others.

Ashley Bryan
Director of Planning and Special Projects, Dallas ISD
As a native of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Ashley grew up in and then taught at local public schools. Today, she continues to serve Dallas students as the Director of Planning and Special Projects at Dallas ISD. In this role, Ashley supports multi-faceted and cross-functional projects in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Prior to her current role, Ashley was an Associate at Commit! where she focused on strategy and project management of all initiatives across grades 4-12. Ashley also taught 7th and 8th grade Spanish in Oak Cliff and spent summers developing new teachers at Teach For America’s Houston Institute.

Ashley graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 with dual degrees in the Plan II and Business Honors programs and from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2012 with a Master’s in Education in Education Policy and Management.

Dr. David J. Chard
Dean, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, SMU
David is the Leon Simmons Endowed Dean and founding dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. A lifelong educator having taught in both public schools for eight years and at the higher education level for over 16 years, David also serves as a Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University. Since his arrival at SMU, Dr. Chard has focused on making the Simmons School a national leader in research and development on education reform.

Dr. Chard has been the principal investigator on numerous federal research projects including topics such as response to intervention (RTI), reading, reading comprehension instruction, and early childhood mathematics. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of Oregon, he has been awarded state and federal research and training grants totaling over $10 million. David has published more than 90 articles, monographs, book chapters, and books on instructional interventions and modifications in mathematics, reading and expressive writing. He is a member of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, the American Mathematical Association, a Past President for the Division for Research at the Council for Exceptional Children, and a member of numerous national and regional boards supporting high quality educational opportunities for all children. He is the author of numerous instructional programs on reading, early literacy intervention, language arts, and mathematics spanning K-12 education and has been a classroom teacher in California, Michigan, and in the U. S. Peace Corps in Lesotho in southern Africa.

Elizabeth Fritze
Program Director, Teach for America – DFW
Biography coming soon.
untitledAlex Hales
Executive Director, Teach for America – DFW
Alexandra Hales is the Executive Director of Teach For America-Dallas/Fort Worth. She began her career in education in 2007 when she joined the South Louisiana Teach For America corps as a first grade teacher. Alex set rigorous expectations for her students, modeled leadership through her ongoing involvement in the school community, and fostered high levels of student achievement. As a second-year teacher, Alex was selected by her fellow educators as the top elementary teacher in the district and was named East Feliciana Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year. In 2009, Alex was a key leader in opening the Teach For America charter region in Dallas-Fort Worth, where she first served as a manager, teacher leadership development and was quickly promoted to leading all teacher support and development initiatives. Under Alex’s leadership, corps members have become valued members of their school communities. In a 2011 independent survey of local school leaders employing corps members, partner principals reported that their corps members made a positive difference in their school community. Ninety-seven percent reported they would hire another corps member if they had an open position to fill, and hundred percent indicated that their corps members are as or better prepared than other new teachers.

Alex earned her BA from Lake Forest College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in Political Science and History, captained the women’s varsity swim team, and served as Student Government president.

untitledRich Harrison
Chief Academic Officer, Uplift Education
After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1998, Rich taught middle and high school English in New York City for 5 years and in Denver for 2 years. In his first school leadership role, Rich doubled as a principal and English teacher for KIPP: Cole College Prep – the first conversion charter school in the nation.  He then served as the founding Middle School Director for the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST), the highest performing school in terms of student achievement and growth in Denver Public Schools. In his last year in this role, his school was awarded the EPIC Silver Award by New Leaders for New Schools and Mathematica for having the 2nd highest value-add student growth out of all high performing charter middle schools in the nation.

Rich joined Uplift Education in the summer of 2011 to lead the Teaching and Learning Team.  At Uplift, he oversees curriculum, instruction, and assessment, as well as the development of the instructional technology and data integration, network-wide performance management and goal setting, and manages the school directors at four school clusters: Pinnacle Preparatory in Oak Cliff (K-2), Hampton Preparatory (K-3; 6-12) in south Dallas, Infinity Preparatory  (K-2; 6-7) and Laureate Preparatory (K-4; 6-7; 9).  He brings a wealth of experience around school start up, leadership transformation, organizational culture, and academic systems, and looks to continue his learning and leadership at Uplift so that it can become an International Baccalaureate (IB) network serving over 13,000 scholars in the region.

Steve Hinkley
Vice President, Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Biography will be coming soon.
pattiPatti Kieker
Deputy Superintendent, Richardson ISD
Patti Kieker has been an educator for 39 years and is currently Deputy Superintendent in the Richardson ISD. Before becoming Deputy Superintendent, Ms. Kieker served as a classroom teacher at both the elementary and secondary levels; assistant principal and principal at the elementary level; Executive Director – Special Student Services, and Assistant Superintendent – Human Resources.

Ms. Kieker received a Bachelors of Science degree from McNeese State University and a Master of Science from Stephen F. Austin University. She has completed doctoral work through the University of North Texas.

Ms. Kieker is actively involved in many educational and civic organizations and has received several honors and awards including the Outstanding Woman of Today from Richardson Altrusa.

moselyDr. Helena Mosely
Assistant Superintendent for Achievement and Student Services, Lancaster ISD
Dr. Helena Mosely’s extensive education service background includes ten years as an elementary school principal. Effective August 2010, Dr. Mosely took on the leadership position as Assistant Superintendent of Achievement and Student Services with Lancaster Independent School District, which she currently holds. Her office’s responsibilities involve working with the curriculum development, instructional services, state laws and the state board of education rules, local board of trustees policies, approved administrative procedures, principal evaluations, conflict resolution and campus and department budgets. Her office’s main focus is to establish a PK-5 grade educational program that addresses the needs of students and the mission of the school district. Dr. Mosely received her B.S. Ed from Cheyney University in 1990, and her M.Ed from Sul Ross State University in 1995. In 2008, she received a Doctor of Ministry from Vision International University.

Polk_GabrielleDr. Gabrielle Polk
Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Schools, DeSoto ISD
Dr. Gabrielle Polk is the assistant superintendent for elementary learning and accountability for DeSoto ISD. In this position she supervises elementary campuses, special education and the curriculum department. She is diligently working to help bring DeSoto ISD to the next level. Dr. Polk is particularly proud of the implementation of dual language and full-day pre-K in DeSoto ISD.

She received her Bachelor of Applied Arts, Masters in Counseling, Masters in Special Education, and Doctoral in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Multicultural Diversity all from Lamar University. She holds several Texas education certifications including: Superintendent, Principal, Counseling, Diagnostician and others.

Dr. Polk’s leadership spills over into her social and civic duty. She currently holds or has held positions on both state and regional levels including: Recording Secretary, BAABSE; Treasurer, Texas Alliance of Black School Educators; 1st Vice President Zeta Phi Beta graduate chapter; Regional Nominating Committee – Zeta Phi Beta Southern Region (Louisiana and Texas); Vice President of Public Relations – Young Women’s Department – Eastern Progressive District Association; and Board of Directors of Angela’s Outreach. She also served on the senior usher board at Antioch MBC, under the leadership of Dr. John R. Adolph.

A native of Houston, Dr. Polk is the proud mother of two children, Everette and Autumn. In her spare time, Dr. Polk enjoys traveling with her fiancé, LaVelle.

tegwinTegwin Pulley
DFW Director, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity – STEM Equity Pipeline
Tegwin Pulley is a woman on a mission. Across business, civic, and educational sectors her mission is nothing short of creating environments where inspiration, opportunity, and achievement are available for all. At Texas Instruments (TI), she had a track record, which resulted in TI being recognized as one of the best companies to work for, in addition to TI winning more than 180 awards for diversity, work-life, and inclusive

Tegwin has a history of building programs, enterprises, and partnerships where none existed before, including the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) Technology Education Council and the Regional Workforce Leadership Council. Tegwin has served on more than 35 community boards and chaired 10 nonprofit organizations, ranging from the Texas Engineering and Technology Consortium to the Women’s Center to the TWU Board of Regents.

Recently Tegwin retired from TI where she was vice president responsible for workforce development and diversity. She continues to provide consulting for both businesses and educational institutions, including recently serving as Executive Director of High-Tech High Heels, a program to encourage and prepare girls to pursue technology-related degrees.
Tegwin now dedicates most of her time to NAPE as Texas Director of the STEM Equity Pipeline™. She is responsible for bringing top-level leadership to the NAPE board and Business Alliance Council. With a collaborative spirit and strategic approach, she supported the successful development and deployment of NAPE’s Micromessaging to Reach and Teach Every Student© training, NAPE’s STEM Equity Career workshops and the High-Tech High Heels Physics Camp for girls. Her work helped hurdle NAPE forward in its mission, enabling NAPE to reach more than 700 educators in Texas in 18 months.

Diversity remains Tegwin’s top priority in both her vocation and avocation. Throughout her career, she has mentored, coached, and sponsored many women and men in STEM and continues to do so. Currently, she serves on 10 boards and advisory boards including the American Institute for Diversity and Commerce and the McDonald Observatory and Leadership Women. Congratulations to Tegwin Pulley for embracing Diversity in Technology Leadership.

Smisko, AnnDr. Ann Smisko
Chief Academic Officer, Dallas Independent School District
Dr. Ann Smisko is the Chief Academic Officer for Dallas ISD. Dr. Smisko is responsible for the curriculum, instruction and support to ensure that students master the knowledge and skills needed to graduate from Dallas ISD college and career ready. Prior to joining Dallas ISD, Dr. Smisko served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at the Austin Independent School District. She also served with the Texas A&M University System and the Texas Education Agency for over twenty years. During her tenure at TEA, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the statewide Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum, the development and administration of the Texas Assessment Program and the review, adoption, and purchase of textbooks and instructional materials for every student in the state. Dr. Smisko has served at the national level as a USDE Peer Reviewer for state accountability systems and as a member of the Work Group on Science Assessments for the National Academy of Science.

Aleta_stampleyAleta Stampley
Board Member, Teach for America & Reading Partners
Aleta Stampley was the Director of K-12 Education and Community Relations for Texas Instruments. Stampley joined Texas Instruments in September 2012 and is responsible for developing and driving the overall strategy, execution and evaluation of all K-12 Education Programs supported by Texas Instruments. As a member of the Corporate Citizenship Team she strives to channel Texas Instruments’ more than $11 MM in philanthropy, employee giving, in-kind technology and volunteer support to the most critical gaps along domestic and international education continuums.

Prior to joining Texas Instruments, Stampley worked for 15 years at Bank of America (BAC) as a Community Relations Senior Vice President where she managed Philanthropic, Community Development and Associate Volunteer Programs for the 20,000+ BAC employees in the North Texas Region. As a member of the Local Market Delivery Team, she focused on individuals and communities that often lack access to resources by providing support in the areas of Education, Workforce Development, Affordable Housing, Health & Human Services and the Arts. At Bank of America, Stampley oversaw $3MM+ in charitable giving annually.

Stampley is an active member of the community and plays a key role in the support of numerous organizations including St. Philip’s School and Community Center, Parkland Hospital and CitySquare. She is a board member of Big Thought, Commit! and Teach for America. She also serves on the Dallas Regional Chamber Education Advisory Committee, the United Way Education Advisory Council and the TREC CDFI Advisory Council. She is a former member of the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee and was the 2008 Fund Development Chair of The Real Estate Council Foundation. Stampley is a graduate of Leadership Dallas (Class of 2004) and was the 2008 Chair of the Leadership Dallas Alumni Board. From 2008 – 2012 Stampley served as the Management Advisor for Bank of America Community Volunteers, a team that grew from averaging 30,000 volunteer hours annually in 2007 to averaging over 100,000 hours of community service annually from 2008 – 2012.

In 2010 Stampley received the Leadership Dallas Distinguished Alumni Award. The award emphasizes the importance of active involvement in the Greater Dallas region and serves to encourage and provide a role model for others. In 2005, Stampley received the “She Knows Where She’s Going Award” from Girls Inc.-Dallas, presented to women who have overcome obstacles and become a role model to young women.
Stampley is a graduate of the Washington University St. Louis School of Fine Art where she majored in both Advertising Design and Illustration.

Stampley and her husband Samuel reside in McKinney, TX and are the proud parents of five children – Charmaine – 22, Amen Ra -22, Coleman – 20, Samuel III – 18 and Khaila -17.

George Tang
COO, Texas High School Project, Communities Foundation of Texas
As Chief Operating Officer for the Texas High School Project at CFT, George ensures THSP’s day-to-day operations align with its mission of preparing all Texas students graduate high school ready for postsecondary success. Prior to joining THSP, George co-founded Rosetta, an advertising agency fueled by its analytical approach to designing actionable marketing strategies. He was responsible for external client cultivation and management at Rosetta, along with developing its intellectual property and internal infrastructure. After returning to Dallas from New York in 2009, George began to focus on the significant gaps and challenges in our education system. THSP allows him a data-driven platform to marry his entrepreneurial passion with his desire to help all students achieve solid foundations for their futures. George earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting from New York University and is a Dallas native and graduate of J.J. Pearce High School.