The Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education

The Budd Center Staff

Regina Nippert
Executive Director

Regina Nippert is the founding Executive Director of The Budd Center, where she directs and coordinates its flagship project, The School Zone - West Dallas, a collective impact partnership designed to ensure that West Dallas children have the educational tools they need to exit poverty as adults. 

She has more than 25 years of experience in a variety of community development settings, including affordable home building, community and economic development, micro-lending and K-12 education. Regina is an experienced trainer for strategic and business planning, board development, fundraising, project design, community-based development and collective impact strategies. She is co-founder of The PLAN Fund. She served as co-coordinator for the Mayor’s Southern Dallas Task Force – West Dallas, a founding board member of Habitat Texas, a longtime board member at Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity and Fort Worth Area Habitat for Humanity, board president at Unity Church of Dallas and vice president for the West Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

Regina obtained her B-Architecture from Texas Tech University and practiced architecture with several firms, including Edward Larrabee Barnes, for the first 10 years of her career.

Erin O. Crosby
Director of Operations & Communications

As the Director of Operations and Communications for The Budd Center, Erin O. Crosby is responsible for executing strategic and tactical plans for University and community partnerships, organizational development, messaging, operating systems, engagement and staff development. 

Erin began her career as a program coordinator for the YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas, developing and facilitating life skills programs for teen parents and at-risk youth. In 2005, she became the programming and communications director for Leadership Women, designing learning opportunities for emerging and established leaders to advance their leadership strengths and to expand their understanding of the diverse dynamics, issues and opportunities shaping Texas. Prior to joining The Budd Center, she served as the communications and operations director for Thrive Women’s Clinic, managing three facilities in Dallas. Erin holds a Master’s degree in print journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from SMU.

Esmeralda Ortiz
Director of Community Relations

Esmeralda Ortiz, Director of Community Relations, leads The Budd Center’s flagship project, The School Zone - West Dallas. She is responsible for managing the project’s initiatives and task forces as well as forging partnerships to strengthen the collaborative. These partnerships expand the capacity of The School Zone while leveraging strategic opportunities to benefit schools and nonprofits serving West Dallas students and their families. She serves as the liaison between The Budd Center, Dallas ISD and other key stakeholders. She also leads the West Dallas Community Collaborative Leadership Council, which is responsible for the recruitment and selection of new TSZ partners, partner accountability and identifying new initiatives for The School Zone.

Esmeralda has served as a member of Uplift Education’s West Dallas Board of Directors since August 2010. She has also served on several parent involvement committees at her children’s schools.

Scott Smith
Director of Data Management & Research

As the Director of Research and Data Management, Scott Smith is responsible for the creation of data models to analyze academic and social indicators for more than 8,000 students attending 13 schools in Dallas ISD’s Pinkston feeder pattern, three private and charter schools and more than 25 nonprofit agencies in West Dallas. His team is developing systems to cultivate data-fluent cultures by increasing data accessibility, capacity and use. These systems will facilitate the development of highly targeted plans to accelerate students’ academic success.

Scott is completing his MBA at the Cox School of Business at SMU with concentrations in ITOM/business analytics and finance. Prior to working at The Budd Center, Scott taught English at Dallas Can Academy in Oak Cliff, Texas. He is a graduate of the College of Wooster.

Kyle Anderson
Data Analyst 

Kyle Anderson, Data Analyst for The Budd Center, provides data-based complimentary support to nonprofits and schools within The School Zone - West Dallas. He works with nonprofits providing in-school and out-of-school academic supports to West Dallas students in order to develop functional practices that increase the efficiency of data management while improving its quality. Kyle also supports the Center in the development of data tools and policies to foster a data-fluent culture within The School Zone.
Kyle received his Bachelor’s degree in international development from the University of North Texas.

Miya King
Operations & Communications Coordinator

Miya King joined The Budd Center in May 2014. In her role as Operations and Communications Coordinator, she assists in developing external communications, facilitating community engagement with University faculty and students, executing events and supporting the day-to-day operations of the Center.

Miya began her career managing marketing and communications efforts for telecommunications firms. In 2002, she joined Rogers-O’Brien Construction Company, developing proposals and managing marketing and events. She continued specializing in proposal development in subsequent roles and joined SMU in 2009 as proposal specialist. Miya spent five years in this role, developing a broad range of SMU development materials while focusing on leadership and major gift proposals. During this $1 billion campaign, Miya worked with the University leadership team and the directors of development for each school to raise more than $750 million toward the campaign goal. Miya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. She earned her LEED accreditation in 2009 while working as director of marketing for Axiom Sustainable Consulting. 

Rochelle Marrett
Grant Writer

As Grant Writer for The Budd Center, Rochelle Marrett assists with the identification and development of funding sources to support organizational initiatives and projects. She also maintains the organizational narrative and source document designed to track the Center’s goals, objectives and achievement.

Rochelle previously served as after school program director for the Launch Collaborative, a nonprofit supporting under-performing elementary schools with human capital and academic enrichment to increase learning time for its students. 

Rochelle received her Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of Wooster. 

Physical Address: The Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education is located at 6116 N. Central Expressway, Suite 1410, Dallas, TX 75206. Find us on the southeast corner of SMU Blvd. and Central Expressway in Expressway Tower (15-story office building) on the 14th floor. Visitors with an SMU parking decal should park east on the fence. All other visitors should park around the perimeter of the building in available (non-reserved) parking.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 750509, Dallas, TX 75275-0509