Department of Neighborhoods

Press Release


Complete Communities University Graphic

Participants from neighborhoods citywide will complete 8-week course on civic engagement strategies

March 3, 2022 -- The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) kicked off its Spring 2022 Complete Communities University (CCU) online course for emerging leaders on March 2 with 30 participants. Selected from a pool of nearly 100 applicants, the participants represent neighborhoods in all City Council districts, including the Mayor’s Complete Communities of Acres Home, Alief-Westwood, Fort Bend Houston, Gulfton, Kashmere Gardens, Near Northside, Second Ward, Sunnyside and Third Ward.

The Mayor welcomed the CCU enrollees via a special video message. “I commend you for taking the first step toward becoming tomorrow’s leaders today,” said the mayor. “It takes all of us working together to build and maintain a great city like ours. You are part of that equation. Thank you for stepping up to the challenge and for giving us the privilege and opportunity to share our knowledge and empower you as civic leaders.”

The CCU curriculum focuses on leadership development through civic engagement, volunteerism, and voter education. In addition to exploring how city and county governments function and relate to neighborhoods, participants learn how to effectively access City and community services and resources.

“We are very excited to have this opportunity to share knowledge and expertise with these 30 aspiring leaders while building stronger connections to neighborhoods to better serve residents,” said TaKasha Francis, DON director. “By design, coaching is a vital part of this course. We will challenge participants to devise civic engagement strategies based on the unique character, interests and needs of their own neighborhoods. The goal is to provide participants with the resources and information they need to be the change they want to see in their communities.”

CCU classes are held virtually via Microsoft Teams on Wednesday evenings, conducted by DON staff with expertise in civic engagement and knowledge of Houston communities. The classes include presentations by subject experts with City departments and partner organizations.

The CCU program is offered on a quarterly basis. The next application cycle and deadline will be announced in late spring. For updates, go to Complete Communities University ( For more information, call 832-393-1061 or email

Complete Communities University - Spring 2022 Enrollees

Leslie Meyer, District A 
Keith Downey, District B / Kashmere Gardens  
Christy McGowan, District B / Acres Homes  
Elaine Britt, District C 
Tina Chen, District C  
Ricky Harris, District C  
Ann Green-Terrell, District C  
Mark Kosiara, District C 
Carrie DesRochers, District D / Sunnyside  
Diana Heath, District D / Sunnyside  
LaLover Horace, District D / Sunnyside  
Buerkie Klokpah, District D / Third Ward  
Tanisha Manning, District D / Sunnyside  
Jonathan Campos, District E   
Deborah Brooks, District F  
Mellissa Martinez, District F / Alief-Westwood  
Shavon Morris, District F  
Charles Stein, District G  
Victor Arizpe, District H / Near Northside  
Parthiv Bhakta, District H / Second Ward  
Melvalean McLemore, District H / Second Ward  
Yolanda Silva, District H / Near Northside  
Jo Skillman, District H / Second Ward  
D'Jomme Adia, District I   
Elizabeth Bradford Shaver, District I   
Tabish Siddiqui, District I   
Charmaine LeBlanc, District J / Alief-Westwood  
Amanda Ortiz Santiago, District J / Gulfton  
Geralene Randolph, District K / Fort Bend Houston   
Traveon Rogers, District K

About Complete Communities University 
The Complete Communities University program was introduced in 2018 by the Planning and Development Department as part of the Mayor's Complete Communities initiative. The Department of Neighborhoods relaunched the program in the fall of 2021, introducing a new curriculum and opening participation to residents from all Houston neighborhoods. CCU online leadership development courses are offered on a quarterly basis. Participants are selected through a competitive application review process.