Current Article

Mary Jalonick, Regen Horchow Fearon, Tonika Cheek Clayton and Gabriel Flores
(Left to right, front row): New DCCCD Foundation board members Mary Jalonick, Regen Horchow Fearon; (left to right, back row) Tonika Cheek Clayton, Gabriel Flores (not pictured — Christopher Durovich and Raamel Mitchell).

Contact: Ann Hatch

For immediate release — April 16, 2018

Note: Biographical sketches for new board members are included in this story.

(DALLAS) — The Dallas County Community College District Foundation has announced the appointment of five new members to its board of directors.

Those new members are: Tonika Cheek Clayton, managing partner at NewSchools Venture Fund; Chris Durovich, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Health and CEO of Children’s Medical Center Dallas; Mary Jalonick, retired president of The Dallas Foundation; Regen Horchow Fearon, chair of Early Matters Dallas; and Raamel Mitchell, director of citizenship and public affairs for Microsoft.

In addition, Gabe Flores, vice president and ethics director for Texas Instruments, joined the board last year.

The DCCCD Foundation provides students who attend the district’s seven colleges with scholarships; supports educational programs; and works with other organizations to help remove barriers for students so that they can earn a college credential and either start their careers or transfer to a university to further their education. The DCCCD Foundation also identifies and develops resources that help solve problems in the community that the district serves.

“We are excited to welcome our new board members to the foundation,” said Dr. Pyeper Wilkins, DCCCD’s chief advancement officer, who also serves as executive director of the DCCCD Foundation. “We rely on our board members’ expertise and advice to guide us as we support the district with priorities that meet the needs of our students and the communities we serve.”

“The efforts of the DCCCD Foundation and the private dollars it provides for programs and projects that benefit our students is critical to our success as an educational institution as we partner with businesses, community members and other colleges and universities in our area,” said Dr. Joe May, DCCCD’s chancellor. “As we build a higher education network that removes barriers to higher education, the foundation helps us provide opportunities for students to earn a college credential and build careers.”

In 2017, the foundation awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships and has secured $67 million in private funds since it was founded.

The DCCCD Foundation currently has three major funding priorities:

  • The Level-Up Scholarship, which helps put adults on the pathway to an in-demand career immediately after they complete their studies;
  • The Food and Hospitality Institute at El Centro College, so that it can meet industry and workforce demands; and
  • The expansion of early childhood education across all DCCCD colleges in order to meet education, community and workforce gaps.

In fall 2017, the DCCCD Foundation began funding a new program, Dallas County Promise, an initiative and partnership comprising DCCCD, area school districts, businesses and several universities. The Promise provides tuition-free college opportunities through scholarships to high school students who pledge to go to college; complete their FAFSA/TASFA forms for financial aid; apply for admission to college; and then enroll and attend the school of their choice.

Debbie Taylor, director of U.S. markets for Citi Community Development at Citi, is chair of the DCCCD Foundation’s board of directors.

For more information, contact Wilkins by email at or by phone at 214-378-1538; or Kathye Hammontree in the DCCCD Foundation office by email at or by phone at 214-378-1536.

Biographical Sketches — New DCCCD Foundation Board Members

Tonika Cheek Clayton

Cheek Clayton, who is managing partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, leads its tools and services team. Under her leadership, NewSchools has invested more than $9 million in 58 for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs who are developing digital tools and services that support teaching and learning in pre-K through 12. NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to reimagine public education so that all children — especially those who are underserved — have the opportunity to succeed.

Before she joined NewSchools, Cheek Clayton served as vice president of Amplify, a company that reimagines K-12 education by creating digital products and services that empower teachers, students and parents in innovative ways. She previously worked as a researcher for Harvard University’s Public Education Leadership Project. She started her career in marketing and public relations with the NBA, promoting the NBA Store and NBA All-Star events before she transitioned to business development and the launch of the NBA’s Development League. Cheek Clayton graduated from Harvard College and earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School. She is a board member for the Canterbury Episcopal School, which serves a predominantly minority community in south Dallas. Cheek Clayton also has raised funds for her husband’s congressional campaign, President Barack Obama, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and state Sen. Wendy Davis.

Chris Durovich

Chris Durovich serves as president and chief executive officer of Children’s Health and as CEO of Children’s Medical Center Dallas. He has more than 30 years of leadership experience in adult and pediatric health care and physician practice management. Since he became president and CEO in 2003, Durovich has guided Children’s Health to become the eighth-largest pediatric health care system in the nation, which serves more than 280,000 children each year.

Before he joined Children’s, Durovich held adult leadership roles at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Michigan Health System, Northwestern University Medical School and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He is a member of the American Hospital Association’s board of trustees and has served as a board member or past chair for several other state and national associations, including the Children’s Hospital Association, Child Health Corporation of America, Texas Hospital Association and others. He is involved in many community organizations and has received honors from the March of Dimes, YMCA of Dallas, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and others. Durovich earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont; a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado; and his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He also served in the U.S. Army Medical Services Corps.

Mary Jalonick

Mary Jalonick, retired president of The Dallas Foundation, was the organization’s first full-time employee in 1987 when it had endowment of $15 million and a one part-time accountant. Under Jalonick’s leadership, The Dallas Foundation became a charitable powerhouse with a staff of 19 employees, hundreds of donors as well as unrestricted funds totaling approximately $340 million. It is the oldest community foundation in Texas, established in 1929 to serve as a link between donors and charitable causes in the city and county of Dallas. In 2017, the foundation awarded more than $80 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in Dallas and beyond. Jalonick is a long-time advocate for quality learning for all children, and she continues to do that work.

Jalonick also participates in several national initiatives for the Council on Foundations. She is past chair of the National Standards Action team and a current member of the Community Foundation Standards Advisory Committee. In November 2016, she received the inaugural Early Matters Dallas Award for community involvement; she also serves as chair of its policy committee. Jalonick graduated from Mount Vernon Junior College in Washington, D.C., and she has received a number of other awards and honors for her work, including the 2012 Award for Excellence in Community Service from the Dallas Historical Society for outstanding contributions in philanthropy. She is a member of the Junior League of Dallas community advisory board and the Mayor’s Taskforce on Poverty; she has served as president of the board of trustees for The Hockaday School, Girls’ Adventure Trails, Educational Opportunities Inc. and Charter 100 of Dallas.

Regen Horchow Fearon

Regen Horchow Fearon chairs Early Matters Dallas and oversees its plan to reach 80 percent kindergarten readiness and 60 percent third-grade literacy in Dallas County by 2025. Early Matters Dallas is a broad-based coalition of business, civic, education, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations and volunteers who are working together to raise awareness about the importance of high-quality early education for a strong economy. Fearon, who previously served as a member of the DCCCD Foundation’s board from 2001 to 2003, spent the previous 10 years leading the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative, an initiative that involves more than 30 Dallas-area foundations working together to make measurable progress toward school readiness in the Bachman Lake/Thomas Jefferson neighborhood.

Fearon, a Dallas native, started her career in early childhood education. She served as a member of the White House Fellows Selection Panel from 2014 to 2016 and graduated as a member of the Leadership Dallas class of 1991. She earned her bachelor’s degree in American studies/education from Yale University and her master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas. She is the author of “Learning Exceptionalities and Other Related School Problems. Fearon is active in a number of community organizations and has received several honors and awards: the Junior League of Dallas Sustainer of the Year Award in 2014; the Dallas for Children Philanthropy Award in 2003 (which she accepted for the Horchow family); the Camp Fire USA Lone Star Council Community Leader Award in 2002; the Pi Beta Phi Unsung Angel Award in 2001; and the Hockaday Alumni Association Volunteer of the Year Award in 2001.

Raamel Mitchell

Raamel Mitchell, director of citizenship and public affairs for Microsoft, is a lifelong, avid believer in the power of technology. He began making his mark early when he was recruited by Raytheon at age 17 to support the company’s Defense and Special Energy Operations work for the U.S. Department of Energy. His passion for technology led him to Microsoft, where he leads public affairs and citizenship for the central United States, covering 17 states and six district offices. He specializes in building strategic public and private partnerships, making transformational investments for community and philanthropic goals and also advancing policy at the federal, state and local government levels.

Mitchell values his role building human capital pipelines that drive the global economy. His team’s initiatives support STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, workforce development, health care, entrepreneurship and civic innovation. He creates a balance between that role and his service as campus director of Microsoft’s Las Colinas district office, one of the largest in the U.S. with more than 1,500 employees. Mitchell earned two master’s degrees in business administration from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, respectively.

Gabe Flores

Gabe Flores was appointed ethics director at Texas Instruments in 2017. Prior to that time, he served as vice president and human resources director for TI’s Technology and Manufacturing Group, where he focused on growing future leaders; human resources’ contribution to manufacturing productivity; and stewardship of TI’s factory work environments around the world. Flores started his career in TI’s Lubbock manufacturing plant and, for 20 years, he held several HR and leadership positions across TI’s business and sales organizations before he returned to the Technology and Manufacturing Group. Those experiences, plus his passion for employee advocacy, have served Flores well in his new role as ethics director.

Flores grew up in Carlsbad, New Mexico. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and his master’s degree in public administration from Texas Tech University. He and his wife, Kristin, enjoy live music at small venues plus the search for great restaurants. He is a dedicated golfer. Flores is an education advocate. In addition to his service as a board member for the DCCCD Foundation, he is a member of the Texas Tech Graduate School Dean’s Advisory Committee. Flores and his wife also have established an endowed scholarship for women at Texas Tech.

# # #