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Executive Director

Camila currently serves as the Executive Director for Dallas Kids First. She became involved in public school governance in Dallas through the CAMP Fellowship, where she learned all about the role of the Dallas ISD School Board and the critical part Trustees play for students across Dallas.

Originally from Chile, Camila immigrated with her family first to New Orleans and then to Dallas where she attended Richardson High School in Richardson ISD. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Camila went on to become a teacher through the New York City Teaching Fellows and earned her Master’s in Education through Hunter College.

After one year in Washington Heights and five in the South Bronx, Camila returned to Dallas and was immersed into the education landscape through her work as an instructional coach with Teaching Trust. There, she coached teachers in over 40 campuses across Dallas/Ft.Worth to grow their classroom practice and develop leadership skills in educators looking to expand their influence.

Now, Camila’s full time focus is energizing the community to participate in local elections. Always challenging the status quo, Camila plans to increase voter turnout and community engagement around the foundation of any city’s future - its public schools. Camila resides in Dallas ISD District 5, currently served by Trustee Lew Blackburn.







Since arriving in Dallas in 2013, Harold has been on a mission to assure students and families in our cities most deserving areas have access to an incredible education. As a former educator, he truly believes in the power of human capital to change outcomes for kids. A firm believer in the grass root, boots on the ground approach to creating real change, Harold aims to work in partnership with groups of dynamic, goal-driven, and solutions-oriented individuals who are on fire to create environments where students and communities reach unbelievable heights. Harold founded Excellent Design Resolutions, a consulting organization that  works with corporations and nonprofits to build a set of deliberate actions centered around creating positive change for pressing social challenges such as education, poverty, and equity. Harold is a proud alum of Ball State University where he was a student-athlete before earning a Masters in Education Leadership from the University of North Texas.


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Melissa Higginbotham serves as the Director of Operations for Dallas Kids First. Her children attended Dallas ISD schools from 2000-2015 and during much of that time her volunteer focus was in the classroom, serving on the Site Based Decision-Making committee and PTA on her children’s campuses in numerous leadership roles. She began attending Dallas ISD Board of Trustees meetings in 2010 on a regular basis and began to realize the impact of the decisions being made at that level and the importance of understanding policy guiding the District.

Melissa first volunteered for DKF in the election cycle of 2012 and knocked on voters’ doors for both endorsed candidates that year, Bernadette Nutall and Dan Micciche. Since that time, her work with Dallas Kids First has included many hours spent on trustee campaigns and in board meetings advocating for strong leadership at the governance level of Dallas ISD. Dallas ISD is educating over 157,000 students and Melissa is passionate about each one receiving increased opportunity through a stronger education.

Melissa is a product of Corpus Christi public schools and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baylor University. She resides in Dallas ISD District 1, currently served by Trustee Edwin Flores.







John Hill

CAMP Fellowship Director

John Hill is the CAMP Fellowship Co-Founder and Program Director and the founding Partner of Deinde Group. A Dallas native, John Hill is the child of two proud Dallas ISD graduates and grandchild of a Dallas ISD teacher. Hill returned home to teach at L.G Pinkston High School in Dallas ISD before moving to the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. Prior to entering education, Hill served as a fundraiser for the Harvard College Fund and a communications consultant for mayoral and city council candidates in Los Angeles. Most recently, he managed the successful reelection campaign for Dan Micciche, served as Field Director for Dustin Marshall, and led the successful third-party field effort in support of Justin Henry. Over the past five years, Hill has worked closely with local organizations to support candidates seeking office.



The inaugural Dallas Kids First Advisory Board is entrusted with helping the organization build outreach efforts across the various Dallas ISD community groups. Depicted above from left to right is Chazz Robinson, Ann Marie Wernick, and Michael Gagne.

The inaugural Dallas Kids First Advisory Board is entrusted with helping the organization build outreach efforts across the various Dallas ISD community groups. Depicted above from left to right is Chazz Robinson, Ann Marie Wernick, and Michael Gagne.

Chazz Robinson

Director, Fort Worth Alumni Program at Teach for america

My career is centered on innovating in the education space, and building solutions to the most pressing problems surrounding education.  I first started this journey by teaching world geography and English at the middle and high school level. After teaching, I transitioned to a role where I planned and implemented an internship program for high school students with The Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA Academy) in DISD. The focus was providing opportunities for students to intern during the school year with businesses and organizations aligned to their interests. The outcome was an integrated community of parents, students, entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and community members working together to help develop students with the skills and experiences to thrive in the 21st century.  Through my participation in the CAMP Fellowship, I learned about the role of the school board and helped raise awareness for elections in DISD. Now, my hope is to increase engagement in Ft. Worth as well through my role with the alumni network of Teach for America.

Ann Marie Wernick

ELAR Mastery Teacher, Literacy Instructional Coach at W.E. Greiner Middle School

All students deserve a quality education where they are supported and challenged to pursue their ambitions. We need student-focused leaders to collaborate with schools, parents, and other board members toward a shared goal of creating innovative policies that continuously improve DISD. I recognize the importance of having strong leaders on the school board, and want to ensure that quality candidates and leaders continue to serve our students in Dallas. 

Michael Gagne

Director, Healthcare Solutions, Information Builders, Inc.  

My passion for education began during my Leadership Dallas class.  Having been exposed to how integral education was to impacting poverty, reducing crime, improving healthcare and the dependence of society on education as a means of sustainment, I became an education champion.  The PTECH initiative and the subsequent Collegiate Academies success is my baby as a result of securing the three-way partnership between AT&T, DISD and DCCCD along with the cooperation of UNT/D, UTA, UTD.  I am honored to serve DKF and its mission to insure qualified candidates for our school board who are focused on the continued transformation of DISD.  It is important that candidates realize the journey of education begins at birth and continues through post-secondary achievement.  Finally, while candidates are elected by a geographic area, their fiduciary responsibilities for the impact of their decisions must always be for the benefit of every student in DISD.