The Raise Your Hand Texas staff team is made up of a diverse, passionate group dedicated to ensuring every Texas child has access to a high-quality, free public education. Connect with us and join us in this mission.

Alison Badgett

Executive Director

Alison became Executive Director of Raise Your Hand Texas in May 2016, after serving as the organization’s Director of Research and Strategic Development since 2014. She has been the chief executive of several public policy and advocacy organizations. 

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Ann Smisko

Deputy Director of Policy and Programs

Ann joined Raise Your Hand’s senior leadership team in August 2016 as Deputy Director of Policy and Programs. Previously she served as Deputy Superintendent of Dallas ISD and Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Schools for the Texas A&M University System.  

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Petri Darby, APR

Vice President of Marketing

Petri joined Raise Your Hand Texas in 2013. His 20-year career includes spearheading marketing, communications, and digital strategy in the Make-A-Wish national office, running his own creative marketing shop, and other agency and corporate stints.

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David Anderson

General Counsel and Policy Analyst

David joined Raise Your Hand Texas in 2014 after retiring from 20 years as General Counsel to the Texas Education Agency. He is recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Certification in Administrative Law. David trains for triathlons, practices Ashtanga yoga, and plays the Japanese game “Go.”

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Debra Salge

Chief Administrative Officer

Debra has been with Raise Your Hand Texas since its inception in 2007. She brings to her role a wealth of administrative, financial, project management, and philanthropic experience, including 28 years serving as Executive Assistant to the Chairman and CEO at H-E-B.

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Amanda Brownson

Director of Research and Policy

Amanda joined Raise Your Hand Texas in June of 2016. Prior to coming to RYHT she served as Director of State funding for the Texas Education Agency, where she oversaw the distribution of roughly $20 billion in annual state aid payments under the Foundation School Program.

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Jennifer Jendrzey

Associate Director of Research, Blended Learning

Jennifer's research efforts focus on blended learning in alignment with her management of the Raise Your Hand's Raising Blended Learners initiative. Before joining Raise Your Hand, she worked at the Texas Education Agency and was an Education Pioneers Fellow as a human capital analyst.

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Thea Ulrich-Lewis

Research Associate

Thea, a member of the 2009 Teach for America Corps in the Rio Grande Valley, joined the Raise Your Hand Texas research team in April 2016. The Brooklyn native moved to Austin to complete a Master’s degree in public affairs at the University of Texas.

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Cody Huie

Director of Leadership Development

Cody is the Director of Leadership Development for Raise Your Hand Texas. Cody worked at the Texas Center for District and School Support at Education Service Center Region 13 developing training and resources for thousands of district and campus leaders around the state.

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Marcela Andrés

Program Director

Marcela, a former teacher and charter school operations manager, joined the Raise Your Hand Texas team in July of 2016. Her experience as a child in an underserved community fuels her passion to advocate for equity in public education.

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Charlotte Moore

Writer/Producer

Charlotte, an award-winning writer and journalist from Austin, joined the Raise Your Hand Texas marketing team in 2014. Her 17-year journalism career includes reporting for the Austin American-Statesman, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and producing for the Austin CBS television news affiliate.

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Jenny Magic

Communication Strategist

Jenny is best known as a top-rated speaker at national marketing and technology conferences. Her background as owner of a content strategy agency and co-owner of a web design firm complements the expanding online marketing goals of the organization.

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Joel Goudeau

Visual Design Strategist

Joel has left his mark across Texas with his flair for graphic design. At Raise Your Hand Texas, he uses his illustration, photography, and multimedia design skills to help lead the organization’s branding and “look and feel” across print and digital platforms.

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Anne Bannister

Digital Producer

Anne, a filmmaker, photographer, and narrative storyteller joined the Raise Your Hand Texas marketing team in June 2014. As a Digital Producer, Anne uses her talents to craft, shoot, and edit the stories that give voice to educators, and bridge the gap between the Capitol and campus communities.

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Briana Mascitelli

Operations Manager

As operations manager for Raise Your Hand Texas, Briana facilitates day-to-day activities — from managing financial reports and human resources to assisting with projects in the marketing and program departments.

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MJ Nicchio

Director for Government Relations

MJ manages the organization’s public policy and government affairs initiatives. He is the liaison between all parties to provide impartial resources and research, and analysis of the potential impact of proposed legislation on public education in Texas.

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