Richard N. Rickey Founder/Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Rickey is the founder of Orenda Education. Early in his career he was the Director of Education and then Executive Director for a community health foundation that developed and provided health promotion curriculum and programs to numerous schools in Central Oklahoma. He later went into the health care field and served as a hospital Chief Executive Officer with Hospital Corporation of America and Behavioral Healthcare Corporation, a physician practice management company owner and most recently as a multi-facility healthcare executive overseeing hospitals and clinics in multiple states.
Mr. Rickey received a Master of Public Health degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Oklahoma. He also received a Master of Arts degree from Southern Nazarene University and a B.A. from Eastern Nazarene College. Mr. Rickey recently served on the Board of Trustees for the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems and is a former board member of the National Association for Children's Behavioral Health.
Richard comes from a family of teachers and is involved with the Texas Charter School Association, the National Fatherhood Initiative, the Salvation Army and the American Heart Association. He has also coached youth basketball and baseball teams. He is the proud father of a daughter and a son.
Carla Silber Chief Operating Officer
Before coming to Orenda, Carla served as Assistant Executive Director at the Not Your Ordinary School (NYOS), a charter school in Austin. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned her master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University in Austin.
Carla handles the duties and responsibilities that include campus operations and academic results, along with oversight of the departments of special education, registration, testing and textbooks, among others. Reporting to Carla are the five Orenda campus Principals, Director of Special Education, and District PEIMS Coordinator.
Tommy Turner Director of Community Relations
Mr. Turner has 30 years experience in writing, public relations, marketing and corporate fundraising. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and journalism from Baylor University, where he was recipient of the "Wilson Fielder Award" as the outstanding senior journalism student. He started his diverse career as a reporter with a mid-sized daily newspaper covering government, schools, politics and courtroom trials, as well as general feature writing.
Mr. Turner led a successful marketing and capital fundraising campaign for a regional medical center, managed marketing and fundraising efforts for a non-profit children's healthcare foundation and was the chief information officer at a community college. He has held numerous leadership positions within the Boy Scouts of America and is an Eagle Scout. He has served on numerous boards including the Advertising Club, Optimist Club, Junior Chamber of Commerce, March of Dimes and United Way.
Prior to joining Orenda Education, he traveled extensively as National Marketing Manager for Texas NeuroRehab Center, a nationally recognized children's neurological center in Austin.
He and his wife, Linda, a former teacher, have lived in Georgetown for the past 22 years and have two grown children and three grandchildren.
Mrs. Escobar has more than 15 years experience in the financial industry. Prior to joining Orenda in 2009, she worked for Round Rock ISD in the Secondary Education Department managing budgets and working closely with campus administrators & central office personnel to support the district’s secondary campuses. Mrs. Escobar also worked for JP Morgan Chase as a Compliance Specialist & Lead Teller assisting commercial clients, helping with employee audits, risk management, and policy & procedure training.
Margina Escobar Director of Financial Services
Ms. Escobar received a Master of Public Administration degree from Texas State University and bachelor's degree in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of the American Society for Public Administrators, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and UT Texas Exes Alumni Association.
She and her husband, Milton, reside in Round Rock and are actively involved with their church, House of Power Outreach, where they both serve as Finance Directors. Ms. Escobar also serves in Children’s Ministry and her husband is a musician for the church.
Terry Moreno Director of Human Resources
Albert Rodriguez Director of Technology
Mr. Rodriguez been his career while still enrolled as a high school student in the Brownsville Independent School District. Soon after graduation, he was employed full-time as a Micro Computer Specialist and later as Network Administrator for the Brownsville ISD, a position he held for 12 years prior to coming to Orenda Education. During his tenure in the Texas Valley, he oversaw the technology network for 59 schools.
At Orenda, he will support and oversee all new technology and data communication services associated with all five school district campuses. He continues to work towards completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management Information Systems from Liberty University.
He lives in Round Rock with his fiance and their elementary-aged daughter.
Ashley Kjos Director of Development
Mrs. Kjos joins the Orenda team with more than 20 years of experience in Development, Communications, and Marketing. She first gained a passion for education-focused fundraising during her tenure as Director of Development and Communications at Reading Is Fundamental of Austin, where she managed both annual giving and a capital campaign. She has spent the past 14 years as a contract consultant supporting non-profit organizations, K-12 private schools, and universities in their communications and fundraising needs.
Mrs. Kjos graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Journalism, Broadcast Sequence, and a minor in English. She and her husband, Ryan, returned to the Austin area 17 years ago, and now live in Round Rock with their two children. Their family is active at First Baptist Georgetown.
Mercathea Hughes Director of Special Education
Mercathea has more than 13 years' experience in special education. She is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP), is a certified special education teacher. Mercathea earned her Bachelor's in Psychology degree and Master's in Educational Psychology degree from Tarleton State University. She also has a Master's in Educational Administration degree from Concordia University in Austin.
Her career path in public education has included one year in the classroom as a middle school Resource teacher and more than 10 years as a LSSP. At Orenda Education, she is responsible for the development, placement, implementation and evaluation of programs and services for students with disabilities.
She and her fiance have a son who is the Choir Director and AVID Teacher at Elgin Middle School.