DARS Executive Staff
|Veronda L. Durden||
Veronda L. Durden has served as the DARS Commissioner since July 2013. For more than three decades, Ms. Durden has served in executive-level roles for the State of Texas beginning her career at the Office of the Attorney General. She has also worked for the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Aging and Disability Services. She is a Certified Management Professional, a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program, Leadership Texas, and a certified mediator through The University of Texas School Of Law. In 2004, Governor Rick Perry appointed Ms. Durden to serve as a state agency representative on the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) Policy Committee, where she served for six years. She is excited to join the 2016 class of Leadership America. Ms. Durden enjoys mentoring young professionals and being active in her community and at the national level. She served on the board of directors for the Greater Austin Alzheimer's Association and the Central Texas Society of Government Meeting Professionals. She has served in various leadership roles for the Association for Health Facility Survey Agencies including president, and was a member of the Joint Commission's Home Care Professional and Technical Advisory Committee. She is currently serves on the boards for the Greater Texas Federal Credit Union and United Ways of Texas. She recently joined the University of Texas at Austin (UT) Rehabilitation Counselor Education Program Advisory Board. Ms. Durden received her bachelor's degree in education from Northwestern University and a master's degree in health administration from Texas State University.
David Hagerla was named DARS Deputy Commissioner in September 2015. Mr. Hagerla has 17 years of state government experience and has served in numerous leadership roles at DARS including director of the DARS Center for Policy and External Relations (CPER), director of the Center for Policy and Innovation, and director of performance and oversight for the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program. Prior to joining DARS, Mr. Hagerla held roles as director of preventive and primary care, director of performance management, and director of quality assurance monitoring with the Family and Community Health Services Division at the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). In these roles, he worked with numerous programs including Family Planning, Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening, Primary Care, and Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Before beginning his impressive career with the State of Texas, Mr. Hagerla held positions with private and public hospitals as an accountant. Mr. Hagerla obtained a bachelorís degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Auburn University and a masterís degree in social work from the University of Texas. He is also a graduate of the Governorís Executive Development Program.
Director of Internal Audit
Karin Hill came to DARS in December of 2012. She has two decades' experience in state government internal auditing as chief internal auditor for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and a staff auditor for the Texas Commission for the Blind. She served in the United States Air Force during which she was a cost analyst and administrator for an internal control review program. A member of the Institute of Internal Auditor's (IIA) Committee of Research and Education Advisors, she also is a member of the State Agency Internal Audit Forum (SAIAF). Karin holds a master's degree in business administration from Southwest Texas State University, a Bachelor of Science degree in management/accounting from Park College, and an associate's degree in financial management from the Community College of the Air Force. She earned her Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation in 1997, the Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) designation in 2000, and Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) in 2011.
Chief Operating Officer
Daniel Bravo was appointed as COO in September 2013. In his previous position, Mr. Bravo served as the HHSC Director of Regional Administrative Services, managing its facilities, the cost pool budget for leases and associated operating expenses, and providing inventory and asset management support. He has held numerous leadership positions within the HHSC Enterprise and previously worked at the Department of Human Services, Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of the Attorney General. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.
Interim Chief Financial Officer
Ellen Baker was named Interim CFO in May 2016. After several years in the banking and mortgage loan industries, Ms. Baker started her career with the State of Texas at the Texas Department of Mental Health Mental Retardation in 1989. She moved to Austin in 1995 and went to work for the Health and Human Services Commission, becoming the Director of Accounting before transferring to Early Childhood Intervention as the Chief Financial Officer in 2000. Ellen became the Budget Director of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services at consolidation in 2004 and held that position until her retirement in August, 2014. Ellen graduated with a bachelor of business administration from Texas A&M University in 1981.
Assistant Commissioner for Rehabilitation Services
Cheryl Fuller was named Assistant Commissioner of DRS in August 2013. Ms. Fuller has almost 25 years of state and local government experience working in programs with a mission of helping Texans prepare for, gain and retain employment. She joined DARS in February 2011 as the director of the agencyís Center for Learning Management. Before coming to DARS, Ms. Fuller served for more than 11 years as director of the Texas Workforce Investment Council in the Office of the Governor. Prior to working at the state level, Ms. Fuller held several progressively responsible positions in local employment and training programs often partnering with vocational rehabilitation offices to jointly serve consumers. As Operations Director for the 19-county West Central Texas region, Ms. Fuller helped design and implement a network of workforce centers. She graduated from Angelo State University with a bachelorís degree in communications.
Interim Assistant Commissioner for Blind Services
Scott Bowman was named interim assistant commissioner of blind services in September 2014. Mr. Bowman has more than 40 years state government experience beginning his career with the Texas Commission for the Blind (TCB) in 1973 and has been working on behalf of persons who are blind ever since. He most recently served as a program specialist for the Division for Blind Services, directly supporting the assistant commissioner for blind services. He has served in many roles including, director of human resources, manager of training, and technical writer. While at TCB, Mr. Bowman was also an ethics advisor and Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator. Mr. Bowman holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Interim Assistant Commissioner for Early Childhood Intervention Services
Rosalin Willis was named Interim Assistant Commissioner of Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECI) in July 2015. She has over 22 years of experience serving Texans within the state health and human services system and has served in contract administration, public policy development, program planning, leadership, and training capacities. Ms. Willis joined DARS over seven years ago and has served as an ECI performance and oversight manager and director of performance and oversight. Before coming to DARS Ms. Willis held roles as a program specialist at the Department of Human Services, the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, and the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). Ms. Willis also held roles as services administrator at the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and as community services contracts unit manager at DADS. Ms. Willis holds a bachelorís degree in business administration from Huston-Tillotson University and is a certified management professional and certified Texas contract manager.
Assistant Commissioner for Disability Determination Services
Mary Wolfe rejoined DARS as assistant commissioner for Disability Determination Services (DDS) on March 1, 2016. Wolfe first held the position from 2004 until she retired in 2015. Previous to that, she held positions related to policy, oversight, and administration in, DDS and DRS. Wolfe started her career in Texas state government 38 years ago, when she joined the Texas Rehabilitation Commission (TRC). She ultimately served as the TRCís interim commissioner. Wolfe is a graduate of St. Edwardís University in Austin.
Director, Legal Services
Sylvia Hardman-Dingle has served as general counsel and ethics advisor for DARS since its inception in 2004. She works closely with executive management providing legal and ethical guidance to staff, as well as administering the Public Information Act and administrative and due process hearings. Before joining DARS, Ms. Hardman-Dingle served as the deputy commissioner for legal services, general counsel, and ethics advisor for the Texas Rehabilitation Commission from 1998 to 2004. She was a staff attorney in the Fraud Unit of the Texas Department of Insurance for two years and an assistant attorney general in the Tax Division of the Office of Attorney General for six years. Ms. Hardman-Dingle received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas School of Law. She also is a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program.