We are Better Together

We are a group of residents who are working together to improve the mental health, health, and well-being of all residents of Nacogdoches County. We are all members of the community, including city, county and school officials; public safety; business leaders; and health and human services organizations. We are committed to a process that welcomes, includes, and listens to all members of the community. To accomplish this, we need individuals from all communities in Nacogdoches County. We need you.

Our Network Advisory Board

In the beginning Better Together was led by an Appreciative Inquiry Team, which consisted of the project staff, partners, and key community stakeholders who have lived experience and/or knowledge of the issues.  The Appreciative Inquiry Team has given way to a Network Advisory Board.  Our board members are as follows:  

  • Anna Donihoo, LCSW - Hospice of East Texas (Chair)
  • Tracie Estepp - 21/7 Association (Vice-chair)
  • Erin Windham - Nacogdoches Independent School District (Chair of Broadband Committee)
  • Jordan Bridges - Burke Center & NAMI Nac
  • Stacy Dicks - McWilliams & Son Heating and Plumbing 
  • Andrew Dies - SFASU Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs / Dean of Students
  • Amelia Ruiz Fischer - Immigration Attorney and City Council Member
  • Cinessa Garner Tipps - Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital, Be Youthful Girls, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. Graduate Chapter, Chi Eta Phi, Inc. 
  • Hart Hintze - Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital
  • Jerron Kegler - Fellowship of Christian Athletes & 21/7 Association
  • Michelle Key - Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital (Secretary)
  • Carlos Palomo - Commercial Bank of Texas
  • Terrence Reeves - Concerned Black Men of Nacogdoches
  • Mario Torres - Emergent Bilingual/ESL Specialist and LPAC Coordinator with Nacogdoches ISD (Chair of Blue Zone Committee)

Our Partners

Our partners are as follows:

  • Burke
  • Rural East Texas Health Network
  • Greater East Texas Community Action Program
  • Concerned Black Men of Nacogdoches
  • Nacogdoches Independent School District
  • Interdenominational Ministers’ Alliance
  • Nacogdoches Ministerial Alliance
  • Resilient Nacogdoches
  • Nacogdoches Progressive Leadership Group
  • Nacogdoches Area United Way
  • Brown Family Health Center
  • East Texas Community Health Services
  • Community Arts Center of East Texas
  • Kyle Childress
  • Jim Lemon
  • Jane Childress
  • James Montoya

Our Staff

Freddie Avant, Ph.D., LMSW-AP. ACSW, C-SSWS, Project Director – Dr. Avant is the Director/Associate Dean of the School of Social Work, College of Liberal and Applied Arts at Stephen F. Austin University. He is also the Director of the Rural Social Work Research and Development Center.  His responsibilities include serving as Project Director for Better Together.  Dr. Avant can be reached at (936) 468-5105 or favant@sfasu.edu.

How to Get Involved

Better Together is a community-wide project that thrives on the involvement of all. Community members are welcome to help at events, serve on a committee, or eventually join as a board member. Please contact a board member or staff if you are interested in getting involved!