WHO’S WHO

The collaborative work of Prosper Waco initiative would not be possible without partners aligning their contributions to the community’s goals, Leadership Council members supporting the efforts of the initiative and guiding the backbone staff, the Board of Directors for providing governance and vision for the Prosper Waco initiative, and the backbone staff convening and facilitating the cross-sector groups. Use the menu below to learn more about who is involved in the initiative.

Mayor Dillon Meek

Dillon Meek was elected mayor of Waco in November 2020. He served on the Waco City Council 2015-2020, representing district 4. While on council, he learned the importance of listening, fostering collaboration, and building consensus. He has served on the boards of the following organizations: Downtown Waco Farmers Market, Unbound Waco, Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization, City Center Waco, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, Greater Waco Sports Commission, and Inspiracion.

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Tiffany Gallegos Whitley
Director of Workforce Initiatives

Tiffany Gallegos Whitley is Director of Workforce Initiatives. She has called Waco home for the past 12 years. She is a two-time Baylor University graduate, receiving a bachelor's degree in international studies and a Master of Social Work degree. In her role as Director of Workforce Initiatives, Tiffany will oversee workforce projects that bring together key stakeholders to collaborate and continue building equitable training and career pathways for all McLennan County residents.

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Christopher Reid
Director, Center for Transforming Alternative Preparation Pathways (for Teachers)

Christopher Reid is director of the Center for Transforming Alternative Preparation Pathways (CTAPP) at Prosper Waco. He leads CTAPP’s efforts related to teacher preparation, partnering with alternative certification programs to improve programming, and novice teacher effectiveness.

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Mia O’Suji
Director of Content Development and Programming (in Teacher Preparation)

Mia O’Suji is director of content development and programming for the Center for Transforming Alternative Preparation Pathways at Prosper Waco. Mia is responsible for providing technical assistance to alternative teacher certification programs across Texas, specializing in high-quality alternative certification pathways for novice teachers to improve the quality of educators in classrooms across the state.

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Dexter Hall
Chief of Staff & Senior Content Specialist for Financial Security

Hall is a native of East Waco and was raised in Oakland, Calif. He is owner of Noir Kith Consultants, which provides business and consumer financial management consulting. Hall retired in 2019 after 28 years with Wells Fargo. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration / public administration from California State University in Hayward.

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George Kazanas, Ed.D.

George Kazanas is Midway ISD’s eighth superintendent. He became superintendent of
Midway June 1, 2012, after serving for three years as superintendent of Wichita Falls
ISD and a decade at China Spring ISD. Dr. Kazanas is a graduate of West High School and began his career teaching business-education courses in West ISD. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Baylor University and a Doctor of Education degree from Tarleton State University.

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Fred Hills, Ph.D.

Fred Hills is vice president of instruction at McLennan Community College. He is a tenured faculty member and served as dean of Arts, Sciences and Business, QEP director, and program director for Computer Information Systems at MCC prior to his appointment as vice president. Dr. Hills retired from the U.S. Air Force, where he served as an information systems and telecommunications officer. He has a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of North Texas in Denton.

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Susan Kincannon, Ed.D.

Susan Kincannon joined Waco Independent School District as its superintendent in September 2019. Dr. Kincannon has served in public education for 30 years as a teacher, principal, assistant/deputy superintendent, and superintendent. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, a master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Baylor University.

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Jerry Maze, Ed.D.

Jerry Maze is executive director for Education Service Center Region 12 in Waco, which provides cost-saving services, professional development and support to 76 school districts and 10 charter schools in 12 Central Texas counties. Dr. Maze has served in education for 30 years in various districts and capacities, including teacher, director, consultant, principal, and superintendent. Prior to joining ESC Region 12 he served as superintendent in Hillsboro and Hubbard ISDs.

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Tiffiney Gray
Senior Specialist for Health Initiatives

Tiffiney Gray is experienced in project management, fundraising & development, grants administration, and participatory research. Over her career, she has partnered with a broad base of community organizations and institutions to advance youth development, education, and health & well-being.

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Hermann Pereira
Senior Content Specialist for Education

Hermann Pereira has spent the past 14 years in education in a variety of roles such as teacher, coach, director, assistant principal, and principal. In his most recent role, Hermann was the principal of Connally Career Tech Pathways in Technology Early College High School as well as the career and technology education director at Connally ISD. His leadership earned his campus and district a number of grants and recognition from the Texas Education Agency, University of Texas STEM Center, Educate

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Ferrell Foster, D.Min.
Content Specialist for Care and Communication

Ferrell Foster is a graduate of East Texas State University in Commerce, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, where he earned his doctorate focusing on African American perspectives on justice. A native of Dallas, Dr. Foster has spent most of his professional life as an ethics and justice advocate and communications leader, including time as editor of three publications.

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Emily Hunt-Hinojosa, Ph.D.
Director of Research and Community Impact

Emily Hunt-Hinojosa serves as director of research and community impact at Prosper Waco. She is responsible for evaluating progress toward community goals in the areas of education, health, and financial security. Dr. Hunt-Hinojosa holds an Associate Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture where she employed prior to joining the team at Prosper Waco.

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Jeremy Vickers, Ph.D.

Jeremy Vickers joined Baylor University as the Associate Vice President of External Affairs in June of 2018 where he leads institutional events, community relations, and external affairs. Jeremy previously served Dallas Baptist University as Dean of the College of Professional Studies where he led efforts to expand and grow the mission of DBU by serving adults and working professionals across North Texas through innovative online, hybrid, and in person degrees and programs.
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Stephanie Korteweg

Stephanie Korteweg represents District 2 on the Waco ISD Board of Trustees. She also works as the director of the STARS Mentoring Project at Antioch Community Church. For 11 years, Stephanie was an elementary school teacher for Waco ISD and won the district's Outstanding Teacher acknowledgement for the 2007-2008 school year.

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Sammy Salazar
Community Data Specialist & HMIS Administrator

Sammy is a native of Waco, Texas and served as Prosper Waco’s Data Analyst Intern for almost two years before transitioning into his new role as Data Coordinator. He recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA from Baylor University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He is excited to continue working with Prosper Waco and using his love of data to help strengthen the community of Waco. In his free time, Sammy enjoys going to the movies, reading a good book, and spending time with

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Hazel Rowe, Ed.D.

Hazel Rowe has served in education for more than five decades, including two periods of service as interim superintendent of Waco ISD during the 2000-2001 school year and again in 2019. Dr. Rowe's first teaching assignment was as a reading instructor for at-risk high school students and adults in Clearfield, UT. She then taught fourth-grade students at McGuire Air Force Base and North Waco Elementary. Dr. Rowe served as the assistant principal and principal of Crestview Elementary before bec

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Jackson O. Griggs, M.D.
Treasurer

Jackson Griggs is the Chief Executive Officer of Heart of Texas Community Health Center, a fifteen-site federally-qualified health center serving 60,000 patients in Central Texas. Dr. Griggs is a family physician who has practiced medicine for fifteen years, focusing on families living in poverty. Before executive leadership, he trained over 150 resident physicians while on faculty of the Waco Family Medicine Residency Program. He is an active researcher and has published over 20 manuscripts on

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Suzii Paynter March
Chief Executive Officer

Suzii Paynter March is a graduate of Baylor University, with a lifetime of experience in organizational leadership and public advocacy. In September 2019, she became executive director of Prosper Waco. Suzii has held advocacy and leadership roles with the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, the Christian Life Commission, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and Pastors for Texas Children.

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Andrea Barefield

Andrea Jackson Barefield was elected to the Waco City Council to represent District I on May 5, 2018 and sworn in on May 15, 2018. Andrea is the Executive Director of the Texas Brazos Trail Region – part of the Texas Heritage Trails Program. Before joining the Texas Brazos Trail Region, Andrea was the Main Street Manager for City Center Waco.

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Andrea Aviles
Administrative Assistant

Andrea is a native of Waco, Texas who has enjoyed serving her community and volunteering in various fields. She attends Texas Tech University through McLennan Community College, concentrating on Communications. In her free time, she enjoys exploring natural attractions as well as fashion blogging, and dog sitting!

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Bryan Dalco
Chief Operating Officer

Rev. Bryan Dalco is a native of Beaumont, TX and is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University and holds a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School. Bryan has served several churches under appointment for 20 years in the Central Texas Conference and served as executive director of two nonprofits in the Houston area. Bryan is a mentor at South Waco Elementary, a member of Waco NAACP and active in many other community organizations. He is married to Tara and has 4 children.

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Tom Stanton

Tom Stanton is currently the Executive Director of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation. Stanton's executive career has spanned more than 40 years beginning with American Broadcasting Company subsidiary Word Incorporated and as Baylor University’s Athletic Director.

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Virginia DuPuy

Virginia DuPuy, President and CEO of DuPuy Oxygen, served as Waco’s mayor from 2005-2010. Between 2000 and 2005, she served as a Chair of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, President of the Workforce Board and the Waco Business League, during which time she discerned the need for a new community visioning process and a business perspective on the City Council.

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Kyle Deaver
President

Kyle Deaver was elected as the Mayor of Waco on May 9, 2016. He served as the District V representative to the Waco City Council for four years prior to that. Kyle is an attorney and businessman who is active in the Waco community.

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Shirley Langston

Ms. Shirley Langston, MA is the founder and executive director of Restoration Haven, Inc. She is also a part-time lecturer at Baylor University and McLennan County Community College. As a passionate professional, she brings restoration, transformation and empowerment to families in at-risk communities. Shirley has spent the last 10 years as a community leader serving the underserved and marginalized in the East Waco community.

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Rev. C J Oliver

Rev. CJ Oliver recently retired as being Senior Pastor of Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church Waco, Inc. He has been very instrumental in working with community organizations in order to better the greater Waco population. He is the founder of B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S of Waco, Inc. His favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 which states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

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Philip Patterson

Philip Patterson joined Providence Healthcare Network as President in February 2018. Philip has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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Glenn Robinson

Glenn Robinson has been the President of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Hillcrest since September 2007. He has more than 30 years experience in hospital and healthcare management, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and has received several professional awards. Glenn serves on a number of national and state healthcare boards, including the AHA Regional Policy Board.

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Alfred Solano
Vice-President

Alfred Solano was raised in Waco and is a graduate of Texas State Technical College. After 35 years in business, he is now President and CEO of Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Waco. Serving on the CTHCC board for many years presented numerous opportunities, and that experience shaped his passion for engaging businesses with the non-profit sector.

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