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.
Bilingual Social Worker at Burnet MS Family Resource Center
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 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.
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.
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 “Eli” 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.