Dear friends and supporters,

Happy September! Texas School for the Deaf Foundation (TSDF) is kicking off this fall with some exciting news. We are pleased to announce that we have hired our new Executive Director – Holly Hawk! I know many of you have been following our leadership transition over the last several months. Please know that we deeply appreciate your support, encouragement, and investment in making this transition such a positive one. I hope you’ll join me in giving Holly a very large (virtual) high five!

Over the years, Holly has served as the Academic Program Coordinator at the Art Institute of Austin which included roles as the Director of the General Education Department, the Quality Enhancement Program Coordinator, and the Committee Chair of the Art Institute’s South by South West (SXSW) Gaming Expo Initiative. Holly was also part of the faculty of the Math and Science Department at the Art Institute of California with responsibilities including curriculum development, assessment of student comprehension, professional growth and development and faculty advising. Holly’s educational background includes both an M.S. and B.S. of Biology from California State University at Northridge.

During the interview process, Holly has shown all of us her passion for the Mission of TSDF and how thoughtful and talented she is in so many areas of work. She is dedicated to setting a clear and bold vision for the future of TSDF by involving our donors, volunteers, and community partners in co-creating our future together. You can begin to reach her at

We are excited about the direction of the Foundation and the work we have all been doing to support the students served at the Texas School for the Deaf. The last couple of years have been a time of reflection and transition for the Foundation. When Laura Duran Villa stepped down as Executive Director this past spring to dedicate herself to Ellie, her new-born daughter with multiple disabilities, the Foundation was propelled to think about our future, our strengths, areas for improvement, and what kind of leader we needed to accomplish our goals.

The board has spent the last several months evaluating and getting clarity about the leadership we needed for its next phase of work. After assessing our leadership options during the interview process, it was apparent that Holly not only is deeply passionate about TSDF but has the skills and experience needed to lead TSDF as well as a clear vision for taking the organization forward.  The Board of Directors is confident in Holly’s ability to carry out that vision as well as engage our donors, our volunteers and our partners.

I want to acknowledge Mark Seeger, our Interim Executive Director these past few months. Mark and Jeanne Marie Ellis will be collaborating with Holly, as we transition our leadership and work to strengthen our operations, fundraising efforts and so much more. We are forever grateful to Mark for all that he has done for TSDF and we can’t wait to continue working with him as he rejoins our Board of Directors.

As always, we welcome any questions you might have for us. And please stay in touch with us about the exciting work we will be kicking off under Holly’s leadership. We look forward to continuing our partnership together to make a difference in the lives of the students at Texas School for the Deaf!

Onward! Jack Busenbark, President
Texas School for the Deaf Foundation