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 2019 from Texas State University.
Assistant Executive Director
In 2018, Gabriel became AVEY’s Assistant Executive Director. Since 2012, he has served as AVEY’s Youth and Community Engagement Coordinator, focusing on AVEY’s Eastside Memorial Vertical Team initiative. This included 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. Gabriel also serves as a member of AISD’s FABPAC.
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.
Lead Community School Coordinator/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. Jose is a graduate of St. Edward’s University.
Lead Social Worker/Bilingual Social Worker at Lanier HS Family Resource Center
Lindsay serves as a Bilingual Social Worker for the AVEY Family Resource Center at Lanier High School.
Leanne Bailey, LMSW
Bilingual Social Worker at Burnet MS Family Resource Center
Having joined AVEY in August 2016, Leanne Bailey is a Licensed Master Social Worker with many years’ experience case managing families with multiple, complex needs. Leanne worked at Communities in Schools as a Care Coordinator, helping the highest-needs families reach their stability goals. Later, she was employed at another Austin non-profit, Any Baby Can, where her focus was on children with special health care needs. Leanne realized that she felt her best fit was in the school setting, and was thrilled to join the AVEY team. Her belief that each child can succeed when the family has support drives her to work each day. She is the mom of 3 active little boys, and on her days off is usually found on a playground.
Director of Webb Family Resource Center
Socorro is our Director of the Webb Family Resource Center since November, 2018. She was previously our Community School Coordinator for our Lanier Feeder School Pattern. Socorro is a native Austinite and has been working with Austin Voices for four years, including 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.
Director of Martin Middle School Family Resource Center
Blanca has been the Director of the Martin Middle School Family Resource Center since 2013. Blanca has a Master of Arts in Social Work from Texas State University and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the National Nursing School in Guatemala. Blanca joined the FRC as a part-time social worker in August 2011 and in August 2013 was promoted to serve as Director of the Martin Family Resource Center. As a social work intern, her placements included the Dell Children’s Medical Center and Child Protective Services. She also served for 9 years as a chaplain with Market Place Ministries and as an assistant Pastor at Hyde Park Baptist Church, where she served as coordinator and leader for the annual Guatemala Medical Mission trip, providing leadership and educational training on Spanish culture and language, among many other administrative responsibilities. Blanca also served as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer where she assisted case workers with child abuse cases.
Community School Coordinator, Lanier High School
Andy serves as the Community School Coordinator for the Burnet Middle School Feeder Pattern where he
brings a rich background in education and community involvement. He recently retired after 24 years as
a public school teacher including 13 years as a science teacher at Burnet Middle School. He has been a
strong advocate for students, their families, and the school community with ties to AVEY that go back
several years, when he worked as a teacher advocate to bring the Family Resource Center model to
Burnet Middle School in 2012. He has served on and chaired many school and community action groups
to support and improve the lives of his students through each campus where he has worked, as an
Education Austin advocate, and as a member of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. Andy is
committed to building on the foundation of community support within the Lanier Feeder pattern and is
excited to be a part of the AVEY family.
Director of Burnet Family Resource Center
Vanessa Oakford joined Austin Voices in Fall, 2018. She serves as the Director of the Burnet Middle School Family Resource Center.
Eligia “Eli” Rivera
Administrative Assistant at Dobie Middle School, and Webb Middle School
Ellie is the Administrative Assistant at 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. Eli has also served as the Director of the Webb Family Resource Center.
Angelita Tobias, LBSW
Bilingual Social Worker at Mendez Middle School
Angelita Tobias is our bilingual social worker at Mendez Middle School, where she has served since 2015. Previously, she served as the bilingual social worker at the Webb Family Resource Center for six years. Angelita brings 26 years of experience as a licensed social worker. She graduated with a degree in social work and currently holds a LBSW certification. She is passionate about working as an advocate at a grass root community level. During her career she has worked in collaboration with 10 school districts in Texas. For many years, she conducted home-based, case-management services to families through Any Baby Can. It was through this experience that she learned about the many challenging situations families face and how the these unmet needs impacted their children’s academic experience.
Dallas Community Organizer
Ed Turner serves as our community organizer in Dallas ISD. He has worked with Austin Voices since 2016, and currently is helping increase community partnerships and parent engagement at Dade Middle School and Burleson Elementary School in DISD.
Aaron Velez, LBSW
Bilingual Social Worker at Webb MS Family Resource Center
Aaron Velez works with the Webb Middle School community as the AVEY Family Resource Center’s Bilingual Social Worker. Aaron is originally from Puerto Rico, and has been with Austin Voices since March, 2018. He has been case managing families for fourteen years, serving both with Travis County and Communities in Schools. He is a graduate of Texas State University.