Board and Committees

Wharton PTO Board 2019-2020
Junta Directiva 2019-2020

Executive Board

President/Presidente – Melanie Rodriguez

Melanie has two proud Eagles in kinder and third 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.

 President Elect/Presidente Electo –  Ivonne Aguirre

¡Hola!  I am Ivonne Aguirre, mom of Mateo currently in 7th 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 Defense Attorney who practices criminal law.  We live in the Heights and enjoy the proximity of Wharton to our home and work.

Secretary/Secretaria – Paula Niño Kehr

Paula Kehr has been a Wharton parent for two years. Since she started at the school, Paula has been involved with the PTO in various capacities. She co-chaired the school’s Fall Festival for the last two years and was Secretary of the PTO during the 2018-2019 school year. Paula has a background in public relations and journalism and is currently a freelance writer. She’s from Colombia and is bilingual.

Treasurer/Tesorero – Jennifer Prather

Jennifer Ortiz Prather is a Supervisory Attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a Federal agency dedicated to enforcing Civil Rights laws in the workplace. She manages the EEOC’s Mediation Program which helps parties resolve their dispute prior to litigation. Since 2010, she has reviewed and signed off on cases that represent over $75 million in monetary benefits for parties, as a result of settling their disputes. Ms. Prather also manages the internal budget for EEOC Mediation Unit which includes oversight of Federal Contractor funds over $900,000.00 thousand dollars since 2011. From 2001-2009, Ms. Prather worked in Washington, DC for the U.S. Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service in the International and ADR Services Division in Washington, DC where she served as a Commissioner of Mediation and managed Federal contracts over $1.2 million dollars. Since moving back to her hometown in 2010, Ms. Prather has been actively engaged in the ADR community. She has served as Board member for the Association of Conflict Resolution Professionals (ACR- Houston), the Labor Employment Relations Association (LERA), and most recently as a Board member and President of the Texas Association of Mediators, a state-wide professional mediation organization with a non-profit designation and budget expenses from $85,000 to $125,000 annually. Ms. Prather is dedicated to the field of civil rights and celebrates her 20 th year of Federal service in 2019. Ms. Prather received her B.A. at the University of Southern California and her J.D. from Vermont Law School. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas and is happy to raise her two daughters, Luciana (K) and Olivia (PK) at WDLA, with her husband, Jonathan, in her home state.

Treasurer Elect/Tesorero Electo – Samantha Andon

Hi, I’m Samantha Andon and I have a child in Pre-K going to Kindergarten. I also have a 2 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.

Past President/Ex-Presidente –  Jeff Fuller

Jeff Fuller and his wife, Kristyn Fuller, are the proud parents of Kate, a Wharton 5 th grader that have been at Wharton since Pre-K. In his professional life, Jeff is the Director of College Counseling at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston, Texas. Before joining Strake Jesuit, Jeff served as Director of Recruitment and Admissions for 15 years at the University of Houston – ultimately serving 23 years in various leadership roles in UH’s admission office. Originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, Jeff received two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Houston along with a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. Jeff is involved professionally in the National and Texas Associations for College Admission Counseling, the Houston Hispanic Forum, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, to name a few.

At-Large Board Members/Delegados –

Anabel Burr: Hi Everyone, I am the Mother to Ethan  going into third grade and Anyssa going into first 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.

Kristie Hernandez: Hello parents! My name is Kristie Hernandez and I am a mother of two.  My son Zachary is currently in the 3rd grade and my daughter Kaitlyn attended Wharton DLA from kindergarten through 5th grade. I have been an active volunteer at the school for the past 7 years and in addition to being a room parent, I have assisted with the Fall festival and BBQ fundraiser.  I am excited to be part of such a great community of parents and I want to continue to contribute to the success of our school and our children by serving on the board. Thank you.

Kimberly King: Greetings Wharton DLA parents. My name is Kimberly King and I am the mother of Mykailah King who is currently in the 4th grade. We have been at Wharton since the 2013-2014 school year (Pre-K).  Since my time here, I have always worked with the PTO.  I have organized the food for several Fall Festivals and Co-Chaired Spring Gala.

Carolina Villegas: I have two boys at Wharton DLA, starting K and 3rd. I have a career background in scientific research and business development. I want to provide accountability to the Wharton community and transparency on PTO activities.

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 six years ago when I became a father.  Bruno, my first child, is now almost six, and Rebecca, my second child, will be three soon; 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.

Laura Gonzalez: Laura Gonzalez is a Sr. Analyst of Operations with Constellation Energy.  She has two boys, Lucas (3rd) and Nicolas (Pre-K), 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.

Samala Rizvi: I am the parent of Elias and Hannah Rizvi currently in first 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 5 years ago in Ms. Hernandez’s PK class. In his free time, he loves to road bike and volunteer in various community events.

Committee Chairs/Presidentes de Comités

Wharton Eagle Run w/Boosterthon –  Laura Gonzalez   &   Ivonne Aguirre

Communications/Comunicaciones –   Samala Rizvi  &   Paula Kehr 

Fall Festival/Festival de Otoño – Paula Kehr and Carolina Villegas

Family Campout/Campamento Familiar – Matt Paulonis

¡Juntos! – Laura Gonzalez

Middle School Rep/Representante para Secundaria – Ivonne Aguirre

Wharton Hospitality: Ivonne Aguirre

Room Parent Liaison/Enlace con Padres de Salón – Kimberly King

Spirit Nights – Ricardo Barcelo

Spring Gala/Gala de Primavera – Bo Ventura & Susan Davis

Wharton’s Dad’s Club/Club de Papás –  David Kehr