Leadership and Staff

Board of Directors

Richard Rhodes, Ph.D., Board PresidentDr. Rhodes joined the Austin Community College District as President in September 2011 and has worked to improve pathways into higher education and give students the tools to accomplish their goals. He also serves on the boards of many national and local organizations including Trellis Company, the Carnegie Foundation, the Educational Testing Service National Community College Advisory Council, and as a member of the STEM Higher Education Council.

Dr. Rhodes holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration in accounting and a master of arts degree in educational management and development from New Mexico State University. He earned his doctorate through the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dora Ann Verde, Board SecretaryDora Ann Verde is a Certified Public Accountant with a private practice in San Antonio serving a variety of nonprofit clients, prior to which she served as Chief of Internal Audit for the San Antonio Water System and partner in a public accounting firm. Her community involvement currently includes board services for many nonprofit organizations including ACE Academy in Northeast Independent School District, National Association of Corporate Directors, WINGS, San Antonio 100 and Trellis Company. She also serves as a corporate board member and chair of the audit committee for a privately held corporation.

Ms. Verde also served as Board Chair for Texas Public Radio and SAY Si and treasurer for ACCIÓN Texas, and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Verde holds a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

An image of Alma Garcia.Alma Garcia, with more than three decades experience in education from K-12 to higher education, brings a wealth of knowledge in learning, collective impact and nonprofit management to the Trellis Foundation Board of Directors.

Ms. Garcia started her career as a bilingual education teacher in the Brownsville Independent School District, where she went on to serve as an elementary and secondary school principal. She later joined the University of Texas at Brownsville, where, as an adjunct professor, she designed instructional methods courses for graduate and undergraduate students in secondary education programs, and later served as director of GEAR UP, a college awareness, readiness, enrollment and outreach program. She joined Educate Texas in 2004 and is among the foremost experts on dual enrollment, dual credit and early college high schools (ECHS) in the state. In 2015, she founded a consulting practice serving school districts, administrators, and nonprofits across the state. Ms. Garcia holds a bachelor’s degree in education from UT-Pan American and a master’s degree in educational administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Josh HuntJosh Hunt is Executive Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors for Hunt Companies, Inc. Mr. Hunt is also President of the Hunt Family Foundation, and serves on several other Hunt governance boards and committees.

In addition to his duties at Hunt Companies, Mr. Hunt is a board member of the Borderplex Alliance, member of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) President’s Athletic Advisory Council, chairman of The Hospitals of Providence Governing Board, a founding board member and current chairman of the new El Paso Children’s Museum, chairman of the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation Board, and a member of the Texas Tech Foundation Board. Mr. Hunt is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) El Paso/Juarez and Aspen Chapters, Urban Land Institute, and International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

Mr. Hunt graduated from The Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University with a bachelor’s degree in Real Estate/Finance and also earned a master’s degree, with honors, in Real Estate and Construction Management from the Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver.

Mark Milliron, Ph.D, Board MemberDr. Mark Milliron is Senior Vice President & Executive Dean at the Teachers College for Western Governors University (WGU), a nonprofit university founded by 19 U.S. governors more than 20 years ago.

In previous roles, Dr. Milliron served as the co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of Civitas Learning; deputy director for Postsecondary Improvement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; founding chancellor of WGU Texas; Endowed Fellow and director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development at The University of Texas at Austin; vice president for education and medical practice with SAS; and president and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College. He is a member of numerous boards and advisory groups.

Dr. Milliron received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organizational communication from Arizona State University and his doctorate in education administration from The University of Texas at Austin.

Suzanne WalshSuzanne Walsh most recently served as the deputy director for postsecondary success with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In her role, Ms. Walsh led the foundation’s efforts in institutional redesign strategies.

Ms. Walsh’s prior work includes service at two other prominent foundations: Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis, where she managed the Making Opportunity Affordable initiative, which was aimed at increasing college productivity by bringing about fundamental change in the way higher education does business; and, The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, where her diverse portfolio included community colleges, universities, workforce development, tech commercialization and transfer, city/county consolidation, immigration and regional economic development. Ms. Walsh got her start in community college work as the Coordinator of Special Projects at Cuyahoga Community College. She currently serves on a number of non-profit boards including Seattle CityClub, Carey Institute for Global Good, the Harwood Institute, Global Learning Council, and on the advisory board for Roadtrip Nation. She is also a proud judge for Dance Your Ph.D.

Suzanne has her juris doctorate and master’s in social work from Case Western Reserve University, a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, and an associate’s degree in applied science from Hudson Valley Community College.

An image of Trellis Foundation Board Member Welcome Wilson, Jr.Welcome W. Wilson, Jr., is president and CEO of Welcome Group, a real estate development firm specializing in single-tenant office and industrial buildings.

Mr. Wilson currently serves as chairman of the Alamo Trust and serves on the board of directors of Trellis Company, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, and the Texas Business Hall of Fame. He is also chairman of the board of the Southwest Houston Redevelopment Authority and chairman of Houston’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #20.

Previously, Mr. Wilson has served as chairman of the Houston Realty Business Coalition, chairman of the End Hunger Network, vice chairman of the Houston Food Bank, and president of the Kinkaid School Alumni Association.

Additionally, he is a former gubernatorial appointee and former vice chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents. Mr. Wilson attended the University of Denver.


Kristin J. Boyer, Executive DirectorKristin Boyer leads Trellis Foundation’s efforts to advance equitable postsecondary outcomes for low-income students and students of color across Texas. Prior to her appointment as executive director for the Trellis Foundation, she directed the philanthropic program and activities for Trellis Company. She currently serves as an Advisory Committee member for the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, as a co-chair for the Latino Student Success Funders Group, and as a steering committee member for the Austin Opportunity Youth Collaborative.

She holds bachelor of arts degrees in English and Spanish from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, and a master of arts in communication from Wichita State University.

Jenny AchillesMs. Achilles joined Trellis Foundation (then Trellis Company/TG) in 2013 with nearly a decade of higher education service in various capacities, including student affairs and study abroad advising. Ms. Achilles serves on the Central Texas Education Funders Network steering committee and as co-chair for the Grantmakers for Education Data Impact Group. She previously served on the Membership Committee for the National Scholarship Providers Association from 2015-2017. She also leads the board of directors for a nonprofit dance and wellness studio in Austin.

She earned a bachelor’s of science in communication from Lamar University and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin in journalism and public policy, with a focus on nonprofit studies.

Lakya LewisMs. Lewis joins Trellis Foundation following her passion to advocate and serve at-risk populations through education. She began her career as a Youth Specialist for the Department of Family and Protective Services. In 2014, Ms. Lewis made the transition to the nonprofit sector. Her work focused on education retention and recovery for current and former foster youth. Ms. Lewis serves as a committee member for the Texas Youth Permanency Research Council and continues to advocate for at-risk populations through volunteer work.

She earned a bachelor’s of arts in psychology from Texas Tech University.