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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, with the support of City Council, created the Houston Forensic Science Center in 2012 as an independent, local government corporation whose mission it would be to provide forensic services to the city’s police department. HFSC took over management of the city’s forensic services on April 3, 2014.

HFSC is governed by a nine-member board of directors appointed by Houston’s mayor and confirmed by city council. Dr. Stacey Mitchell, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing, is the chairwoman. 

HFSC’s board meetings are open to the public. Regular meetings are held the second Friday of each month in the Houston City Council Annex Chambers at 900 Bagby Street. (1)


Chairwoman, Position 1

(2nd Term: Jun 30, 2021 to Jun 30, 2024) Dr. Stacey Mitchell, chair of the Houston Forensic Science Center’s board of directors, is a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing. She previously served as the administrative director for Harris Health System’s Risk Management/Patient Safety and Forensic Nursing Services. Dr. Mitchell has more than 20 years of experience as a forensic nurse, and has been a key contributor to a diverse team that helped eliminate Houston’s backlog of 6,663 sexual assault kits and researched what created the problem. In 2015, the International Association of Forensic Nursing awarded Dr. Mitchell the Virginia Lynch Award. This is the highest award the association bestows on individuals who have made exceptional contributions to forensic nursing.

Joni Baird


Interim Vice Chairwoman, Position 8

(1st Term: Sep 27, 2023 to Jun 30, 2026) Joni Baird’s career includes county and national law enforcement, corporate security, and corporate public affairs. Ms. Baird began her law enforcement career in the uniformed division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and was later recruited by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado, where she progressed to the rank of Senior Investigator. She subsequently joined Johns Manville Corporation where she was instrumental in creating the Corporate Security department. There, she investigated criminal activity against the company, provided executive protection and managed security at manufacturing facilities during crisis events. Later, she was selected to lead the Community Affairs department, overseeing stakeholder and community engagement, contributions, and issues management. Ms. Baird recently retired from Chevron after a distinguished career leading the Houston Public Affairs and Community Engagement team which also included emergency response and recovery. She currently provides consulting services to corporations, nonprofits, and government entities with a focus on creating high impact stakeholder and community engagement strategies. In addition to completing and instructing numerous criminal justice courses, Ms. Baird holds a BS in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Management from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, where she also served as an Adjunct Professor. Ms. Baird is deeply involved in the community and an alumna of American Leadership Forum and the Center for Houston’s Future as well as serving on numerous committees and boards. re-edit


Director, Position 2

(3rd Term: Aug 30, 2023 to Jun 30, 2026) Anna Vasquez is the director of outreach and education for the Innocence Project of Texas. Ms. Vasquez took on that role after serving a nearly 13-year prison sentence for a crime she did not commit and never occurred. Ms. Vasquez and three of her friends, who became known as the San Antonio Four, were convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child in a case that dates back to 1994 when Ms. Vasquez was 19. Ms. Vasquez and her friends spent 22 years fighting for their innocence. In 2016, the court of criminal appeals deemed all four actually innocent. Ms. Vasquez is now dedicated to sharing her experience in the hopes of improving the justice system and preventing similar occurrences.


Director, Position 3

(2nd Term: Jun 30, 2021 to Jun 30, 2024) Philip H. Hilder is a criminal defense attorney with Hilder & Associates, P.C. Formerly, he was the attorney-in-charge of the Houston Field Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, Organized Crime Strike Force. He also served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas detailed to the Presidential Organized Crime Drug Task Force. Since leaving government service, Mr. Hilder has practiced in the area of white-collar criminal defense and related litigation. He is the past former national chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) White Collar Crime Committee and executive director of the ABA White Collar Crime Committee, Criminal Justice Section. He has also served as president of the Federal Bar Association (Houston Chapter).

jed silverman


Director, Position 4

(1st Term: Aug 30, 2023 to Jun 30, 2026) Jed Silverman was born in Houston Texas and graduated from Bellaire High School. Upon graduation Jed attended Texas A&M University in Galveston and was in the Corps of Cadets. While in the corps Jed served as assistance master at arms, platoon leader and chief petty officer. Mr. Silverman graduated with a B.S. in Marine Transportation and sailed on numerous vessels domestically and internationally. While attending the maritime academy Jed sailed on the U.S.N.S. Leroy Grumman in support of U.S. and NATO operations in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. Jed attended and graduated from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was licensed to practice law in Texas in November of 1999. Upon being licensed Jed founded the Law Offices of Jed Silverman and immediately began trying criminal cases throughout the State of Texas. Attorney Silverman quickly became known for successfully challenging the admissibility of forensic evidence. Jed has been a frequent lecturer on many different legal issues all over the Texas. In 2021 He was appointed as a panel member for the Texas State Bar Grievance Committee section 4/5. Jed has been appointed and elected District Chair for Section 4 of the Texas Grievance committee and as of 2023 is currently serving as panel chair for section 4/5. Additionally, Mr. Silverman has been a recognized Texas Monthly Super Lawyer since 2006.


Director, Position 5

(1st Term: Jun 30, 2021 to Jun 30, 2024) Vanessa Goodwin is the assistant general counsel at Arnold Ventures, a non-profit dedicated to four key areas: criminal justice, education, health and public finance. Ms. Goodwin is responsible for supporting the Arnold Ventures legal affairs. Prior to joining Arnold Ventures, Ms. Goodwin was as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, where she investigated and prosecuted violent crime and weapons offenses. She also volunteered as a community prosecutor working with the Metropolitan Police Department and the community to develop programming designed to enhance public safety and improve the quality of life in Washington, D.C. Before her time in public service, Ms. Goodwin worked as an attorney with Shumaker, Loop, and Kendrick, LLP, where her practice focused primarily on commercial litigation. Ms. Goodwin went to the University of Florida for her undergraduate degree and later for law school. She is an active member of the Houston community.


Director, Position 6

(2nd Term: Aug 30, 2023 to Jun 30, 2026) Ellen Cohen has lived and worked in Houston since 1977. She served for 10 years as the executive director of the American Jewish Committee and for 18 years as the CEO of the Houston Area Women’s Center, working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. In 2006, she was elected as the Texas State Representative for Houston District 134 and served in that capacity for two terms before pursuing public service in Houston. Beginning in January 2012, Ms. Cohen served eight years as the City Council member for District C. The last four she also served as Mayor Pro Tem. She was term limited effective December 31, 2019. As a council member, Mayor Pro Tem Cohen championed Houston’s equal rights ordinance, the elimination of the city’s backlog of more than 6,000 sexual assault kits, a historic pension reform agreement and many other initiatives designed to improve quality of life for her constituents.


Director, Position 7

(1st Term: Jun 30, 2021 to Jun 30, 2024) Dr. Lois Jean Moore, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Our Lady of the Lake University, is a retired health care professional who began her career as an emergency center charge nurse at Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston. Dr. Moore served for more than 10 years as the president and chief executive officer of the Harris County Hospital District.  Later, she was chief administrator at the University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center, where she was responsible for the planning and development of all functions and activities at the hospital. Dr. Moore has been a partner of numerous organizations, is a published author and is a recipient of numerous awards. She earned her nursing diploma from Prairie View A&M’s School of Nursing and later a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Woman’s University. She also holds a master’s of education from Texas Southern University.


Director, Position 9

(2nd Term: Jun 30, 2021 to Jun 30, 2024) Dr. Vicki Huff is a professor in the genetics department at MD Anderson Cancer Center and director of the MD Anderson Advanced Technology Genomics Core facility. Dr. Huff received her Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Michigan. Her research program at MD Anderson is focused on cancer genetics, primarily on the genetics of Wilms Tumor, a childhood kidney cancer.  



(Appointed April 1, 2024 – Serves at the pleasure of the City of Houston Mayor) Jessica Gooch, the ex-officio member of the board, is a Municipal Prosecutor and a member of the City of Houston’s Legal Department. As authorized by the Corporation’s Certificate of Formation, the Mayor designates an attorney to serve as an ex-officio (non-voting) member.  Ms. Gooch has been with the legal department of the City of Houston since 2015. In addition to prosecuting Class C Misdemeanors, she also conducts trainings for the Houston Police Department and various other departments within the City of Houston. She has served on the Legislative Liaison team for the Mayor’s Office since 2016. Prior to joining the City of Houston, she represented individuals who were detained by the Department of Homeland Security. She received her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Trinity University.  

Natalee Veazey

Board Secretary & Staff Assistant

Natalee Veazey joined HFSC in the summer of 2022 as a member of the Client Services and Case Management division, where she routinely navigated inquiries and requests from the public, attorneys, and police.  She has extensive experience in stakeholder relations and collaboration across departments. Before joining HFSC, she held positions in the hospitality and customer service industries, which is also her academic field of study. She received her B.A. in Hospitality Management with honors from the University of Houston.