Meet the new ATPE Regional Representatives

ATPE has heard the call for more support in communities around the state. To that end, the state office is proud to announce a new program that will bring state office support closer: the ATPE Regional Representative Program.
Seven new Regional Representatives have been welcomed into the ATPE family. These reps live and work in various locations around the state in order to better serve you. (Find more information about these new staff members below.)
We hope this new program brings with it positive change and a renewed sense of community within the ATPE local units and regions. If you have any questions, please contact ATPE Membership Development at

Your new regional reps

Roger Gutierrez
Serving Regions 1 and 2
Roger Gutierrez has been an educator in Weslaco ATPE for the past 18 years, and has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Texas–Pan American. Roger joined ATPE in 1996 and has served in various volunteer roles at the local, region, and state level.
As a longtime resident of and educator in the Rio Grande Valley, Roger looks forward to working with his friends and former colleagues in this new role.
Cynthia Villalovos
Serving Regions 3 and 4
Cynthia Villalovos started her ATPE career in 1995 as one of the founding officers of McMurry University ATPE, and her education career in Wylie ISD in Abilene in 1996. She received her master's degree in school administration from Sul Ross State University in 2003; soon after, she moved to Houston and held a position at Chavez High School. In 2005, Cynthia became the principal at the Health Academy at Lee High School, and in 2006, she became the principal of the Health Academy at Waltrip High School. Throughout that time, Cynthia has held various offices in Houston ATPE.
Cynthia has been an ATPE volunteer for nearly 20 years and is excited to use her experience to better serve ATPE members.
Mary Jo Burgess
Serving Regions 5–8 and 12
Mary Jo Burgess brings a passion for Texas public education to ATPE. Complementing her bachelor’s degree in business administration is extensive experience with nonprofit associations; for the past seven years, Mary Jo has served as Texas PTA’s Director of Member Services. During this tenure, she worked with representatives of ATPE who served on Texas PTA’s advisory council, a group committed to advocating for Texas public school education.
Mary Jo embraces community service and has served in numerous volunteer leadership roles. She will soon be relocating to Tyler from the Austin area and is eager to begin her new position helping educators in the Piney Woods.

Diane Pokluda
Serving Regions 9 and 11
After a 34-year career as a classroom teacher, Diane Pokluda retired from education in June 2012. During her career in education, Diane served in several ATPE leadership positions from the local to the regional level; she considers her time as Region 11 ATPE Director to be one of the most rewarding experiences of her career. For the past two years, Diane has served as an ATPE satellite field representative in Region 11.
Diane truly enjoys promoting the benefits of ATPE membership and is excited to be working with Regions 9 and 11.
Becki Girouard
Serving Region 10
Becki Girouard brings to her new role as regional representative 17 years of professional experience in the nonprofit sector with organizations including the American Heart Association, Susan G. Komen and the MS Society. Becki is a proud Texas native and Texas State University alumna, and currently serves on the Alpha Xi Delta Corporation Board and is a member of the Young Men’s Service League and the PTA.
Becki also has a background in volunteering and volunteer development and she is enthusiastic about translating this experience to benefit ATPE members.
Heather Tuley
Serving Regions 13 and 20
Heather Tuley has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in education leadership from Texas State University. She has worked in schools and has been an ATPE member for 12 years; she served as an Ambassador in Lake Travis ISD. When she’s not working, Heather can be found boating or enjoying other outdoor activities in the hill country.
Heather strongly believes that educators need more support than they are often provided by their schools or districts, and she is excited to begin representing educators and education in Regions 13 and 20 and meet local and regional ATPE leaders to see how she can help them better serve their members.
Chana Appleton
Serving Regions 14–19
Before joining ATPE as a regional representative, Chana Buchanan Appleton was a public school teacher for nine and a half years and an ATPE member for 12 years. She comes from a family of educators—her mother/mentor, Cheryl Buchanan, is an ATPE past state president—and is passionate about Texas public education. Chana is a graduate of Angelo State University, holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and has a master’s of education degree in reading. She also holds several teaching certificates and understands the challenges and rewards of working in a public school.

Chana has been a resident of many west Texas towns, and therefore is quite knowledgeable about her region. She believes in all school employees working together to better Texas education, and is excited about helping local and regional ATPE units flourish in Regions 14–19.
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