Department of Neighborhoods

Press Release

23 aspiring civic leaders in 8 City Council districts complete leadership training course

December 2, 2021 -- The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is proud to announce the inaugural Complete Communities University (CCU) Class of Fall 2021 graduation. Twenty-three graduates were honored at a graduation ceremony held on December 1, 2021 at the Houston Public Library Barbara Bush Literary Plaza. The ceremony featured brief remarks by representatives of DON, the Mayor’s Office, and City Council Districts F and At-Large 2, and the presentation of certificates of course completion to the graduates.

Complete Communities University graduates

Complete Communities University graduates happily pose after the graduation ceremony held at the Barbara Bush Literary Plaza on December 1, 2021.

The graduates completed an eight-week leadership training course designed to empower civic leaders and promote civic action in Houston neighborhoods. They represent new and emerging leadership in City Council Districts A, B, C, D, F, G, H, and I, including the Mayor’s Complete Communities of Alief, Near Northside, Magnolia, Kashmere, and Sunnyside.

“Over eight weeks, you have demonstrated your leadership and commitment to making a positive impact on communities,” said Shannon Buggs, director of The Mayor’s Complete Communities initiative. “I applaud your decision to develop your leadership skills by learning more about civic engagement, volunteerism, and voter education and diving into how city and county government function and impact neighborhoods.”

DON assistant director Landon Taylor, who developed the CCU course curriculum, congratulated the graduates. “As the first cohort of Complete Communities University, you have stepped up and shown up,” said Taylor. “Remember, the work that you do will be both transformational and generational, for your advocacy will impact your neighborhood now, and most powerfully, your work will be felt for generations to come.“

DON director TaKasha Francis stressed that to be an effective leader one must commit to a purpose and carry out an active role in person. “Everybody has a purpose in life,” said Francis. “Your purpose and the service you choose to provide is derived from the gifts, skills, and abilities that each of you have. It entails understanding and ‘overstanding’ your commitment to a cause. ”Alluding to values espoused by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, the director stated, “As you carry out your work, keep in mind that there is a time for peaceful and conciliatory action and a time to make some noise to be recognized.”

Complete Communities University
Class of Fall 2021 Graduates

Luis Adame, City Council District C
Angel Akins, City Council District G
Debbie Allen, City Council District B
Arlinda Arriaga, City Council District H
Ricky Cardenas, City Council District H
Isaac Eguia, City Council District F
Daniella Flanagan, City Council District B
Maria Franco, City Council District I
Gustavo Garcia, City Council District C
Tadeo Huerta, City Council District C
Eric Hudson-Thomas, City Council District B
Trévoir Hudson-Thomas, City Council District B
Adiaha Itauma, City Council District F
Robert Jackson, City Council District F
Shay Jones, City Council District H
Catherine Kocses, City Council District A
Melissa Kyle, City Council District C
Virginia Lambert, City Council District A
Sarah Mallams, City Council District I
Hannah Mannion, City Council District A
Edidiong Obot, City Council District F
Stephanie Rogers, City Council District
Jessica Shittu, City Council District D

Next CCU Application Deadline: February 11, 2022
The Complete Communities University course will be offered on a quarterly basis. The winter 2022 session will run from March 2 to April 20, 2022. Interested Houston residents are invited to apply for enrollment in the course. The application deadline is Friday, February 11, 2022. To apply, go to and click on Complete Communities University. 

About Complete Communities University
The Complete Communities University (CCU) program was introduced in 2018 by the Planning and Development Department as part of the Mayor's Complete Communities initiative. The Department of Neighborhoods revamped and relaunched the program this fall. The CCU program consists of an eight-week leadership training course for emerging and aspiring civic leaders who reside in Houston. The course sessions are conducted online, and the course is offered on quarterly basis. The objectives of the CCU initiative are to coach emerging leaders on civic engagement methods and techniques, cultivate a positive relationship between the City of Houston and community leaders, and promote the participation of residents in civic activities to help vitalize neighborhoods.