Allen has been Executive Director of Austin Voices since 2010, taking over leadership from AVEY founder Amy Averett. A long-time educator and community activist, Allen helped spearhead successful community school reform efforts at Webb Middle School and Reagan High School. With his wife Julie, he also created Family Resource Centers, which currently provide wraparound school based services for families at 8 AISD campuses. In 2009, Allen, in collaboration with AVEY Board Member Susan Moffat, formed Save Texas Schools, a statewide coalition of public school advocates. He has been recognized for his positive impact on education by the Texas Education Agency, Bank of America, Liveable City, and is a Hall of Fame member of Austin Parters in Education. Under his leadership, the St. John Community has won numerous awards, including the “100 Best Communities for Youth Award” given by America’s Promise Alliance. Allen speaks throughout Texas and nationally about the effectiveness of the community school model. He has degrees from Washington & Lee, Duke, and UT-Austin and will complete his Ph.D. in Education in 2017 from Texas State University.
Janna Banks, CPA, MBA
Director of Operations and Finance
Janna Banks supervises AVEY’s finances and assists the Executive Director and their Board Members with strategic planning and the daily operations. She earned her BBA in Accounting from Texas A&M University, her MBA from Texas State University, is a Certified Public Accountant in Texas, and has more than 28 years experience in accounting, business management consulting, and school administration. Janna has served on the Boards of two nonprofit organizations in Texas and brings her experiences as a Board Member to serve in her role with AVEY. As a strong advocate of whole-child education, she previously earned her certification from the Association Montessori Internationale as an instructor for children aged birth to three. She enjoys the outdoors, traveling, reading, running, boxing, and studying Aikido, a martial art based on the practice of nonviolence.
Julie Weeks, RN, MSN
Director of AVEY Family Resource Centers and Webb MS Family Resource Center
Julie Weeks serves as a coordinator for the AVEY Family Resource Centers, for which she has developed all of the systems and processes since 2007. She also serves as the Director of the Webb Family Resource Center. Julie has extensive experience in healthcare, both as a Masters-prepared nurse and nurse educator for the Seton Family of Hospitals. Her work at Seton included clinical nursing, developing network education systems, training for the Clinical Assistant and School Health Assistant Programs, and network accreditation systems. She is also experienced in community development and directed nursing aboard a large hospital ship in West Africa for four years. Julie has been recognized by the Bank of America for her work, and was a semifinalist for the Robert Wood Johnson National Community Health Leader Award. She currently serves as President of the St. John Neighborhood Association.
Youth and Community Facilitator
Gabriel directs AVEY’s Eastside Memorial Vertical Team initiative. This includes community organizing, student leadership programming, and school improvement efforts to connect neighborhoods with their neighborhood schools. He worked for the Austin Independent School District for 20 years, 19 of those as a 5th and 6th grade teacher at Zavala Elementary in East Austin. While there, he was an active member of Zavala’s renaissance as a nationally recognized community-based school reform model. His efforts in Zavala’s turnaround included leading educator development, house meetings over issues brought forth from community members and teachers, and actively initiating programs that enriched the education of students. He believes in public education and its promise to give everyone the opportunity to be successful.
Director of Burnet MS Family Resource Center
More about Yeraldin coming soon.
Bilingual Social Worker at Burnet MS Family Resource Center
Director of Dobie MS Family Resource Center
Jose comes to Austin Voices after 8 years as a Parent Support Specialist (PSS) with the Austin Independent School District. He was born in Chicago and moved to Austin at the age of 7. Jose was a PSS at Mendez Middle School and later at LBJ High School. After high school, Jose joined the Marines for 5 years and was a Sergeant when he left the Marines. Over his younger years, Jose worked with his parents to help other people through his local church.
Ashley Yerovi, LMSW
Bilingual Social Worker at Dobie MS Family Resource Center
Ashley is a bilingual social worker for AVEY’S Family Resource Center at Dobie Middle School. Ashley is originally from New Jersey. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Sociology at St. John’s University in Jamaica Queens, NY. Following four years in the field, she relocated to Chicago to pursue her Master degree in Social Work at Loyola University in Chicago, IL. While at Loyola, Ashley received her certificate for immigration and migration studies. Her experience has focused primarily in mental/behavioral health, crisis work and child welfare.
Community School Coordinator for Lanier Feeder Pattern
Socorro is our Community School Coordinator for our Lanier Feeder School Pattern. Socorro is a native Austinite and has been working with Austin Voices for over a year at the LBJ ECHS Family Resource Center. Recently, Socorro received her Bachelors in Business Management from Texas State University. Socorro’s passion aligns with Austin Voices that she sees the importance in improving public education by serving schools and neighborhoods in Austin.
Education Organizer for Reagan Vertical Team
Ali obtained her BA in Political Science from Scripps College, an all women’s Liberal Arts College in Claremont California. After graduation she worked as a Summer Enrichment Program Coordinator, which solidified her passion for supporting families to engage in their children’s education and in their community. Realizing the Spanish language skills she acquired in college weren’t going to cut it, she soon traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico to attend a Spanish Immersion school for four months. Upon her return she began working on a Domestic Violence Hotline and leading seminars on healthy relationships at local schools. In 2014, Ali came to Austin to serve as an AmeriCorps member with the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas where she led ESL classes as well as PALS (Play and Learning Strategies) parenting classes. Presently, she is right where she wants to be in her role at AVEY, learning about the richness of her community and working with families to make it stronger. Despite the well-known challenges facing this rapidly growing city, Ali is content to call Austin home and might never cease to delight in its supreme bikability and agreeable weather. Outside of AVEY she can be found out and about on her bicycle or nourishing friendships with her refined vegetarian cooking.
Ashley Shute, LMSW
Bilingual Social Worker at Webb MS Family Resource Center
Ashley Shute works with the Webb Middle School community as the AVEY Family Resource Center’s Bilingual Social Worker. Ashley is a Licensed Masters Social Worker with a graduate degree from the University of Southern California and a undergraduate degree from Texas Lutheran University with degrees in Psychology and Spanish. Ashley is originally from San Antonio, TX, and has work experience with children, families elderly and diverse communities.
Eligia “Ellie” Rivera
Administrative Assistant at LBJ High School, Dobie Middle School, and Webb Middle School
Ellie is the Administrative Assistant at LBJ, Dobie and Webb. She was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas State University. She has worked for ACE AmeriCorps as a Pre-K teacher’s assistant, and she especially loves spending time with her five-year-old son.
Director/Community School Coordinator for Lanier HS Family Resource Center/Lanier Feeder Pattern
Jocelyn is our director and community school coordinator. She has degrees in Political Science and Spanish, both from The University of Texas at Austin. A world traveler, Jocelyn has lived in Colombia, Spain, Mexico, and now Texas. She has previously worked for the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas as a volunteer and instructor in business development, and she has also served as a medical interpreter for the Texas Department of Health. She is passionate about social justice, immigrant rights, and economic stability.
Community School Coordinator for Lanier Feeder Pattern
Kellen is the Community School Coordinator for Burnet Middle School in the Lanier High School feeder pattern. He obtained undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Economics at Texas Tech University. Kellen is enthusiastic about knowledge informing practical action, and practical action then informing new knowledge in a ceaseless cycle. He is experienced and dedicated to community development and engagement, especially regarding community gardens. Kellen loves Austin, philosophy, music, and the ancient game of go.
Louise Hanks, LMSW
Bilingual Social Worker at Lanier HS Family Resource Center
Louise serves as a Bilingual Social Worker for the AVEY Family Resource Center at Lanier High School. A native Austinite, she received her master’s in social work from UT Austin after completing her undergraduate studies at Oberlin College in Ohio and living for a year in Bogotá, Colombia. Louise has worked with young people and their families in a variety of capacities, including providing school-based services and family counseling, facilitating groups in juvenile and adult criminal justice facilities, and serving as part of a training team for UT Austin’s Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue. She is a certified Restorative Discipline Coordinator, and is passionate about providing trauma-informed, inclusion-focused services to students and their families. Louise has lots of family in Austin, loves her hometown, and is excited to be working with the Lanier High School community.