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Commissioners

Dr. M. Connie Almeida

Dr. Connie Almeida is a licensed psychologist in the state of Texas and a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Maryland in 1985 followed by a post-doctoral specialization in development ...

Camille Cain

Camille Cain was appointed the Executive Director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department in January of 2018. For almost 30 years, she has focused on improving and innovating government programs and has built policy experience in a broad range of cr ...

Hon. Cory L. Carlyle

Justice Cory L. Carlyle was elected to the Fifth District Court of Appeals in 2018. He started his legal career in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office Appellate Section. For two years, Justice Carlyle represented the State in appeals, evalua ...

Hon. Brent A. Carr

Judge Carr has been the Presiding Judge of the Tarrant County Mental Health Court since 2003, the Presiding Judge of the Tarrant County Veterans Treatment Court, since 2010,  the Presiding Judge of the Tarrant County RISE Program (sex trafficked wome ...

Hon. Francisco X. Dominguez

Judge Dominguez is judge of the 205th District Court. He received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and his J.D.from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Dominguez worked in private practice through his own law firm from 2002 until his electi ...

Hon. Camile G. DuBose

Elected as Judge of the 38th District Court in 2008, Judge DuBose presides over felony criminal, civil and family law dockets in Uvalde and Real counties. Prior to this, Judge DuBose served twelve years as the Associate Judge of the Child Protection ...

Dr. Melissa Eshelman

Dr. Melissa Eshelman is the Associate Director for Psychiatric Services at the University of Texas at Austin, where she oversees psychiatric services for undergraduate and graduate students. She is an Associate Professor for the UT Austin Dell Medica ...

David L. Evans

David L. Evans has over 40 years of experience as a leader in behavioral health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Integral Care, the Travis County Local M ...

Dr. Tony Fabelo

Dr. Tony Fabelo serves as a Senior Fellow for the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute of Texas, providing strategic guidance to improve the Texas mental health system. He was formerly the Austin-based director of research at the Justice Center of ...

Alyse Ferguson

Alyse Ferguson is the Chief Attorney of the Collin County Mental Health Managed Counsel Program (MHMC.) She is responsible for managing the specially trained attorneys, who represent indigent defendants diagnosed with mental illness.  In December 202 ...

Sonja Gaines

Sonja Gaines serves as the associate commissioner for Behavioral Health at the HHSC. She previously served as the associate commissioner for Mental Health Coordination within HHSC. She coordinated the policy and delivery of mental health services acr ...

Kevin Garrett

Kevin Garrett is the former Peer Policy Fellow at Texas Jail Project, where he used his lived experience to expand TJP’s capacity as well as expanding the organization’s collaborative efforts with other stakeholders across the state. As a fellow, he ...

Dr. Courtney Harvey

Dr. Courtney Harvey serves as the Associate Commissioner for the Office of Mental Health Coordination within the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). She also serves as the Mental Health Statewide Coordinator and Chair of the Statewide Behavi ...

Hon. Bonnie Hellums

Judge Bonnie Crane Hellums never intended to be a judge.  She was always interested in mental health issues, so she got a B.A. from SMU in psychology and religion.  She then got a master’s degree from University of Illinois in counseling and guidance ...

Courtney Hjaltman

Courtney Hjaltman currently works as a Policy Advisor at the Texas Office of the Governor. Before that, she served as the Chief of Staff at the Texas House of Representatives for five years. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she re ...

Hon. Yolanda Huff

Judge Yolanda Huff presides over County Court 12 and the Mental Health Court in San Antonio, Texas. Before running for judge in 2018, Huff was a solo practitioner in Bexar County for 22 years and handled criminal, Child Protective Services (CPS) and ...

Sen. Joan Huffman

Senator Joan Huffman started her career as a public servant in 1981. Upon earning her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University, she became a secretary for the Harris County District Attorney's office. It was there that she became inspired ...

Hon. David W. Jahn

Judge Dave Jahn is the presiding judge of Denton County Criminal Court Number One. He previously served as the Associate Probate Judge for Denton County for 10 years, and was an assistant district attorney in Denton, Wise, and Jack counties before be ...

Hon. Oscar J. Kazen

Judge Oscar J. Kazen is the Presiding Judge of Bexar County Probate Court 1 and previously served as Associate Probate Judge for Bexar County Probate Court 1, as well as Judge Presiding of Bexar County Court at Law #9. During his 16 years of judicial ...

Dr. Andrew Keller

Andy Keller, PhD, is the CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and a psychologist with more than 20 years of experience in behavioral health policy. He is a recognized leader in health and human services integration, behavioral health fin ...

Adrienne Kennedy

Adrienne Kennedy, a retired educator/researcher, is the Immediate Past President of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, after her 2020 appointment to serve in this newly-created IPP position on the Executive Committee of NAMI’s national bo ...

Hon. M. Sue Kurita

Sue Kurita has served as a judge for over 26 years. She is a native El Pasoan and the presiding judge of El Paso County Court at Law Number Six since 1998 when the court was created. Prior to 1998, Judge Kurita served as a Municipal for the City of E ...

Beth Lawson

Beth Lawson is the Chief Executive Officer of StarCare Specialty Health System in Lubbock. StarCare is the local mental health and IDD authority for Lubbock, Lynn, Cochran, Crosby and Hockley counties. Ms. Lawson has served on the Judicial Council’s ...

Maj. Mike Lee

Major Lee has a Bachelor of Science degree in Government and History and a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology. After serving the Houston Police Department honorably for 26 years and attaining the rank of Captain of Police, Major Lee’s ...

Hon. Elizabeth B. Leonard

Judge Elizabeth Byer Leonard was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Columbia, Missouri. She attended Baylor University and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. After graduation from Baylor, she worked in investment banki ...

Hon. Pamela H. Liston

Judge Pamela H. Liston is the presiding judge of the Rowlett Municipal Court. She has practiced in the municipal law and criminal law contexts for 25 years. She is noted for her work toward safeguarding public trust in the judiciary through procedura ...

Mike Maples

Mike Maples is deputy executive commissioner for the Facilities Division where he is responsible for 10 state hospitals and 13 state supported living centers across the state. He previously served as assistant deputy commissioner for the Texas Depart ...

Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr.

A native Texan and licensed psychiatrist, Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr. is the fifth Executive Director to lead the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health since its creation in 1940 at The University of Texas at Austin, where he oversees the vision, missio ...

Hon. Stacey Mathews

Stacey Mathews has been the judge of the 277th District Court since 2013. She was an English and Social Studies teacher for eight years, as well as an adjunct professor for the University of St. Thomas. Next, Stacey decided to return to the classroom ...

Beth Mitchell

Beth Mitchell is a senior attorney with Disability Rights Texas (DRTx), the non-profit federally authorized Protection and Advocacy agency for Texas that protects and advocates on behalf of persons with disabilities. Beth is responsible for directly ...

Rep. Joe Moody

Rep. Joe Moody represents Texas’s District 78, a mixed urban and rural district covering much of northern El Paso County. He currently serves as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas House, as vice-chair of the Calendars Committee, and as a member of the ...

Hon. Nathaniel Moran

Hon. Nathaniel Moran currently serves as the County Judge for Smith County, Texas, a position he has held since July of 2016.  Judge Moran has also been a practicing attorney since 2002 with a focus on business litigation and transaction work and gen ...

Hon. Tamara Needles

Judge Tamara Needles received a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Texas Tech University and started her first career as a tenth-grade English teacher. Upon returning to pursue her higher education goals, she obtained a doctorate in juri ...

Hon. Roxanne Nelson

Judge Roxanne Nelson lives in Burnet, Texas and has served as Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1 since her appointment in November 2015.  She has twice been elected to fill this position.  She has also served as Associate Judge for the cities of Granite Sh ...

Denise Oncken

Denise Oncken, JD, MBA has been an Assistant District Attorney with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office (HCDAO) for 34 years. She is a Bureau Chief over the Special Victims and Mental Health Bureau with a staff of several hundred. Before be ...

Lee Pierson

Lee Pierson obtained his B.B.A. from Texas Christian University in 1991, and then graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1994. Following the bar exam, he practiced as an Assistant City Attorney in both Arlington and Wichita Falls, and ...

James A. Rasmussen

James A. Rasmussen has served as the Chief Public Defender of Wichita County since 2008. During that time his office, with the county support, he created and currently maintains a special legal and investigative staff, including a full-time mental he ...

Hon. Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt

Judge Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt was elected to the 449th Judicial Court in Hidalgo County in 2017 and when elected she was the youngest District Judge in Texas. She presides over juvenile cases and provides youth with an opportunity for rehabilitati ...

Prof. Brian Shannon

Prof. Brian Shannon is a Horn Distinguished Professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law and serves as the University’s NCAA faculty athletics representative. He also is a board appointee for StarCare Specialty Health System (formerly known a ...

Shelley Smith

Shelley Smith has served as the Chief Executive Officer of West Texas Centers since August 1996.  Ms. Smith received her BSW degree from Southwest Texas State University and her MSW degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. She is ...

Chief Stan Standridge

Stan Standridge, Chief of Police for the San Marcos Police Department, began his law enforcement career in 1995 with the Abilene Police Department, where he worked as Patrol Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Assistant Chief. He also spent a decade o ...

Hon. Charles A. Stephens

Judge Stephens has been the Presiding Judge of Comal County Court at Law #2 since its inception on January 1, 2004, and the Presiding Judge of the Comal County Veterans Treatment Court since its inception on August 13, 2015. He was in private practic ...

Hon. Cynthia Wheless

Judge Cynthia Wheless is the Presiding Judge of the 417th District Court in Collin County. Judge Wheless hears juvenile and child welfare cases and has been instrumental in many Children’s Commission efforts such as the Beyond the Bench: Law, Justice ...

Brandon S. Wood

Brandon S. Wood began working with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards in 1999 as a Planner, assisting counties in identifying jail population trends, preparing needs analyses and developing and reviewing construction plans. Mr. Wood served as the ...

Wayne Young

Wayne Young is the Chief Executive Officer of The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, the state-designated Local Mental Health Authority and Local Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority for Harris County, Texas.  As the CEO of one o ...

April Zamora

April Zamora, M.Ed., L.C.D.C., is the Director of the Reentry and Integration Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  Ms. Zamora has worked for the state of Texas since 1998 and has held several positions in the criminal justice field, ...