The Team

THE STAFF

Matthew Polk Executive Director
Dr. Matthew Polk is a graduate of Baylor University and holds a PhD from Harvard University and a MBA from Baylor. Before joining Prosper Waco, he served as superintendent of Rapoport Academy Public School, a public charter school district in Waco. Polk is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Waco and a member of the Waco Rotary Club. Matthew and his wife Kristen live in the heart of the Waco community with their children, Nate, Abby, Anna and Theo.

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Brittany Fitz-Chapman Director of Data and Research
Brittany is a graduate of Baylor University and holds two master’s degrees and a PhD in Sociology from Baylor University. She has engaged in community research in Waco and has published professional articles about what makes communities strong. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their two puppies!

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Liz Ligawa Director of Community Engagement
Although Liz is not a native to Waco, she has lived in the Waco community for almost 20 years. She recently graduated from Baylor University with her Master of Social Work and Master of Divinity. The focus of her graduate studies in social work was community practice. Liz has a second grader at Rapoport Academy and they enjoy activities that include ice cream, burgers and board games!

Christina Helmick Director of Communication
Christina is a graduate of Baylor University with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations & New Media. She is originally from Washington, D.C., but is proud to call Waco her post-graduation home. She is an active mentor at J.H. Hines Elementary School, enjoys spending time with her family and watching Baylor football. Sic ’em Bears!

Jillian Obenoskey Initiative Coordinator
Jillian is a graduate of Baylor University and is a native Wacoan. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She enjoys spending time with her many family members and going to the lake.

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Evan Hebert Program Coordinator, CampusTown Waco Initiative
Evan is a December 2016 graduate of Baylor University with a degree in Corporate Communication. He is a Waco native, and is excited to have a hand in the development of the downtown Waco area. Evan is actively involved in the Waco Men’s Soccer League and is passionate about all things Waco and Baylor.

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DeShauna Hollie Project Link Pathways Specialist
DeShauna is a native of Waco. She currently is working on a Master’s of Arts in Education through Greenville College in Greenville, Il, where she also had the privilege of doing her undergraduate work. DeShauna also lived in Philadelphia where she completed her Master’s of Science in Urban Economic Development. You can catch DeShauna riding her bike around Waco and staying involved in the community particularly with organizations like Talitha Koum and the Waco Immigration Alliance.

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Neely Brown Data Analytics Intern
Neely is from Amarillo, Texas and is a senior at Baylor University. She is currently pursuing her degree in Sociology with plans to attend law school. She is looking forward to getting involved in the Waco community outside of Baylor. She enjoys hanging out with friends and spending time at the lake.

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Cassidy Helm Communications/PR Intern
Cassidy is from Lubbock, Texas and is a junior at Baylor University. She is currently studying journalism with a focus on public relations and marketing. She is excited to further her involvement around Waco and looks forward to helping make the community a better place. She enjoys running around Baylor campus and spending time at Cameron Park.

THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT COUNCIL


EAST WACO REPRESENTATIVES

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Sandra Henry Education & Mission Ministry Director at Abundant Love Fellowship Church
Min. Sandra Henry serves as an associate minister at Abundant Love Fellowship Church in Waco. She is currently serving as the Education Ministry and Mission Ministry Director. She is an honorably discharged veteran from the United States Army with four years of active service. Min. Henry and her church developed the Book Club and Mentorship at J.H. Hines Elementary School with the help of Waco Community Development in the last school year of 2013-2014. Min. Henry’s focus is a faithful and humble servant rooted in the word of God.

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Ruth Graham Community Member
Ruth Graham is proud to claim her hometown as Waco! She has spent the adulthood of her life in the medical field. The latter part of her career was spent as a traveling nurse. While she was a traveling nurse, she taught medical students in central Africa. This indelible and illuminating experience opened her mind to what could be done in Waco. She strives to teach, educate and improve the Waco culture.

NORTH WACO REPRESENTATIVES

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CJ Oliver Pastor at Greater New Light Baptist Church
Rev. CJ Oliver recently retired as being Senior Pastor of Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church Waco, Inc. He has been very instrumental in working with community organizations in order to better the greater Waco population. He is the founder of B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S of Waco, Inc. His favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 which states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

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Heracelia Rosas Librarian, GED&ESL Teacher at Brook Avenue Elementary
Heracelia Rosas was born in Mexico and is a mother of five children. She obtained her degree as an elementary teacher, became a Spanish teacher and holds a masters in education. She currently works as a librarian at Brook Avenue Elementary School and as an instructor in Adult Education ESL through MCC.

SOUTH WACO REPRESENTATIVES

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1SG (Ret.) Leonard Montelongo Jr. Senior Army Instructor for JROTC at University HS
1SG (Ret.) Leonard Montelongo Jr. was born and raised in Waco, Texas. He attended all Waco ISD schools growing up and is a graduate of University High School. He served in the United States Army just shy of 23 years and is currently the Senior Army Instructor for JROTC at University High School. He is a member of the American G I Forum and the American Legion of McLennan County. He earned his bachelor’s degree from National Louis University in McLean, Virginia.

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Sarah Guajardo Community Member
Sarah Guajardo was born and raised in Waco, Texas. She is a lifelong resident of South Waco and graduated from University High School. She currently works as an administrative assistant at the Mercedes Benz of Waco. Sarah received her Certificates in Secretarial Training and Medical Secretary from McLennan Community College. She currently serves as a member and former secretary of La Benemerita Sociedad Mutualista Mexicana De Jornaleros (Mutualista) and as a member of Mighty Wind Worship Center. During her time in South Waco, she has served as a former president of Southern Little League and as a volunteer of the Heart of Texas Young Marines. Sarah is a proud mother of four and grandmother of two.