History & Background

A+ has been working to strengthen, innovate, and connect the work of public schools in the Houston area since 1997.

Over the past 23 years, more than 200 public schools in 20 Houston-area districts have partnered with A+ to build capacity. Over 16,000 teachers and school leaders have strengthened skills and knowledge through A+ programs. More than 300,000 students are served by stronger teachers & school leaders.

Our A+ Team


Coaching Team

A+ Performance Coaches work on campuses across Greater Houston, partnering with teachers, specialists, and school leaders to build capacity for smart classroom teaching and strong student learning in mathematics and literacy.

Home Team

Our administrative staff provides professional and courteous support to all A+ team members in the field, as well as to visitors and callers to the office.




Business Manager



Jeni was committed to building stronger readers throughout the greater Houston area.  She was passionate about reading and putting books in students’ hands.  Most importantly, books they wanted to read, so they could gain a love of reading the way she did.  As we continue to carry out Jeni’s passion for reading, her Houston A+ family is requesting that we provide rich literature to well deserving campuses in the Houston area.  Collecting books for deserving schools will show that Jeni’s work was not in vain, but warm the hearts of many knowing that we are continuing to invest in children across the Houston area.  You can make a monetary donation to our organization that will go towards the purchase of books and Reading Workshop Scholarships for teachers.  As Jeni would say, let’s go book shopping!


Board of Trustees

Board Members

The Houston A+ Challenge Board of Trustees provides vision, leadership and guidance to the organization and its staff.

This dedicated team of volunteers also helps Houston A+ Challenge raise awareness of the need for community involvement and support of the Houston region’s public schools. Members of the A+ Board come from all walks of life — they are business and nonprofit leaders, educators, philanthropists, community volunteers and parents.

Executive Committee

Ed Wolff
President, Beth Wolff Realty

Dr. Rod Paige
U.S. Secretary of Education 2001-2005


Jeremy Samuels

Community Volunteer

Joni Baird

President, Joni Baird Consulting

Matt Barnes

Co-Founder, The Education Game

Erica Lee Carter

Policy Advisor, Harris County Precinct 1


Allison Esenkova
Managing Vice President, PARIVEDA

Heather Golden

Community Volunteer

Board Members

Advisory Board

Jonathan Day
Andrews Kurth LLP

Michael Dee
Investment Banker

Ann Friedman, Ph. D.
Community Volunteer

H. Devon Graham, Jr.
R. E. Smith Interests, Inc.

Jenard M. Gross
Gross Investments

Bolivar Fraga

Mary Nesbitt
Parent Visionaries

Harry M. Reasoner
Vinson & Elkins, LLP

Yava Scott
Siebert, Brandford Shank & Co., LLC

Rosie Zamora
Houston Wilderness, Inc.

Founding Board Members

Maconda Brown O’Connor*

Vic Samuels*

Andrea White


*indicates deceased