The Texas Education Exchange Team Brings Years of Experience, Service to New Technology Endeavor
From their years of experience to their commitment to education, you can see a distinction in the team leading The Texas Education Exchange. From business and operations to technology to communications and customer service, each team member has valuable expertise and understanding when it comes to innovating and creating new paths forward for educators in Texas.
The Director of The Exchange, Jerry Lashley, spent 12 years in public service for cities and organizations before moving into education. His experience in entrepreneurship, business, and service allowed him to dream big and see opportunities where others did not. Jerry has devoted 16 years to public education, spending nearly a decade with YES! Prep Public Schools in Houston and five years with the Region 4 Educational Service Center. His primary focus has been business operations, including transportation, safety and health, child nutrition, technology, ASCENDER, and TSDS/PEIMS. During his work at Region 4, Jerry found educators at all levels lacked access to data interoperability that would allow them to be more efficient and help improve student outcomes. Jerry discovered Ed-Fi, a technology that would help him realize this dream of interoperability in Texas. He began working toward a solution that would benefit all regions, districts, and educators. Jerry now leads The Exchange, connecting organizations while building a new outlook on technology from the ground up in Texas.
Claire Savidge brings incredible knowledge of contract operations and vendor and project management to the table. She spent the last 12 years in education, beginning in a role with YES Prep Public Schools. She worked to develop and build the transportation department, organizing bussing for thousands of students daily across the Houston area while managing a budget of $8 million. From YES Prep, Claire moved on to become the Director of Operations and Accounts for a transportation technology start-up that managed services for 25 districts in four states. In this position, she led the account and operations management teams and managed a $12 million budget. Claire leads operations for The Exchange while also managing the ambassador program, contracting, and contributing to the strategic direction of the project.
As an Exchange team member, Letty Fuentes contributes her passion for technology, education, and data. Letty has more than six years of experience in education spanning government, non-profit, and public and private organizations. You can drill down her expertise to product management, software development, and business analysis. Letty is an incredibly technology-driven proficient worker who believes she can find the right balance in her work through non-profits, where decision-making can happen quickly and the focus isn’t just the bottom line.
Communication is huge when building a new brand and data solution. Jennifer Duncan has 17 years of experience writing, crafting, and delivering creative content for live on-air broadcasts. She is an ideal storyteller to craft and convey the message of The Exchange based on her experience connecting with large-scale audiences and highlighting the unique stories of the people behind the features. Her media relations and community development expertise prepare her for the work with The Exchange, engaging with a wide array of audiences and communicating their stories. Jennifer is passionate about educating others through her work, starting that education through journalism and continuing it now through growing The Exchange across the Lone Star State.
When it comes to data, Richard Esteviz knew it was his calling after taking on extra projects while working for Amazon. Complex numbers and the ability to create workstream efficiency were exciting for Richard. He dove head-first into business analysis and learned every system he could. From there, he began creating data solutions utilizing cloud pipelines and managing the AWS budget for his program and its products (i.e., Redshift, Quicksight, S3, EC2, Glue, Snowflake, DynamoDB, Beanstalk, Airflow, Athena & Security Products IAM & KMS). After seven years with Amazon, Richard shifted to Ulta to expand his knowledge further. Richard’s knowledge of data analytics is powerful, and he can create systems that make sense of data that might overwhelm others. This ability primes him for work on The Exchange as our Data Quality Analyst, building a solution for Texas educators that will make students successful.
Lynn Clarke discovered a love for education after accepting a role at Region 6 Education Service Center. She saw firsthand the impact education could have on students' and their families' lives after learning her child had autism. She later worked with adults seeking GEDs and found purpose in helping those who were turning their lives around. Lynn recalls the true joy she saw in the faces of the graduates when they walked across the stage and what helping them realize a dream meant to her. She later moved to the Houston area and took a position with Region 4. Now, as The Exchange department secretary, she gets to help Jerry realize his dream daily. Lynn is honored to be a part of his team and to watch The Exchange come to fruition
For 25 years, Katie Favara has led the way in education, from teaching to technology. Katie began her career teaching computer science and web mastering to students in North Texas before taking her knowledge of technology and how it applies to educators in the classroom to the district, supporting technology integration for all teachers. After 16 years of teaching and supporting educators through Arlington ISD, Katie expanded her reach by supporting small, rural districts through ESC Region 11 in Ft. Worth. At Region 11, she learned about the importance of technology in short-staffed districts or those too small to hire specific positions. She also fell in love with data and interoperability, leading her to explore Ed-Fi Data Standards and what they could mean for the districts she served. This deep dive into interoperable systems taught her valuable lessons on data privacy and how it affects education. Eventually, her curiosity about the Ed-Fi community led her to The Exchange—first with a role at TEA, then joining The Exchange team as the Coordinator of Technical Services. We welcome her knowledge and service mindset to the team and are excited about what she brings to the table for innovative new products and services.
Doug Maraffa, Ed.D., is a lifelong learner dedicated to empowering educators to realize their transformative power and how to impact others positively. With more than 31 years of experience in education, Doug has worked in roles from the classroom to a statewide project for behavior. He began his work as a coach before moving into special education. After teaching, he moved into a role at ESC Region 4 as a behavioral specialist; then, he found he could make an even more significant impact through his work as a statewide lead for positive behavior interventions and support.
Currently, Doug serves as the Coordinator of Customer Success for The Exchange. His role is to facilitate the development of systems that aid schools in training and support. Ultimately, Doug has learned to lead others in their transformative pathways to significantly impact the teaching and learning ecosystem beyond their expectations.
As a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience in the technology field, Raymond Jones has honed his skills and expertise in various aspects of the industry. From mastering cutting-edge technologies to implementing innovative solutions, his journey has been marked by continuous dedication, growth, and adaptability. Raymond’s career began in the classroom, where he shared his knowledge and passion for technology with students. His time in education has enriched his understanding of the subject matter and allowed him to become a mentor and guide for those eager to excel.
Raymond’s diverse background includes substantial experience in customer service. Interacting with clients and customers from all walks of life has given him invaluable insights into their needs and expectations, making him adept at delivering exceptional support and forging lasting relationships. As a member of The Exchange team, he serves district and regional personnel as a Service Desk Analyst and will happily answer any questions you may have.
Olivia Whitfield began her career in technology as a Technical Analyst at one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, MCI Worldcom. After exploring roles in oil and gas and many other industries, Olivia found she loved working in education. She worked with Cy-Fair ISD as a one-on-one rollout team member to get laptops into the hands of students at high schools. Following that, she worked at St. Thomas College Prep before taking on a role with Baylor University. These jobs led Olivia to ESC Region 4 and the Texas Education Exchange as a Service Desk Analyst. Olivia is fascinated by technology and helping others and has found a new interest in AI art creation. Her passion is finding ways to serve people while creating relationships that make a difference.
Mark Eader has 23 years of experience as a software engineer in the logistics, aerospace, aviation, medical, and oil and gas industries. His mother and wife have served as educators, and Mark noticed how hard it is to connect systems and get real-time data to help teachers and students. When he learned about The Exchange and the desire to bring interoperable systems to all educators to affect change in public education and create better student outcomes, he jumped at the chance to offer his knowledge and skills as a Developer.
Mark is an avid outdoor enthusiast and fisherman and is happy to attend any of his sons’ football games throughout the year. His oldest son is heading to college to hit the field, so Mark’s also gearing up for a new team to follow!