2019-2020 Election Slate

Texas Municipal Human Resources Association
2019-2020 Nominations and Elections

The TMHRA Nominating Committee and Board of Directors recommend 10 individuals for four trustee positions and one individual for the secretary-treasurer position for the term beginning October 1, 2019. Our goal is to provide a diverse list of nominees representing different regions, city populations, and civil service status so that the organization can best serve our members across the state.

Consistent with the TMHRA Constitution, the ballot will be sent to the voting membership by email on June 17. Voting will close on July 17 at 5:00 p.m. CDT.

 2019 – 2020 Nominations Slate

 Secretary-Treasurer Position

Shanté Akafia, Plano, Region 13 (Dallas area), Population 288,061


Vote for four (4) from the following ten (10)



Sandra Duran
City of Kyle
Region 10 (Austin Area)
Population 43,480
Civil Service

Andre Houser
City of Conroe
Region 14 (Houston Area)
Population 87,654
Civil Service

Christi Klyn
City of Wichita Falls
Region 5 (Wichita Falls Area)
Population 106,876
Civil Service

Haley Archer
City of Roanoke
Region 8 (Fort Worth Area)
Population 9,085

Kent Etienne, Jr
City of Galveston
Region 14 (Houston Area)
Population 50,550
Civil Service

Yesenia Garza
City of Seabrook
Region 14 (Houston Area)
Population 14,291
Civil Service

Elliott Harper
City of Irving
Region 13 (Dallas Area)
Population 242,242
Civil Service

Lauren Safranek
City of Frisco
Region 13 (Dallas Area)
Population 188,170
Catherine Schlueter
City of Azle
Region 8 (Fort Worth Area)
Population  13,347

Elizabeth Taplin
City of Pflugerville
Region 10 (Austin Area)
Population 64,431



Shanté Akafia, IPMA-SCP, Director of Human Resources/Risk Management, City of Plano

Shanté has more than 20 years of human resources experience with the City of Palm Bay, Florida, and several municipalities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, including DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Allen, and Rowlett. Currently, Shanté serves as the director of human resources and civil service for the City of Plano. Shanté is a Dallas native and has had a long-standing passion for local government administration dating back to high school where she attended the Magnet Center for Government, Law, and Law Enforcement in downtown Dallas.

This passion for local government administration led Shanté to receive a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Grambling State University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Texas.

Shanté served as a trustee on the TMHRA Board of Directors from 2008 to 2012 and from 2016 to present. During this time, she had the pleasure of chairing the conference programming, newsletter, and sponsorship committees. In her free time, Shanté enjoys traveling, meditative coloring, listening to audiobooks, and spending time with her husband and their sons.

back to top

Sandra Duran, SHRM-CP, PHR, Director of Human Resources, City of Kyle

Sandra Duran has the distinction of serving as the City of Kyle’s first director of human resources. She joined the City in 2008 following many years as a leader in human resources at two different multimillion-dollar private sector firms. Sandra has a broad range of skills and practical hands-on experience that fits the needs of a diverse and rapidly growing city.

She oversees the City’s daily operations related to recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, training and development, benefits administration, and employee relations for all Kyle staff. For the current fiscal year, Sandra led the effort to hire approximately 40 positions, both full and part-time. During her tenure with Kyle, she’s spear-headed several employee-based initiatives including monthly employee meetings, special events, health and wellness programs, and forward-thinking policies that include telecommuting and concealed handguns.

Sandra also serves as the civil service director for the City of Kyle. In that capacity, she has facilitated meet and confer negotiations with the Kyle Police Association. She was also instrumental in preparing the City for legal challenges.

Sandra compliments her work experience by her service in local human resources organizations, including Texas SHRM, which garnered several awards. Sandra served as the president for the Hill Country Human Resources Association (SHRM) chapter, serving the counties of Hays, Comal, Guadalupe, and Caldwell. Sandra is one of the Top Five Most Influential Hispanic Women in Hays County and the Rising Star Award winner for the Texas Municipal Human Resources Association.

Sandra holds a bachelor’s degree, dual major in international business and Spanish, from Texas Lutheran University. She lives in Martindale with her family of seven.

back to top

Andre Houser, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, IPMA-SCP, Human Resources and Civil Service Director, City of Conroe

Andre has served in that capacity since January 2012.  Andre has more than 30 years of municipal human resources experience, having served in five cities and three states.  He has worked for both mayor-council and council-manager cities.  His experience covers all aspects of human resources management, including collective bargaining, labor relations, recruitment and selection, compensation and benefits, health and safety, and civil service. Andre has been active in the human resources field, having served as the SHRM chapter president in Arkansas, as SHRM state director in Oklahoma, and as a multi-year member of the former Area IV SHRM Board.  He currently is a member of the Montgomery County chapter of SHRM and a member of the International Personnel Management Association, where he served on the 2016 Awards Committee. Andre holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a Master of Public Administration, both from the University of Arkansas.  Andre received a Certificate in Management from ICMA, has been certified as a Professional Trainer by Arkansas State University, and is a Texas Certified Public Manager, which he earned at The University of Texas at Arlington.  He is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Montgomery County in Texas.

Christi Klyn, Director of Human Resources, City of Wichita Falls

Christi attended Midwestern State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, and a master’s degree in training and development.  Christi worked in private sector human resources for eight years before beginning her municipal service with the City of Wichita Falls in 2013.  She started her career with the City as the human resource manager and civil service director and was promoted to director of human resources and civil service in 2015.  Christi is responsible for the oversight of personnel services, risk management, and employee benefits. During her time with the City, Christi has formed a Wellness Committee and supported the Committee’s implementation of a city wellness  program, is in the process of working with departments to implement and support the City’s first formal safety program, and collaborated with the police department to implement an alternative promotion system for the Wichita Falls Police Department. Christi is a member of SHRM, TMHRA, and the Wichita Falls Human Resource Management Association.  Christi would be honored to serve as a trustee on the TMHRA Board and is eager to support the organization through her commitment to human resources best practices.

back to top

Haley Archer, Human Resources Generalist, City of Roanoke

Haley was born and raised in Carrollton and earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2014.  She is SHRM-CP and IPMA-CP certified.  She was awarded the Rising Star award for TMHRA.  She began working human resources internships in 2012 as a sophomore in college.  Her first internship was at the City of University Park. Upon graduation, Haley was hired as the human resources manager.  She is currently the human resources generalist for the City of Roanoke.

Haley enjoys watching Texas Rangers games and competing with her husband in fantasy football and corn hole games. She welcomed a baby boy to the family in 2018 and together, the three share their home with two dogs and one cat.

back to top

Kent Etienne Jr., Human Resources and Civil Service Director, City of Galveston

Kent has been employed with the City of Galveston since May 2010, previously serving as the human resources specialist. While serving in this capacity, Kent was instrumental in researching and implementing new, effective processes within the department. He accepted the role of human resources director in February of 2015 and has since assumed oversite of the human resources department, civil service, and municipal court.

As an advocate for community investment and workforce development, Kent has been instrumental in forwarding corresponding initiatives through his participation with Galveston Career Connect (GCC), Leadership Galveston, serving on panels such as EmergeEx Talk hosted by UTMB and the Male Success Initiative, and making contributions to Galveston’s Workforce Development Committee presented by the Chamber of Commerce. These efforts also infiltrate the City’s workforce via the establishment of a Leadership Training Program hosted by Galveston College. His more recent election to the United Way Board of Directors furthers this vision and ongoing effort of investing in the Galveston community.

Kent obtained his bachelor’s degree in applied sociology with a minor in business administration from Texas State University in San Marcos. While an undergraduate student, he actively served as the vice president of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) student organization for two years. He obtained his Master of Business Administration from LeTourneau University and currently holds certifications as a senior professional through SHRM and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR).

back to top

Yesenia Garza, Human Resources Director, City of Seabrook

Yesenia began her human resources experience with the City of South Houston more than 20 years ago. She went on to enhance her experience with the cities of Pearland and Friendswood and is currently serving as the human resources and civil service director for the City of Seabrook. Yesenia obtained her associate’s degree in business administration and management from the University of Phoenix in 2013 and became a Certified Public Manager from the University of Houston in 2015.


back to top

Elliott Harper, PHR, SHRM-CP, Talent Services Manager, City of Irving

Elliott is currently the talent services manager for the City of Irving. Elliott has 17 years of municipal government experience, with seven of those years dedicated to municipal government human resources. Before joining the City of Irving, Elliott served the communities of Georgetown, McKinney, and Sachse. Elliott has a bachelor’s degree in human relations and business from Amberton University and received the TMHRA Rising Star Award in 2015. He also currently serves as a board member for TXPELRA.

He has worn many hats during his time in municipal government including volunteer fire fighter, facilities maintenance technician, building inspector, and project manager. An opportunity to move to human resources in the spring of 2012 sparked an interest in him and began him on a path that would become his passion. Elliott started working toward receiving professional certifications through HRCI and SHRM and now has his PHR and SHRM-CP certifications. He thoroughly enjoys being able to promote positive change within the organizations that mean so much to him and having a positive impact on employees. He has gained knowledge in employee training and development, employee engagement, employee relations, worker’s compensation, risk, employment, and civil service.

back to top

Lauren Safranek, PHR, Director of Human Resources, City of Frisco

Lauren served more than 18 years as the director of human resources for the City of Frisco. She managed employee growth of over 350% in 17 years and played a central role in the development, implementation, and training of City-wide CORE values.  As a vital member of the team (including human resources, finance, and IT), she helps evaluate and implement technology solutions that support the achievement of human resources and the City’s strategic direction, vision, and goals. She also designs and oversees organizational compensation and benefit philosophies, strategies, and plans that align with the City’s strategic direction.  Lauren implemented City-wide leadership development training programs to develop talent and address long-term organizational strategies.

Lauren previously served more than four years as director of human resources for the City of Southlake, where she was the first human resources director and developed strategies and programs  for recruitment and onboarding, compensation and classification, training and development, insurance and benefits administration, worker’s compensation, policy development, employee relations, and investigations.

Lauren also served more than four years as human resources manager for the North Central Texas Council of Governments where she established and developed the first human resources function for the NCTCOG.  She directed the development, implementation, and maintenance of agency compensation and classification system, including rewriting all job descriptions and developing point factor classification and compensation system. She led the overhaul and implementation of the agency’s personnel policies along with developing and implementing the agencies first affirmative action plan.

Lauren is a former TML Board member, a Texas Municipal Human Resources Association (TMHRA) past president, an International Public Management Association for Human Resources member, a Professional Human Resources certification holder, a PELRA certified labor relations professional, and a certified instructor for Developmental Dimensions International (DDI).

She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in personnel administration and industrial relations from the University of North Texas.

Lauren has been married for 26 years and has two children – Max (17) and Erika (14).  Her hobbies include spending weekends at volleyball tournaments, water polo tournaments, and chauffeuring kids.

back to top

Catherine Schlueter, PHR, SHRM-CP, Human Resources Manager, City of Azle

Catherine has been the human resources manager for the City of Azle for more than 10 years. She is PHR and SHRM-CP certified and just began her master’s program in public administration at Tarleton State University this past winter. She is a Fort Worth HR Board member, an ambassador for the Azle Area Chamber of Commerce, and has been a human resources southwest volunteer since 2008. She was honored to receive the TMHRA Management Professional of the Year award in 2017. Her passion for both the human resources profession and public service intersect, makes municipal human resources the perfect fit for the duration of her career.

back to top

Elizabeth Taplin, Director of Human Resources, City of Pflugerville

Elizabeth is currently the director of human resources for the City of Pflugerville, the third fastest growing city in the nation, according to the United States Census Bureau. Elizabeth has been a human resources leader for 20 years, 14 years in the private sector in high-tech and healthcare human resources and six years in municipal government human resources. Elizabeth has been a member of TMHRA since 2013 and has served on the TMHRA Awards and Communications Committee for two years. Elizabeth is a member of IPMA-HR and is an associate member of the Texas City Management Association. She recently completed her Master of Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington, earning a certificate in public budgeting and financial management. In Pflugerville, Elizabeth has served on nominating committees for the Pflugerville Education Foundation, awarding financial grants to teachers and administrators in the school district. Elizabeth lives in Round Rock with her blended family of five and one spoiled Catahoula hound.

back to top