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College of Education Alumni Board

As the governing body of the College of Education Alumni Association, the Alumni Board promotes activities to support the College and works to foster the natural bond among fellow Coogs. Whether you’re a recent graduate or longtime alum, you have the power to help the College on its mission to improve educational and health outcomes for all children and families.

If you’re interested in getting more involved with the alumni association, please email Include your name, preferred email address, graduation year(s) and your current/most recent employer and job title.

Board Officers

Melissa Knop

Melissa Knop


Knop, a former teacher and educational diagnostician, retired as director of special education for the Galveston Independent School District in summer 2017. She now owns a private business that does tutoring, educational testing and consulting in a variety of settings. Knop has three degrees from UH – a bachelor’s in anthropology, a master’s and an Ed.D. – and her three children are Coogs. Knop also serves as a member of the Southside Place (Texas) City Council.

 Cheryl Fasullo

Cheryl Fasullo


Fasullo, a longtime sociology professor at San Jacinto College in Houston, serves on numerous boards. Her memberships include the UH College of Education’s Capital Campaign Committee, the Social Work Advisory Board at UH-Clear Lake and Theatre LaB of Houston. Her honors include an MVP award for teamwork from San Jacinto College (2000) and the National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development Excellence Award from the University of Texas at Austin (1999). She has a master’s in sociology from UH and a Doctor of Education from UH.
 Janet Hoover: photo not available

Janet Hoover


Hoover, a 36-year educator with the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, retired in 2010 as assistant principal for elementary administration. She previously worked as a special education and general education teacher, an assistant principal and a principal. In 2017, Cy-Fair ISD named Hoover Elementary School in her honor. Hoover received a mid-management certification from the UH College of Education and has served on the UH Alumni Association Board of Directors.

 Gary Henry

Gary Henry

Immediate Past President

Henry serves as director of talent and support services for the Spring Branch Independent School District after working for nearly 20 years as a principal and assistant principal. He has a bachelor’s in education from UH, a Master of Education from UH-Clear Lake and is pursuing a Doctor of Education from UH. He is the immediate past president of the UH College of Education Alumni Association and past president for Region IV of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association.

Board Members

 Sharon Boutwell: photo not available

Sharon Boutwell

Boutwell, an education consultant, has worked in public education for four decades. Her experience includes serving as assistant superintendent of leadership and organizational development in the Katy Independent School District and in a variety of roles involving strategic planning and professional development in Spring Branch ISD. She has a Doctor of Education in administration and supervision from UH and mid-management and superintendent certifications.
 Wayne Emerson

Wayne Emerson

Emerson has worked in the education field for about 50 years. His experience includes serving as a high school social studies teacher, as principal of a large 5A high school in the Fort Bend Independent School District and as high school principal for the International School of Beijing in China. He has worked at the UH College of Education as a visiting associate professor and visiting professor and has served on more than 50 doctoral dissertation/thesis committees.

 Jacqueline Hawkins

Jacqueline Hawkins

Hawkins serves as an associate professor in the UH College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and directs the Ed.D. in special populations program. During her 30 years of service to the College, she also has been an associate dean and chair of the Department of Educational Psychology. Her research activities focus on systems change in educational and community contexts. She has an M.Ed. and an Ed.D. in educational psychology/special education from UH.

Honorary Members

 Alma Allen: photo not available

Alma Allen

Rep. Allen was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in November 2004. She previously served more than 10 years on the State Board of Education. Allen worked for the Houston Independent School District for four decades as a teacher, principal and central office administrator. She holds a Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from UH and a certificate in administration and supervision from UH. Allen’s many honors include an outstanding alumnae award from UH.

 Betty Baitland: photo not available

Betty Baitland

Baitland worked for the Fort Bend Independent School District for about three decades, as a teacher, principal, area superintendent and superintendent. She holds a Doctor of Education degree from UH and has served as an adjunct professor in the College of Education. She began her career in education as an English teacher in the Dallas and the Houston school districts. In 1977, she joined FBISD as an English teacher at Dulles High School.

Ex-Officio (by virtue of position)

 Robert McPherson

Robert McPherson

Dean, College of Education

McPherson serves as dean of the UH College of Education and holds the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Chair. He has more than 40 years of leadership-related experience in higher education, K-12 public education and professional psychology. McPherson was among the first graduates of UH’s doctoral program in counseling psychology in 1987. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 from the Texas Psychological Association and is a recipient of the APA’s Karl F. Heiser Award for Advocacy. McPherson and his wife, Ann Hodges, a clinical psychologist, are lifetime UH alumni members.

 Jaha Williams: photo not available

Jaha Williams

Director of Advancement, College of Education

Williams has more than 15 years of fundraising experience in nonprofits and higher education. She has worked for United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area, the Montgomery County United Way, Texas Southern University and UH-Downtown. She joined the UH College of Education in 2016. Williams has a bachelor’s in political science from Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College at Baton Rouge and a master’s in public administration from the University of New Orleans.

 Danica Chase: photo not available

Dianca Chase

Development Coordinator, College of Education

Chase joined the UH College of Education development team in October 2017. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Purdue University, she relocated to Houston, where she worked at UH’s Hilton College. There she worked as graduate program manager and development coordinator. She currently is pursuing a master’s of higher education administration at Texas Tech University. Her research interests include first-generation student success in community colleges and increasing the number of girls and young women in STEM.