Our Advisory Board

Generous and talented   leaders from diverse backgrounds and sectors

Board of Directors

Providing stewardship and guidance to support our mission and vision

With a shared belief that a college education changes lives, allows people to join the workforce, and make greater economic and intellectual contributions to their communities, the College Forward Board of Directors applies a wide range of expertise to build support for our programs and break down systemic barriers to education equity.

Board Members

Richard Tagle


Richard Tagle is the Chief Executive Officer at the Andy Roddick Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as Senior Program Officer for the United States Conference of Mayors, Chief of Staff at Public Education Network, Chief Executive Officer at Higher Achievement, and Founder and Managing Principal at High Think. Richard is eternally curious about how organizations behave, grow, and can change social structures and relationships, and has been at the forefront of health and education work that benefits children. He believes that, in the most powerful country in the world, the institutions that shape and hone the ideas and potential of the next generation of great Americans should be the best institutions we can build. He received his B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Applied Sociology and Social Policy from American University in Washington, D.C.

Doreen James Wise


Doreen James Wise, a co-founder of College Forward, also founded Medical Research Consultants, a legal services firm in Houston that she owned until selling the company to her employees in 2011. She has since participated as investor and advisor for several start-up companies, including ChartSwap, Slow Dough Bread Co., and Mowdy Boats. In addition to College Forward, Doreen founded another successful nonprofit, the Texas Center for the Missing, in 2001. She holds a B.S.N. from Vanderbilt University, an M.S.N. from California State University, and an Ed.D. from the University of Houston.

Carol McDonald

Carol McDonald served as president and principal lobbyist for Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, Inc. (ICUT) from the 68th through 83rd Texas Legislative Sessions. Prior to this, she was a policy analyst and legislative aide for Texas Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby and also worked at the National Institute for Public Administration in Kuala Lumpur and the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C. She received Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and American Studies from Austin College, a Master’s degree in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master’s of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas at Austin.

Todd Penner

Todd Penner is Portfolio Director for the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s College Preparation & Completion portfolio, which empowers more high-need students to graduate from high school college-ready, enroll in college, and obtain a bachelor’s degree. Prior to joining the Foundation in May 2008, Todd spent 13 years at Dell Inc. in various marketing and support positions, his last being Director of Worldwide e-Support. Before Dell, he worked with Exxon Chemical Company and Deloitte Haskins & Sells. Todd has a B.B.A. in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Michigan.

Daniel Riegel

Daniel Riegel is a Partner at Richards, Rodriguez & Skeith, an Austin-based law firm dedicated to serving residents, businesses, and non-profits across Central Texas. Prior to joining RRS, Daniel served as a law clerk to the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly at the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. Daniel holds a J.D. with Highest Honors from the George Washington University School of Law and a B.A. in Mathematics with High Honors from UT-Austin. Prior to becoming an attorney, Daniel served as an AmeriCorps volunteer at College Forward and as a program manager with the organization.

Nirav Shah

Nirav Shah is the Chief of Staff at Commissioner Ann Howard. Previously, Nirav was the Director on the Social Investment team at Social Finance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing capital to drive social progress. Nirav develops collaborative partnerships with key, multi-sector stakeholders to deliver financial solutions that funnel investment capital into preventative programs that measurably improve the lives of people in need by driving government resources toward better, more effective programs. Prior to joining Social Finance, Nirav worked in the Office of Management and Budget within the Executive Office of the President. Nirav holds a Masters of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Boston University.

Stephanie Verdugo

Stephanie is currently the Market President at First United Bank. Prior, Stephanie served as the Vice President and Senior Commercial Banker at Bank SNB, a financial institution focused on the growth, expansion, and acquisitions of local businesses in and around Austin, Texas. She graduated from The University of Texas in San Antonio with an emphasis in Law and The Courts. For the last fifteen years she has structured and distributed capital to Healthcare and C&I industries within the Texas and California marketplace. Stephanie is a catalyst for her client’s successes, to-date, she has funded over one hundred million dollars to small and mid-size companies in the Central Texas marketplace. In addition to her work, she is involved with several non-profit organizations that encourage advocacy, networking and work-force development.