Leadership and Staff
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.
Dr. 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.
Dora 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.
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.
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.
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.
He currently serves on the Board of Trellis Company, as well as with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas Business Hall of Fame, and the Greater Houston Partnership.
In addition, he is also Chairman of the Board of the Alamo Trust, Chairman of the Board of Remember The Alamo Foundation, Chairman of the Board of the Southwest Houston Redevelopment Authority, and Chairman of Houston’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #20.
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.
Ms. 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.
Dianey R. Leal joined Trellis Foundation as the Program Officer of Knowledge Sharing in 2021. In this position, she is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing a communication plan that assists the Foundation’s grantee knowledge-sharing strategy to improve supports for students. Prior to joining the Foundation, Dianey participated in a number of research projects aimed at better understanding the structural inequities found in the educational pipelines of students. She is currently a committee member for the Latinx/a/o Student Success Initiative at Michigan State University.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and English writing and rhetoric from St. Edward’s University and holds a Master of Public Service and Administration from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. In 2021, Dianey earned a professional certification in college access counseling from Rice University, and she is currently pursuing a dual major doctorate degree in higher education and Chicano/Latino studies at Michigan State University.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from the University of Central Florida.