Kirsten Brandt James, brings over 25 years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience to Project Transformation North Texas. Most recently, Kirsten served as the Chief Development Officer of 29 Acres working directly with the founders to raise start-up funds and build organizational infrastructure for the new supportive living community for adults with autism in Denton County. She previously served as Executive Director of Alley’s House helping teen mothers complete their education and learn life skills. For 22 years, Kirsten was the Executive Director of Junior Players and oversaw exponential growth for the arts education agency as it grew to serve thousands of youth with free arts programs throughout North Texas. Kirsten is passionate about access and opportunity for all youth.
A long-time member of Northaven UMC, she is thrilled to join the Project Transformation North Texas team and lead change through mission and service. She has previously served as President of the Austin College Alumni Board as well as Wallace Elementary PTA. She holds degrees in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin Madison and Austin College. Kirsten has been recognized with the Altrusa Richardson Outstanding Woman of Today Award and the Dallas Women’s Council Individual Member Award. Kirsten is married to Tim James and they have 17 year old boy/girl twins who are seniors at Lake Highlands High School. They also have two adult sons who are both married and have a total of five grandchildren.
Elspeth is a proud Project Transformation alumna, serving in 2007-2008 fresh out of college as a PT Corps Member at Casa Linda United Methodist Church. Project Transformation was the catalyst to her career focus in nonprofits as well as urban ministry. She followed her call to serve in nonprofits, both public and/or faith-based, that positively and systemically impact urban communities, such as: Salvation Army, Irving Schools Foundation, Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, Perkins Youth School of Theology, Tyler Street United Methodist Church, and more. She loves gathering and presenting information that connects, informs, inspires, and rallies others to action. In faith-based settings, it brings her the deepest joy to help others learn how to use the tools of the faith to grow spiritually and be active members of the body of Christ.
Elspeth received her BA in Religion from Texas Christian University with an English and Spanish Double Minor, then later earned a Master's in Church Ministry, Urban Ministry Focus, from Southern Methodist University. She grew up in Irving and Oak Cliff Texas, and she knows these very factors were pivotal in discerning and living out her calling to partner in urban communities. She is a native Texan, proud TCU Horned Frog, Spanglish speaker, and theology nerd. She loves great food and going on adventures with her husband. She has traveled to Europe and also studied there, and partnered in Missions in Mexico as well as South America. Although sitting still isn’t one of her strong suits, she loves being active right where she is at in her home community.
Before first joining Project Transformation North Texas in 2014, Kelsey worked for Reading Partners where she recruited community members to serve as volunteer tutors in under-resourced schools in Dallas. As a volunteer tutor herself, she witnessed firsthand how a student who was once struggling could transform into a proud, confident reader. And as an advocate for early childhood education, she is adamant that reading is fundamental to every child’s academic success.
She has over 6 years of experience and a successful track record in development and community engagement within the nonprofit sector. She is passionate about connecting communities, developing creative, mutually beneficial business, but most of all, community service.
Kelsey received her Bachelor’s Degree in News-Editorial Journalism from Texas Tech University and her Master’s Degree in International Journalism with a concentration in Political Science from Baylor University. Her self-directed master’s program enabled her to volunteer at Dress for Success in Austin and serve with Teach Beyond in Germany were she helped facilitate a summer camp for German youth.
If she doesn’t have her nose in a book, you can most likely find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and daughter, Isla.
LaDonna grew up in Marshall, Texas, and was raised in the Methodist church at both Ebenezer and Zion United Methodist. LaDonna is a third generation Wiley College graduate, where she received a BA in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Sociology. After working at Wiley College for three years as the Student Activities Director, LaDonna enrolled at Oklahoma City University and received her Master of Education in Applied Behavioral Studies with a focus in Counseling. Soon after completion of graduate school, LaDonna returned to Wiley College to transform the student life of the campus. During this time she worked as the Counseling and Career Planning Director, quickly becoming the director for Student Development, which governed Student Activities, Student Government Association, Greek Life, community service, and Student Leadership programming. LaDonna also, serves as the Vice President for her chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is a lay speaker at Ebenezer United Methodist Church.
LaDonna comes to Project Transformation with a servant’s heart, a commitment to excellence in youth leadership and development, and her passion for Christian education in the United Methodist Church. She enjoys reading, traveling, shopping with her mom, fishing with her dad, and singing with her family cover band.
Marcos is a recent graduate from The University of North Texas, graduating in May 2019. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Science with concentrations in English, Sociology and Educational Studies. Marcos has the unique experience of participating in Project Transformation’s Summer Program as a child, attending Elmwood-El Buen Samaritano UMC from grades 3rd – 4th. Since 2015, Marcos has served with Project Transformation North Texas in various program roles and at different site locations. Some of these roles included Youth PT Corps Member at Casa Linda UMC in 2015, Youth PT Corps Member at Christ’s Foundry UMC in 2016, Site Coordinator at Chapel Hill in 2017, and Spring/Summer Program Quality Coach in 2019. He is passionate about helping the community and those who are in need. During his free time, he enjoys playing sports, listening to music, and taking pictures.
Andrea served as a PT Corps member, Reading Coordinator and Site Coordinator from 2011-2014 and then as a Program Quality Coach in the summer of 2015. During her time as a PT Corps member she experienced the impact Project Transformation has on the children, churches and young adults that she served alongside. She is thrilled to be able to support PT North Texas as a staff member and is excited to continue to grow the PT legacy!
Andrea received her bachelor’s degree in Development & Family Studies at the University of North Texas (Go Mean Green!) and minored in Psychology. She is active in the Dallas community and is involved with Union Coffee’s ministries and Capes 4 Kids DFW. Andrea is an avid soccer fan and supports the U.S. Women’s National Team, U.S. Men’s National Team and FC Dallas! In her spare time, she enjoys running, finding new local spots, traveling and spending time with friends, family and her dog Austin and attends soccer games as often as she can!
Erin joined the staff in September of 2018 as the National Leadership Fellow working on alumni engagement. She became a permanent staff member in September 2019 when she was hired as Development Coordinator. She graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in Strategic Communication. Formerly she served with Project Transformation North Texas in the summers of 2017 and 2018, first as a Volunteer Coordinator at Munger UMC and then as a Site Coordinator at Chapel Hill UMC. Growing up in Plano, she became acquainted with Project Transformation in her middle school years, coming down to Dallas through her church to volunteer with the reading program. She is committed to the work of this organization and hopes to grow in service alongside others to make Dallas an even better place. Erin's loves include photography, chai lattes, discovering new music, and playing with her cat, Rosie.
Channing graduated from Tarleton State University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and is a proud aluma of Project Transformation North Texas. After she graduated with her undergraduate degree, she was a substitute teacher for one school year at Stephenville ISD. She is currently working on her Teacher Certification through Texas Teachers. At PTNT, her roles have included Reading Coordinator in the summer of 2018, Site Coordinator for the Afterschool Program, and she also served as a Program Quality Coach in the summer of 2019. She is committed to serving other people and hopes to spread love and positivity through her work and to everyone that she comes into contact with. In her free time, she loves to visit coffee shops, workout (especially running), spend time with family and friends, play/write music, and go to any space that shows live music.
Clara joined Project Transformation North Texas in August 2021 as Program Manager of Operations. She holds extensive experience in administrative support, customer service, and education, both in the public and private sectors. As a former educator, Clara understands and wholeheartedly believes in Project Transformation’s mission of impacting the youth in the urban communities it serves.
Clara is originally from San Francisco, CA and holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Master’s of Business Administration from Texas Woman’s University. She is married to her husband of 12 years. In her spare time, Clara enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to music, food, and traveling.
Renee joined Project Transformation North Texas after serving 17 years as Director of Finance and Controller for a large church in the DFW area. Under her leadership, the church received 14 consecutive unqualified audits. Renee has expertise in budget development and management, safeguarding of organizational assets, asset acquisitions, internal controls, and financial reporting. Prior to transitioning into full time ministry and the nonprofit sector, Renee worked as an Auditor for the Texas Credit Union in Austin, Texas, where she was responsible for auditing credit unions throughout the state of Texas.
Renee is a native of New Orleans, LA and graduated from Louisiana State University of Baton Rouge, LA with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Santana and they are the proud parents of three girls.
Nicholas joins Project Transformation wholeheartedly believing in the mission, vision and values of the organization. Nicholas served four terms as a PT Corps Member in many different capacities from 2015-2018. Some capacities include Elementary Member for Walnut Hill and Grace UMC, Site Coordinator for Munger UMC and Year-Round ASP Site Coordinator for Casa Linda UMC. After completing his allotted service terms, he went on to become Program Director of Camp Fire Lone Star, Area Supervisor for Dallas AfterSchool and most recently, Director of Program Quality for Kids-U. Nicholas understands the importance of providing high quality and impactful programming to the youth in the communities in which we serve. He strongly believes that your circumstances do not and will not define who you are. Nicholas also has a passion for encouraging youth inclusivity and diversity as well as allowing young people to explore opportunities of growth. He received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems at Wiley College (Home of the Great Debaters). In his spare time, you will more than likely find him listening to music, traveling, cooking, watching true crime shows, spending time with family and friends, taking pictures, or shopping.