Julie Baker Finck, Ph.D., President for the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, has more than 20 years of experience in the field of K-12 education. Prior to this role, Dr. Finck served on the executive leadership team of the Houston Independent School District as Chief Academic Officer and Chief Major Projects Officer. She has served in leadership positions at both a regional and state level in Ohio leading large-scale, education reform initiatives.
Prior to her move to Houston, Dr. Finck served as a senior director at Battelle for Kids, a national nonprofit organization. She began her career as a middle school teacher in Kentucky. Dr. Finck earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in education administration from Ohio State University.
Allan R. Marshall, M.Ed., is Chief Development Officer for the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. Allan got his start in development over 12 years ago, as director of community development for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. Allan has also served as a higher education administrator at Dallas Baptist University. He held subsequent roles at Baylor University, Trinity University and the University of Houston where he managed regional major gift operations as well as college-based fundraising programs from annual giving, corporate/foundation relations, comprehensive campaigns, and alumni relations.
Allan graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and minors in public relations and religion in 2007, and he obtained a Masters of Education degree from Dallas Baptist University in 2012.
José Paulo Calvillo has more than 10 years of experience in the private and K-12 education sectors. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served for five years as an executive assistant to the Houston Independent School District’s Chief Academic Officer and Chief Major Projects Officer. In this role, Jose led several high-profile special projects, was responsible for coordinating administrative staff across nine departments and served as a liaison within the community. Jose earned his Bachelor’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University.
Kime Smith graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans with a BA in Mass Communications and a minor in Business Administration. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kime served as the Director of Recruitment for Big Brothers Big Sisters helping to mobilize volunteers, as well as creating corporate and community partnerships in the Houston area. She has served as a Big Sister for the last 10 years, and is currently matched to a 11-year-old Little Sister. Kime is passionate about empowering youth to reach their fullest potential, and loves spending time with her Little – baking, reading, and attending Houston sporting events.
Alexa Bode graduated from the University of Mississippi with a BA in Journalism, emphasis in Public Relations, and a minor in Business Administration. Prior to joining the Foundation, Alexa worked as a Marketing Director for a boutique financial services company.
With a passion for literacy and youth development, Alexa volunteered with the Foundation for several years. After serving on the YPG’s Executive Leadership Team and the Jungle Book Gala Committee, she joined the Foundation staff full-time.
Maria Leija has over 10 years of Administrative / Human Resources experience and over four years in nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as Administrative / Events Coordinator for United Way Central Campaign Team at ExxonMobil, coordinating a successful company-wide book drive. During that experience, she developed a deep passion for providing books to children so that they could read at an early age. Maria also coordinated volunteer projects with the Houston Tool Bank, retiree events, and volunteered at various Headstart Schools.
Olivia Anne Lewis joined our team as an AmeriCorps VISTA for Program Management. Olivia graduated from Rice University with a degree in Cognitive Science. During her time in college, she designed and led a STEM outreach program in underprivileged HISD schools. She hopes to learn more about nonprofit management because in the future she plans to start a nonprofit that translates modern neuroscience research into best practices in education.
Aubrey Leatherman graduated from Texas A&M University with a BBA in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Prior to joining the Foundation, Aubrey served as the Houston Manager for Heroes for Children helping to seamlessly execute fundraising events as well as creating once in a lifetime experiences for families battling childhood cancer. She is passionate about creating meaningful connections to those in her community and helping others see their fullest potential.
Ashley Monic graduated from Wesleyan College with a BA is Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. Prior to becoming the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, Ashley completed an AmeriCorps service year with the Foundation as a Program Management VISTA. Through her VISTA service Ashley helped to managed over 1,200 across 50 plus volunteer events.
During college, Ashley was involved with several non-profits that volunteered her local housing authority and found a passion for serving and volunteer management. She is a native Texan raised in Houston and is lucky enough to give back to the elementary schools both her grandmother and mother attended through My Home Library.
Elyssa Buntzel graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in management information systems, with a focus in project management. With a passion for serving others, Elyssa seeks positive change in both her local and global communities. During her VISTA term, she hopes to engage sustainable solutions for Houstonians and learn non profit management practices.
As a graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Saqqara Campbell is a classically trained vocalist. Saqqara attends the University of Houston where she will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology this December. Upon graduation, she will pursue a master’s degree in Global Human Resource Development and Industrial Organizational Psychology. Saqqara co-founded a 501 © 3 nonprofit organization providing music therapy to children with cognitive disabilities and continues to work closely with several organizations in the greater Houston area to provide arts enrichment to the community.
Stephany Nguyen joined our team as an AmeriCorps VISTA for School Programs. Stephany recently graduated from California State University, Bakersfield with a degree in Religious Studies. She is passionate about helping others and volunteering. Stephany plans to earn a Master’s in Nonprofit Management and hopes to one day work for the United Nations for Human Rights.
Serjio Brereda, CNP, is a native Houstonian, who has a deep passion for the mission and impacts that nonprofits have in the community. He graduated from the University of Houston with a BS in Political Science with a focus in Nonprofit Management. Prior to his Service as a VISTA, Serjio worked as a Development Assistant at Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP). Serjio has worked for both local and national nonprofits in various capacities – from Programming, Volunteer Management, Fundraising, etc. He is involved with several Boards and Committees from the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Greater Houston, NORMAL TO BE FIT® Charitable Foundation, and You Roll, Inc.