• FOR LIFE AND FAMILY

ST. JOHN PAUL II
FOUNDATION TEAM

Our staff

ARLAND K. NICHOLS
President and Founder

Arland K. Nichols, PhD (cand.) is president and founder of the St. John Paul II Foundation. For nearly a decade Arland taught at a Catholic high school and worked at an international nonprofit. During those years he became a popular speaker, successful writer, and he established the groundwork for launching the St. John Paul II Foundation. Arland earned a BA in philosophy from Texas A&M, an MDiv in Theology from University of St. Thomas, and is completing a PhD in bioethics from Regina Apostolorum in Rome. With the generous support of his wife, Cindy, and their eight children, Arland is blessed to lead the St. John Paul II Foundation as it becomes the foremost Catholic non-profit proclaiming the Good News of life and family.

CHRISTOPHER J. STRAVITSCH, DMin
Director of Legacy Circle and Co-Founder

Chris Stravitsch is Director of the Legacy Circle and Co-Founder of the St. John Paul II Foundation. He earned an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy and an MA in Pastoral Ministry from St. Mary’s University, and a Doctor of Ministry from The Catholic University of America. He earned a BA in Psychology from Texas A&M University. Chris previously served as Director of College Formation at Assumption Seminary. He brings to the Foundation a wealth of experience in Church ministry and the unique ability to identify the most effective ways to evangelize spouses and families.

JOSHUA BITTING, PhD (cand.)
Program Director

Joshua Bitting, PhD (cand.) serves as Program Director at the St. John Paul II Foundation where he oversees development of a parish-based marriage enrichment program based on our Together in Holiness conference series and curriculum. Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, Joshua came into full communion with the Catholic Church on June 22nd, 2003, the Feast of Corpus Christi while completing his BA in philosophy at Southwestern College (Winfield, Kansas).  Joshua attended Franciscan University of Steubenville where he earned his MA in theology. Afterwards, he had the opportunity to study at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Santa Croce) in Rome, Italy. Since then, he has served the Church in various capacities at both the parish and diocesan levels. Currently, he is completing his PhD in theology and catechetics from the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, Australia.  Joshua and his beautiful wife, Amanda, have six children, and enjoy sharing the Gospel of life in their primary vocation as spouses and parents.

LEONORA BUTAU, PhD
Program Director

Dr. Leonora Butau is Program Director at the St. John Paul II Foundation where she oversees the Together in Holiness conference series and the second phase of the Foundation's successful Converging Roads medical ethics conferences. Leonora moved to Houston from England, where she taught Christian Ethics and Christian Spirituality at St. Mary’s University, London, for eight years, and where she led efforts to empower Catholic couples, educators and young adults in St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. While in London, she also worked for Caritas Social Action Network, the charitable agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. She earned a BA in Theology and Religious Studies and an MA in Bioethics and Medical Law from St. Mary’s University, London, and has a PhD in Bioethics from the University of Surrey, (England). Leonora is blessed to be married to Rufaro and to enjoy the gift of their son, Jesse. She feels honored to join the Foundation, especially in its important apostolate to medical professionals and married couples.

ROLAND MILLARE, STD
Director of Shepherd’s Heart

Dr. Roland Millare, a native Houstonian, serves as the Director of Shepherd’s Heart Program. Additionally, Roland serves as the Chair of the Theology Department at St. John XXIII College Preparatory (Katy, TX). He has been teaching at the school since it opened in 2004. He also serves as an adjunct professor of theology for permanent deacon candidates at St. Mary’s Seminary. He attended St. Francis De Sales K-8th grade and he graduated from St. Thomas High School in 1999. He received a BA in Theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He has a MA in Theological Studies from the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College (Alexandria, VA) and a Licentiate (STL) and Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) in Dogmatic Theology (with a specialization in Sacramental Theology) at the Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein, IL). He has published various theological articles and book reviews for the Adoremus Bulletin,  Logos, Antiphon, New Blackfriars, and the Heythrop Journal. Roland enjoys the gift of life and love with his beautiful wife Veronica and their two daughters, Gabriella and Karolina, in Sugar Land.

MARY ELISE KELLER
Asst. Director of Philanthropy

Mary Elise Keller is Assistant Director of Philanthropy at the St. John Paul II Foundation.  She graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management.  While there, she was an active member in her sorority, and spent two years playing on the club soccer team.  She spent three years working as an administrative assistant to the Texas A&M football coaches, assisting in various operations and recruiting logistics for the football staff.  Mary Elise and her husband, Kolby, married in September of 2020, and are new residents to Houston.  They plan to be active parishioners at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Memorial.  Mary Elise is grateful to work with vibrant staff who share the common mission to perpetuate St. John Paul II’s passion for life and family.

SUSIE LOPEZ
Conference Coordinator and Team Leader

Susie Lopez is a Conference Coordinator and Team Leader at the St. John Paul II Foundation where she coordinates both Converging Roads and Together in Holiness conferences, and supports the conference team as they plan and execute conferences across the country. Susie earned her BS in Kinesiology from Texas  A&M University. Prior to joining the St. John Paul II Foundation in 2017, she worked at Baylor College of Medicine in the philanthropy and alumni relations office. Over the years, she has been involved with the Houston chapter of Young Catholic Professionals and is active in her home parish of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Houston. She is grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to use her gifts and talents to enrich the lives touched by the St. John Paul II Foundation.

SARA DIETZ
Conference Coordinator

Sara Dietz is a Conference Coordinator with the St. John Paul II Foundation. She graduated from Texas A&M University, with a BA in history and minors in English and anthropology. During her time in college, she was involved with Aggie Awakening at St. Mary's Catholic Center and worked in the Youth Education Programs department of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Sara is an enthusiast of St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body, and she and her husband, Trey, are parishioners at St. Theresa in Sugar Land. She is excited to be working with the incredible team at the Foundation to impact spouses, medical professionals, and clergy across the country.

ERIN VALLAGOMESA
Conference Coordinator

Erin Vallagomesa is a Conference Coordinator at the St. John Paul II Foundation. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX with a BBA and MBA in marketing and a minor in theology. During her time in college, she worked with the Office of Student Activities at UST, where she coordinated transfer and freshman orientation. Erin is a parishioner at St. John the Evangelist in Baytown, TX where she teaches CCE and regularly volunteers with the high school youth. After traveling to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day 2016, Erin is excited and humbled by the opportunity to join the Foundation and share her gifts to further the mission of proclaiming the good news about life and family.

AMELIA ARTH
Conference Coordinator

Amelia Arth is a Conference Coordinator at the St. John Paul II Foundation. She graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a Bachelor of Arts in history and theology and a minor in communications. During her time at Franciscan, she worked with the Christian Outreach Office, where she coordinated registration for adult and youth conferences. She has been an active member of the Schoenstatt International Movement since her youth and has a deep passion for building up society through the teachings of the Church. Amelia is thankful and humbled to be an instrument for the continued proclamation of good news about life and family.

ELIZABETH NGUYEN, MTS
Program Coordinator

Elizabeth Nguyen is Program Coordinator, Business Development and Support for the Together in Holiness Formation Series. She most recently served as Director of Laity, Family and Life for the Diocese of Corpus Christi where she trained facilitating couples to offer their testimonies through marriage preparation workshops and coordinated natural family planning instruction and respect life activities. She has also worked with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) as their Communication Specialist and has written articles for the Catholic Medical Association’s quarterly magazine, The Pulse of Catholic Medicine and the Diocese of Corpus Christi’s South Texas Catholic magazine. As a wife, mother, and part-time teacher, she earned her master's degree in Theology Studies (MTS) from the Institute for Pastoral Theology (IPT) program through Ave Maria University in 2012 and also holds a bachelor’s degree in English-Technical Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She and her husband Ben grew up in Wichita, Kansas and have been married for 25 years. They have five children, ranging in age from young adult to teen, and one grandchild born in 2020.

SHELBY DELEON
Program Coordinator

Shelby DeLeon is a Program Coordinator for the St. John Paul II Foundation. She is a graduate from Texas A&M University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology. Prior to joining the St. John Paul II Foundation, she was an elementary school teacher in Houston ISD. Shelby and her husband, Allan, are parishioners of St. John the Evangelist in Baytown where they teach CCE and serve the Youth and Young Adult Ministries. After encountering the life and teachings of St. John Paul II on a pilgrimage to Poland for World Youth Day, Shelby is grateful to join the Foundation and their mission to proclaim the good news of life and family.

AMY NORRIS
Administrative Coordinator

Amy Norris is the Administrative Coordinator for the St. John Paul II Foundation where she assists the President and team in support of the overall mission and work of the Foundation. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and minor in History. She brings experience from various roles in marketing and events, most recently from Houston Country Club. After a pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day, she is grateful for the opportunity to join the Foundation and its mission of promoting the sanctity of life and family, characterized by the life and teachings of St. John Paul II.

CHRISTIE BOOTH
Accountant

Christie Booth is the Accountant at the St. John Paul II Foundation.  She grew up at St. Francis de Sales and graduated from St. Agnes Academy.  Christie went on to attend Texas A&M University where she received a bachelors in business administration and a master’s of science in accounting.  Her previous accounting experience includes both time in public accounting and also commercial real estate.  After eight years at home with her children, she is excited to now be part of the team at the St. John Paul II Foundation.  She and her husband Ryan have three daughters and are parishioners at St. Thomas More.

MARY M. CAPRIO
Associate Fellow

Mary Caprio received a B.A. in nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center and an M.A. in Nursing from Loyola University. She worked in clinical settings for over 20 years caring for persons with HIV/AIDS, disorders and trauma. She earned an M.A. in Theology from Franciscan University and M.T.S. from Pontifical John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family with an emphasis in bioethics. Mary is adjunct faculty at University of St. Thomas in both the theology and nursing programs and is a Certified Fertility Care Practitioner for the Creighton Model System. Mary is the Pastoral Associate in charge of evangelization and administration at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, and is a great asset to the team as an Associate Fellow.

Board of directors

The governing board is primarily responsible for governance of the foundation as well as giving financial support. Composed of highly successful men and women in their respective industries, the board ensures that the Foundation has the resources to accomplish our mission.
  •   ARLAND K. NICHOLS, PRESIDENT and FOUNDER

    Arland Nichols is president and founder of the St. John Paul II Foundation. For nearly a decade Arland taught at a Catholic high school and worked at an international nonprofit. During those years he became a popular speaker, successful writer, and he established the groundwork for launching the St. John Paul II Foundation. Arland earned a BA in philosophy from Texas A&M, an MDiv in Theology from University of St. Thomas, and is completing a PhD in bioethics from Regina Apostolorum in Rome. With the generous support of his wife, Cindy, and their eight children, Arland is blessed to lead the St. John Paul II Foundation as it becomes the foremost Catholic non-profit proclaiming the Good News of life and family.

  •   CHRISTOPHER J. STRAVITSCH, DMin
    Director of Legacy Circle and Co-Founder

    Chris Stravitsch is Director of the Legacy Circle and co-founder of the St. John Paul II Foundation. He earned an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy and an M.A. in Pastoral Ministry from St. Mary’s University, and a Doctor of Ministry from The Catholic University of America. He earned a B.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University. Chris previously served as Director of College Formation at Assumption Seminary. He brings to the Foundation a wealth of experience in Church ministry and the unique ability to identify the most effective ways to evangelize spouses and families.

  •   Preston H. Young, Chairman of the Board

    Preston H. Young is Regional Managing Partner at Stream Realty Partners, a full-service commercial real estate firm also focused in principal activities. Mr. Young also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Free Enterprise Institute and is on the Board of Directors for the Business Ethics Forum. He is involved in a number of other civic and charitable organizations including the 12th Man Foundation’s Champions Council, Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, and The Center for Cultural Renewal. He and his wife, Amber, have three children and are parishioners at St. John Vianney Parish in Houston.

  •   Ray Frierson, Treasurer of the Board

    Ray Frierson is managing partner of Frierson, Sola, Simonton, Kutac, PLLC, a full service CPA firm in Houston and is president of Greenbriar Financial, a branch office of LPL Financial. He is a graduate of the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business. Ray is married to Theresa and they have three grown children. They are parishioners of St. Anne's Parish in Houston, Texas.

  •   Nancy Gold, Director

    Nancy Gold is a Corporate Reserves Advisor at Murphy Oil. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Petroleum Engineering and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, both from Texas A&M University. She coordinates the Women's Programs at Holy Cross Chapel, serves on the Board for Murray Hill Institute-Texas, facilitates ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women) Catholic Women Studies, and works as a Commissioner for the Houston Women's Soccer Association. Nancy is a parishioner of All Saints Catholic Community in Houston, Texas.

  •   Lisa Stewart, Director

    Lisa Stewart holds a BA in Speech Communication from Texas A&M University. She and her husband, Mark, have raised seven children and welcome two grandchildren, thus far. Lisa and Mark are one of the principle owners of Stewart Builders, Inc., a family business consisting of several construction related entities, Keystone Concrete Placement being the most notable. Parishioners at Prince of Peace, Lisa and Mark are proud supporters of Catholic education, St. Mary’s seminary, and St. Mary’s Catholic Center in College Station.  Additionally, they are active citizens and patriots, supporting numerous conservative causes and wounded military organizations. Lisa’s greatest joy is her faith and her family.

  •   QUINN HEBERT, Director

    Quinn Hebert holds a BA from LSU and a J.D. from Boston College School of Law. Retired, most recently he was CEO of CalDive International until 2015. He and his beloved late wife, Jane, are parents of three adult sons. A parishioner at St. Vincent de Paul, he's active in a number of Catholic organizations including Order of Malta and the Serra Club of Houston.

  •   TODD DITTMANN, Director

UPCOMING EVENTS

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ADVISORY BOARD

Advisory Board members assist and support the mission of the St. John Paul II Foundation,
offer strategic advice, and serve as ambassadors of the Foundation
to the broader Catholic community.
  • William R. “Trey” Cashion III, MTS

    Senior Vice President, Professional & Executive Private Banking at Commerce National Bank

  • Paul M. Cerone

    Chief Operating Officer at Bowen, Miclette & Britt Insurance Agency, LLC

  • Sean Dollahon

    Vice President and Senior Underwriting Manager at Liberty International Underwriters

  • Adolfo Jimenez

    Vice President and Treasurer at Sysco

  • Paul Laudadio, Jr.

    President at Laudadio Polymers, Inc.

  • Bob Nimon

    Principal and Managing Director at Genesis Planning, LLC

  • Matthew Pesek, MD

    Medical Director at Texas Children’s Hospital

  • Alicia Ross, PA

    Physician Assistant at MD Anderson

  • Cody Schluens

    Chief Executive Officer at Ace Energy Solutions

ADVISORY COUNCIL

The Advisory Council is composed of friends, collaborators, and strategic partners
who support and advise Foundation leadership.
  • Most Reverend José H. Gomez, STD

    Archbishop of Los Angeles

  • Most Reverend Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS

    Archbishop of San Antonio

  • Reverend Anthony E. Giampietro, CSB, PhD

    Director of Development for the School of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America

  • John Brehany, PhD, STL

    Director of Institutional Relations and Ethicist, The National Catholic Bioethics Center

  • John Haas, PhD, STL

    President Emeritus, The National Catholic Bioethics Center

  • William P. Mueller, MD, CFCMC, FCP, FCE

    United States Air Force

  • Deacon James Keating, PhD

    Director of Theological Formation, The Institute for Priestly Formation

  • Deacon Harold
    Burke-Sivers, MTS

    President and CEO, Servant Enterprises

  • Reverend Clark Sample

    Spiritual Advisor, St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Houston, TX

  • Reverend Nicolas Ramirez

    Spiritual Advisor, St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Houston, TX

  • Reverend Charles Hough IV

    Rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham

UPCOMING EVENTS

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CONTACT US

  • PHONE

    832.779.1070

  • PHYSICAL ADDRESS

    7730 Westview
    Houston, TX 77055

  • MAILING ADDRESS

    P.O. Box 5927
    Katy, TX 77491

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