Safe Schools Texas: Our Team


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Amanda Hill

Amanda Hill
Safe Schools Texas Team Coordinator

Amanda received her undergraduate diploma from the University of Maryland in 2003 with a degree in Marketing and Women’s Studies. She joined Texas Civil Rights Project as the Director of Community Outreach and Development in April 2007. Since then, she has raised multi-millions in donations from foundations and individuals for the Texas Civil Rights Project.

In addition, in 2008 she created TCRP’s Safe Schools Texas, an educational project aimed at preventing harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) students in school.

In her free time she enjoys pit bull rescue and spending time with her dogs, Rory, Clementine, and June.


Jennifer Chance

Jennifer Chance
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Jennifer Chance is a native Southerner with roots in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. She came out in high school, despite being raised in a Southern Baptist home, rejected by her parents for being gay, and being sent to “ex-gay therapy.” She’s happy to be a volunteer with Safe Schools and began in 2012. Chance studied computer science in college and now manages the business school’s Web Team at a local, prominent university. She lives on a small farm outside Austin, where she raises animals, and enjoys spending time with her friends.


Candace Lopez

Candace López
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Candace is originally from the Texas panhandle, but moved to Idaho with her family when she started high school. She’s the youngest of four siblings and comes from a religious upbringing, with her father being a pastor in the Church of Christ for more than 30 years. Candace received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Pepperdine University and her Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She has a strong history of working and volunteering in development for several non-profit organizations in Los Angeles and Austin. She is currently the Director of Development at SafePlace. Candace is happy to volunteer for Safe Schools Texas to share her journey of coming out to family and friends.


Tressa Surratt

Tressa Surratt
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Tressa is a native Texan, born and raised in Austin. She has over a decade of experience working with at-risk youth, including teens with substance abuse issues, emotional disturbances and behavioral issues. She is passionate about youth education, mental health treatment and access to community supports. Tressa joined TCRP in September of 2014 as a social work intern. Her work with the Safe Schools program includes developing evidence-based activities to enhance student engagement in the Safe Schools seminars, and developing tools to evaluate the effectiveness of the Safe Schools program.

In her free time, Tressa enjoys painting, reading, and discovering live music around Austin. She is currently a senior at Texas State University in San Marcos, and will be graduating in December of 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Social Work. Tressa plans to pursue a career path that includes legislative and policy advocacy, focused on improving the lives of at risk youth.

Erin J. Walter

Erin J. Walter
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Erin J. Walter is a seminarian in Meadville Lombard Theological School’s Master of Divinity program, working toward ordination as a Unitarian Universalist minister with a focus on civil rights work.

A native Austinite who has also lived in Chicago, Erin earned her bachelor of science in journalism from Northwestern University and was certified to teach elementary education in Texas through Region XIII. She was the inaugural literacy director of Chicago’s Open Books, creating education and mentoring programs and leading a passionate volunteer corps.

An activist and mother of two, Erin plays bass and sings in the rock band Butch County and is co-president-elect of the board of Girls Rock Austin. She lives in Southeast Austin near the TCRP offices and, if you give her a minute, she will gush to you about her obsession with Zumba and the Mindy Project.