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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ADRIENNE AMIN

Chairwoman

Adrienne Amin is the Chairwoman of the Houston Classical Board.  Professionally, she is a Partner and head of Marketing and Investor Relations at The WindAcre Partnership. She was previously in Strategy and Business Development at a startup investment firm in New York City, and she also started her career at Goldman Sachs in New York City.  She was a co-founder of the Ascend Educational Fund in New York, which provides college scholarships to exceptional students of immigrant backgrounds. Adrienne grew up in Houston, attended public school from K-12 and was also an English Language Learner, with Spanish as her first Language.  Adrienne received a B.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

CHRIS SMITH

Vice Chair

Chris Smith is the Vice-Chair for the Houston Classical Board.  He is also the Chief Operating Officer at The WindAcre Partnership where he has worked for over five years. Prior to this, he was a Senior Manager at KPMG. Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor’s Degree and MBA from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor. Further, Mr. Smith is heavily involved in the community with such organizations like the Boys and Girls Club volunteering to help adolescent children with homework.

FRED BARRERA

Treasurer

Fred Barrera is the Treasurer for the Houston Classical Board. He is a Senior HR Business Partner at Marsh USA, Inc. Mr. Barrera has experience in management strategies, human resource, and talent acquisition. Mr. Barrera holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Southwestern University and a Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law. Mr. Barrera is deeply passionate about education. He is also deeply committed to ensuring our scholars, no matter their circumstances, can achieve and be productive members of society.

WHITNEY GUARISCO

Board Member

Whitney Guarisco serves on the Development Committee for the Houston Classical Board and is currently a community advocate. Prior to moving to Houston in 2018, she was the Marketing and Business Development Director for Dickie Brennan & Co. in New Orleans.  Ms. Guarisco and her family have lived in Colorado, Lousiana, and Ukraine. Ms. Guarisco holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from the University of Denver.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Legacy Donor Foundation in Louisiana and is heavily involved in Green Generations and Green Patrol at her neighborhood school.

DR. AARON DOMINGUEZ

Board Member

Dr. Aaron Dominguez serves on the Academic Committee for the Houston Classical Board. He is in his 18th year of education, 12th year of school leadership, and is currently the principal at St. Thomas High School in Houston, TX.  Dr. Dominguez previously led schools in Houston ISD and Spring Branch ISD, where he drastically improved student outcomes in two of the districts lowest-performing schools. Dr. Dominguez is a native of the Houston area where he still lives with his wife Loren and sons Ben and Sam.  He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin, received his Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Houston, and earned his Doctorate of Education back at The University of Texas at Austin.

MARIA MONTES

Board Member

Maria Montes is a native Houstonian, appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner as the Director of Boards and Commissions. In this role, Maria works with local boards to construct policy, fundraise, aid fellow citizens and plan for Houston’s future.  Maria has held numerous other professional roles, including working at Transwestern, Ayrshire Corporation, Strong Strategies LLC, and with former State Senator Rodney Ellis, now a Harris County commissioner. From 2008 to 2011, Montes served as director of operations with Cherish Our Children International, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable children. Montes is a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC District 8), Harris County Young Democrats, Eastex Jensen Super Neighborhood and was recently appointed as precinct chair #107 in senate district 6. Montes graduated from Hollins University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies and an MBA from the University of Houston-Downtown. 

PORTIA MCKENZIE 

Board Member

Portia McKenzie is an attorney with Houston-based Allegiance Bank.  A transplant to the city, Portia originally hails from metro-Detroit and started her career in Chicago with the education non-profit Teach For America. She has held legal positions across various industries including with the multi-national online travel company Orbitz Worldwide and Houston Community College System before transitioning to the banking industry with Austin-based Pioneer Bank.  Portia is proud to call Houston home with her husband Brandon and believes Houston Classical to be a means of achieving education equity in a culturally and economically diverse community. Portia holds a dual Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English and Journalism from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois at Chicago John Marshall Law School and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

MIRA K. SHAH

Board Secretary 

Mira K. Shah is an experienced educator and leader, having worked for the Houston Independent School District and KIPP Texas - Houston for many years as a teacher, instructional leader and as an Assistant Principal. Currently, she serves as a Director at Breakthrough Houston, a local non-profit that focuses on summer and school year enrichment programs for low-income scholars. Ms.  Shah holds a Bachelor's Degree in Finance and Insurance from Northwestern University and a Master's Degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas (TX).