Governor Greg Abbott appointed April Estrada, Ed.D. and Barbie Ezell and reappointed Amy Litzinger, Susan Nichols, Ph.D., Agatha Thibideaux, and Jo Ann Garza Wofford and to the Standing Advisory Committee for Special Education for terms expiring February 1, 2025. The committee provides policy guidance on special education and related services for children with disabilities in Texas.
Avril Estrada, Ed.D. de Wylie is the Special Populations Director for Region 10 ESC. She is a member of the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education, the Council of Women School Executives, and the Texas Association of School Administrators. Additionally, she volunteers for special needs ministry at Wylie’s First Baptist Church and is an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University. Estrada holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Texas and a Masters and Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Dallas Baptist University.
Barbara “Barbie” Ezell of Portland is Director of Special Education for Gregory-Portland ISD. She is a member and House of Delegates Representative for Region 2 of the Texas Council for Administrators of Special Education. Additionally, she is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Portland and is an alumnus of Zeta Tau Alpha. Ezell earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Texas State University and a Master of Science degree from Corpus Christi State University, with certifications as a counselor and special education counselor. She has also earned additional certifications as an Educational Diagnostician and Administrator from Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi.
Amy Litzinger d’Austin is a public policy specialist with Texas Parent to Parent (TxP2P). She is a member and vice chair of the System Redesign Advisory Committee of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) and a member of the Texas Children’s Policy Council. Additionally, she is the former Membership Chair and Board Member of the National Youth Leadership Network and former Vice Chair of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Policy Working Group of the National Council on Disability Youth Advisory Council. . Litzinger received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from Southwestern University and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Austin Seminary.
Susan Nichols, Ph.D. de Carrollton is currently the interim executive director of the Kristin Farmer Autism Center at the University of North Texas at Denton. She is a member of the Texas Association of Behavior Analysts and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) / Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA). Nichols received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas Woman’s University and a Master of Education and Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education from the University of North Texas.
Agata K. “Agatha” Thibodeaux of Katy is the current Chair of the Special Education Standing Advisory Committee and a member of the Special Education Allocation Advisory Committee. A proud mother of two boys, the youngest of whom has autism, propelled her to actively advocate for the special needs community. She is a member of the Katy Independent School District Parent Teacher Association and a former member of the American Marketing Association. Thibodeaux earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Advertising from Metropolitan State University in Denver.
Jo Ann Garza Wofford of New Braunfels, vice president and private trustee of Frost Bank Wealth Advisory Services based in the San Antonio area. Jo Ann and her husband were instrumental in establishing the New Braunfels Independent School District Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. Wofford received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin.