2020-2021 Board and Committees

Wharton PTO Board 2020-2021
Junta Directiva 2020-2021

Executive Board

 President/Presidente –  Ivonne Aguirre

¡Hola!  I am Ivonne Aguirre, mom of Mateo going to the 8th grade.  I am a product of HISD!  I’m originally from Mexico City and moved to Houston in the 2nd grade.  I’ve seen firsthand how learning a second language in school has evolved and excited that my son has the opportunity to be fully bilingual via our Dual Language program.  We truly love Wharton Dual Language Academy and all it offers to our students in making them “respectful, life-long, bilingual and bi-literate inquirers who celebrate diversity as responsible citizens of the world”.  I’ve a BBA & MBA in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University & the University of Houston.  I’ve been working for an energy company in Downtown Houston in the Information Technology group for 20+ years.  My husband Juan is a Criminal Defense Attorney.  We live in the Heights and enjoy the proximity of Wharton to our home and work.

President Elect/Presidente Electo – Bogar Ventura

Howdy Wharton Family, My name is Bogar Ventura.  I am the father of Julia Inés Ventura which will be in the 6th grade for the 2020-2021 school year. Together with my wife Gabriela Baeza Ventura, we have been active in the PTO since our daughter was in kinder. I have previously served as President and with these difficult times, I feel my experience will help with the unexpected needs of the coming school years.

Treasurer/Tesorero – Samantha Andon

Hi, I’m Samantha Andon and I have a child in Kinder going to 1st grade. I also have a 3 year old boy that I hope will attend Wharton in the near future. I am an active parent at Wharton (I was the room parent for my child’s Pre-K class and have volunteered throughout the year such as getting donations for the annual Gala). I’m a CPA that worked for Deloitte for 3 years and I’m currently at a Trading Firm.

Treasurer-Elect / Tesoreo Electo – Laura Gonzalez:
Laura Gonzalez is a Sr. Analyst of Operations with Constellation Energy.  She has two boys, Lucas (4th) and Nicolas (Kinder), who are part of the Wharton Family.  After 26 years (on and off), she graduated with honors in the Spring of 2019 from the University of Houston – Downtown with a Major in General Business and a Minor in Marketing.  Now that she is out of school, she looks forward to contributing to the success of the Wharton PTO and putting together as many jigsaw puzzles with her boys.  She is currently contemplating getting her masters degree so any pointers in convincing her wife is greatly appreciated.  There is no project she won’t attempt and always has a can-do attitude.

 Past President/Ex-Presidente – Melanie Rodriguez

Melanie has two proud Eagles in second grade and fourth grade.  By day she works as an Organizational Development consultant in the energy industry. By afternoon she loves supporting Wharton and currently serves as PTO president.  She recently graduated with a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems and enjoys putting theory to practice in all aspects of life. Melanie also serves on boards with her alma mater University of Houston, with her sorority Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc., and spends time volunteering around her community. However her favorite thing above all is spending time with her wife and kids.

At-Large Board Members/Delegados –

I’m Paula Kehr, mom to a soon-to-be third grader. I’ve been a PTO board member for two years but have been involved with PTO activities since we started at Wharton three years ago, including co-chairing the past three Fall Festivals, serving as a room parent, and helping out with school and PTO communications. I would love to continue helping out in 2020-2021.

Anabel Burr: Hi Everyone, I am the Mother to Ethan  going into fourth grade and Anyssa going into second grade.  My name is Anabel Burr.  I am an active parent and have participated in the schools biggest fundraiser the previous two years during the spring.  I lead the auction committee and managed to bring in new donors resulting in raiseing 102 k for 2017-2018 school year and short of 80k the past year.  I also have a full-time job working in Corporate America.

Ricardo Barcelo : I’m originally from Mexico City and came to Houston in 2004 to join my wife, who had taken a position at an international bank.  For the last eight years, I have been in the business of protecting people from the unexpected running my own Allstate Insurance agency in Houston.  The most exciting phase of my life started seven years ago when I became a father.  Bruno, my first child, is now almost seven , and Rebecca, my second child, will be foursoon; I can hardly believe it!  Making a positive impact on society while benefiting my children is a no brainer, and that is why I like being involved in the PTO.

Samala Rizvi: I am the parent of Elias and Hannah Rizvi going to second grade. I am excited about this nomination because I would love to contribute to this beautiful school and everything it stands for. I was raised in Egypt and finished high school in the Cayman Islands. Most of my summer and winter breaks were spent in countries throughout Asia and Europe. This taught me that beauty in life comes from diversity of culture, religion, ethnicity and socio-economic variance. The advantage that I gained in embracing change and differences is something that comes without a price tag. This is the second year our children have attended Wharton Elementary and I am so grateful to help in any way I can in their future and the future of their peers.  I’ve been working in marketing, specifically in energy, for the past 15 years. Marketing is my passion along with real estate so I decided to become a realtor this year with Coldwell Banker in the Heights.

Christian Tan: Christian Tan has worked in external audit and internal audit for various public accounting firms as well as Harris County. He served in various leadership capacity (including the Board of Director) on several 501c3 non-profit organizations. He is also part of the Finance Council at his church. His son started in Wharton 6 years ago in Ms. Hernandez’s PK class. In his free time, he loves to road bike and volunteer in various community events.

Jennifer Ortiz Prather is the proud parent of her two daughters, Luciana (3rd) and Olivia (1st). Along with her husband, Jonathan, she enjoys helping WDLA whenever possible for the benefit of the entire community. She is a native Houstonian, educated at the University of Southern California and Vermont Law School. After working in DC for eleven years, she returned home in 2010. As an attorney working in civil rights, she believes that education is the foundation for success in life. After serving the past 2 years on the PTO Board, including this last year as Treasurer, she plans to support the transition of the new Treasurer and with the new Membership Toolkit software for the PTO website.

I am a mother of two wonderful Wharton students, Santiago and Diego Esparza, who are currently in 4th and 3rd grade, respectively. I was born in Monterrey, Mexico and value the importance of passing on my native language to my children, which is why we chose Wharton. I am also a full time working mom and who like many of us, juggle the work and parent balance. I have always been a true believer of being involved in my children’s school activities as much as I can in order to make a difference. I also enjoy seeing the student’s smiles as I walk through our campus when I volunteer. I would like your vote to allow me to have a positive impact on our little pueblito. These are all reasons why I would like to be part of the Wharton PTO Board and I truly believe it does take a village to make our school a better place!

Shena Cox is a licensed real estate agent and interior designer servicing Houston and surrounding areas. A native of New Orleans, Shena has been a resident of Houston since 2012 and is proud to call the city home. She is a loving wife and mother of two girls. Her daughters are Kay who is currently a pre-K student at Wharton and Klair who is 6 months old. She attended LSU for her undergraduate studies and is a big LSU tiger’s Sports fan. Since calling Houston home, Shena enjoys visiting Houston’s many parks, coffee shops, yoga studios and brunch spots in her downtime. As an experienced business woman, Shena Cox prides herself in her effectiveness to communicate excellently, adaptability, charisma, integrity and knowing what it takes to listen and understand someone’s vision. These attributes will make her an asset to serving on the PTO board as a Member at Large. She is thankful she was able to serve as her daughter’s pre-K class’ room parent. She also volunteered for several of Wharton’s events this school year such as the fall festival, fun run, sunshine cart and the school’s 90th anniversary program. She is looking forward to serving on the PTO board and developing a prosperous relationship with members, staff, parents and students at Wharton Dual Language Academy.

Hey guys! I am Rachel Semien and I have a son, Alexander, in first grade. You may recognize from opening car doors in the mornings or doing unicorn braids in the Crazy Hair booth at the Fall Festival. We have been a part of the Wharton Family since 2017. Since then, I have spent countless hours volunteering for different fundraisers and events such as Fall Festival, Boosterthon , 90th Birthday Celebration, Faculty and staff Thanksgiving Luncheon, Grandparents day, picture day and field trips. I also served as Room Parent of Alexander’s first grade class. Being a part of the school in the simple ways that I have has allowed me to see first hand the commitment of the teachers, staff, and parents. It is an opportunity that I hold dear to my heart and do not take for granted. I am running for Board Member-at-Large as a way to to increase my involvement with PTO, to support Wharton, and foster that spirit of community that we appreciate so much. I look forward to serving as a representative of the parent population at PTO executive board meetings. As a full-time wife, mom and business owner of Rachel Monet Beauty, I’ve learned to be creative, a great communicator, goal-oriented, budget-minded and resilient. These traits would be an asset to several different committees on the board. Please vote for me for your 2020-2021 Board Member-at-Large

Hello! I am Brook Blanco, mother of Kylie Blanco. We have been part of the Wharton Family since Kylie was started kindergarten in 2016. My husband, Mike Blanco have volunteered for school, classroom and PTO projects over these past few years and hope to increase our support. We also have a 4 year-old Hanah who we hope will be able to be part of this great school and experience when she starts pre-K. I am a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently work in advertising and marketing at Univision Communications.

My name is Kindra LeFevre. You’ve probably seen our family biking to and from school. I’m incredibly thankful that my children—Levi (1st) and Alexia (Pre-K)—have the opportunity to become bilingual at Wharton Dual Language Academy. I’ve been involved in the PTO for the past two years, assisting with spirit nights like our first adults-only Spirit Night at Oporto, and volunteering at events like the Fall Festival. My professional background is in journalism and corporate communications. I have bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and German from the University of Missouri and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston. Currently, I’m a small business owner alongside my husband.

Holly Navarro, mother of two, born and raised Houstonian. When she’s not working and taking care of the family she enjoys traveling, reading and restaurants with friends and family.

Angel McCormack: Proud Mom to a 2020-21 eighth grade daughter, who has been at Wharton since kindergarten. Active in the PTO in the past, serving on the board, volunteering and working 8 out of the last 9 Fall Festivals, serving as chair for the “Invest in your Child” fundraising program for 3 years, volunteering at multiple PTO Galas, and maintaining the PTO’s website for 3 years. Also active in classroom and individual grade-level fundraising, participating as IB mentor, multiple teacher appreciation lunches volunteer, and MS Dance volunteer. Works for a major law firm as a systems engineer.

Committee Chairs/Presidentes de Comités

Wharton Eagle Run w/Boosterthon –  

Communications/Comunicaciones –

Fall Festival/Festival de Otoño –

Family Campout/Campamento Familiar – Matt Paulonis

¡Juntos! –

Middle School Rep/Representante para Secundaria – Ivonne Aguirre

Wharton Hospitality:

Room Parent Liaison/Enlace con Padres de Salón –

Spirit Nights –

Spring Gala/Gala de Primavera –

Wharton’s Dad’s Club/Club de Papás –