Our Team

Susan Dawson
President and Executive Director

Susan Dawson is a Texas entrepreneur, business and civic leader.  She founded and leads the E3 Alliance (for Education Equals Economics), a regional collaborative to increase economic outcomes by aligning our education systems to fulfill the potential of every student. E3 Alliance has been recognized across the country for its ground-breaking work in systemic change for education. Susan has led multiple technology firms and served as Chair of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. Her many awards include the Leadership Austin Polly Scallorn Award for Lifetime Achievement in Community Trusteeship, Austin Under 40 “Austinite of the Year”, Hero for Children by the State Board of Education, Austin Profiles in Power “Profile Leader”, and the UT McCombs School “Trailblazer Award” for the distinguished woman alumni trailblazer in business and community. In 2011 the Austin Business Journal named Susan one of “Austin’s 30 Most Influential” leaders who have shaped Austin’s economy and culture in the last 30 years.  Susan has a BS Cum Laude from Princeton University and an MBA with Highest Honors from UT Austin McCombs School of Business.

Christine Bailie
Director of High School, College & Career Success

Christine Bailie has worked in the field of education for 20 years. She has taught at the high school level in the Leander and Cypress-Fairbanks school districts. She received her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Texas A&M and holds a Master’s of Public Affairs degree with a specialization in Social and Economic Policy from the University of Texas. Christine’s research projects at the Charles A. Dana Center and the Ray Marshall Center for Human Resources along with her policy work at Leander ISD and the Office of Tom Craddick provide a broad range of experiences in the field of education. She is active in the Leander community where she is a founding board member of the Hill Country Education Foundation supporting its endeavors by serving as the Grant Committee Chair. She initiated the Vandegrift PTA Ladder, initiated and continues to coordinate the PTA Ladders’ annual School Board Candidate Forum, and has served on the Site-Based Committee at Four Points Middle School for the last three years.

Hannah Gourgey Ph. D.
Vice President of Strategic Alignment

Dr. Hannah Gourgey, oversees collaborative work around The Blueprint for Educational Change, Central Texas’ strategic plan to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country. She has worked for almost two decades in workforce development and education in Central Texas. Hannah was formerly acting Executive Director of Skillpoint Alliance, overseeing all operations in Workforce Development and Youth College and Career Services for the organization.  Hannah has taught at the University of Louisville, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and The University of Texas at Austin and has several published articles addressing issues in communication and cultural studies and education.  She is active the in community, volunteering for programs in tutoring, adult professional development, and youth civic participation.   Hannah  holds a BA from Northwestern University, MA from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Ph.D. in Communication Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.

Administrative Associate

Christie Hepburn has more than fifteen years of experience as an educator with a focus on reading, English language arts and special education. She joined E3 Alliance in 2008 to help coordinate Central Texas Deliberative Dialogues and has continued to provide support on a variety of projects. Christie earned a BS in Great Book Studies from St. Anselm’s College in New Hampshire and a Master’s in Bilingual Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities and English as a Second Language from the University of Texas at Austin.

Laura Koenig
School Readiness Director

For over 20 years, Laura Koenig has been working with families through direct child care, parent education, provider education, public policy and advocacy in Central Texas. In her early career, Laura worked in child care as an infant teacher. This work with children and families inspired her to pursue a systems change approach in early care and education through public policy. Most recently before joining the staff of E3 Alliance, Laura coordinated the Parents of Newborns project at FamilyConnections, providing education and outreach to over 7,800 new families annually. Prior to that, Laura was part of a community-wide initiative to improve access to quality, affordable child care, the Institute for Child Care Excellence, where she served as the policy and education specialist. Laura earned a BA, Plan II, Cum Laude, from The University of Texas of Austin with a concentration in Psychology. She also holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the LBJ School at The University of Texas, where she focused on child and family policy.

Madra Mays
Senior Administrative Assistant

Nichole Prescott
Director of Student Success

Joshua Scott
Alignment Administrator

Joshua Scott came to the E3 Alliance after being involved in the Austin Community College District’s Student Success Initiative as President of the college’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. As an Economics major, his professional experiences range from developing software for legislative analysis to developing ice cream flavors at Amy’s Ice Creams.  In addition to his work at E3, Joshua splits his time as a tutor for the Department of Computer Studies at Austin Community College.  He remains active as the first Distance Learning Campus Vice President for Phi Theta Kappa, and can occasionally be seen working as a security guard at various live music venues around Austin.

Khotan Shahbazi-Harmon
Director of Communications & Community Accountability

Khotan Shahbazi-Harmon is an award-winning journalist, community development specialist, and entrepreneurship accelerator.   Khotan served as an external evaluator for the Texas Education Agency evaluating special programs on science and math, and language and arts in Texas.   Khotan managed a community MBA program in East Austin that helped very low-income clients gain self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship, and has served as a convener and facilitator of community conversations around complex and challenging issues on race, education and citizenship.  Khotan earned a B.S. in International Studies from American University in Washington, D.C. with a focus on economic development.


Shawn Thomas
Director of Research & Policy

Shawn Thomas is a social science researcher with more than a decade of professional experience in education and clinical research, SAS programming, data management, quantitative data analysis, and reporting. As Director of Research and Policy with the E3 Alliance Shawn has oversight of internal and external research projects and research staff, as well as ongoing data collection, analysis, presentation, and dissemination of information related to student educational outcomes to influence stakeholder decision making and policy. Prior to joining E3, Shawn worked for eight years with the Texas Education Agency, managing and analyzed SAT, PSAT, ReadiStep, ACT, PLAN, EXPLORE, AP, and International Baccalaureate examination results and producing technical reports discussing analytic results.  Shawn holds a Master’s degrees in Higher Education and Statistics from The University of Arkansas.


Amy Wiseman, Ph.D.
Director of Research Studies

Dr. Amy Wiseman brings nearly 20 years of experience with research and data analysis to E3 Alliance where she engages in education research studies and program evaluations addressing the state of education in Central Texas. Before joining the Alliance, Amy was Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience for five years at Allegheny College in Western Pennsylvania, where she taught advanced statistics and conducted research on learning and memory.  The daughter of two elementary educators, Amy earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Cognitive Neuroscience from Harvard University, and earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Trinity University in San Antonio.


Molly Young
Director of Development & Student Success

Molly M. Young oversees the RAISEup Texas initiative to transform middle school teaching and learning and close the achievement gaps in education for E3 Alliance as well as directs the development work of the organization. She is a former middle-school teacher and has worked on several major curriculum projects focused on community leadership and entrepreneurship. Previous work in economic and community development gives her unique insights into the need for cross-sector involvement in education. As a grant writer, Molly has secured millions of dollars in funding for education organizations, cities, counties and non-profits.  She earned a BS in Political Science and an MS in Education at Texas A&M University, and completed additional graduate work in Education Policy at Columbia University.