Board & Leadership
Paul Gilford, LCSW
Paul Gilford, LCSW, is the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of Houston Achievement Place and Project CLASS. Since 1977, Mr. Gilford has helped children, youth, teachers, parents and care-providers learn the skills and develop the relationships for life success. Educational background includes: undergraduate attendance at London School of Economics (London, England); a Bachelor of Arts degree, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan; Honors College; Phi Beta Kappa); and a Masters Degree in Social Work, University of Washington (Seattle, Washington). Mr. Gilford has extensive work and leadership experience in staff training and program evaluation and has served as consultant and evaluator for a number of social service agencies nationally.
Areas of expertise include: residential services for abused children; elementary school and early childhood programming to teach children core social skills for school and life achievement; innovative and extraordinarily effective training services- including Project CLASS (Children Learning Appropriate Social Skills). Mr. Gilford believes that a heart-centered commitment to service must be paired with strong business practices and focus to effectively make a positive difference in the lives of children, families, schools and communities.
Denise Larson, LMSW
Denise Larson, LMSW, is the Program Director of Houston Achievement Place and Project CLASS. Since 1984, Mrs. Larson has assisted children, families, and teachers in developing Social Skills for Life Success. Her Educational Background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree, from University of Minnesota Morris, and a Masters in Social Work, with a Family Concentration, from the University of Houston.
Mrs. Larson has done extensive work in Social Services which includes: Residential Group Care, Therapeutic Foster Care, Training and Consultation, and Project CLASS (Children Learning Appropriate Social Skills) Programing and Services.
Mrs. Larson believes in and is committed to life-long learning, and changing the lives of others through positive relationships.
Board of Directors
Norma Acker, Social Worker *Emeritus
Madeleine Appel, Experienced Volunteer *Emeritus
W. Clifford Atherton, Jr., Gulfstar Group, Inc *Emeritus
John R. Breeding, Uptown Houston *Emeritus
Kevin KC Carmody, Insurance Consultant *Emeritus
J.C. Clemens, Flagship Capital
Susan Cohen, Momentum Midstream
Milby Dunn II, Columbia Lloyds Insurance
Larry Ellis, Regions Bank *Emeritus
Ron Farmer, US LED
George Ford, Children’s Protective Services (retired), Attorney
Paul Gilford, Houston Achievement Place, Executive Director
John Hartman, Entrepreneur *Emeritus
Tom Hopwood, Executive Advice
Anissa Jones-Thomas, Educational Consultant
John Kajander, Partners for Community Health *Emeritus
Carol Lewis, Texas Southern University *Emeritus
Paul Lombardo, PCSL, Inc.
Allison Miller, Beck Redden LLP
Linda L. Murphy, Experienced Volunteer *Emeritus
A.Y. Noojin III, Shell Oil (retired) *Emeritus
Bruce Padilla, American Heart Association
Martha Seng, Jackson & Ryan Architects (retired)
Keith Short, Real Estate Attorney *Emeritus
Cynthia Swaren, Experienced Volunteer
Jason Swaren, Chord Energy
Emily Taylor, Walker and Byington
Karen Tripp, Tripp Law *Emeritus
Margaret Tucker, Experienced Volunteer
Adrian Villacorta, Villacorta Law Firm
Robert Warren, Energy & Oilfield Services
Jason Williams, Bissinger, Oshman & Williams LLP
Jeff Zaruba, Equinor (retired)