About Us

Get to Know the Texas Council

Greetings from Austin MuralThe Texas Council represents the 39 public Community Centers throughout Texas that provide services and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, serious mental illness, and substance use disorders.

Our main function is to facilitate policies and funding decisions that support the public mission of the Centers.

The functions of the Texas Council are governed by a Board of Directors that is comprised of one delegate from the local board of trustees of each member Center, and executed by an Executive Director appointed by the board. The Texas Council maintains an office in Austin where its committees, executive director, and staff accomplish the following on behalf of Texas Community Centers:

  • Promote the purpose and vision of Texas Community Centers
  • Initiate and seek the adoption of statutory recommendations that will enhance and improve community services to the Texas Legislature
  • Provide critical issue identification and analysis to member Centers
  • Provide educational opportunities on board roles and responsibilities to assist Center trustees
  • Build consensus among member Centers on solutions to issues and challenges
  • Provide opportunities for trustees to seek advice and consultation from other Board members
  • Develop, oversee, and/or sponsor pooled resource initiatives specifically designed to meet the needs of Community Centers

Our History

In 1965, the Texas Legislature passed the Texas Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act, now known as the Texas Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Act.  This Act established a state agency to operate legislatively directed services for people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities, and authorized the creation of Community Centers to serve as local agencies that would work in partnership with the state and federal government to develop community-based services as alternatives to institutional care.

In 1976, Ward Burke, Frank M. Adams, Woodrow W. “Woody” Allen, and other Center trustees recognized a shift in what it would take to carry out the promises of the 1965 Act.  In response, they founded the Texas Council of Community Centers to serve as a unifying organization through which Community Centers work together as a public system of care.

Today, the Texas Council of Community Centers upholds the original, unifying purpose, by advocating on behalf of the Community Centers, maintaining a strong internal communication network, and relentlessly seeking to improve the resources necessary to carry out the broad public mission of the Centers.


Danette Castle

Chief Executive Officer

Lee Johnson

Deputy Director

Mike Horne

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Tara Brown

Office Manager

Erin Lawler

Director of Healthcare Policy

Isabel Casas

Director of Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services

Janet Paleo

Director of Recovery Based Services

Jolene Rasmussen

Director of Adult Behavioral Health

Leela Rice

Director of Childrens Mental Health

Maria Rios

Director of Communication, Education, and Training

Jacquelin Wang

Communications Specialist

Contracted Services – Pat Holder

Conference Coordinator

Each member of the Texas Council Board of Directors also serves on the Board of Trustees of his or her local Community Center.


Board of Directors


Robert Colacino

Board of Directors

Andrews Center

John Jackson

Board of Directors

Nueces Center for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

Rita Johnston

Board of Directors

Betty Hardwick Center

Hartley Sappington

Board of Directors

Bluebonnet Trails Community Services

Roberto Vela

Board of Directors

Border Region Behavioral Health Center

Col. Howard Daniel, USA, Ret.

Board of Directors


Joann Brechtel

Board of Directors

Camino Real Community Services

Shane Britton

Board of Directors

Center for Life Resources

Louella Tate, PhD, LPC-S, NCC

Board of Directors

Central Counties Services

Carroll Gerber

Board of Directors

Central Plains Center

Richard Bianchi

Board of Directors

Coastal Plains Community Center

Rhonda Dick

Board of Directors

Denton County MHMR Center

David Stout

Board of Directors

Emergence Health Network

Steve Hipes

Board of Directors

Gulf Bend Center

Jamie Travis

Board of Directors

Gulf Coast Center

Bonnie Hellums

Board of Directors

The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD

Dennis Wilson

Board of Directors

Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center

Verner Hayhurst

Board of Directors

Helen Farabee Centers

Donna Eccleston

Board of Directors

Hill Country Mental Health & Development Disabilities Centers

Luanne Southern

Board of Directors

Integral Care

David Stewart, MD

Board of Directors

Lakes Regional MHMR Center

Rick Crawford Jr., DEd

Board of Directors

LifePath Systems

Jill Martinez

Board of Directors

Metrocare Services

Gerald Yezak

Board of Directors

MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley

William R. Brown

Board of Directors

MHMR Tarrant

Cary Houston

Board of Directors

MHMR Services for the Concho Valley

Margie Morris

Board of Directors

Texoma Community Centers

Elizabeth Lawrence

Board of Directors

Pecan Valley Centers for Behavioral & Developmental HealthCare

Margaret Jones

Board of Directors


Gladdie Fowler

Board of Directors

Spindletop Center

Drue Farmer

Board of Directors

StarCare Speciality Health System

Hon. Dianne Wilson

Board of Directors

Texana Center

Larry Adams

Board of Directors

Texas Panhandle Centers

Daniel T. Barrett

Board of Directors

The Center for Health Care Services

Sharon Walker

Board of Directors

Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare


Board of Directors

Tropical Texas Behavioral Health

Hon. Van York

Board of Directors

West Texas Centers

Honorary Life Time Members

Board of Directors

W.W. Allen
Ward Burke
Dr. Martha Tevis
Alfred Forsten
George Stewart
Sam Williams
Ira Smith, Jr.

September 2020

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1470692902_contactsTexas Council of Community Centers, Inc.
Westpark Building 3, Suite 240
8140 N. Mopac Expwy. Austin, TX 78759

Phone: 512-794-9268
Fax: 512-794-8280