David Reilly, Executive Director
David Reilly was appointed Interim Executive Director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department in May of 2014 and to the permanent position in October of the same year, providing stability to TJJD at a pivotal time. He has a combined total of 48 years of experience in the delivery of children and youth services in Texas.
Mr. Reilly began his career as a juvenile probation officer shortly after graduating from St. Mary's University in San Antonio with a B.A. degree in Psychology. After two years as a juvenile probation officer, he returned to graduate school at Our Lady of The Lake University (OLLU) and received his Master of Social Work degree in 1970. Reilly was selected as an Outstanding Alumni, OLLU in 1996.
Mr. Reilly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He is a highly respected juvenile justice professional and formerly served as the Chief Probation Officer for the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department (BCJPD) in San Antonio for 17 years. While at Bexar County, Mr. Reilly lead the department to create many new programs and initiatives to provide a continuum of services and dispositional alternatives for juvenile courts, including the development of seven child-serving specialty courts. Through Mr. Reilly's leadership, BCJPD expanded mental health services and broadened community and in-home service delivery to juveniles. In his position at Bexar County, Mr. Reilly focused and promoted family centered services, family engagement and the critical factor of "relationship" in the change process.
As chief of BCJPD, Mr. Reilly collaborated with local school districts, which lead to the co-housing of over 25 probation officers in local middle schools and high schools. Mr. Reilly lead other innovations in how services are provided to youth, including through the establishment of the Weekend Program, which allows youth to serve their probation obligation on the weekend to avoid interference with school and work.
He successfully advocated for multiple building projects for BCJPD, including a $20 million expansion of Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department's secure residential capacity, a new 48 bed dually certified Mission Road Center, and a new probation central headquarters. He also acquired and developed property leading to an established equine assisted therapy program to serve residents of BCJPD's Krier Treatment Center and youth on home-based supervision.
Before joining Bexar County in 1997, Mr. Reilly served 23 years with the state, with the last five years as the Director of Field Operations for Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services from 1992-97. Prior to that, Mr. Reilly served as Regional Director for Child Protective Services for 10 years in the San Antonio region and three years as Regional Director in the Austin region.
Kristy Almager, Director of Training
Kristy Almager is the Director of the Juvenile Justice Training Academy at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). In her current capacity, Ms. Almager manages the certification of juvenile probation, juvenile supervision and juvenile correctional officers and oversees the development, evaluation and delivery of training to agency staff and juvenile justice stakeholders statewide. She has been with TJJD (formerly the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission) since 1995 and served in a number of different capacities prior to her position as Director.
Prior to her state service, Ms. Almager worked with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. Ms. Almager is a former board member for the Council on Sex Offender Treatment where she served her six-year term to enhance public safety by developing policy and recommendations for effective interventions and management of sex offenders. Ms. Almager also previously served as an Advisory Board Council Member with the Victim Services Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Ms. Almager is a graduate of Saint Edward’s University in Austin, Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and later graduated summa cum lade with a Master’s Degree in Human Services.
Carolyn Beck, Governmental Relations Director
Carolyn Beck joined TJJD as the governmental relations specialist in October 2014. Prior to that, she worked in media relations, governmental relations and strategic planning at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for 11 years. Carolyn worked in various capacities at the Texas Youth Commission from 1990 to 2003, including policy, staff development, internal audit, and juvenile corrections.
Ms. Beck earned a Bachelor of Arts in the Plan II Liberal Arts Honors Program and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, both at The University of Texas at Austin.
Chelsea Buchholtz, Chief of Staff
Chelsea Buchholtz serves as chief of staff of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. She came to the agency in August of 2012 as deputy general counsel, became general counsel in April of 2014, and chief of staff in August of 2014. She is a former Texas Governor's appointee of the Juvenile Justice Services and Facilities Transition Team, which coordinated and oversaw the transition of services and facilities during the formation of TJJD in 2011. She previously worked as a policy advisor for the Office of the Governor Budget, Planning, and Policy Division, under Governor Rick Perry's administration, handling matters pertaining to criminal and juvenile justice, public safety, and military and veterans' affairs. She is a former assistant general counsel for the Office of the Governor, a former briefing attorney of the Texas Court of Appeals Fourth District, and is a member of the State Bar of Texas. She is also a member of the 32nd Class of Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Governor's Executive Development Program. Chelsea received a bachelor's degree from Abilene Christian University in advertising, public relations, with a minor in public service. She received her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law.
Jeannette Cantu, Executive Assistant to the Executive Director
Jeannette Cantu serves as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director. She provides administrative support to the TJJD Board of Directors and leads the agency's administrative support staff team.
Ms. Cantu joined the former Texas Youth Commission in June of 2008. She was awarded the Dedication to Excellence Award by the Texas Youth Commission Board of Directors in 2011. Ms. Cantu also worked with the Texas Attorney General's Office Division of Families and Children and the Child Support Division. She began her career at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Endangered Species Program in 1993. Ms. Cantu has 22 years of state service.
Tushar Desai, M.D., Medical Director
Tushar Desai, M.D. serves as TJJD's Medical Director. Dr. Desai is board certified in General Psychiatry and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He joined the agency in March 2015 after having served as the Unit Medical Director of the San Marcos Treatment Center for the previous 16 years. During that time, he was also the Psychiatric Consultant for the Settlement Home and the Helping Hand Home for Children, Inc., both in Austin, Texas. Dr. Desai has also served as a part-time staff psychiatrist with the Austin State Supported Living Center from 2007-2013 and Texas School for Deaf from 2013-2015.
Dr. Desai has experience in private sector as the Medical Director of Charter Behavioral Health System of Austin 1996-2000 and as an attending physician at the CPC Capital Hospital and Neuropsychiatric Treatment Center in Austin from 1994-1996. He has worked extensively with foster children in Texas while working with several foster care agencies over the years.
Dr. Desai completed his General Psychiatry Residency and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Austin Psychiatric Residency Program. He holds membership in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Texas Academy of Psychiatry, the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians, the Texas Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Austin Psychiatric Society (President 2002-2003).
Terri Dollar, Director of Monitoring and Inspections
As the Director of Monitoring and Inspections, Ms. Dollar oversees the monitoring of juvenile justice facilities, programs, and services at the county and state level. She is responsible for the performance of a variety of quality assurance and compliance activities in order to determine compliance with Texas Administrative Code rules, state and federal laws, the monitored program's policies and procedures, contract requirements, and established reporting requirements. Additionally, as the Director of Monitoring and Inspections, she is responsible for the oversight of the agency risk management program.
Ms. Dollar joined TJJD in 2007 as the Operational Review Manager, where she developed operational monitoring tools based on agency policies and health and safety standards. In 2010, she was named as the Director of the Quality and Risk Management Division (later renamed the Monitoring and Inspections Division).
Prior to joining the agency, Ms. Dollar worked with the Commission on Jail Standards for 12 years. After serving her first 5 years as Texas' first female Jail Inspector, she accepted the position of Deputy Director of the Commission in September 2000. Her duties as Deputy Director included providing oversight of administration, agency budgets, human resources, and field inspectors, as well as the communication and interactions with county and state officials. In March 2005, Ms. Dollar was selected as the Outstanding Woman in Texas Government Leadership by the State Agency Council Governor's Commission for Women.
Ms. Dollar has also served as a Community Supervision Officer for Randall, Potter and Armstrong Counties and a Corrections Accreditation Assistant in the Marion County Sheriff's Office in Ocala, Florida. Ms. Dollar holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with a Criminal Corrections option from Oklahoma State University.
Eleazar Garcia, Chief Internal Auditor
Eleazar Garcia joined TJJD in March 2009 as a Senior Auditor and became TJJD's Chief Auditor in 2013. He leads the Office of Internal Audit which is charged with developing and executing audits and programs designed to assess TJJD's operations. He previously worked as the Director of Internal Audit for Service Group Insurance from 2006 to 2009. In that capacity, Eleazar was responsible for evaluating company compliance with policies, laws, rules, and regulations and conducted operational and financial audits to assess effectiveness of internal controls, accuracy of financial records, and efficiency of operations. He also provided consultative work on the development of the agency's Fraud and Ethics policies.
Prior to Service Group, Mr. Garcia was an Internal Auditor and Audit Supervisor with Farmers Insurance Group from 1986 to 2000 where he was responsible for conducting and reporting on financial, compliance, operational, and investigative audits as well as providing consulting work on financial and operational controls. He also conducted or coordinated defalcation or embezzlement investigations, including referrals to law enforcement and developed and presented seminars to District Managers, the agency force, and their employees over financial and operational controls, ethics, and fraud.
Mr. Garcia holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). He earned his Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation in 1992. Eleazar received the Management Excellence Award for Farmers Insurance and completed the Internal Audit Leadership Development Program sponsored by the State Agency Internal Audit Forum in May 2012.
Jim Hurley, Communications Director
Jim Hurley joined TJJD in 2007 as the agency's Public Affairs Director. He serves as the agency's spokesperson and develops internal and external communications. He previously worked as the Director of Public Information at the Texas Department of Insurance and as Communications Director and Legislative Liaison for the Texas Cancer Council. Prior to that, he was the communications manager for the Texas Chamber of Commerce and served as a public affairs specialist for Trinity University in San Antonio.
Mr. Hurley is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism.
Jill Mata, General Counsel
Jill Mata joined TJJD as General Counsel in November 2014 after serving as the Juvenile Division Chief of the Bexar County District Attorney's Office in San Antonio, Texas since January 1999. She worked as a prosecutor in that office for more than 25 years.
Ms. Mata received her board certification from the Texas State Bar in Juvenile Law in 2001 and served on the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Juvenile Law Advisory Commission from 2009 to 2015. She was selected in 2013 to be a member of the Juvenile Prosecutor Leadership Network (JPLN), which is a part of the National Resource Center for Juvenile Prosecutors (NRCJP) housed at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute in Washington, DC. Ms. Mata is a past chair and current council member of the Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and is a frequent speaker on Juvenile Law Topics.
Ms. Mata began her career at the District Attorney's office in 1989 as a misdemeanor prosecutor and subsequently worked in various sections, including the Career Criminal Unit, Family Violence Unit, Juvenile Unit and General Felony. She has extensive jury trial experience including property crimes, drug offenses, crimes of violence against woman and children, juvenile crimes, murder, and capital murder.
Jill received her J.D. from St. Mary's University School of Law and B.A. from Trinity University in San Antonio.
Mike Meyer, Chief Financial Officer
Mike Meyer joined TJJD as its Chief Financial Officer in June, 2013. Prior to that Mike worked at the Governor's Office as the Deputy Director of Budget, Planning and Policy. In that position he coordinated the activities of policy advisors in a broad range of areas, including budget and fiscal policy, infrastructure, criminal justice, natural resources, and other areas. During and prior to his time as Deputy Director, Mr. Meyer also served as the lead budget and fiscal policy analyst for the Governor's Office, covering all aspects of Texas' state budget development and implementation, along with revenue analysis and forecasting. Mike oversaw production of the Governor's Budget for FY2014-2015, including acting as the principal writer, and worked with the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to establish processes and requirements related to state agencies' strategic plans, performance measures, and budget structures.
Prior to his work in the Governor's Office, Mike was a budget analyst for the Texas Senate Finance Committee, where he advised the Chair in writing biennial state budgets for public safety and criminal justice, general government, and natural resources agencies. While the Legislature was not in session, Mr. Meyer advised the Chair on matters of budget implementation, for example by interpreting budgetary provisions and making recommendations on agencies' budgetary requests. He was also the lead analyst over interim reports made to the Legislature on topics including public debt, cancer research, and governmental spending limits.
Mr. Meyer holds a Master of Public Affairs and a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies, both from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Luther College.
Royce R. Myers, Director of Human Resources
Royce Myers joined the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (formerly TYC) in 2005 and was promoted to HR Manager and then the Director of Human Resources in 2008. Prior to that, Royce worked in private industry at Motorola for nearly 20 years, holding the position of Human Resources Manager prior to joining TJJD.
A native of Austin, Texas, Mr. Myers received his bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).
Jim Southwell, Chief Information Officer
Jim Southwell has served as the Deputy Chief Information Officer for TJJD since the agency was formed in December, 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from St. Edward’s University in Austin, graduating Summa Cum Laude in May, 1986.
Prior to the merger of the Texas Youth Commission and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) into the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Mr. Southwell served as the Director of Management Information Systems (Information Technology) at TJPC beginning in October, 2006 in which he managed the tactical and strategic activities of TJPC’s IT division.Â Jim’s leadership was instrumental in the development of the Juvenile Case Management System (JCMS) in collaboration with the Conference of Urban Counties, Bexar, Dallas and Tarrant Counties.
Mr. Southwell served in various Information Technology leadership roles during his 28-years of state employment.Â Jim facilitated the development and implementation of the State Bar of Texas’ Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) system as well as their Attorney Disciplinary System. He also oversaw the operation of Information Systems and administered an $8 million dollar annual Information Technology budget for the Employees Retirement System of Texas.
Prior to state employment, Jim was a systems analyst, programmer and team leader for Lockheed Missiles and Space Company’s Austin Division.
Teresa Stroud, Senior Director of State Programs and Facilities
Teresa Stroud is the Senior Director of State Programs and manages the division responsible for state operated residential programming in both secure and medium restriction settings. This includes responsibility for security operations, treatment services and ancillary services for the agency. Teresa has more than 20 years' experience working with at-risk youth and families. She has approximately 15 years of service with TJJD and more than 20 years of service to the State of Texas. Teresa has also worked in private non-profits serving at risk youth in multiple states developing community based programs for alternatives to detention and family safety services. Teresa has five years' experience as an Investigator with the Texas Department of Family and Protective services has also worked with adult chronically mentally ill clients.
Ms. Stroud has held a variety of positions in the agency since 1996 including Youth Rights Specialist and Program Specialist, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent. Teresa has served the agency in multiple locations during her tenure.
Ms. Stroud is a graduate of East Texas Baptist University and received her master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University. Teresa is currently a graduate student at Sam Houston State University where she is pursuing a second Master's degree in the college of Criminal Justice.
Luther Taliaferro, Senior Director of Education Services
Luther Taliaferro joined TJJD in June 2012 as the Director of Education State Facilities and became the Interim Senior Director of Education Services in August 2015. He currently oversees all education services within the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Mr. Taliaferro has served as a school administrator for 10 years and a teacher for eight years. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Texas at Tyler in Criminal Justice and his Master of Science degree from Texas A and M University, Commerce in Educational Administration. He received his Superintendent Certification from the Texas Education Agency in June 2010.
Prior to his career in education, Mr. Taliaferro served as a police officer for 6 years.
Chip Walters, Director of Operational Analysis and Facility Support
Chip Walters provides direction and guidance in strategic operations and planning. His duties include cross-divisional operational analysis at agency facilities to include identifying recommendations for local and system wide solutions. He makes frequent visits to state-operated facilities to analyze cross-divisional operations to ensure that the necessary levels of integration, collaboration and support are in place. Mr. Walters advises the executive team on system needs for improvement. He conducts cross-facility focus groups to generate common solutions to common problems.
Mr. Walters joins TJJD from Department of Aging and Disability Services where he was the Director of Residential Services at the Austin State Supported Living Center. Prior to that he served as the Adjunct Instructor at ITT Technical Institute, and was a Probation Officer at Williamson County Juvenile Services.
Mr. Walters worked with TJJD and the legacy TYC for 27-plus years in a variety of roles: JCO, Caseworker, Director of Security, Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent. He served as the Director of Facility Operations from 2008 - 2012 until his retirement.
Chip has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Masters in Criminal Justice Administration.
Rebecca Walters, Director of Youth Placement and Program Development
Rebecca Walters Joined the Executive Team as the Director of Youth Placement and Program Development in July 2015. Prior to that appointment, she served as the Director of Integrated Programs and Services for TJJD, leading multiple program teams including the centralized placement unit, chaplaincy, volunteers and family services, case management and treatment, and sentenced offender disposition until joining the executive team.
Ms. Walters began her career with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (formerly Texas Youth Commission) at the Giddings State School as a graduate student intern June 1991. She was hired as a Caseworker, working primarily with sex offenders, in August 1991. She has also worked with the female offenders program, prerelease/orientation program and as both the Administrator of, and a therapist in, the Capital Offender Treatment Program. Rebecca also worked extensively with sentenced offenders and in 1999 was transferred to the newly created Department of Sentenced Offender Disposition in Austin. From 1999 to 2004, Rebecca served at the liaison between TYC, TDCJ and the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles to coordinate transfer of sentenced offenders to the adult system. In June 2004, Rebecca was promoted to Superintendent of the Al Price State Juvenile Correctional facility, where she remained until her transfer to the Corsicana Residential Treatment Center in 2006
Rebecca graduated from Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, with a Bachelor of Science degree in May 1990. She then moved to Texas, where she attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning a Master's degree in Social Work in 1992. She was nominated for the Outstanding Women in Texas Government Awards in 1997 and 2014. In April 2015, she participated with a work group sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections to develop a "best and promising practices white paper" regarding LGBTQI juveniles in custody. Rebecca serves on the Mental Health Subcommittee for the American Corrections Association and is a Licensed Master Social Worker.