Department of Neighborhoods

Press Release

30 emerging leaders complete leadership training with focus on civic engagement strategies to vitalize communities

April 28, 2022 -- The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is proud to announce the Complete Communities University (CCU) Class of Spring 2022 graduation of 30 emerging leaders. Collectively they represent all City Council districts and the Mayor's Complete Communities neighborhoods of Alief-Westwood, Fort Bend Houston, Gulfton, Near Northside, Kashmere Gardens, Second Ward and Sunnyside.

The graduates were presented certificates of course completion at a graduation ceremony held at City Hall on April 27. The program featured a keynote address by DON Director TaKasha Francis and remarks by City Council Member (District I) Robert Gallegos and Mayor’s Office of Complete Communities Director Shannon Buggs. The program also featured comments by CCU staff and City Council staff representatives, including congratulatory messages from Council Districts C, D, F, and K.

CCU Spring 2022 Graduates Group Photo

Pictured: Complete Communities University Spring 2022 graduates and City staff (front row).

CCU is an 8-week online training course for emerging leaders committed to making a positive impact in their communities. Course topics include leadership development through civic engagement, volunteerism, and voter education; how city and county governments function and impact neighborhoods; and how to effectively navigate City services and local resources. CCU are conducted by DON staff with expertise in civic engagement and knowledge of Houston neighborhoods. The classes feature presentations by subject experts with City departments and partner organizations.

“Congratulations to the 30 Houstonians who have taken the challenge of serving as leaders in their respective communities,” said the Mayor. “I wish you success as you carry out leadership strategies you learned about through this course. Thank you for your commitment to promoting citizen involvement in civic activities that benefit our neighborhoods.”

“Civic leadership is vital to building strong communities, and the Department of Neighborhoods takes great pride in sharing information about city resources with emerging and aspiring leaders,” said TaKasha Francis, DON Director.  “Our CCU alumni are our newest community partners, and we will support their efforts to mobilize civic action, volunteer community service, and voter participation to empower and build stronger communities.”

"I'm thrilled to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment for these 30 civic leaders and their dedication to their communities," said Shannon Buggs, Director of The Mayor's Complete Communities Initiative. "These emerging community leaders are now equipped with the strategies, techniques, and connections to more effectively vitalize their neighborhoods."

Complete Communities University - Spring 2022 Graduates

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

Complete Communities University - Fall 2022 Session

The next CCU course will be offered in the fall of 2022, running for 8 weeks, September 21 to November 9. The classes will be held on Wednesday evenings, online via Microsoft Teams. Interested Houston residents are invited to apply for enrollment in the course. Applications will be accepted August 1-31. To apply, go to For more information, call 832-393-1061.

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 for emerging community leaders and opening participation to residents from all Houston neighborhoods. The 8-week online course focuses on leadership development through civic engagement, volunteerism, and voter education. The course also explores how city and county governments function and relate to neighborhoods and how to effectively access City and community services and resources.