Our Board and Team | About Us | Families Empowered

MEET THE TEAM

Theresa Callaway

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Theresa Callaway

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Email: Email: tcallaway@familiesempowered.org

Theresa Callaway is a passionate communications professional with a strong administrative background that specializes in content strategy, social media management and content creation. She comes to Families Empowered with a background in Journalism, Media Design and an ever-growing passion for learning new things and exploring new opportunities. She is passionate about using her skills to continue helping others, giving back to her community and using her background to tell engaging stories in new and creative ways. Theresa aims to continue using her skills to give back and make a difference in the communities she serves. 
 
Theresa lives in Georgetown with her two cats, Gemini and Gizmo.

Patricia Castillo

Operations Manager

Patricia Castillo

Operations Manager

Email: pcastillo@familiesempowered.org

Prior to working at Families Empowered, Patricia was the Office Manager at USA Car Sales from October 2011 to February 2019. In March 2003, she moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, and opened a popsicle factory to help her two younger sisters go to college. In addition to being the founder of that business, she managed finance, administration, and production. The work that Families Empowered does every day is something Patricia holds close to her heart, and she considers it an honor for her to be able to work alongside a team that is making such an impact and difference in the lives of others.

Ayla Dehghanpoor

Director of Marketing & Communications

Ayla Dehghanpoor

Director of Marketing & Communications

Email: adehghanpoor@familiesempowered.org
Phone: (832) 955-7664

Ayla Dehghanpoor is a communications professional who specializes in marketing strategy and creative content production. She comes to Families Empowered with a background in print media and spent much of her career at a local lifestyle publishing house and advertising agency in Texas. She is passionate about bringing accurate, quality information to the audiences she serves, and sharing stories that make an impact.

She lives in Houston with her husband, Zach, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Parker.

Lea Del Rio

Family Success Specialist

Lea Del Rio

Family Success Specialist

Email: ldelrio@familiesempowered.org
Phone: (713) 589-8767

Lea Del Rio is a mother and grandmother with extensive customer service experience. She has been serving customers for more than 15 years in a wide variety of industries including insurance, mortgage, and legal. As a community member she has served as volunteer supporting homeless young adults for more than seven years. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, walking on the beach, and enjoying a good movie with a cup of coffee.

Colleen Dippel

Founder & CEO

Colleen Dippel

Founder & CEO

Email: cdippel@familiesempowered.org
Phone: (713) 589-8767

Colleen Dippel began her career as a public school teacher. She left teaching to help launch a private-sector education technology start-up. She’s served as the Director of the KIPP School Leadership Program, the Director of Alumni Support for Teach For America- Houston, and as the Director of Education Initiatives at Aquinas Co. At Aquinas, she launched Families Empowered, which she leads today.

Colleen is the proud mother of two active children.

Jannet Jimenez

Community Outreach Coordinator

Jannet Jimenez

Community Outreach Coordinator

Email: jjimenez@familiesempowered.org

Jannet is a recent honors college graduate with experience in community outreach, bridging the language and culture gap, and civic engagement. She is passionate about representation, inclusivity, and diversity. As a first-generation college student, she is excited to transfer her professional experience into the education field. Here she interconnects families with stakeholders and the educational community.

Erin McFarlane

Development Coordinator

Erin McFarlane

Development Coordinator

Email: emcfarlaned@familiesempowered.org

Erin McFarlane started her professional career in finance and real estate before switching to part-time work and community volunteering alongside raising a family. She is originally from the Chicago area and is married to a native Texan. They have three teenage sons, two dogs, one cat, and a Shetland pony named Pearl.

Deanna Sheaffer

Strategic Gifts Manager

Deanna Sheaffer

Strategic Gifts Manager

Email: dsheaffer@familiesempowered.org
Phone: 713-589-8767

Deanna Sheaffer has more than 15 years of non-profit advancement/development experience, primarily in education. Most recently, Deanna worked with the Advancement Team at KIPP Houston as Senior Events Manager. Prior to her work at KIPP Houston, she was the Director of Alumni Support for Teach For America’s Houston office. She originally came to Houston as a 1991 Teach For America corps member. In 1999, Deanna joined Rice University as the Director of Alumni Engagement and Finance.

She is married to a native Houstonian and is the crazed, yet proud, mother of four energetic boys.

Allison Squier

Family Success Specialist

Allison Squier

Family Success Specialist

Email: asquier@familiesempowered.org
Phone: 713-589-8767

Allison Squiers joined the Families Empowered team to support parents searching for schools as a Bilingual Customer Service representative.

In her previous career as a business development executive, she played a critical role in helping businesses expand into Latin American countries. In her role as a Financial Client Service Representative at Bank of America, she regularly attended to the needs and finances of international clients.

In her free time, Allison loves to paint, travel with her family, and above all, enjoy good food and wine with friends.

Ann Starr

Chief Program Officer

Ann Starr

Chief Program Officer

Email: astarr@familiesempowered.org

Ann Starr manages the Families Empowered program team, who focuses tirelessly on helping families find great school options for their children. Ann brings more than 25 years of nonprofit management and organizational development experience to her work, most recently as the Director of Learning & Leadership for Mission Capital. Ann has also held leadership positions at Forklift Danceworks, Texas Appleseed and St. Edward’s University, and she has served on the Board of Directors for the SIMS Foundation, Amigos de las Américas and Tiny Hearts Project.

Ann lives in Austin with her husband and two wonderful kids who attend NYOS Charter School.

Theresa Callaway

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Bio

Email: Email: tcallaway@familiesempowered.org

Theresa Callaway is a passionate communications professional with a strong administrative background that specializes in content strategy, social media management and content creation. She comes to Families Empowered with a background in Journalism, Media Design and an ever-growing passion for learning new things and exploring new opportunities. She is passionate about using her skills to continue helping others, giving back to her community and using her background to tell engaging stories in new and creative ways. Theresa aims to continue using her skills to give back and make a difference in the communities she serves. 
 
Theresa lives in Georgetown with her two cats, Gemini and Gizmo.

Patricia Castillo

Operations Manager

Bio

Email: pcastillo@familiesempowered.org

Prior to working at Families Empowered, Patricia was the Office Manager at USA Car Sales from October 2011 to February 2019. In March 2003, she moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, and opened a popsicle factory to help her two younger sisters go to college. In addition to being the founder of that business, she managed finance, administration, and production. The work that Families Empowered does every day is something Patricia holds close to her heart, and she considers it an honor for her to be able to work alongside a team that is making such an impact and difference in the lives of others.

Ayla Dehghanpoor

Director of Marketing & Communications

Bio

Email: adehghanpoor@familiesempowered.org
Phone: (832) 955-7664

Ayla Dehghanpoor is a communications professional who specializes in marketing strategy and creative content production. She comes to Families Empowered with a background in print media and spent much of her career at a local lifestyle publishing house and advertising agency in Texas. She is passionate about bringing accurate, quality information to the audiences she serves, and sharing stories that make an impact.

She lives in Houston with her husband, Zach, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Parker.

Lea Del Rio

Family Success Specialist

Bio

Email: ldelrio@familiesempowered.org
Phone: (713) 589-8767

Lea Del Rio is a mother and grandmother with extensive customer service experience. She has been serving customers for more than 15 years in a wide variety of industries including insurance, mortgage, and legal. As a community member she has served as volunteer supporting homeless young adults for more than seven years. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, walking on the beach, and enjoying a good movie with a cup of coffee.

Colleen Dippel

Founder & CEO

Bio

Email: cdippel@familiesempowered.org
Phone: (713) 589-8767

Colleen Dippel began her career as a public school teacher. She left teaching to help launch a private-sector education technology start-up. She’s served as the Director of the KIPP School Leadership Program, the Director of Alumni Support for Teach For America- Houston, and as the Director of Education Initiatives at Aquinas Co. At Aquinas, she launched Families Empowered, which she leads today.

Colleen is the proud mother of two active children.

Jannet Jimenez

Community Outreach Coordinator

Bio

Email: jjimenez@familiesempowered.org

Jannet is a recent honors college graduate with experience in community outreach, bridging the language and culture gap, and civic engagement. She is passionate about representation, inclusivity, and diversity. As a first-generation college student, she is excited to transfer her professional experience into the education field. Here she interconnects families with stakeholders and the educational community.

Erin McFarlane

Development Coordinator

Bio

Email: emcfarlaned@familiesempowered.org

Erin McFarlane started her professional career in finance and real estate before switching to part-time work and community volunteering alongside raising a family. She is originally from the Chicago area and is married to a native Texan. They have three teenage sons, two dogs, one cat, and a Shetland pony named Pearl.

Deanna Sheaffer

Strategic Gifts Manager

Bio

Email: dsheaffer@familiesempowered.org
Phone: 713-589-8767

Deanna Sheaffer has more than 15 years of non-profit advancement/development experience, primarily in education. Most recently, Deanna worked with the Advancement Team at KIPP Houston as Senior Events Manager. Prior to her work at KIPP Houston, she was the Director of Alumni Support for Teach For America’s Houston office. She originally came to Houston as a 1991 Teach For America corps member. In 1999, Deanna joined Rice University as the Director of Alumni Engagement and Finance.

She is married to a native Houstonian and is the crazed, yet proud, mother of four energetic boys.

Allison Squier

Family Success Specialist

Bio

Email: asquier@familiesempowered.org
Phone: 713-589-8767

Allison Squiers joined the Families Empowered team to support parents searching for schools as a Bilingual Customer Service representative.

In her previous career as a business development executive, she played a critical role in helping businesses expand into Latin American countries. In her role as a Financial Client Service Representative at Bank of America, she regularly attended to the needs and finances of international clients.

In her free time, Allison loves to paint, travel with her family, and above all, enjoy good food and wine with friends.

Ann Starr

Chief Program Officer

Bio

Email: astarr@familiesempowered.org

Ann Starr manages the Families Empowered program team, who focuses tirelessly on helping families find great school options for their children. Ann brings more than 25 years of nonprofit management and organizational development experience to her work, most recently as the Director of Learning & Leadership for Mission Capital. Ann has also held leadership positions at Forklift Danceworks, Texas Appleseed and St. Edward’s University, and she has served on the Board of Directors for the SIMS Foundation, Amigos de las Américas and Tiny Hearts Project.

Ann lives in Austin with her husband and two wonderful kids who attend NYOS Charter School.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Leo Linbeck III, Chair

President and CEO, Aquinas Companies, LLC

Leo Linbeck III, Chair

President and CEO, Aquinas Companies, LLC

Jason Bernal

Chief School Officer, Houston Independent School District

Jason Bernal

Chief School Officer, Houston Independent School District

Claudia Contreras

Community Leader

Claudia Contreras

Community Leader

Debbie Hurwitz

Community Leader, Parent and Coach

Debbie Hurwitz

Community Leader, Parent and Coach

Ore Owodunni

VP & Treasurer, Sysco

Ore Owodunni

VP & Treasurer, Sysco

Alison Porter

Owner, Apex Leadership Company

Alison Porter

Owner, Apex Leadership Company

Annette Van Brunt

President, Van Brunt & Associates, Inc.

Annette Van Brunt

President, Van Brunt & Associates, Inc.

Leo Linbeck III, Chair

President and CEO, Aquinas Companies, LLC

Bio

Jason Bernal

Chief School Officer, Houston Independent School District

Bio

Claudia Contreras

Community Leader

Bio

Debbie Hurwitz

Community Leader, Parent and Coach

Bio

Ore Owodunni

VP & Treasurer, Sysco

Bio

Alison Porter

Owner, Apex Leadership Company

Bio

Annette Van Brunt

President, Van Brunt & Associates, Inc.

Bio