Board of Directors & Staff

2022 Board of Directors


Officers

Charles John, San Antonio, President

Charles has over 46 years of experience as an architect and interior designer involved with an array of building types with a specialization in the restoration, renovation, and adaptive-reuse of historic properties. He has been very successful the past several years assisting owners in securing state and federal historic tax-credits for their restoration projects.  Charles is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (B.Arch) and the University of Houston (M.Arch, Preservation). His award-winning historic preservation projects have made bold statements about the history of a significant place, and his adaptive-reuse projects have led to the transformation of urban spaces by renewing their economic vitality, restoring their architectural character, and re-establishing their place in the historic context of the urban fabric of a city.  Charles has spent time with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, served for twelve years on the Bexar County Historical Commission, chaired the Texas Society of Architects’ Historic Resources Committee for several years, and served on the board of Texas Dance Hall Preservation.  He currently serves on the Boards of Mission Heritage Partners, the San Antonio Conservation Society, and the Power of Preservation Foundation.

Charlene Orr, Kaufman, Vice President

Charlene is a past president of Preservation Texas and retired as executive director of Historic Mesquite at the end of 2019 after 24 years.  She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas (public administration) and has served as chairman of both the Kaufman County Historical Commission and Friends of the Kaufman County Historical Commission as well as marker chairman of the Dallas County Historical Commission. She was a founding member of the Texas Lakes Trail board, where she served as treasurer.  Charlene has consulted on a variety of preservation issues, including the drafting of preservation ordinances, creating outreach programs, working with city officials, preserving archives, photos and textiles, and writing collections management policies. She is a graduate of the National Trust for Historical Preservation’s Preservation Leadership Training and of the Texas Historical Commission’s Winedale Museum Seminar.

Ronald L. Siebler, Dallas, Treasurer

Ron is President of Siebler, Inc. and a historic preservationist and residential remodeler.  Mr. Siebler has worked with many museums to restore historic buildings and objects using materials and historically informed techniques that meet the highest preservation standards. His museum clients and project include Dallas area institutions such as Dallas Heritage Village, Farmer’s Branch Historical Park, the Heritage Farmstead Museum in Plano, as well as the Sharock-Niblo Cabin for the City of Dallas Parks Department and the Caruth, Family Curing Shed on the grounds of the Communities Foundation of Dallas.  His most recent project was a Holocaust era, Belgium boxcar for the new Dallas Holocaust Museum. In addition to extensive evaluation and planning for each of his projects, he has also helped develop the Master Plan for the Nance Farm in DeSoto and guidelines for the restoration of the windmill and historic water collection systems at Plano Heritage Farmstead.  Ron has won numerous awards from Preservation Dallas for his excellent work, including Craftsman of the Year in 2016. He volunteers at museums, interpreting historic crafts, and teaches classes in preservation repair techniques, demonstrating his devotion to both historic structures and education.

Sue Morris Lazara, Linden, Secretary

Sue graduated from Southern Methodist University before pursuing graduate studies in theoretical mathematics and statistics at the University of Southern California. In the 1970s, she worked for the Los Angeles Times and for the international firm of Haug Associates. She became VP of DRI, Inc., later absorbed by the marketing giant WPP, London. Sue has long supported arts, nature conservation, and historic preservation initiatives. In California, she founded the Glendale Youth Orchestra and led several public preservation projects, including the Eastlake Glendale Doctors’ House, the Greco-Egyptian Alex Theatre, the Queen Anne Goode House, and the Craftsman Lanterman House. In 2003, Sue did original research to write Cass County’s Courthouse Master Plan, authored the THC grant application for funding of that 1861 courthouse, and worked with donors to raise the required matching funds. She has received state level preservation awards in both states, including Preservation Texas’ Clara Driscoll Award for 18 projects in her home town of Linden. Blessed as a mother and grandmother, Sue also continues to enjoy hands-on restoration work and investigative research on selected history topics. In 2019, she completed restoration of the 1916 Manly Baker House, a National Register property, which is now her part time residence.

 

2022 Board Members at-large

Andrea Barefield, Waco

Andrea is the executive director of the Texas Brazos Trail Region and has been a member of Waco City Council since 2018.   She previously served as Main Street manager for City Center Waco.  Andrea is a graduate of Sam Houston State University and serves on the Prosper Waco Board, Creative Waco Cultural Arts Task Force, NAACP Executive Committee as 2nd Vice President, StartUp Waco Board, McLennan Community Investment Fund Board,  Texas Travel Alliance Board, Texas Downtown Association Board and the Texas Lyceum.

Derrick Birdsall, Huntsville

Derrick is the Director of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, a beautiful 15-acre park located in Huntsville. Previously, he served as the Curator of Education at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and the Superintendent of the Farmers Branch Historical Park. A lifelong educator, Derrick has a BS in Elementary Education and an MA in History, both from Sam Houston State University. He has always been an advocate for hands on and interactive programming and believes that being able to touch, taste, listen to and even smell things from the past helps people to connect with our ancestors, learn from the past and apply those lessons to today. An accomplished photographer, Derrick’s work has been featured in The Texas Forts Trail – a photobook done in collaboration with the Texas Forts Trail region. As such, you will frequently find Derrick out photographing his favorite subjects – historic landscapes and structures.

Sehila Mota Casper, Bastrop

Sehila is the inaugural Executive Director for Latinos in Heritage Conservation, where she works to ensure that the preservation field is inclusive, equitable, and rooted in community. She previously worked as a senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the City of Austin, where she championed a just preservation movement. Over the past decade, she has organized national Latinx preservation conferences, led efforts to save National Treasure campaigns, such as the LULAC Council 60 Clubhouse and Rio Vista Farm, the first U.S. Bracero Reception and Processing Center. She serves on the board of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, Preservation Texas, Texas Dance Hall Preservation, the Texas State Board of Review, and the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission. Sehila is the recipient of the 2014 National Trust for Historic Preservation Mildred Colodny Diversity scholarship and a 2013 Texas Historical Commission Preservation Scholar. Sehila is a graduate of Texas Woman’s University Department of Visual Arts and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Max Grossman, El Paso

Max is Associate Professor of Art History at The University of Texas at El Paso. He received his BA from UC-Berkeley and his PhD in art history from Columbia University. He completed his dissertation on Italian civic architecture and urbanism in the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance and publishes regularly in his field. In addition, he conducts research on the architectural history of El Paso and the surrounding region and has two books under contract. He served for several years as Vice-Chair of the El Paso County Historical Commission, is currently Vice-Chair of the The Trost Society, and is co-founder of the El Paso History Alliance, a virtual cultural community with more than 60,000 followers online. Max has been a leading activist and litigant in the fight to save Duranguito, the oldest neighborhood in El Paso, and he is also co-chairing the effort to restore Sacred Heart Church in the city’s historic Segundo Barrio. He helped lead the effort to establish the Segundo Barrio National Register Historic District, which happened in November 2021, and has long been working to create the Downtown El Paso National Register Historic District.

August Harris III, Austin

August is a realtor with Moreland Properties in Austin.  His experience extends to real estate investment analysis, due diligence and compliance, real estate portfolio management and disposition as well as advising on land use and historic preservation matters.  Since 2011, he also has been affiliated with Seeds for Change Consulting, also of Austin, providing expertise in governance, management, finance, fund development, advocacy and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations. He currently serves as a Public Member Director on the State Bar of Texas and as a Commissioner on the City of Austin’s Downtown Commission.  Prior to that, he served as Commissioner and later as Vice Chair of the Texas Historical Commission. August has served in leadership roles for numerous civic organizations including Leadership Austin, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Preservation Austin, the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation, Jourdan Bachman Pioneer Farms, and the Austin High School Continuing Education Foundation among others.  In addition to participating in Leadership Austin’s flagship program, he also was selected by the Austin Area Research Organization as a McBee Fellow.  August graduated with a BA in Liberal Arts with concentrations in history and economics from The University of Texas at Austin, is a state certified mediator, and holds a Texas Real Estate License.  

Dixie Hoover, Hawley

Dixie was previously the Site Manager at the Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site in Mexia. She holds a MA in Museum Studies from Texas Tech University, a BA in History/Geology from McMurry University and is a Holland Scholar. Dixie is an Archaeology Steward with the Texas Historical Commission, a member of the Limestone County Historical Commission, and a board member of several organizations including Texans for State Parks, the Limestone County Historical Museum, and the Old Fort Parker Historic Site in Mexia. She is now retired and enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

Kate Johnson, Kyle

Kate lives near Kyle (Hays County) on a ranch along the Blanco River.  She is the chairman of the Ascension Seton Hays Foundation board and has served as chairman of the Hays County Historical Commission since 1999. As chairman, the commission has listed numerous properties to the National Register of Historic Places, erected many Historical Markers, and produced over a dozen historical documentaries on the county’s history. She played an instrumental role in the restoration of the Katherine Anne Porter Childhood Home in Kyle, the Old Hays County Jail in San Marcos, the Winters-Wimberley House in Wimberley, and the Kyle Depot. She has served on the boards of the Wimberley Institute of Cultures, the Kyle Train Depot Committee, Old Town Kyle Advocates, and Preservation Associates, Inc. – a county-wide nonprofit association devoted to the preservation of historic and cultural resources. She also founded the Historic Bridge Foundation, a national nonprofit devoted to the preservation of historic bridges across the United States. She is the 2010 and 2020 recipient of the John Ben Shepperd Leadership Award.

Serena Putegnat, Brownsville

Serena was appointed by the City of Brownsville to its Heritage Council.  During her service on the council, she became familiar with Brownsville’s historic buildings and led various efforts to preserve significant neighborhoods and structures.  It was her service on the council that generated her interest in preservation efforts throughout the Rio Grande Valley.  Serena received her undergraduate degree from Sweet Briar College where she studied in Spain during her junior year.  She then graduated from South Texas College of Law Houston and is a Texas attorney.  Serena is active in the South Texas community and serves on various non-profit boards. 

Jose R. Rodriguez, El Paso

Jose retired from the Texas Senate in 2021 after serving 10 years as Senator for District 29 (El Paso & Trans Pecos Region). During his 45-year legal career, he also served as the El Paso County Attorney and as a legal services attorney with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. He has a B.A. Govt.’67 from Pan American University (now U.T. Rio Grande Valley) and a J.D. ’74 from the George Washington University National Law Center. He has a keen interest in heritage tourism and historic preservation. As a State Senator he established citizen advisory committees, including a Heritage Tourism Committee comprised of diverse stakeholders representing government, academia, Native Americans, and preservationists, among others. His District Office spearheaded the updating of the public participation plan for the historic Hueco Tanks State Park; actively supported the establishment of the Official Texas Historical Marker commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 Porvenir Massacre in Presidio County; and actively supported the preservation of the historic Duranguito Neighborhood, the original El Paso townsite. During the2019 Legislative Session he passed legislation establishing the Tom Lea Trail connecting 11 Texas cities where the artist lived, worked, and left his mark.

Willis Winters, FAIA, Mineral Wells

Willis retired from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department in 2019, following a 27-year career in public service. He was appointed Director of the department in 2013 and managed the fifth-largest park system in America, overseeing 1,250 employees and an annual operating budget of $99 million. Willis graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Architecture. He had a passionate interest in the historic buildings and sites throughout the Dallas park system and was directly involved in the preservation or restoration of numerous historic structures, including the department’s WPA-era buildings and landscapes and the Art Deco structures at Fair Park constructed for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. During his tenure with Dallas Parks, the department was recognized with approximately 50 local, state and national preservation awards. In 2008 he was elevated to the College of Fellows in the American Institute of Architects. Willis lives in Mineral Wells, where he has established a consulting practice focused on preservation architecture; park planning, operations and management; and interpretive planning. He also devotes much of his time to research and writing. He is the author or co-author of seven books on Texas architecture and history. He currently serves on the board of the Museum of Texas Art and is a member of the Steering Committee overseeing a master plan for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas. He also serves as the Chair of the David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture at UT Arlington.

 

Staff

Evan Thompson, San Marcos, Executive Director

Evan is the executive director of Preservation Texas. Prior to joining PT in 2014, he served for four years as executive director of the Preservation Society of Charleston (2010-2014) and served for six years as executive director of Historic Beaufort Foundation (2004-2010), both in South Carolina. He is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law (2000) and the University of Richmond (1997). In 2011, he was the inaugural recipient of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s American Express Aspire Award, recognizing an emerging national leader in the preservation field. He was selected to participate in the 2013 Attingham Summer School for the study of English country houses.

Samantha Hunick, San Marcos, Communications Manager and Central Texas Program Officer

Samantha is Preservation Texas’s statewide Communications Manager and Central Texas Program Officer (CTPO). Samantha is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Environmental Design, and received her master’s degree in Preservation Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her most recent research focuses on the role of place identity and place attachment in branding and marketing strategies for heritage tourism development in small towns.

 

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 3514
San Marcos TX 78667