Learn4Life is excited bring our program to Texas. Our application is currently pending. Check back often, as we will be regularly updating this page with more information when available. We can’t wait to help you Change your Story!
Learn4Life’s board members all have strong ties in Austin and nearby communities. Their backgrounds are diverse and bring a vast array of education leadership, business acumen and passion for improving schools for all students, regardless of background. We have a former foster child, a charter school graduate, a onetime Department of Education presidential appointee and high achievers in business, management, operations, human resources, school administration, journalism and real estate. Learn4Life values the strengths and insights this board brings to ensuring our success in Texas.
Kenya Jackson has 20+ years leadership in urban and traditional public and charter schools. Her career has focused on advocating for students from underrepresented backgrounds. She is currently the academic director at Uplift Infinity Middle School in South Irving, one of 37 high-performing, tuition-free, public charter schools in underserved areas. B.A. in English from Dillard University, UNCF Mellon Fellow and scholarship to Rhodes University in South Africa. M.S. in secondary education and teaching from Pace University.
Virginia Lopez is a Society for Human Resources Management-certified professional (SHRM-CP) and has an extensive background in operations, administration, customer service and facilities management in a wide range of industries. She was with IDEA charter school for four years as head of operations and facility management, handling day-to-day operations, student recruitment and P&L responsibility. B.A. in Spanish and international relations from Texas A&M University.
James R. Vasquez was with Edgewood Independent School District in San Antonio for 30 years, most recently as regional education administrator, serving historically economically disadvantaged families. For three years he was director of governance for the Texas Education Agency investigating allegations of school board malfeasance. He is a sought-after consultant, training public school boards members in their proper and effective role. Fluent in Spanish; doctorate in education from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio.
Ward Tisdale is an accomplished executive with 20 years management experience, leading programs, policies and initiatives across the U.S. and abroad. He founded a first-of-its-kind advocacy organization aimed at recruiting, training and helping future-focused candidates get elected to the city council and critical city boards and commissions. He has been featured in numerous media stories about his innovative approach to local politics. The former newspaper reporter spent six years as deputy press secretary to the Texas attorney general. B.A. in Art History and M.A. in journalism from the University of Texas, Austin.
David Thompson has extensive experience in education as a teacher, department chair and administrator serving low-income students, and working with E3 Alliance to support district leadership in strategic planning based on student achievement data. His forte is building systems and processes that maximize efficiency and success. B.S. in business and management from Texas A&M.
Natalie Alexa Celia Hernandez represents the very students Learn4Life will reach. Growing up in East Austin, she saw first-hand the consequences of poorly funded and managed schools. She saw friends drop out due to pregnancy, drugs, poverty or immigration status. She transferred to IDEA charter school and found the personalized attention and focus on success to be the ideal opportunity to allow her to meet her potential. She graduated with honors and is pursuing a degree in government at the University of Texas, Austin.
Jesus R. Kain is a former foster child who completed high school and pursued higher education. He is passionate about helping students from similar backgrounds have the opportunities they deserve. Kain has dedicated his career to operations, strategic planning, and financial management in the education and healthcare fields. B.S. in biology from Messiah College and a Master of Healthcare Administration from Saint Joseph’s University.
Nathan C. Lowry is a champion of education in the North Austin area and knows how to run a successful school. For the past 10+ years he has been a special education teacher, principal and is currently vice president/regional administrator with IDEA charter schools. B.S. in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and a Master’s of school leadership from Columbia University Teacher College.
Isabel Shelton was appointed by the Obama administration to work with the secretary of education’s chief of staff for four years, helping initiatives to provide universal access to high-quality education. In her hometown of Austin, she advocates for local education reform by supporting high performing charter schools that serve low-income students and by engaging the business community to support student outcomes. She currently heads people analytics and talent insights for Whole Foods Markets. B.A. in international studies from the University of Arizona and MBA from University of Texas McCombs School of Business.
Wayne Knox is a higher education administer with a keen interest in ensuring the K-12 pipeline is robust and diverse. He has served on the board of a K-8 charter school and currently serves on boards for community development, education and workforce development. His strength is in operations management, strategic planning, fiscal management and board affairs. B.S. in business administration and finance, Central State University in Ohio, and MPA in international public management from DePaul University.