Gene Buinger of Frisco concluded a forty-five year career as a public school educator in June 2013. His career began as a teacher in the Blue Valley School District in suburban Kansas City in the Fall of 1968 after graduating with a B.A. in History from Fort Hays State College in Hays, Kansas. After five years of teaching, he became a high school administrator serving first as an assistant principal and then for two years as the principal of Halstead High School in Halstead, Kansas. In 1978 he was selected to serve as the superintendent of Halstead USD #440, and three years later moved to Arkansas City, Kansas to serve the USD #470 school district and complete his doctorate at OSU, Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 1985 he was selected as the superintendent of the Jenks Public Schools in suburban Tulsa, Oklahoma, and In 1989 he assumed the superintendency in Odessa, Texas, a position he held until 1996. In that year Dr. Buinger became the superintendent of the public school system in Macon, Georgia, the state’s third largest city. In 1999 he returned to Texas to serve as the superintendent of schools in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District in the DFW Metroplex, a position he held for fourteen years. During his career Dr. Buinger served on the governing boards of the United Way of Texas, Texas Business Education Coalition, and the Texas Education Reform Caucus. He was a career long member of the American Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Administrators. In addition, he served as the president of the Texas School Alliance, a coalition of school districts that serve over 75% of Texas school children. Gene and his wife Mary Kay, a former secondary and college history instructor, have two adult children. Ann is an elementary assistant principal in Bedford, Texas, and Douglas is in IT sales in Toronto, Canada.
Joe Burke is Chief Compliance Officer at Quest Software, Inc. where he is responsible for global compliance with laws for this former Dell Inc. subsidiary. He specializes in legal support for anti-corruption, trade compliance, employment, privacy and antitrust concerns. Prior to that, Burke was Chief Compliance Counsel at Dell Inc. for five years, and was responsible for providing legal counsel to Dell’s Global Ethics and Compliance team. Burke has previously provided extensive commercial legal support across all of Dell’s sales organizations, including, most recently, providing legal advice and counsel to the US Federal Government business. During a two-year assignment as Director of Legal for Dell Canada Inc. in Toronto, Burke performed the role of Canadian general counsel. Burke received his law degree from Fordham University School of Law in New York, N.Y., where he is now an adjunct professor of law lecturing on in-house compliance practice matters. He also has a B.A. in history and French from the University of Virginia.
Rick Halperin is the director of the Embrey Human Rights Program in Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences at Southern Methodist University. He joined SMU in 1985 as an academic advisor and history teacher, and began teaching human rights courses in 1990. As a long-time activist, Dr. Halperin has served as Chairperson of Amnesty International USA and on several boards, including the International Rescue Committee.
Lekha Singh has traveled the globe for over 25 years, creating art that expresses the commonality of human experience by finding startling and impossible beauty in poor, little known places of destitution and desolation. She works in several mediums including film and photography.
Donna M. Wilhelm, as a philanthropist and activist, supports global connection and learning through enlightened learning, arts and cultural awareness and diverse civil society initiatives. She is also dedicated to environmental conservation.
In Dallas, Ms. Wilhelm serves as a Board Chair of The Arts Community Alliance (TACA); serves as Life Trustee of Dallas Theater Center; Trustee of KERA Public Broadcasting and national advisory committee members of the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at SMU. Internationally, she supports capacity building for underserved youth and equal opportunity empowerment of women and girls.
She holds a B.A. degree, magna cum laude from Hunter College, CUNY and a specialty in jewelry design form NY Parsons School of Design. Retired as an independent jewelry designer, her current creative focus is completion of her memoir.