Collaborative for Children appoints new CFO and Chief Programs Officer | Collaborative For Children

Collaborative for Children appoints new CFO and Chief Programs Officer

We are pleased to announce the appointments of Lizette Mandola as our new chief financial officer and Dr. Kimberly Agnew Borders as our new chief programs officer. Mandola joined the One Collaborative team on Aug. 31 and Dr. Borders’ first day was Sept. 1.

Lizette Mandola CFOMandola will manage the agency’s finances and financial systems and processes. She will report on the agency’s financial state by providing the CEO with forecasts and financial projections to promote transparency, improve financial success and to fulfill future growth strategies. Additionally, she will drive the organization’s financial strategy by employing prudent financial management for all cash management, investments, insurance, budgeting and financial reporting.

Dr. Borders will provide strategic leadership for all client and program activities for the agency, including Family Engagement, Provider Engagement, Business Development, and Innovation & Research.  She will collaborate with program management to plan program operations to identify new resources to improve and expand existing programs, and to resolve operational issues. Additionally, she will provide management oversight for grants and identify opportunities to improve collaboration and coordination between the agency, community partners and organizations with similar or complimentary missions.

Before joining Collaborative for Children, Mandola was interim corporate controller for CLS Technology, where she developed processes and procedures for all departments, led construction management, and reviewed and cleaned up accounting data to close the books.  She has also worked as chief financial officer for a structural engineering firm, a global oil and gas company, and two nonprofits – Tejano Center/Raul Yzaguirre School for Success and the Young Women’s Christian Association, managing annual budgets between $38 to $49 million-plus.  

Mandola says she is thrilled about working for a nonprofit focused on early childhood education. Her mother was a pioneer teacher who developed preschool and bilingual programs. Mandola also attended Head Start, where she learned to speak English, so she understands the importance of early learning. Mandola says she hopes to make a huge impact in the agency’s Finance department by helping it incorporate data analytics, enabling the agency to grow.

Mandola, a New York native, has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Mount Saint Mary College. She is currently working on her master’s degree in accounting from The Price School of Business at the University of Oklahoma. Upon receiving her degree in May 2021, she also will receive certification in international accounting. She is a member of the Vistage CEO Group, the National Association of Professional Women, the Katy ISD Audit Committee and the YWCA Board of Directors Finance Committee.

Dr Borders CPODr. Borders, still professionally known as Dr. Agnew in the educational community, comes to Collaborative for Children from the Houston Independent School District, where she worked since 2002 as a principal at several schools, including Fonwood Early Childhood Center. In 2018, she was named lead principal at Shadydale Elementary School, where she served as school leader and supervised two of the district’s early childhood centers.

During her tenure at HISD, Dr. Borders employed her leadership skills to develop community engagement programs and partnerships, improve school culture and climate, and lead academic transformation. She led and sustained partnerships with Communities in Schools, Save the Children and Houston Food Bank, among other organizations, to raise $300,000 in donations to provide integrated support resulting in social emotional and academic learning strides for at-risk students.

She was the lead facilitator and district representative for the New Building Project Advisory Team in the construction of the Fonwood Early Childhood Center. She also coordinated the mentoring, measurement, evaluation and review of student assessment data that resulted in 95% of regular and bilingual at-risk pre-kindergarten students meeting assessment benchmarks in literacy and math, both key indicators of kindergarten readiness.

A native Houstonian, Dr. Borders is a third-generation educator who not only loves teaching, but also has an affinity for community service. She is a member of the Free Indeed Community Works CDC Board of Directors and a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in which she served as the leadership development chair for more than 400 college-educated women of color and secured nonprofit status for her AKA chapter. She is also the spokesperson for the Second Baptist Church Loving Kids Ministry, protocol chair of the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Area 1, and founder and parliamentarian of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Lake Houston Chapter.

Making the transition from working in public education to working for a nonprofit that focuses on early childhood education will be intriguing, Dr. Borders said. She will have the opportunity to be more creative and innovative with programming without having to conform to all the strings that come with public education. Moreover, her background in opening Fonwood Childhood Center, a 21st Century learning center, and helping develop pre-K programs aligns with the agency’s strategic goals.

She says Dr. Melanie Johnson, Collaborative for Children's president and CEO, made it clear to her that she wants to take early childhood education beyond the traditional curriculum and methodologies. Dr. Borders says she does not know of any other organization where that is the focus and could not pass up the opportunity to a part of an agency with a span of influence throughout the 13-county Houston region.

Dr. Borders has a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Administration and a doctorate in education leadership from the University of Houston.