I am a graduate of American Military University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. It is a subject I am quite passionate about! I believe we are all products of our environment and yet have the choice to allow it to make or break us. I love that CARY steps in for youth at a time that is so impressionable! We all need connection, to know we’ve got this and CARY helps today’s youth choose a path of success…however that is defined for them personally! I made my way to CARY after years of working for a local school district and then City government. The world of non-profit opened my eyes! It provides me an outlet to put my admin skills to work, assist others, make an impact and support a worthy cause, all in one pretty package! My husband and I have one son, a soon to be daughter-in-law, grand-puppy and spend a lot of time outdoors working on our property and with the cattle we raise. My hobbies involve a love of history, art, culture, reading and plants! I’m a simple person with big ideas and hopes for the world!
In January 2016, Shana Fox assumed the role as the Executive Director for CARY. While this role was new for Shana, her involvement in nonprofits and with CARY was not. Shana has dedicated 18 years to working with the at-risk students that CARY serves, both in a direct capacity as a CARY Youth Advisor, and serving as CARY’s Deputy Executive Director.
Shana came to CARY after attending Texas State University where she studied Social Work, with a specific focus on vulnerable populations and social justice issues. While Shana was in graduate school she had many life-changing experiences. One of the most influential occurred when she visited a juvenile justice facility and saw, first hand, what happens to our youth when they get “locked up.” She knew then that she wanted to target this trend of at-risk youth becoming involved in the “pipeline to prison.” Shana quickly learned that her passion and profession would align, to allow her to follow her dream of making a positive change in the lives of children and families.
While working directly with thousands of high-risk youth has been the highlight of her career, Shana’s professional pursuits inspired her to seek opportunities for community leadership and administrative stewardship. She returned to the classroom to gain more education in those areas and began to gravitate towards policy, governance, and management. She is humbled to serve CARY in a leadership role and views her work within the community as a privilege.
When Shana is not working, she can be found exploring her community, enjoying live music, and plotting outdoor adventures. She also enjoys traveling, yoga, and climbing.
Randa is a graduate of Texas State University in San Marcos with a Bachelor's degree in Public Relation, minoring in Psychology. She is a native Austinite, having been born and raised in Austin - and proud of it! While searching for a start in her career she came across CARY, falling in love with the message and purpose of the nonprofit. Randa has a passion for learning and education with plans of continuing her college career to obtain a Masters and Ph.D., dreaming to become a college professor. Her motivation to help others stems from her grandmother, who was a social worker in Killeen where she worked with at-risk youth, and her great grandfather, who was the first commissioner of education in Texas. With big shoes to fill, comes a deeper drive to help others find motivation and achieve their goals. In her spare time, she can be found hiking with her beloved pit bulls, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding or with her nose deep in a book.
Ashley is a born and raised Texan, having grown up in the small town of Shiner. She is an avid cyclist, teacher, runner, yogi, dancer, wife, and mama of four precious kids. Ashley studied Dance Education at Kilgore College and Communications and Behavioral Psychology at Concordia University. Amid her academic studies, she became a yoga instructor and a massage therapist. It was with her love of movement, education, and healing arts that she wrote a Creative Movement program adopted by AISD. After 10 years of teaching dance, movement, yoga, and bodywork, Ashley landed a preschool teaching job at St. George’s Episcopal School. Over her 4 years of teaching at St. George’s, Ashley married and had children. Soon she found herself ready for the next venture in life, so Ashley created a small event planning business, leveraging her love of hosting, eye for detail, and passion for helping others. She coordinated weddings, special events, and fundraisers. Ashley’s energy, integrity, and planning skills also landed her the role of St. George’s PTF board President and the St. George’s Episcopal Church Board President. Ashley is thrilled to continue her life adventure here at CARY, continuing to love-on her family, having fun with friends, all the while supporting the noble and generous act of philanthropy.
Tisho has been contracting with CARY since 2005 as the bookkeeper/ accountant. A graduate of UT with a BA in Accounting, she is responsible for all things financial at CARY. Tisho has been married for 22 years and has 3 children.
Nicole Gerard is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been with CARY since 2012. She earned her Bachelors's degree in Social Work at Abilene Christian University and her Master's degree in Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington. Nicole is married to Kellen Gerard, whom she met working at a Wilderness Therapy Camp in the woods of North Carolina. Nicole and Kellen have 2 daughters; Charlie and Lucy. As a family, they enjoy traveling and being outdoors.
Major Henry Opolot, US Army Retired
Bill McKean, Retired, Freescale
Sean Milberger, Austin’s Managing Partner
Sharon Foster, Consulting CF, VCFO
- Tyler Coleman, Professional Employer Consultant, SOI
- Delbert Crawford, School Director/Owner at Changing Lanes CDL School
- Michelle Deskins, Senior Vice President Sr Treasury Management Sales Officer, Jefferson Bank
- Esther Ladipo, Social Impact at Door Dash, Founder of Ranowo
- Dr. Laura Middelberg, Licensed Psychologist
- Dr. Rosamaria Murillo, CEO El Buen Samaritano
- Ron Oliveira, Oliveira Public Communications
- Celeste Villarreal, Attorney
- Sally Hernandez, Travis County Sheriff
- Honorable Dimple Malhotra, Judge
Founding Board Chair:
James Y. Bryce, Attorney at Law
Founder and Executive Director Emeritus:
Micaela LumpkinsBedichek Middle School
Micaela graduated from Stephen F. Austin SU in 2019 with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. A love for creating positive relationships with children led to over five years as a preschool teacher in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In 2021 she moved to Austin and became a case manager for foster youth. Since starting work with at-risk youth, Micaela has fallen in love with the meaningful relationships that are fostered, seeing the growth in a child, and knowing she is making a difference. Micaela now attends UTA as a master’s level Social Work student. Outside of work and school, Micaela likes spending time with her husband, Ben, and their dog, Piper. She is an avid reader, crafter, and self-proclaimed mega nerd.
Reyna DelgadoManor High School
I'm Reyna, originally from the Midwest and moved to Texas after receiving my Associates degree in Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement to pursue my bachelors in Criminology with a minor in police and youth studies at UHCL. While attending UHCL I worked and volunteered with youth in the Criminal Justice system in Harris and Montgomery counties. I then took a break from school to go home and spend time with family and help with my aging grandmother. In December of 2022 I returned to Texas and began working with youth in CPS care at a RTC in Austin. Currently I am finishing up my bachelors in May and will begin working on my Masters in Social Work after that. During my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and playing basketball and boxing.
Destiney BrooksNavarro High School
Destiney was born In Victoria, Tx, and moved to Austin to attend Huston Tillotson University, where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology. Destiney is working on getting her master's in Business Administration at Prairie View A&M University. In her free time, she loves spending time with family, writing poetry, and doing editorial makeup. Destiney has always had a passion for helping others, especially youth in a school setting. Helping prevent the school-to-prison pipeline has been one of her many goals.
Stephanie DickhautParedes Middle School
Stephanie is from the DFW area and moved to San Marcos to begin her college career, where she graduated from Texas State University in 2022 with her Bachelors degree in social work. Shortly thereafter she began her career with CARY working at Paredes Middle School. Stephanie has always been passionate about understanding and managing emotions, as well as working with youth to create bright futures! Her motto is: Life is tough, but so are you! In her free time, Stephanie enjoys being with friends, visiting her family back home, trying out new recipes, and exploring her new home of Austin.
Leah UrieLively Middle School
Leah grew up in Central Texas and attended college at LeTourneau University where she studied Psychology. Afterwards, she knew she wanted an adventure in the Pacific Northwest and moved to Portland, Oregon for graduate school where she studied Marriage and Family Therapy at George Fox University. Her role as a trauma-informed therapist has cultivated her ability to value individual differences, develop meaningful relationships, and recognize cultural diversity – all while creating joy in chaotic or stressful seasons of life. After working professionally in Oregon and Washington for several years as a Child and Family Therapist, she moved back to Texas, settled in Austin, and started working for CARY. When not working, Leah loves to play arcade games, explore new coffee shops with her partner to read and play cribbage, and bake treats for her three-legged pup, Jack.
Stacy WalkerMartin Middle School
Claudia ElizondoCrockett High School
My name is Claudia Elizondo, I was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas. I got my bachelor's degree in Psychology in my local university, UTB/TSC before moving to get my master’s degree in Counseling in Texas A&M Corpus Christi. I moved back to my hometown and worked in Southwest Keys for about 2 years. I worked with unaccompanied minors as a Clinician and worked in supporting my clients that had different backgrounds and traumas in their life. I then moved to Louisiana where I worked as a Hispanic Bilingual Advocate in Metro Centers for Community Advocacy. As an advocate, I worked with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. I missed Texas too much and decided to move back to Texas, where I found my awesome job here at CARY in Crockett High School. One of the main goals that I have when working with my clients is to empower them with skills and strategies to take control of their lives and of their futures. I very much believe that the clients are the most knowledgeable about themselves and I’m here as a support as they help discover what they can do. I teach them ways to regulate their emotions, including anger, in healthy ways as well as social skills that they need to navigate in their current and future lives. Here at Crockett H.S. I provide students with a calm space that they could use to help them get their emotions in control and try to teach the students the skills in a fun, creative, and interactive way. In my personal time, I love crafting, reading, video gaming, and watching a variety of tv shows.
Zakeia AllenDobie Middle School
Zakeia was born and raised in Bakersfield and Fairfield California. She moved to Austin Texas in 2005 and considered herself a “Cali Texan.” She graduated from Texas State University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor and Social Work. She also gained her Master's degree in psychology in 2019. While pursuing her master's she worked as Intensive Case Manager for children and families. She decided to pursue her Ph.D. and after her first residency, she realized she had a passion to continue to work with children and families and decided to put her Ph.D. on hold and get her LPC. Zakeia is currently enrolled at St Edward's University where she plans to graduate and become a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2024. In her free time, she coaches and travels with her 3 kids and husband. She also found a new love for baking.
Kirsten StrandKealing Middle School
Kirsten, originally from Houston, moved to Austin to attend St. Edward’s University where she studied social work. During her time at St. Edward’s she worked at an emergency shelter for foster youth and became very connected to vulnerable populations who have experienced trauma, particularly youth. Here, she saw firsthand the power that positive relationships and warm connections can have. She continued on to obtain her Masters in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin, where she would find more opportunities to serve and support youth who have experienced different forms of trauma, such as drug abuse, physical abuse, and sexual assault. When she’s not working with kids, Kirsten loves to cook, especially for friends and family, traveling, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two dogs.
Morgan WoodwardOjeda Middle School
Morgan is a graduate student at Capella University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She was born outside of Seattle, Washington and lived there until going to college at Eastern Washington University. After obtaining her bachelor's degree in Applied Developmental Psychology, she moved to Portland, OR and worked with teenagers in the Juvenile Justice System for three years before moving to the Austin area. Her role as counselor as allowed her to teach adolescents skills that will be helpful throughout their life while building meaningful relationships. When not at work, Morgan enjoys playing with her puppy, Raina, drinking coffee, or exploring the Austin area.
Roy HerreraDecker Middle School
Roy Herrera III, has a bachelor's degree from the University of Houston. He enjoys his work as a Youth Advisor in Austin, TX.
Ebony CarterWebb Middle School
Ebony received her Bachelors of Social Work from Salisbury University in Salisbury, MD and her Masters of Social Work from Howard University in Washington, DC. At Salisbury University, Ebony became a sister of Lambda Theta Alpha, Latin Sorority Inc. While in school, Ebony worked with Child Protective Services, the Health Department, and various outpatient mental health agencies taking reports of child abuse and neglect, providing group therapy and supervising volunteers, and providing individual therapy and writing treatment plans, respectively. Ebony has worked with various mental health diagnoses, different populations, and different mental health settings during her social work journey. Originally from Maryland, she recently moved to Austin, TX with the hopes of being able to further her social work career and be able to help to support as many children and adolescents as she can. When she's not working, Ebony loves to spend time with her family and friends, travel to different places and states, and attend concerts and other musical events.
Jaela DavisManor Middle School
I am from Illinois and recently moved here a few months ago to work with CARY. I went to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, I graduated in December 2021 with a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. After graduating I worked as a Youth Job Coach in St. Louis, MO and also as a Substitute Teacher, through these jobs I realized that I enjoyed working with youth and wanted to continue that. In my free time I enjoy finding things to do around Austin, hanging out with friends, and talking to my little brother.
Del Valle Middle SchoolDel Valle Middle School
Samantha JohnsonDailey Middle School
Samantha grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and attended the University of Missouri in Columbia where she studied Psychology. While earning her degree, Samantha worked as an in-home behavior aide and a youth care specialist in a trauma-informed residential setting. In those settings, Samantha realized her passion for empowering adolescents and forming positive relationships. After graduating, she decided to move out of Missouri and found that the opportunities available in Austin were the most exciting to her. Samantha is so happy to be a part of the CARY team and enjoys the connections she has made with the students and staff at Dailey Middle School. When she's not working, Samantha loves to travel, read, try new workout classes, and explore Austin.
Lela Thomas PigottDel Valle High School
Born and raised between Alaska and Washington state, Lela studied at Western Washington University. She graduated with a degree in Human Services, and a focus on chemical dependency, as well as foster care services. Upon moving to Austin, Lela found her passion working with underestimated teens in a school setting. Lela has worked in Bellingham, Chicago and Austin. She now serves as a Youth Advisor at Del Valle High School, and absolutely loves her job. When she isn't at work Lela enjoys reading, writing, and exploring local shops.
Lindsey ReedAkins High School
Lindsey was born in Oregon and moved to Texas a few years ago. She received her masters in forensic
psychology in 2023 from North Central University. Upon moving to Texas, Lindsey found her passion
working with at-risk youth within the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Lindsey has experience working
with youth in the justice system, unhoused/at-risk of being unhoused youth, and youth with various
mental health diagnoses. She believes that life can be difficult to navigate, but that youth are truly
resilient and can grow to live fulfilling lives. When Lindsey is not working, she can be found hiking with her dogs, enjoying live music, and watching scary movies. She also enjoys meditation, reading, and trying new restaurants.