December 13, 2015

Our Staff and Board

Jennifer A. Edwards

Chief Executive Officer

Jennifer Edwards has a true, lifelong passion for reading, and quotes Thomas Jefferson who said, "I cannot live without books." With over 15 years of extensive nonprofit leadership experience, Jennifer uses her talents to lead Literacy Texas in a time of dynamic growth, exploring and strengthening partnerships, and supporting hundreds of literacy organizations across Texas who help to ensure that all Texans can read. Jennifer is a dedicated Longhorn, and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. In her spare time, Jennifer maintains the South Austin Little Free Library and enjoys gardening, painting, and travel.

You may reach Jennifer at:

Sasha Khalifeh

Program Manager

A lifelong bookworm, Sasha holds degrees in creative writing from the University of Houston and Bowling Green State University, where she served as a writing tutor and a teaching fellow, and worked for two nationally-distributed literature journals. Her experience with students from all backgrounds, coupled with her love of literature, fuels her passion for education; she fully believes that advancing literacy is the first step to providing opportunity for all. In her free time, Sasha can be found baking, playing with her dog, and getting second place in bar trivia.

You may reach Sasha at:

Bridgett Krienke

Community Coordinator

Bridgett has a passion for education and personal development. She has firsthand experience with the benefits of community literacy coalitions, as she utilized one to prepare for her high school equivalency test. She holds an associate’s degree in music business, a bachelor’s in communication studies from Southwestern University, and is currently working towards a master’s in strategic communication and innovation at Texas Tech University. In her free time, Bridgett enjoys traveling, historical architecture, and live music. If she’s not exploring new destinations or at a concert, she’s probably at home with her rescue cat Woody Harrelson.

You may reach Bridgett at:

Our Board of Directors

Lisa Hembry

Board President

Lisa Hembry has been involved in adult education since she began her tenure as the President of LIFT. From 2002 - 2006, Lisa served as Dallas County Treasurer managing daily investments of $500 million as well as a trustee of the Texas County & District Retirement Service. A veteran of nonprofit work, Lisa believes that through the advocacy efforts of Literacy Texas and others millions of Texas will have a better chance to pass the high school equivalency test and become eligible for living wage employment. During her free time, Lisa practices yoga and is learning Spanish through a class at LIFT.

Teri Walker

Board Vice President

Teri Walker originally worked in technology management, and left the field to work in nonprofit. After serving for 6 years as the Executive Director of Aberg Center for Literacy, she now owns her own company, CommonTeri Services, which provides technology management services to nonprofits. Teri believes that Literacy Texas can offer a unified voice for advancing adult education in our state. In her spare time, Teri plays banjo, hosts dinner parties, reads nonfiction, and travels – not necessarily in that order.

Robert Pinhero

Board Treasurer

Robert Pinhero has gone from volunteering in the late 80s to directing a local literacy program, and over the years has served as President of local, state and multi-state organizations, and now serves as the director of the Literacy Council of Williamson County, where he can experience the satisfaction and results this work provides up close and personal every day. Robert has a love of entrepreneurship and often volunteers his time helping people that are trying to start or grow a very small business.

Jennifer Slade

Board Secretary

Jennifer considers her passion for sharing a love of learning with those who need a second chance a calling to serve others given by God. As a high school educator and community member, she joined the board of the East Texas Literacy Council in 1995, where she also served as Executive director from 2004 until 2016. Jennifer and her staff has greatly benefitted from the training provided by Literacy Texas, and has helped The East Texas Literacy Council become more effective in the field. When Jennifer needs to recharge, you can find her reading or snow skiing in Colorado with her young grandchildren.

Dale Pillow

Conference Chair

Dale Pillow believes that every adult should have the opportunity to learn, and should never have to pay for this opportunity. A graduate of Our Lady of the Lake University, Dale has been involved in Adult education since being hired as the President and CEO of the Adult Reading Center in September, 2001, where she still works hard to promote literacy in her community. Dale loves to read, and will never be caught without a book available.

Dr. Ida Acuna-Garza

Board Member

Dr. Ida Acuna Garza has been working in Adult Education her whole life. She has developed a bilingual curriculum to reach parents of high school students with information on helping their children graduate from high school and enroll in post-secondary education, and currently serves as the Executive Director of the South Texas Literacy Coalition. Ida has written two children’s books about a cat named Callie, a rescued Calico kitten, who helped her children and Ida herself learn about family, love, and friendship.

Angela Cox

Board Member

For Angela Cox, Literacy Texas means that she can contribute to a worthy cause and make a difference in this world. She believes that if an adult who has never obtained a high school diploma could be given the opportunity to obtain a GED, it increases their chances of employment, which is positive for the whole community. Angela’s work serving on local literacy boards and committees, fundraising for literacy programs, and volunteer work as an ESL tutor is proof that education is close to her heart. Angela currently serves as Manager of Corporate Community Relations with Centerpoint Energy.

Joshua Hayes

Board Member

Joshua Hayes began his career at an Episcopal health outreach clinic in Beaumont, TX, and went on to operate basic literacy and GED programs for SEARCH Homeless Project near downtown Houston. Joshua became Director of Adult Education at College of the Mainland in 2008, and also serves on the board of the Mainland Children's Partnership in Galveston County. He has been involved with Literacy Texas since 2001, when he attended his first TAALC Conference, and enjoys cooking, reading quality non-fiction and bad fiction, and fishing with his nephew.

Kathy Schatz

Board Member

Jamie Williams

Board Member