Staff Biographies

Lawrence Lyman

Lawrence Lyman has over 15 years experience in public service, primarily in local government with Travis County and the City of Austin. He currently serves as Division Director, overseeing planning staff, and managing workforce development and education for the Travis County Health and Human Services Department.

Prior to this assignment, his work has encompassed a wide range of human services issues including early childhood, youth development, basic needs, and public safety. Work in these areas has encompassed all phases of intermediary work: assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Lawrence earned a Bachelor of Arts from Rice University and a Master of Public Affairs from the L.B.J. School at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tara Carmean

Tara Carmean joined the Research & Planning Division as a Planner in 2012. Her previous experiences include direct practice work with low-income families and homeless individuals, patients with cancer and/or HIV, children experiencing mental health crisis, and children of domestic violence survivors. She also has experience working as a liaison and program specialist for a state agency and providing research assistance for a national social justice organization and a state university.

Tara earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in Community and Administrative Leadership.

Rachel Coff

Rachel Coff received her Bachelor of Arts from Rice University, and her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in Administration and Planning and an interdisciplinary certificate in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies. She has been with the Research & Planning Division since 2006. Rachel's work in the Research & Planning Division includes demographic analysis, community planning around immigrant issues, project management, group facilitation, and field instruction for MSSW interns. Her previous work experiences were in the areas of disabilities services, family violence and sexual assault, medical social work, and volunteer management.

Korey Darling

Korey Darling has been with the Research & Planning Division since 2004. Korey’s work in the Division includes community planning in older adult services, strategic planning, demographic analysis, GIS mapping, and group facilitation. Her previous experience includes direct practice work with elders in nursing home and community-based settings and administrative work in family planning and community services at the state level. Korey earned a Bachelor of Arts from Clark University and Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin.

Courtney Bissonnet Lucas

Courtney Bissonnet Lucas joined the Research & Planning Division in 2008. Her work includes performance measurement and evaluation for the Department's internal and external social service investments, community conditions and demographic analysis, and GIS mapping. Her prior work experience includes project management, with a focus on content and test development for state educational assessments, and educational research and assessment in reading and language arts.

Courtney earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Southwestern University and a Master of Education from the University of Texas at Austin.

Lori Axler Miranda

Lori earned a Bachelor of Science in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in Community and Administrative Leadership, and a cross-disciplinary certificate in Nonprofit Studies. She has been with the Research & Planning Division since 2013. Her work within the Division includes performance measurement and evaluation, demographic analysis, and community planning around workforce development and victim services. Her previous experience includes direct practice work with survivors of interpersonal violence, homeless and low-income women, children and youth, suicidal persons, and undocumented immigrants, as well as administrative work in the areas of human trafficking, early childhood, and youth development. Lori also has extensive experience in the fields of media and communications.

Brook Son

Brook Son is a Senior Planner with the Travis County Health and Human Services Department’s Research & Planning Division. Her primary issue area focus is early childhood. She and her team work to build local community-capacity to solve system-level problems by providing information, tools, and resources; supporting group processes and planning efforts; and helping to measure and evaluate programs and processes.

Brook currently serves as the Travis County appointee to the City of Austin Early Childhood Council. In eight years of direct social service, Brook worked with populations affected by childhood abuse and neglect, drug addiction and alcoholism, teen parenting, adult literacy and English as a Second Language, early education, and family poverty. From 1999 to 2001, Brook was Center Director at Mainspring School, an accredited preschool licensed for up to 60 children.

Brook holds a Master of Science in Social Work with a focus on Administration and Planning from the University of Texas at Austin. From 2009 to 2015 Brook taught Leadership In Community Building, a graduate course in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin.

Brittain Ayres

Brittain Ayres joined the Research & Planning Division in July 2016. Her previous experiences include community organizing work with people with disabilities, supporting a collective impact initiative for youth services, and communication and administrative work at a statewide advocacy organization. Prior to her time in Texas, Brittain worked with immigrants and migrant workers in Tennessee.

Brittain earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga and a Master’s of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tonya Pennie

Tonya Pennie joined the Research & Planning Division in June of 2016. Her work within the division includes providing administrative, project and planning support to the Division Director and Research & Planning team. Her previous work experience includes business operations, account management, and sales administration. Tonya earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from St. Edward’s University.