I’ve always tried to make the world a better place–leave it better than you found it. From the US Marine Corps to the Houston Land Bank, I’ve been driven by the idea of service and defense of those in need—that we accomplish more by working together than we do apart. That’s why I’m excited to be joining the PCSD team, as the founding Project Director for Texas Charter School Development.
Like many relationships these days, PCSD and I met online. When I came across the job posting, it felt like a full-circle moment. As a kid in the Gulfgate area of Houston, I was lucky that my parents had the option of enrolling me in HISD’s vanguard & magnet schools. As a transfer student, I got used to the idea of attending a school that offered programs and experiences my neighborhood schools didn’t. But because there were limited transfer seats, my friends didn’t have the same opportunities I did. That showed me how important it is for parents and kids to have options.
After high school and the Marine Corps, I studied economics and sociology at Rice University. I became fascinated by the sociology and economics of a city: how market forces can drive the need to revitalize communities like the one I grew up in. That was the beginning of my path into real estate development, which accelerated when I became a member of one of the founding classes of the graduate real estate MBA program at the University of Houston.
After grad school, I worked for one of Houston’s most prominent real estate developers at the Welcome Group, building and renovating spaces to meet the needs of office and industrial clients. Still driven by a desire to ‘make a difference’ to the world around me, my focus turned to the Houston Land Bank–working to develop affordable housing by acquiring and reactivating vacant and/or underutilized properties.
As a sociology major, I know that improving educational outcomes leads to other improved ‘life’ outcomes throughout a community. From working on build-to-suit industrial projects, I know what is needed to tailor new or existing spaces to fit needs—from land acquisition to design & construction to property management. And from my work in affordable housing, I know how to take folks who have limited experience and understanding of real estate development and walk them through the many moving parts. With TCSD, I’m excited to bring together all these skills and lessons and unite them with my personal experience and education.
This is PCSD’s first time expanding to a new region since 2017. And Houston feels like a natural fit. We’re an entrepreneurial city, where people face tough challenges head on, and hustle up, to bring their vision to life. We are the birthplace of some of the country’s biggest charter school networks, like KIPP, YES Prep, and Harmony.
But there is also a community of emerging and single-site charter schools—many of them led by educators of color—who don’t have the capacity to handle facilities needs in-house. TCSD will be a one-stop facilities shop for these smaller & under-resourced charter schools. We are the only charter school facility development nonprofit in Texas offering strategic planning, project management, and access to capital all in one place.
A beautiful school building is more than just a nice building. It’s a landmark for the community. When I worked with Houston Land Bank and community meetings were held in neighborhood schools, folks would tell me about how they, their kids, and their grandkids all went to that school. By building attractive, functional educational facilities that last 30, 40, 50 years or more, I’m excited to give people something they can point to and be proud of as part of their neighborhood and life shaping experiences for generations to come.