Prior to joining Literacy Texas, Steve Banta served as President of the Southwest Region for Verizon Communications. His was responsible for public policy, governmental, regulatory, and corporate philanthropy matters. Steve’s connection with literacy began when it was the number one giving priority for the Verizon Foundation. Understanding the overwhelming challenge, he became a passionate supporter of nonprofit initiatives and worked to raise awareness in the public policy arena.
Steve is honored to serve as the Executive Director of Literacy Texas and to work with nonprofit literacy organizations across Texas to help those in need.
Communications & Training Specialist
Kathryn Bauchelle has spent her whole working life connected to education and training. Beginning her career as an educator in languages and literacy in Sydney, Australia, she took her first non-profit job after moving to London, UK. Her work at the Jubilee Debt Campaign (now Debt Justice), an international social justice NGO, sparked her interest in non-profit work and first exposed her to the power of good story-telling and communications.
After moving to Houston, TX in 2008, Kathryn volunteered as an ESL tutor at Literacy Advance of Houston, then joined the staff, holding roles over the next decade in volunteer management, program direction, fund development, grant writing, program evaluation, communications, training, and marketing. She helped guide Literacy Advance toward a successful merger with Memorial Assistance Ministries in 2018, and since 2019 has worked as a consultant.
Kathryn works with Literacy Texas on a part-time basis, focusing on the annual conference, regional symposia, and other training events, along with newsletter, social media, website, and all things communications.
Board of Directors
Ernest Lewis III
Nonprofit veteran Ernest Lewis III has a diverse background in the areas of management, fund development, media, literacy, arts administration, and community development. The New Orleans native has called Houston home for more than 15 years. Ernest has acquired varied experience in developing and shaping signature programming focusing on basic needs, disaster recovery, youth development, adult and family literacy, senior services, workforce development, art education, and homeless prevention.
During 20 years of service in the nonprofit arena, Ernest has cultivated, secured, and managed more than $20 million in private, federal, and public funds to advance the mission of many noteworthy nonprofits in New Orleans and Houston. Ernest served as President and CEO of the Adult Education Center in Pearland, TX until early 2022 and is currently Senior Director, Economic Initiatives at BakerRipley.
The American Leadership Class XL Senior Fellow and ARTreach of Katy Board President holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in business.
Alba Austin is the current Executive Director of the Permian Basin Adult Literacy Center and previously worked several positions at various non-profits throughout the years. When Alba was a child, her mother always said: “Education, Knowledge, and Learning are things no one can take away from you.” That really stuck with her and she has always been passionate about learning and continued education whatever form that takes – whether it’s learning a new skill, new language, new leadership or business skills. If you continue to learn you continue to grow. An educated community is an informed community!!
Alba is passionate about the work and the difference non-profit organizations like Literacy Texas make across the world. In her spare time she enjoys reading, antiquing, gardening, decorating, photography and travel.
Mike Meyers believes that education is the gateway to success and that helping adults achieve a high school degree leads to a better life. Mike, a CPA, served as CFO of Moni Smart Security which is one of the nation’s largest security alarm companies with over one million customers.
Mike has experience leading finance, accounting, HR, IT and operations functions. He currently serves on the Board of Eyewitness Surveillance and served as a Director and Treasurer of Arlington Arts League. Mike holds an MBA from UT Austin and teaches a graduate case study class at TCU.
Mike’s passion is all types of music from indie-rock to classical and loves attending concerts.
B.B. King once said, “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” A lifelong learner, Wes Young has made it his mission to help adults and families rise up through educational opportunities. He holds a Master’s Degree in Library Science and brought his experience working in public libraries to his current role as Executive Director of Tarrant Literacy Coalition in Fort Worth.
When not teaching classes or tutoring, he can be found perusing local vinyl record shops, fishing throughout his rural Wise County, or with his nose in a graphic novel or manga.
Carlos Carpizo is a member of the Private Directors Association with 10 years of experience on for-profit and non-profit boards. He’s a Mexican-American former executive turned entrepreneur and is passionate about social innovation.
Carlos is the founder of Kosmos, a social venture at the intersection of art, technology, and opportunity through which he’s carrying out his mission to increase economic growth and social inclusion for disadvantaged young adults on both sides of the border.
Carlos sees literacy as a foundation for both social inclusion and economic growth. He’s a graduate of the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico (ExATec) and Southern Methodist University (SMU).
Gina Franke was born in Orange, Texas but spent most of her “raising years” in Lake Charles, LA. Her parents both had strong Texas roots and wanted to make sure that, while their work had taken them to Louisiana, that they were true to their deep Texas roots by making sure Gina and her sister were born Texans.
Gina attended McNeese State University in Lake Charles and got a degree, with honors, from Howard College in San Angelo, Texas. She has been blessed with a varied career which took her from working at the Texas Medical Assn to counseling at the Austin Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program in Austin as well as counseling inmates at the IPTC Prison in Kyle, Texas.
She loves being civically involved, as illustrated by her having served on the Johnson City, Texas Independent School Board as well as chairperson for the Hays CISD District Leadership Team in Buda, Texas.
Gina understands and has a passion for the importance of literacy through her experiences in educational involvement as well as the knowledge gained through her work in both counseling and the criminal justice system.
James Garland is recognized as a national thought leader and expert in transportation planning. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of Transportation at the Houston-Galveston Area Council. James is responsible for leading a team of professionals to set the vision for growth, mobility, economic development, and land use for the eight-county Houston region. He also leads a team responsible for the design, planning, programming, and implementation of transportation projects for the region.
Prior to this role, he served as the Deputy Regional Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Region 5 office in Chicago. He also served as the Team Leader for the Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in Washington, DC. Over the years, he’s also held leadership roles for DOT offices in Atlanta and Seattle. Combined, James has over 20 years of professional experience and leadership in transportation planning, covering a broad range of projects from light rail/subway projects to large, complex highway projects.
James holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University in New York, and a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Public Policy from Dillard University in New Orleans.
Magda Salazar is a product management, journalism and communications, and event management professional with career experiences working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Israel Ministry of Tourism, NBA All-Star Jam Session, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Currently, she is serving as president of Hispanic Communicators DFW, a chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Magda’s passion for literacy efforts is a result of her own experience growing up along the Texas border in El Paso and access to programs that supported reading development. Magda is a product of the Head Start program, and in school, she competed in poetry, prose, and debate.
For Magda, collaborating on literacy efforts is fundamental to improving access and creating opportunities for communities of color and underrepresented communities.
Reading has been Kathy Schatz’s passion as far back as she can remember. In her work as a lawyer, the written word is an essential tool of the trade; in her free time, it is an ever-changing window into the wider world. Kathy is deeply committed to Literacy Texas’ mission to promote literacy among all adults, and enthusiastic about the path it opens for helping others to acquire this most basic foundation for success.
Kathy works as an employment attorney at Jackson Lewis P.C. and is a member of Rotary International. When she is not reading, Kathy loves to travel, explore other cultures, hike and enjoy nature.
Leticia Spillane is a tenured Associate Professor of Government at Laredo College, Board President to Literacy Volunteers of Laredo, and a dyslexia tutor. She comes to Literacy Texas with vast experience in Developmental Education in Reading and Writing, Assessment, and Curriculum Development. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas in Political Science and a Master’s of Science Degree in Special Education and Reading from Texas A&M International University.
She is passionate about helping members in her community reach their personal literacy goals and works tirelessly in creating and developing spaces where adult students can feel encouraged and inspired to learn.
Dr. Kevin Thompson
Dr. Kevin Thompson is a knowledge broker and staunch advocate for strategic social improvement who’s passionate about helping individuals and organizations (within the public and private sectors) find their true North. He has served as a cultural intermediary for communities and organizations (faith-based, non-profit, and for-profit) for over a decade.
His social education platform and patented Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (Incorporation) footprint can be found within school districts, church conferences, corporations, and non-profit organizations throughout the country.
In addition, he is an experienced curriculum developer who tailors and implements training/teaching curricula on specialized topics. He has appeared on several local and national media outlets as a guest commentator on matters of race, education, diversity & inclusion, African American Studies, and religion. He is currently the Program Manager and an Adjunct Professor for the University of Houston’s Department of African American Studies.