Center for Public Policy Priorities
Meet Our Staff
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Executive
Ann Beeson  Executive Director
A renowned social justice lawyer, former philanthropy executive, and frequent public speaker and writer, Ann Beeson joined the Center in 2013. She was previously the Executive Director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations, where she promoted human rights, justice, and accountability nationwide. Beeson was the national Associate Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked from 1995-2007. She argued twice before the U.S. Supreme Court, litigated numerous cases around the country, and launched groundbreaking programs to stop the erosion of civil liberties in the name of national security and to protect free speech and privacy on the Internet. Beeson has been recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers by American Lawyer Magazine and the National Law Journal. A proud Texan, Beeson has embraced a wide range of innovative strategies to advance social change. Before joining the Center, she launched a new non-profit to involve the creative sector in social change. In 2012-13, she was a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas, where she co-produced a public media series to inspire more people to get engaged in their communities. She grew up in Dallas, Texas, and received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Texas. Beeson obtained her law degree from Emory University School of Law, and served as law clerk to the Honorable Barefoot Sanders, then chief judge of the Northern District of Texas.

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Anne Dunkelberg  |  Associate Director, Health and Wellness Program Director
Anne Dunkelberg joined the Center in 1994. She is one of the state's leading experts in policy and budget issues relating to health care access. In 2007, she was named Consumer Advocate of the Year by Families USA in Washington, D.C. Before coming to the Center, she served as Program Director for Acute Care in the Texas Medicaid Director's Office and spent six years with the Texas Research League, where she authored numerous reports on Texas health and human services issues and tracked state health and human services budget issues. She earned dual degrees from The University of Texas at Austin—a Bachelor of Arts (Plan II), magna cum laude, in 1979 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs in 1988.

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Frances Deviney, Ph.D.  Associate Director, Research and Planning Program Director
As an Associate Director, Dr. Frances Deviney coordinates the Organizational Development work at the Center and oversees many of the Center’s data-based advocacy projects, including the Texas KIDS COUNT project and the Better Texas Family Budgets tool. Before coming to the Center in 2005, she conducted education research at the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory and was Legislative Director for a Texas State Representative. She earned her BA in Psychology from Vanderbilt University and Doctorate in Developmental Psychology from The University of Utah.

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Communication
Oliver Bernstein  |  Communications Director
Oliver Bernstein joined the Center as Communications Director in 2014. He uses communications strategies to advance CPPP's vision of a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated and financially secure. He previously worked as National Communications Strategist for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, which aims to replace coal with clean energy. He also directed the Sierra Club’s national diversity media program from 2006 to 2009, serving as a bilingual on-the-record spokesman and developing Hispanic media outreach plans. Oliver completed a one-year fellowship in Mexico City, where he used communications and outreach strategies to raise attention on air quality and public health. He has worked on several political campaigns and has extensive crisis communications experience. A native of Miami, Florida, Oliver has lived in Austin for over a decade with his wife, a native Austinite.

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Gina Chavez  |  Communications Associate
Gina Chavez joined the Center in 2010. She works on all publications, marketing and social media for the center. She was the Communications Coordinator at Texas Pharmacy Association for six years before leaving the country to volunteer for eight months in El Salvador. Chavez is also a native Austinite and an award-winning musician. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism with a concentration in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Drew Stanley  |  Communications Associate
Drew Stanley joined the Center in 2016. A Montana native, he holds a BA in Radio / TV Production from the University of Montana School of Journalism. Stanley's previous work in Texas included being the Digital Communications Manager for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas in Austin, overseeing digital communications including live-tweeting legislative hearings, writing blogs, managing videography, photography, and updating the website. Before that, Stanley was Social Media Manager at Whole Woman's Health, where his social media work was instrumental in putting a spotlight on Wendy Davis' historic filibuster. He also previously interned at the Austin Chronicle.

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Economic Opportunity intern:
  • Andrea Ojeda, St. Edward's University, School of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Development
Nick Canedo  |  Development Director

A San Antonio native, Nick Canedo is a development professional with eight years of experience in nonprofit fundraising. Previously with the Rainforest Alliance, an international environmental organization, he oversaw the major gifts program with a focus on individual giving, donor stewardship, and proposal development. Prior to joining the Rainforest Alliance, Canedo was a donor relations associate at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, where he focused on endowed support and cultivation events. Canedo is a graduate of St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas and holds a J.D. from Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law.


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Mallory Marcone  |  Development Associate

Mallory Marcone joined the Center in 2016 to assist the Executive Director and Development Director with donor records database management and event planning. A North Carolina native, Mallory came to central Texas in 2010 to attend Texas State University. After graduating in 2014 with a degree in Anthropology, Mallory worked as a professional archaeologist before deciding to commit to a year of national service as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Refugee Services of Texas. In that role, she focused on cultivating new donor relationships and designing new programs to serve refugees resettled in Austin. She is currently attending ACC to become certified in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).


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Economic Opportunity
Garrett Groves  |  Economic Opportunity Program Director
As Director of the Economic Opportunity Program at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Groves leads a team of policy analysts that strive to increase educational attainment and ensure economic prosperity for all Texans. Before joining the Center in 2014, Groves served as a Senior Policy Analyst at the National Governors Association where he worked with state and local entities on workforce, post-secondary education and economic development policy. He has served governors, senior policy advisors and local leaders on several initiatives designed to bolster talent development pipelines and align educational institutions, training programs and community-based organizations with employer needs and state economic development strategies. Preceding his work at the NGA Center, Groves oversaw the rigorous evaluation of education and training programs in the Office of Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Labor, including random assignment evaluations of the YouthBuild program, Community-Based Job Training Grants and the ARRA High Growth and Emerging Industries grantees. He also served at various levels of Colorado state government, including the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Joint Budget Committee of the General Assembly, and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. He received his master’s degree in public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver.

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Laura Rosen  |  Policy Analyst and OpportunityTexas Project Coordinator
Laura Rosen joined the Center for Public Policy Priorities in 2010. She is a policy analyst and the coordinator of OpportunityTexas, a joint initiative of RAISE Texas and CPPP to expand household savings in Texas. Laura completed her Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan in 2010 and received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. Before returning to graduate school, Laura worked as a relationship manager at Wells Fargo and was a Fulbright Scholar in Peru, where she researched microfinance.  Laura also serves on the Texas Financial Education Endowment’s Grant Advisory Committee.

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Chandra Kring Villanueva  |  Policy Analyst
Chandra Villanueva joined the Center for Public Policy Priorities in 2010 and focuses on school finance and education policy ranging from early education to higher education access and success. Prior to joining the Center, Chandra was the manager of Advocacy and Public Policy with the Women’s Prison Association (WPA) in New York City. At WPA, she educated formerly incarcerated women on the legislative process and researched options for pregnant women in the criminal justice system. Chandra has also served as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center with placements in Tucson, Arizona and Washington, DC. Chandra earned a Master of Public Administration from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

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Economic Opportunity intern:
  • Nicole Fillion, University of Texas, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Finance and Administration
Kelly D. Josh  |  Director of Finance and Administration

Kelly Josh spent 10 years as the Director of Finance and Administration with the Texas Defender Service. Prior to that, she worked in Central America for 12 years monitoring the construction of civilian police forces and efforts to reform national judicial systems. From 2000 to 2005 in Central America she was the Deputy Chief of Party for a USAID project focusing on democratic development, transparency in governance and civil society strengthening. Josh received a Bachelor of Arts in government from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs in 2012.


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Valerie L. Davidson  |  Manager of Administration
Valerie L. Davidson joined the Center in 2002. She is responsible for accounts payable, payroll, and other business. Before coming to the center, Davidson was an administrator in the Office of the District Judges of Travis County. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Southwest Texas State University in 1997.

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Invest In Texas
Eva DeLuna Castro  |  Invest In Texas Program Director
Eva DeLuna Castro joined the Center in 1998 and focuses on state budget issues. Before coming to the Center, she was an Analyst for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, researching various policy issues related to state revenue and spending. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Literature, cum laude, from Harvard University in 1988 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin in 1997.

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Dick Lavine  |  Senior Fiscal Analyst
Dick Lavine focuses on state and local revenue issues. Before coming to the Center in 1994, he was a Senior Researcher at the House Research Organization of the Texas House of Representatives for ten years. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Travis Central Appraisal District, and a member of the Executive Board of AFSCME Texas Retirees, the statewide union local of retired public employees. The Equity Center named him the 2011 Champion for Equity for his work to reform our tax system to ensure it can adequately support public education and other public services. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 1969, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975.

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Health and Wellness
Anne Dunkelberg  |  Associate Director, Health and Wellness Program Director
Anne Dunkelberg joined the center in 1994. She is one of the state's leading experts in policy and budget issues relating to health care access. In 2007, she was named Consumer Advocate of the Year by Families USA in Washington, D.C. Before coming to the center, she served as Program Director for Acute Care in the Texas Medicaid Director's Office and spent six years with the Texas Research League, where she authored numerous reports on Texas health and human services issues and tracked state health and human services budget issues. She earned dual degrees from The University of Texas at Austin—a Bachelor of Arts (Plan II), magna cum laude, in 1979 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs in 1988.

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Rachel Cooper  |  Senior Policy Analyst
Rachel joined the center in 2012 with a focus on food and nutrition programs as well as obesity. Before joining the center, she worked for the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) where she was in charge of research and data analysis and authored reports such as the School Breakfast Scorecard, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, and State of the States. Cooper also worked for the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), in their New York office, where she focused on helping families gain access to programs that provide work supports, such as tax credits, Medicaid, SCHIP, and food stamps. Cooper received her Masters in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

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Stacey Pogue  |  Senior Policy Analyst
Stacey Pogue joined the center in 2008. She focuses on health policy issues. Before coming to the center, she did health policy and research work with the Medicaid and CHIP Division of the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Insurance. In 2010 and 2011, she was selected to serve as a funded Consumer Representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Pogue earned a Bachelor of Science in Geography, summa cum laude, from Texas A&M University in 1997 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin in 2005.

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Monica Villarreal  |  Hogg Foundation Mental Health Policy Fellow
Monica Villarreal joined the Center in 2016 as a Hogg Mental Health Policy Fellow. She has previously worked on advocacy for disability issues and has policy experience from working at Disability Rights Texas and the American institutes for Research. Villarreal is a native of Monterrey Mexico and moved to Austin in 2010 to attend school at the University of Texas at Austin where she received a bachelor’s degree in Government and Latin American Studies and a Master’s of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

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Health and Wellness intern:
  • Kamia Rathore, University of Texas, College of Natural Sciences and School of Public Health
Research and Planning
Frances Deviney, Ph.D.  Associate Director, Research and Planning Program Director
As an Associate Director, Dr. Frances Deviney coordinates the Organizational Development work at the Center and oversees many of the Center’s data-based advocacy projects, including the Texas KIDS COUNT project and the Better Texas Family Budgets tool. Before coming to the Center in 2005, she conducted education research at the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory and was Legislative Director for a Texas State Representative. She earned her BA in Psychology from Vanderbilt University and Doctorate in Developmental Psychology from The University of Utah.

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Mia Ibarra  |  Policy and Planning Analyst
Mia Ibarra joined the Center in 2012 as an Outreach Associate and coordinator of Texas Forward, a state-wide revenue coalition. She now focuses on stakeholder engagement and outreach and strategic planning. Before relocating to Austin, Ibarra managed the nationally-competitive Udall Scholarship program at The Udall Foundation and conducted legislative research and voter education programs as the Tucson Office Director for Project Vote Smart. She holds a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts in political economy from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

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Kristie Lea Tingle  |  Research Analyst
Kristie Tingle joined the Center as a Research Analyst in 2016. She works on data-based advocacy projects at the Center, including the Texas KIDS COUNT project. She has previously researched unemployment insurance policy at the Ray Marshall Center. Kristie received her Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, and Film from Auburn University.

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Research and Planning intern:
  • Katie Martin, University of Texas, LBJ School of Public Affairs and School of Social Work
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