The Early Childhood support council is comprised of 25+ members from the educational, philanthropic, nonprofit and business communities that are dedicated to providing all children in our community with a quality early childhood education. The council works to ensure that all Dallas County enter kindergarten ready to learn and are on track for literacy skill development by the end of 3rd grade. The council meets monthly to review local data and align on collaborative actions. In the first phase of the councils work, two collaborative action networks have been initiated to focus on improving literacy outcomes in 14 elementary schools educating ~8,000 children in South Oak Cliff and Molina feeder patterns. The collaborative action networks will use ongoing and timely data collection to drive decision making, identify practices that work and implement them throughout their schools. Once practices have been proven, the council will advocate for spreading those practices throughout our community. In the next phase of work, the council will focus on ensuring access to a quality early childhood education for children 0-5 years of age so all children in our community enter school with the skills necessary to be successful.
Peter currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Southwestern Medical Foundation; The Dallas Foundation, which he chaired; the Dallas Citizens Council; the Design Futures Council; and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Council at Princeton University which he formerly chaired. He has served on the Board of the Greater Dallas Chamber, which he chaired in 2001, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission, and the Stanford Business School Trust.
He and his wife, Nancy, live in Dallas. They have two children, Spin and John, who both attend the University of Texas in Austin.
Elementary Language Arts Facilitator and Dyslexia Services Coordinator, Grand Prairie ISD
Prof. of Curriculum and Instruction, Texas A&M University
In addition, Dr. Brown has served as a member of the Education Committee of the Southern Regional Education Board, where he provided research and recommendations to legislators on critical issues in public education. In 2007, Dr. Brown was considered for a Texas State Board governmental appointment by Governor Rick Perry.
Dr. Brown has several publications on Literacy and Young Children, and holds memberships in the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Association for Childhood Education International, National Head Start Association, Society for Research in Child Development, American Educational Research Association, and the International Reading Association. He has consulted with numerous publishing companies including Scholastic, DLM, and Frog Street Press in the area of curriculum development and implementation. He currently serves as a National Advisor for the popular children’s television program, Sesame Street.
Senior Advisor, SMU Preschool Teacher Education
Executive Vice President (Ret.), EDS
Castle’s EDS responsibilities included legal affairs, corporate communications, community affairs, government affairs and public relations. He also served on EDS’ Management Board. Prior to joining EDS in 1988, he was a partner in the Dallas law firm of Hughes & Luce from 1974 until 1988. Hughes & Luce has now been acquired by K&L Gates.
Castle graduated in 1964 from the University of Texas with honors and, in 1967, from the University’s School of Law with honors. He has served as president of the University of Texas Law School Alumni Association and is a former trustee of the UT Law School Foundation. He is a member of the American, Texas and Dallas bar associations and is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. In 1998, Castle received the ADL Jurisprudence Award.
Castle is a past chairman of The Dallas Foundation, is currently the chair of The Bridge, Dallas’ homeless assistance center and TexProtects, and is on the boards of directors of The Foundation for Community Empowerment, The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, Reconcilliation Outreach, the Interfaith Housing Coalition, the Episcopal Center for Renewal, Nurse Family Partnership– national office, and the Center for Public Policy Priorities. Castle has previously served on the Boards of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Points of Light Foundation, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. In 2007, Castle received the “Trailblazer for Youth” award from the Texas Network of Youth Services in Austin, Texas.
He and his wife, Dorothy, have a daughter Amy Gray, who is a lawyer in Dallas, Texas, and married to Tom Gray, and two grandchildren, John Boone and Sullivan Elizabeth Gray. They are members of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation where he currently serves on the vestry. Castle has also chaired a strategic planning committee and a capital campaign for the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas.
Executive Director of Early Childhood Education & Community Partnerships, Dallas ISD
After some early success in the private sector, Alan dedicated his career to public education when he was awarded a fellowship by Education Pioneers to work with the Commit! Partnership, a regional collaborative dedicated to coordinating data-driven cooperation among the many educators, non-profits, foundations and community advocates working hard to support student achievement in Dallas County.
In addition to his work with Dallas ISD, Alan chairs the nonprofit selection committee for Carry The Load, a national charity dedicated to honoring and supporting frontline military, law enforcement, firefighters, rescue personnel, and their families.
Alan received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2010, and his BA in Sociology from Tulane University in 2005.
Chief Elementary Education Officer, Grand Prairie ISD
Co-Chair Early Childhood Support Council
Former Director of Early Childhood, Commit! Partnership, 2011-14
Prior to her role at Commit!, Marnie worked as a clinical lecturer at UT Dallas in the Department of Brain and Behavior Sciences. Focusing on the neurological basis for communication, her courses highlighted the importance of the brain development in the first seven years of life and the need for appropriate stimulation and language exposure to lay the foundation for future learning. Prior to UT Dallas, Marnie worked as a speech-language pathologist serving clients at both the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation and Dallas ISD before moving to the University of Texas at Dallas to run their Communication and Learning Center. At CLC, she focused on teaching assessment and treatment of brain injury to graduate students in the Brain and Behavior Sciences program. Earlier in her career, Marnie also taught in public schools in both Los Angeles and Houston through the Teach for America program and worked on the Texas House Education Committee during its rewrite of the Texas Education Code in 1995. Marnie currently sits on the board of Head Start of Greater Dallas and actively volunteers to support more children in their early childhood years in Dallas.
Marnie earned her Masters in Communication Science and Disorders at UT Dallas and earned her B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.
Founder and CEO, PlumLife
Regen has spent most of her life focused upon the lives of young children starting as a student teacher during high school (Foster Elementary, DISD). She has served as a teacher, school counselor, head of school, mother and, for the last 25 years, as a civic leader for a variety of organizations serving young children and their families.
In the Dallas community, Regen’s service includes previous leadership positions at the Child Care Group, Dallas Assembly, Dallas Foundation, Junior League of Dallas, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Dallas County Community College Foundation Board, Dallas for Children, Educational First Steps, Girls’ Adventure Trails, The Hockaday School, Planned Parenthood. (selected list) Currently, Regen serves as the Chairman of the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative, an initiative of over 25 Dallas area foundations working together to make measurable progress toward school readiness for one of Dallas’ most needy neighborhoods.
A Dallas native, Regen is a graduate of The Hockaday School, Yale University and holds a M.Ed from the University of North Texas, Regen is married to craniofacial surgeon, Jeff Fearon, and has a daughter in college and twin girls in middle school.
Director of Preschool Services, Region 10 Education Service Center
After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Education and Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Baylor University, LeAnn began her career in Garland ISD in 1979. She served preschool, elementary, middle school and secondary students as a Speech Language Pathologist for eight years before working as a teacher/case manager in Parents in Partnership, the district’s Early Childhood Intervention program, for infants and toddlers. After a year in that position, she started a new role in the district in which she worked with parents in the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) and assisted with the transition of families from the Parents in Partnership program to PPCD. She also worked with families as the children transitioned from the PPCD program into kindergarten or a different Special Education placement.
LeAnn moved to Region 10 ESC in October 1990 to be a consultant for the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities and gradually assumed more responsibilities in the new Head Start program that the ESC had begun. She was promoted to a leadership role and has overseen the growth of the program from 469 children to the current combined enrollment of 1,120. She and her team acquired funding to implement several initiatives including the Early Head Start project, the expansion of Head Start into new districts and counties, the Texas Early Education model (TEEM) for Pre-K, Head Start, and child care programs, the national pilot for Early Head Start Enhanced Home Visiting model, and the Early Learning Mentor Coach project for Early Head Start.
LeAnn currently serves on the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office Advisory Committee, the Collin College Child Development Advisory Board, the Dallas ISD Early Childhood Advisory Committee, and the Texas Education Agency Early Childhood Improvement Committee. She also is involved in many activities at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.
Prior to joining the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas team, Susan was the CEO and President of ChildCareGroup, a Dallas based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, delivering and expanding the best child care services available outside the home. She also previously served as the executive director of Educational First Steps and the Good Shepherd Community Center and as a senior leader at Rainbow Days. Her professional experience includes the positions of teacher, child care center director, and parent educator in domestic violence and drug abuse prevention programs. Susan is a well known children’s advocate at the local, state, and national levels.
Susan is the past president of the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children and served on an advisory committee for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She is the board chair of the Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition (TECEC) and the chair-elect of the Dallas Social Venture Partners (DSVP) board. Susan also serves on the Board of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars, the Jr. League of Richardson and the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health.
A native of Midland, Texas, Susan earned a degree in bilingual/bicultural education from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and completed graduate work in early childhood education at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and post graduate work in public administration and policy analysis at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Executive Director, College & Career Readiness for Elementary School, Richardson ISD
Her entire educational experience has been dedicated to working with students and families in Title 1 schools and raising their performance rates. One of her proudest accomplishments was raising her former elementary campus from recognized to exemplary and maintaining that rating during her 5 year principalship. The campus also earned the distinction of being named a Distinguished Title 1 school for 3 years in a row.
Though earning these achievements through the state accountability system have been rewarding, the focus on preparing students from low SES environments for their global futures is her true passion. Charis understands the early childhood preparatory stages that create a sense of urgency for pre-kindergarten readiness as well as elementary indicators for timely graduation. She is passionate about being a member of Commit!’s Early Childhood Council and making a difference for the children in the Dallas community.
President, The Dallas Foundation
A lifelong resident of Dallas, Mary’s background was in the volunteer sector and she continues to be involved in the nonprofit community. She has served as President of the Board of Trustees of The Hockaday School, Girl’s Adventure Trails, Educational Opportunities, Inc. and the Charter 100 of Dallas. Additionally she is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, at the University of Texas in Austin
Past board memberships include the Center for Nonprofit Management, the Foundation for Callier Center for Communications Disorders, the Greater Dallas Planning Council, the Greater Dallas Council of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Dallas Women’s Foundation, Dallas Chapter, American Red Cross, Hope Cottage Children’s Bureau, the Jr. League of Dallas, the Executive Board of the Algur H. Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, the Tejas Girl Scout Endowment Foundation, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, the Conference of Southwest Foundations and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers in Washington , D.C.
Mary participates in several national initiatives for the Council on Foundations. She serves as past chair of the National Standards Action Team and a current member of the Community Foundation National Standards Board.
Assistant Superintendent for Achievement and Student Services, Lancaster ISD
Director of Community Relations, SMU – Center on Communities and Education
Director, Center for Children and Families, The University of Texas at Dallas
Some of my early work documents the influence of close, confiding marriages in the development of involved, sensitive mother-infant and father-infant interactions and, in turn, the development of secure infant-parent attachment relationships. It also addresses the detrimental effects of parents’ marital conflict on children’s attachments to their parents, particularly with respect to insecure/disorganized qualities in the infant-parent relationship.
I was a Co-Principal Investigator in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development 1990-2007, collaborating with investigators across the country in a prospective longitudinal study of the effects of early child care on over 1300 children and their families. The study followed the children from birth through age 15, guided by an ecological developmental framework that brings together information about the child care environment, the home and family, school experiences, peer experiences, and individual differences among children in understanding trajectories of children’s development across multiple domains. One of my contributions to the study was in designing the protocol for the longitudinal assessments of mother-child and father-child interactions and training and supervising the ratings of all of the study’s videotapes of parent-child interactions from 6 months through age 15 years. Findings from the study have addressed (1) characteristics of child care for infants and toddlers across various types and forms of care; (2) associations found between the use of child care and demographic and attitudinal characteristics of families; and (3) associations between child-care experiences and children’s relationships with their mothers, adaptive and maladaptive social behavior, cognitive and language development, peer relations, qualities of mother-child interaction, health, and school achievement from preschool through middle school. Effects of early child care have been documented through adolescence. In addition numerous reports of developmental processes in children have been published from the study. In current follow-up work, we are studying the teens’ romantic relationships and attachment styles in their senior year of high school.
In the Dallas Child Care Project, we studied developmental effects of relationship-focused child care for low-income ethnically diverse children in Dallas and variations in the quality of care provided by accredited centers serving low-income children in the Dallas area.
Medical Director of Pediatrics for Community Medicine, Parkland Health & Hospital System
- Organizational design and effectiveness project for the US Department of Education
- Transformation plan development and implementation support for multiple urban districts and states (e.g. New Orleans, Dallas Independent School District, Delaware)
- Launch plan development for the National Math and Science Initiative
- Comprehensive teacher effectiveness plan development for multiple large urban school districts
- Higher education support (e.g. strategy, fund raising and development, new programs)
Prior to joining BCG, Mr. Puckett worked for IBM. He received a B.S. in Computer Science and Religion from Duke University, and an M.B.A. in Finance and Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the Boards for The Dallas Foundation and the Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Advisory Board for Teach for America. J. resides in Dallas, TX with his wife of 25 years and their four children.
Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning
Since 1996, Avance-Dallas has transformed the lives of more than 17,500 at-risk children and parents and grown into a results-driven organization serving more than 3,000 parents and young children annually at 33 Dallas County sites. During her tenure at Avance-Dallas, Ms. Oglesby Rocha established a strong organizational reputation for excellence, measurable results, family transformation, and strategic innovation to resolve community needs. Consequently, the Avance-Dallas team has equipped thousands of parents to get involved in their children’s education starting at birth and continuing through graduation and college, and stimulated thousands of children in the critical early years of development so they start kindergarten ready to succeed in school. Avance-Dallas graduates in the Dallas ISD have consistently achieved a higher cumulative attendance rate than their Dallas ISD peers and outperformed their Dallas ISD peers on state standardized TAKS tests.
Ms. Oglesby Rocha has been honored by a number of groups, including the “Outstanding Individual Award” from the Women’s Council of Dallas County and the “Dreamers, Doers, and Unsung Heroes Award” from the Real Estate Council. She has served on the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health Board of Directors, the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Children & Families Advisory Council, Dallas Achieves, the Dallas Mayor’s Every Child Ready to Read Initiative, and the Women’s Council of Dallas County.
Prior to Avance-Dallas, Ms. Oglesby received her Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, followed by a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has also served as Executive Director of Trinity River Mission, a West Dallas outreach effort to support families to break their cycle of poverty through education. She along with her team, established Trinity River Mission as a 501(c)3 organization and involved hundreds of volunteers to foster community development and self-sufficiency, providing wide-ranging, innovative bilingual educational programs.
Assistant Professor of Bilingual Development and Child Language, The University of Texas at Dallas
Director, Dallas Child Care Alliance
She currently serves as the Director of the Dallas Child Care Alliance and the Comprehensive System Plan Consultant for the Dallas County Texas Home Visiting Project. Melanie has worked with ChildCareGroup as Director of Marketing, Director of Public Affairs and now as a consultant. She was successful in devising a method to draw down previously unused federal dollars to Texas and has been instrumental in working to improve statewide child care policy. Additionally, Melanie was Project and Coalition Director for the Building Better Beginnings project for the Texas Association for Mental Health and Interim Executive Director of Texans Care for Children. Melanie has actively participated in the last ten state legislative sessions, developing legislative agendas, identifying funding sources, building coalitions and facilitating the passage of legislation.
Prior to her public affairs work, Melanie worked with Andersen Consulting in Change Management in Dallas and Houston.
Executive Director, Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation
Executive Director, Language and Literacy, Dallas ISD
Senior Vice President of Women and Infants Specialty Health, Parkland Health and Hospital System
Turicchi is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, DFW ACHE Forum, and Dallas Medicaid & CHIP Regional Advisory Committee. She was honored by the National Association of Public Hospitals (NAPH) as a 1997 Fellow for designing and implementing managed care programs in safety net institutions, and is a recipient of awards from NAPH and CMIO Magazine for use of the EMR to manage influenza in pregnancy.
Turicchi received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas and a master’s in health care administration from Trinity University. She lives in Dallas with her husband, Tom, and their two children. Both Paula and Tom have been involved in Dallas ISD school activities including PTA and the Site Based Decision Making Committee.
Director of K-2 Curriculum and Instruction, Dallas ISD
Executive Director, The Boone Family Foundation
Ms. Yung also serves on advisory boards for Ignite Texas, The Real Estate Council Community Fund, United Way Income Impact, and Texas Women Ventures and steering committees for the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative and Highland Park United Methodist Global Outreach. More than a decade of volunteer work on international mission trips and serving on nonprofit boards have paved the way for Ms. Yung’s transition from the corporate world to the nonprofit world.
A Telecom industry veteran, her previous corporate career includes roles in sales, strategic marketing, manufacturing operations and finance for Nortel Networks. Ms. Yung earned a Chartered Accountant designation at Ernst & Young and a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Canada.