BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Janice Gee is a past co-president of the board of directors and worked for many years as Education Coordinator at the O. Henry Museum. She was there when the Susanna Dickinson House was moved on site and restoration began. Janice is a graduate of the University of Texas and a native Austinite.
Clay Leben is the 2021 President of the board of directors. A board member since 1993 (except for 2006–2010), he has served at different times as President, Treasurer, Secretary/Newsletter Editor, and gift shop committee. For years, Clay has used his video production skills to record the Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships for public distribution. He gets his passion for O. Henry from his grandmother and mother, who were related by marriage to the Roach family and O. Henry's wife Athol Estes Roach. Roach family O. Henry items they inherited were donated to the museum collection.
Ev Lunning retired from the Theater Arts Department faculty at St. Edward’s University. Also a professional actor, Ev’s association with the O. Henry Museum reaches back to the 1990’s when Jane Maldonado, then a member of the Friends, invited him to read one of O. Henry’s stories at a museum function. Since then, Ev has read “Gift of the Magi” at a museum Christmas celebration and “Bexar Scrip No. 2692” at an event held in the setting of the story, the old General Land Office (now the Capitol Visitors’ Center). With the assistance of Mike Lee and David Alvarez of KUT radio, Ev produced a CD of all the O. Henry stories set in Austin for sale at the museum. As a volunteer narrator, he has recorded more than 60 volumes for the Recording Studio of the Texas State Library.
Julianne Richter is past-president of the board of directors having served for four years as President. She is a retired teacher who taught middle school language arts for 28 years in the Austin Independent School District. Her love for O. Henry comes from sharing his humorous story, The Ransom of Red Chief with her eighth-grade students. In addition to working in AISD schools as a substitute teacher, Julianne volunteers as a mentor for The First Tee of Greater Austin and as a reading coach for Austin Partners in Education.
Shannon O'Brien joined the board in 2015. Her passion is research on and history of American politics with an emphasis on presidency, Urban politics, and political history, most recently colonial America up to the Jacksonian period. She loves genealogy. As a long-time Lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, Department of Government, she strives to convince undergraduate students to care more about politics. She and her husband live next to Brush Square and walk their dog twice daily, which allows her to frequently visit the museums and observe neighborhood trends and issues.
Beth Hudson is 2021 Vice President of the board. She decided to join the Board so she could focus on some of her greatest joys: writers and writing, history, and Texas. She embraced reading O. Henry well before 9th grade English class and for decades Brush Square museums have been a favorite Austin spot. She is currently retired from being an Austin ISD Social Studies Specialist and Huston-Tillotson University Instructor and a former elementary and middle school teacher of social studies. She holds professional memberships in multiple Texas and national social studies councils and historical societies. She is also a life-long journalist with many publication credits for the Washington Post Southwest Bureau (including a 1992 article about the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships) and The Texan (official publication of Texas Council for the Social Studies) where she was also Co-Editor. She became a board member in 2017.
Karen Trikilis retired from her 43-year paralegal career late in 2015 and is rapidly getting involved in "paying it forward" to the Austin Community which has served her well for so long. Karen thoroughly enjoys the arts and history as well any sized body of water. Sailing and swimming are major passions of hers together with reading and bible study. She joined the board in 2016. She is serving as board secretary.
Stella Farris Bromley is a librarian at the Professional Resource Library for Austin ISD, managing print and digital material for the faculty and school district staff. Stella is also an Adjunct Professor with the Austin Community College Culinary Arts program. She and her husband enjoy cooking and motorcycling together. In April 2018 she joined BSMF Board. "I am excited to be a part of Brush Square Museums Foundation. That little square of land, Brush Square, houses so much history and community for Austin."
Karen Donsbach, as a retired Austin teacher, has experience in many areas including history, science, bookkeeping, and gardening. For over 20 years she helped do fundraising at her school's student science fairs. She enjoys time gardening, reading, spending time in nature, and restoring her 1947 bungalow. She is looking forward to supporting the upcoming museum restorations and the Brush Square Park landscaping redesign. She remembers that her father was also an enthusiastic Pun-Off participant. Karen joined the Board in April, 2019 and became Treasurer in 2021.
Joe Ramirez was a long time friend of BSMF having been previously a board member and past president for many years. After several years apart, we are happy he accepted our invitation to rejoin the board. Formerly an AISD Social Studies Educator and Curriculum Supervisor, Joe is currently President of the Austin Retired Teachers Association, active in Rotary, and Tejano Book Award, State Chair. He re-joined BSMF's board again in August 2020.
Buck Cole. Formerly a Texas History teacher and Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Texas General Land Office where he conducted workshops around the state, Buck has a passion for Texas and history. He is an experienced fundraiser and enjoys presenting to groups. He also is finishing his book about his 10 years of military experiences to be published soon. He joined the BSMF board in June 2021.
Honorary Emeritus Members
Laura Furman is the Series editor of The O. Henry Prize Stories since 2003 and chooses the winning stories each year. She is professor emerita in the English Department, University of Texas at Austin, and lives in Austin.
Clay Smith served as board President during 2013 - 2014 and a member until 2016. Clay Smith is the editor in chief of Kirkus Reviews, the literary director of the San Antonio Book Festival, and the former literary director of the Texas Book Festival. He is also on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle.
Terri Schexnayder served as board President during 2011 - 2013. She is a writer and marketing consultant, writing instructor, and owner of Communications for the Social Good.
Tom Haider is an attorney and government relations consultant. He volunteers for several Austin organizations and is an avid runner on the Lady Bird Lake trails. He was a past finalist in the Texas Writers’ League manuscript competition and considers himself an aspiring novelist. He served on the board 2015 - 2020.