Leadership Team

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Brandon Dudley

Chief of Staff

Brandon oversees the operations of the various departments in Precinct One. Prior to joining Precinct One, Brandon worked as Chief of Staff for then-Senator Rodney Ellis for more than a decade. In that position, he oversaw the operations, and contributed to numerous initiatives in the areas of criminal justice reform, voting rights, economic opportunity, and environmental justice.

In addition, Brandon has worked for civil rights organizations doing legal and policy advocacy, and directed and worked as a counselor for various educational and empowerment programs for at-risk youth.

Brandon has served as board member of the Texas Civil Rights Project-Houston, the Houston Downtown Management District, and the Midtown Redevelopment Authority. He also was a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Equity, American Leadership Forum's inaugural criminal justice class, City of Houston Planning Commission, and the New Leaders Council-Houston Chapter.

Brandon received his BA in Political Science and attended the Graduate School for Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center.

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Judy Springer

 Director of Finance and Operations 

As Director of Finance and Operations, Judy’s responsibilities include oversight of Precinct One’s Accounting/Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Facilities, and Operations of the Road and Bridge and Parks Departments. She also oversees the precinct’s summer internship program.

Judy came to Commissioner Precinct One as the Controller in 1990. She then worked as the General Superintendent of Road and Bridge Department, and later became Director of Fiscal Services and Policy Development.

Judy began her career with Harris County in 1984 as an Internal Auditor in the Harris County Auditor’s Office, and later worked as Budget Analyst and Risk Management Analyst in the County Budget Office. She earned a Masters Degree in Accounting from Texas Southern University and a BBA in Accounting from the University of Houston. 

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Andrea Usanga

Director of Policy and Programs 

Andrea oversees the policy team, community centers and programming (Seniors, After School, Harris County Aquatics Program and Environmental Education Program). She has worked in and around government since 1998. Prior to Precinct One, she worked as Deputy Chief of Staff for then-Senator Rodney Ellis and as Director of the Senate Committee on Government Organization.

In addition, Andrea previously was Director of Policy and Government Relations for Mental Health America of Greater Houston, advocating for improved services for people with mental-health issues.  

She also worked for former Houston Mayor Lee P. Brown and was Chief of Staff for former State Representative Dora Olivo.

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Sherea McKenzie

Director of Strategic Development and Initiatives Department

Sherea leads the department that supports and facilitates coordination and collaboration between divisions within the Precinct, Harris County departments and the broader community.  The Department assists Precinct One in implementing and enhancing strategies to provide inclusive, innovative, responsive, collaborative and fair high quality services and programs.

Sherea liaisons with multiple county departments and initiatives that affect overall county operations. She advises the Commissioner on matters related to judicial operations and associated ancillary services; and special projects related to health care access for eligible individuals and other county-supported services. Additionally, Sherea serves as a Precinct One representative to the legislative committee that provides direction to the Office of Legislative Relations (OLR).

Sherea’s primary area of interest is positive youth development and she is the Precinct One board appointee to the Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults. She is also the liaison to the Harris County Juvenile Justice Board.

Sherea received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Fisk University and a Juris Doctorate from the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

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April Felton

Director of Administration

April oversees the direction, integration and effective operations of the executive administrative department. Her team of dedicated administrative professionals is responsible for providing the organizational infrastructure and support necessary to carry out Precinct One’s mission and goals. She is also responsible for coordinating assigned activities and providing highly responsible and complex support to Commissioner Ellis and the Chief of Staff. 

Her experience managing business operations and initiatives spans over 15-plus years. Prior to Precinct One, April dedicatedly committed 12 years of service with the Houston Rockets as Manager of Suite Sales and Development. In that role, she led a team of sales consultants in meeting and exceeding key performance metrics. Her areas of expertise are functional administrative organization, strategic and forward planning, project management and business development.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston and Master of Business Administration from Texas Southern University.

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Laura Tolley

Director of Communications

Laura oversees internal and external communications, including media relations, for Commissioner Ellis and Precinct One. She is an award-winning former journalist with more than 25 years’ experience as a reporter, editor and communications consultant.

Laura was an Associated Press reporter, State Editor of the Houston Chronicle and Austin Bureau Chief and Political Editor for the San Antonio Express-News. Her assignments included writing on deadline as the Branch Davidian siege came to a fiery end, covering the Texas Legislature and overseeing coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath in Louisiana.

She also worked for the University of Houston’s Media Relations Office and was Director of the Texas Media Division for Austin-based Public Strategies Inc., now Hill+Knowlton Strategies. 

     

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William J. Taylor III

Director of Development and Infrastructure

William advises Commissioner Ellis on the development of major infrastructure projects (parks, green spaces, roads and hike-and-bike trails), and he works on infrastructure issues with internal staff and other county departments and agencies, as well as businesses that provide professional services for infrastructure projects.

A native of Virginia, William brings to Precinct One an array of experience from the private and public sectors. Prior to working for Commissioner Ellis, William served as Vice President of Government & Regulatory Affairs for Calpine Corporation, where he directed advocacy programs for a national power generator headquartered in Houston.   

He also worked as director of Texas Southern University’s Mickey Leland Center and as Visiting Associate Professor of Law at TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.  

William has held legal positions in the private and public sectors, including the Harris County Attorney’s Office. His career in public service includes serving as Chief of Staff to the late Congressman Mickey Leland; as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy; and as Counselor for the U.S. Secretary of Commerce (Clinton Administration).

He received his undergraduate degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He spends most of his free time running, swimming, biking and playing tennis. He is the father of three adult children.

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Resha Thomas 

Director of Community Engagement 

Resha and her team ensure that constituents are civically engaged by coordinating events that directly connect community members to resources and programs provided by Precinct One. 

Before joining Precinct One, Resha was the South/Southwest Political Coordinator at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Her career in community activism includes being the Deputy Political Field Director at the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), a membership-based organization that conducts issue advocacy, lobbying efforts and electoral organizing on behalf of low- to moderate-income Texans. 

In that capacity, Resha worked with a team of TOP organizers and canvassers to build winning get-out-the-vote programs, cultivated strategic alliances with community partners and helped TOP members identify and develop policy priorities. 

She previously held the position of Regional Field Director for Organizing for America, where she managed and trained volunteers to increase voter participation across Southeast Texas. During the 81st Texas Legislature, she served as a Legislative Aide to State Representative Jim McReynolds. 

Resha, who was born and raised in Houston, graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Political Science.  

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Chambers Washington

General Superintendent of Parks 

Chambers, a native Houstonian who graduated from Kashmere High School, oversees the staff that operates, maintains and develops 30 parks and green spaces in Precinct One. 

Since joining Precinct One in 1988, Chambers has worked in the Trail Maintenance and Parks Department. He started as an Assistant Caretaker assigned to Hike-and-Bike (now Trail Maintenance) and eventually was promoted to that department’s Assistant Manager.

He also served as North Regional Area Manager and Central Regional Manager before his promotion to General Superintendent in 2012.        

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Joseph (Joe) Carlos Madden

Director of Public Policy 

Joe leads a team of policy analysts that develops, reviews and implements public policies to benefit residents of Precinct One and Harris County. He has built a career centered on public service and advocacy, especially in the areas of health care, insurance, voting rights, civil justice and consumer affairs. Born and raised in Houston, Joe has worked in leadership roles inside the Texas Capitol and helped craft public policy on the local, state and federal level. 

Most recently, Joe led the governmental and public relations team for Mostyn Law and the Texas Association of Consumer Lawyers, where he specialized in consumer and civil justice issues. He previously served as Executive Director of the Legislative Study Group caucus in the Texas House of Representatives, where he briefed lawmakers on pending legislation, devised legislative strategy and managed a staff of policy analysts that evaluated every piece of legislation before it came up for a vote. During that time, Joe also served as Chief of Staff for State Representative Garnet F. Coleman. He managed the Representative's legislative agenda and advised him on key legislative issues.

Joe also consulted on legislative and parliamentary strategy, served as a legislative aide for various state representatives and a state agency, and advised numerous elected officials on public policy matters.

He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Government. He and his wife, Sara, live in Houston with their daughter, Gabriella.   

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Deotis Gay

Superintendent of Road and Bridge

Deotis, a native of La Porte who has worked for four Precinct One Commissioners, manages the department responsible for road construction, repairs, maintenance, signs and markings. He also oversees regional road and bridge managers as well as regional fleet managers responsible for maintaining the Precinct’s vehicles and heavy equipment.

He is the Precinct’s liaison to the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. In addition, he’s the liaison with Engineering Department on capital improvement projects and with homeowners associations for various community needs. 
Deotis’ career with Harris County started as a General Utility on the road maintenance crew and he later became a Master
Operator. He was promoted to Regional Manager in the North Region at the Hardy Service Center. In 1997, he assumed his current position.  

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Kathryn M. Kase

Senior Advisor, Strategic Development and Initiatives Department 

Kathryn advises Commissioner Ellis on criminal justice, indigent defense, and other law-related matters.  Before joining Commissioner Ellis’ staff, she was a capital defense attorney with Texas Defender Service (TDS) for 15 years. There, she served in various roles, including Executive Director and Director of Capital Trial Project. 

Her work has addressed the complexities of intellectual disability, mental illness, racial disparity, and international law.  Her clients have included Duane Buck, whose death sentence the U.S. Supreme Court reversed in  Buck v. Davis, and Scott Panetti, for whom the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Panetti v. Davis, ordered a new inquiry into his competence to be executed. She is a frequent speaker nationwide regarding the provision of indigent defense, the causes of wrongful conviction, and the multiple failures of the justice system.

In 2016, the Association of Women Attorneys honored her as a Premier Woman in Law.  In 2015, the National Law Journal named her an Outstanding Woman Lawyer.  She has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute and served on the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel for Wrongful Convictions in 2009-10.  She received her J.D. cum laude from St. Mary's University School of Law and her B.S.

in Journalism from the University of Kansas. She is licensed to practice law in Texas, New York and the District of Columbia.