About WWHS Community Foundation

The Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation is an IRS 501(c)(3) approved Texas nonprofit corporation founded to support and benefit Woodrow, the Woodrow Community, and DISD. It provides general financial support to the campus, including specific initiatives like the International Baccalaureate program. It also serves as a clearinghouse for scholarships given to selected graduating Woodrow seniors each year.


The purpose of the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation is to support excellent education in the public schools in the Woodrow feeder pattern in the form of loans, grants and scholarships.


The Foundation’s vision also includes providing resources and support for a wide range of needs and opportunities within the community that is tightly connected to Woodrow Wilson High School and the schools in its feeder pattern. Our dream is to be able to help fund large projects, such as physical facilities within the schools, as well as smaller causes, such as loans or grants to meet special needs of school-connected individuals.

Richard H. Vitale, President

Mr. Vitale was born and reared in Dallas, Texas and is a proud graduate Woodrow Wilson High School, Class of 1991. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mr. Vitale joined a Bank of America predecessor company in 1994, and upon graduation, he returned to North Texas with the Bank. He currently is a Senior Vice President at Bank of America and leads the Bank’s Not-for-Profit Healthcare and Institutions Practice for North and Central Texas. He is Founding President of the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation.

Gary Griffith, Vice President

Gary Griffith was elected to the Dallas City Council in May 2003 and served two terms through June 2007. He believes strongly in community service and gives his volunteer time by serving on a variety of boards for charitable organizations in Dallas. Mr Griffith grew up in East Dallas and is a proud graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, Class of 1966.

Leigh Peden Straughn, Secretary

A longtime East Dallas resident, Leigh Peden Straughn attended Lakewood Elementary, K.B. Polk Elementary, J.L. Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School (Class of 1991). Before leaving the workforce to spend more time with her family, Leigh worked as a management consultant in the Houston office of McKinsey & Company and as a director in the advertising department of The Dallas Morning News. In addition to keeping up with her four active sons and her spouse, she devotes significant time to activities and causes in support of public education. Leigh presently serves on the boards of the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA, the William B. Travis PTA, and Lakewood Elementary's SBDM Committee and PTA. She also volunteers through the Children & Family Ministry at The Church of the Incarnation. She graduated magna cum laude from Rice University and holds an MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.

Celeste Newton, Treasurer

Celeste Newton is currently an accountant for Patterson Thoma Family Office. She provides accounting, tax, and financial services for the office as well as assists in cash management. Before joining Patterson Thoma, she worked at Deloitte as a tax consultant for hedge funds and investment partnerships. Celeste is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of Texas. She holds Bachelor of Accounting and Master of Professional Accounting degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Celeste currently lives in the Knox-Henderson area with her yellow Labrador, Chloe.

Susan Schuerger

Susan Schuerger has been a tireless advocate for her schools and the community. Susan has served as PTA president and SBDM committees at Lakewood Elementary, J.L. Long Middle School, and Woodrow Wilson High School. She founded and is presently the chairman of the Woodrow Wilson Community Council, a consortium of PTA and SBDM members from each of the Woodrow feeder schools. In 2015, she was awarded the prestigious and rare Extended Service Award by the Texas Congress of Parekts and Teachers. She has been involved in education as a Clinical Instructor of Physical Therapy, developed program curriculum for the Texas Tech School of Physical Therapy, and was an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Southwestern University School of Allied Health, teaching and revising curriculum. She is the proud parent of five Woodrow graduates.

Jody Hodges

Jody Hodges is currently the Senior Vice President & Manager of Healthcare Banking of the Dallas market at Bank of Texas. Hodges previously held the position of Senior Vice President with Bank of America within the Greater Texas Commercial Banking group. He currently serves on the board of the White Rock YMCA. While at Bank of America, he also served on the Fort Worth Leadership Council, as the past chairman of the American Heart Walk and March of Dimes March for Babies campaigns. Hodges earned his bachelor’s degree from West Texas A&M University as Cum Laude. He earned his MBA from Texas Christian University and graduated with distinction. He also holds a Series 7 and 63 investment license. He currently resides in East Dallas with his wife, Nikki, and their two children.

Melissa Kingston

Melissa Kingston practices law in the areas of commercial litigation with the law firm of Friedman & Feiger, LLP. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1996, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors. She received her J.D. from Baylor University School of Law in 1999. Ms. Kingston is also an active member of the Dallas community and has served as a volunteer for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program; as various chair, vice-chair and membership positions with the Dallas Bar Association; and, as a community liaison and outside general counsel for non-profit groups and community advocacy groups. Ms. Kingston has volunteered on several community improvement projects, including several projects in the Lower Greenville Avenue area; as a board member and officer of the Dallas Homeowners League; as well as projects to support and promote DISD schools in her neighborhood. Ms. Kingston is also a 2012 DISD Leadership Class member.

Dustin Marshall

Dustin Marshall is CEO of Hazel’s Hot Shot, an expedited freight and logistics company headquartered in Dallas, TX. Hazel’s focuses on time-critical shipments and operates via several divisions which provide an array of transportation services. Prior to joining Hazel’s, Marshall was a manager in the Chicago office of Bain & Company. Mr. Marshall is deeply involved in the Dallas-Ft. Worth community and is passionate about education reform. He serves on the Board of Reading Partners Dallas and the Board of Governors for Uplift Education. He is a recipient of the Dallas Business Journal’s "40-under-40" award, an alumnus of Leadership Dallas, and a finalist for the Dallas Foundation’s "Good Works Under 40" award. Marshall has a bachelor of science (BS) in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. He and his wife, Denise, reside in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas with their four children.

Cheryl Murray

Cheryl Camin Murray is a corporate healthcare shareholder at Winstead PC. She represents clients on entity formation, contractual and regulatory issues, HIPAA, the HITECH Act, and Stark Law matters, as well as compliance with other federal and state laws. She is a frequent speaker and author on health law-related topics. Active in her community, Cheryl is on the Board of the Southwest Transplant Alliance, North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Friday Group, and Dallas Bar Association. Cheryl is a former Kidney Walk Chair for the National Kidney Foundation serving North Texas. She is a former officer of the Texas Young Lawyers Association and Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, and co-founder of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Freedom Run. Cheryl received her Bachelors of Arts from Texas A&M University, a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and her law degree from the University of Houston.

Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is an attorney with Grable Martin Fulton PLLC. His practice focuses on various aspects of intellectual property law, including US and international patent and trademark preparation and prosecution, patent portfolio management, and strategic intellectual property protection and enforcement. Previously, Patterson had his own practice following several years practicing at three large law firms, including 10 years as a partner at the intellectual property law firm of Fish & Richardson P.C. He earned an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He has served as a member of the Greater Dallas Chamber’s Technology Business Council and is active in the Friends of Lakewood Elementary School. He and his wife have a son at Lakewood E.S. and are passionate about strengthening the public education opportunities provided in East Dallas and throughout the state.

Eric Schenkelberg

Eric Schenkelberg is vice president of operations for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. He began his career with the YMCA 26 years ago in a small town in Iowa and after several years of running youth sports, adult sports and summer day camp, Eric moved to Dallas and worked as a program director at the Irving YMCA (a branch under the umbrella of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas). He then worked as executive director in Abilene for four years, and later moved to Arlington to serve as vice president of the YMCA. While there, he opened a new building and renovated two others. After that, Eric moved to Houston for six years before returning to Dallas and the White Rock YMCA, which is also a branch under the umbrella of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas.

"I've always loved Woodrow Wilson High School and owe a tremendous amount to the school. I'm giving back what I can."

Richard H. Vitale, Founding President & Class of 1991

"Strong public schools are critical to our community. This Foundation is committed to directing resources to strengthen our schools."

Emily L. Martin



Memorandum of Understanding with DISD
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DISD Board of Trustee Resolution
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Memorandum of Understanding with Woodrow Wilson High School Alumni Association
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Woodrow Feeder Pattern

Woodrow Wilson High School

J. L. Long Middle School

Elementary Schools

Stonewall Jackson Elementary School

Lakewood Elementary School

Robert E Lee Elementary School

William Lipscomb Elementary School

Eduardo Mata Elementary School

Mount Auburn Elementary School

O.M. Roberts Elementary School


Woodrow Wilson PTA


Stonewall Jackson PTA

Lakewood PTA

Lakewood Early Childhood PTA

Robert E Lee PTA

Old East Dallas Early Childhood PTA

Neighborhood Associations

Wilshire Heights

Greenland Hills Neighborhood Association

Lakewood Neighborhood Association

Vickery Place Neighborhood Association

The Woodrow Wilson Community Council includes representatives from PTAs, Early Childhood PTAs and Site Based Decision Making Committees serving the schools that form the feeder pattern for East Dallas' historic Woodrow Wilson High School. The Council is committed to working cooperatively to further the needs and goals of each group in the Woodrow community.