Jennifer Carr Allmon, Executive Director
Jennifer Carr Allmon is executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB). She oversees the day-to-day work of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops including legislative activities, communications, convening and collaboration, and management. Allmon develops legislative strategy and relationships with diocesan staff and other legislative partners including developing and delivering legislative testimony and policy papers.
Allmon monitors all legislation filed and tracks legislation related to our policy priorities. She is available to provide training and technical assistance to dioceses and TCCB departments in review of and preparation for legislative session. She is also responsible for facilitating collaboration among the departments of the conference as well as supervising the coordination of the TCCB General Assembly.
Prior to this position, she served as the advocacy director at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston where she was responsible for directing the agency’s public policy efforts. This included issues such as access to healthcare, immigration reform, and the needs of the poor and vulnerable. Allmon also served for four years as Catholic Charities' HIV/AIDS education coordinator, where she developed and implemented HIV/AIDS and chastity education programs for Catholic parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Since 1998 she has annually organized and led delegations from Texas to Capitol Hill to bring the voices of the marginalized to lawmakers.
Allmon has given presentations throughout the United States on the issues of substance abuse treatment and prevention, chastity, social justice, and advocacy. She has published numerous articles on HIV/AIDS education in a Catholic context and on various public policy and legislative issues. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from University of St. Thomas in Houston and is a Texas Certified Teacher. She has a master's of arts in moral theology-bioethics and has completed the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s Bioethics Certification Program.
Lisette Allen, Director of Education
Lisette Allen is director of education for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. She has served as teacher, principal and superintendent in the Diocese of Brownsville. She was a member of the NCEA/ACRE revision committee in Washington DC, and guest presenter for the University of Notre Dame Alliance for Catholic Education Program focusing on Teaching English Language Learners (2008-2010), and for the Chief Administrators in Catholic Education (CACE) focusing on Latino families.
In 2011 she received the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ Award for Outstanding Leadership in Promoting a Vision of Catholic Education that Welcomes and Serves Cultural and Economic Diversity and Enhances Services for Student with Special Needs. She has served as a Commissioner, Vice- President and President of the Texas Catholic Conference Accreditation Commission.
In July 2014, she joined the Texas Catholic Conference Education Department as the director of accreditation for Catholic schools in Texas. Raised in Harlingen, she attended the University of Texas Pan American where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications disorders. She holds a master of arts degree in education from Texas A&M University Kingsville and the University of Notre Dame for a master of arts degree in Educational Administration from the University of Notre Dame.
Dr. Marian J. Barber, Director Catholic Archives of Texas
As director of the Catholic Archives of Texas, Dr. Marian J. Barber oversees the day to day operations of the Archives: collecting, preserving, and making available to the public documents and artifacts that reflect the Catholic experience in Texas from the 16th century to the present. She also serves as liaison with other repositories in Austin, in Texas, and across the U.S.
Barber, who joined the Archives in March, 2014, was educated at Our Lady of Refuge School by the Sisters of Mercy and in the public schools of Refugio, she earned a B.A. in English, cum laude, from Rice University in 1979. After college, she worked as a journalist for the Kansas City Star, as press secretary for a Congressional campaign in Florida and as a researcher at government agencies in Washington, DC. She received a master of public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in 1988. She returned to Washington, DC, as a journalist and as an advocate for affordable housing, community development, and economic development. In 1998 she earned a certificate in historical documentary filmmaking from George Washington University.
Later that year, she re-entered the University of Texas to pursue a doctorate in history. She received her Ph.D. in 2010, with a dissertation called “How the Irish, Germans, and Czechs Became Anglo: Race and Identity in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands.” She taught U.S. history at the University of Texas and U.S. and Texas history at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, before moving back to Washington, DC in 2011 to serve as associate director of the National History Center of the American Historical Association, a position she held until joining the Archives. She currently is pursuing designation as a certified archivist. She and her husband, Steven Aleman, a policy specialist for Disability Rights Texas, are members of St. Austin’s parish in Austin.
Michael Barba, Associate Director Public Policy
Michael Barba is the associate director of public policy at the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. He assists Executive Director Jennifer Allmon in serving as a representative of the Roman Catholic bishops of Texas before lawmakers. Barba provides public policy guidance to Texas dioceses, schools, and parishes in order to connect Catholic moral theology with political action. He also collaborates with coalitions of Texans who support public policies aligned with the vision of the Catholic Conference.
Prior to serving at the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, Barba was a policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where he focused upon public education, school finance, and educational choice. He was the primary author of Texas School Finance: Basics and Reform, which sheds light upon a complex topic in the hope of aiding Texas children. He also served as an analyst for Citizen Tools, a small Austin startup which published non-partisan explanations of public policies. Prior to this, he held a fellowship at the National Center for Policy Analysis, where he studied federal and state policy pertaining to healthcare, education, and taxes.
Born and raised in El Paso, Barba completed his undergraduate education at the University of Dallas, where he majored in philosophy and politics. He is currently writing his master’s thesis on Plato's Laws.
Debbie Solcher, Associate Director of Education
Debbie Solcher is the associate director of education for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. Alongside Director Lisette Allen, she assists Texas Catholic schools in meeting accreditation standards and improving the educational experience of Catholic school students in the state.
Solcher has served as a teacher and principal in the Diocese of Austin for 15 years. She received her bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in educational leadership with Catholic emphasis from the University of Dayton. She served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal for St. Theresa Catholic School in Austin from 1996 through 2016, and was instrumental in the formation of a gifted and talented program for the students.
She is an active member of the Leadership Academy team in the Diocese of Austin, which provides a discernment process and educational credit hours for persons interested in leadership and administration.
Eric Hartmann, Archivist
Eric Hartmann is the Archivist of the Catholic Archives of Texas. He has worked at the Catholic Archives of Texas since 2002. Eric is responsible for processing the Texas State Council, Knights of Columbus records so that they are available for research or historical purposes. He also works with the Director of the Catholic Archives of Texas on other projects, such as preparing other collections for use by researchers and providing reference service.
From 1999 to 2002, Eric was a librarian and cataloger at the Victoria Public Library in Victoria Texas. He also was Processing Archivist at the University of Texas San Antonio in 1998 and 1999. Eric earned a B.A. in History from Grinnell College in 1993 and a Masters of Science in Information (Archives and Records Management) from the University of Michigan in 1997.
Rachana Chhin, Public Policy Outreach Coordinator
Rachana Chhin is the public policy outreach coordinator for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. He assists Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon and Associate Director of Public Policy Michael Barba in the public policy analysis and outreach of the TCCB, including through collaboration with diocesan directors to plan strategic political advocacy and mobilizing the grassroots, creating social media content, coordinating special programs and events related to Catholic social teaching, assisting in legislation review, conducting training and providing technical assistance to dioceses and TCCB departments related to public policy issues and Catholic social teaching, and facilitating collaboration among the departments of the TCCB.
Prior to joining the TCCB, Rachana completed his LL.M. in International Human Rights Law at the Notre Dame Law School in 2017. He attained his J.D. and M.A. in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in 2015 and his B.A. in International Studies and minor in Great Texts of the Western Tradition from Baylor University in 2011. His master’s essay was entitled “The Indochinese Church and Cambodia: The Cathedral in the Rice Paddy.”
While at St. Thomas, he served clients at UST’s Immigration Clinic, was publications director for the Journal of Law and Public Policy, and clerked for the Minnesota Catholic Conference. Additionally, Mr. Chhin is a Blackstone Fellow with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Murphy Scholar with the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, and an alumnus of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture’s Vita Institute. After graduation, Mr. Chhin served as the Murphy Legal Fellow to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, where he was a delegate to the UN General Assembly’s Sixth (Legal) Committee. He is a licensed attorney admitted to the Minnesota State Bar.
Helen Osman, Communications
Helen Osman is communications consultant for the TCCB, providing both external and internal communications support and direction. She has worked in communications for faith-based organizations since 1984, shortly after she moved to Central Texas with her husband, John.
They have returned to Austin, after an eight-year hiatus in Washington, DC, where she coordinated communications for the US Catholic bishops and shepherded the visits to the United States of Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 and Pope Francis in 2015.
She is the president of the international organization SIGNIS (World Association of Catholic Communicators), the only Vatican-recognized media professionals association. She has also served as president of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and received its highest honor for personal achievement in 2012. She provides communications support for international, national and local entities.
Lorena Martinez, Administrative Assistant
Lorena Martinez is the administrative assistant for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, responsible for supporting the TCCB executive director and departmental directors to ensure operation of the office through organization, communication and light bookkeeping.
Lorena has more than 15 years of experience in the public and private sectors. She spent many years supporting the student financial aid office at the University of Texas and served as an executive assistant to small business owners. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Lorena was raised in south Texas and received her bachelor's degree in art with a minor in psychology from Texas A&M International University.