Dawn Schordock, Executive Director
Dawn Schordock joined our team in 2017 as our Operations Director and was promoted to Executive Director in 2021. She's a native Houstonian and after graduating from Memorial High School she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Communication from Texas A&M University. Before GiGi’s Playhouse she worked with Candlelighters Houston where she was their Programs Director. Before having her children, she spent several years with GC Services Houston where she grew from Regional Account Manager to Vice President of Marketing. Dawn has been an active volunteer for more than 20 years and was a Founding Mother and Vice President of the Fort Bend Junior Service League. Dawn has a passion for increasing positive awareness towards individuals of all abilities and her daughter does as well and created a Best Buddies Program at her own high school. Dawn enjoys cooking, travelling and spending time with her daughter, Lauren, and son, Grant.
Sandra Eikel, Site Coordinator
Sandra first became a part of the GiGi's Playhouse Sugar Land team as a student intern from the University of Houston in 2019 and immediately felt right at home. Shortly after she graduated with high honors and a Bachelor of Science in Health with an emphasis in Health Promotion and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies, Sandra joined our team as Site Assistant. In 2020, she was promoted to the position of Site Coordinator. As a former swim coach and caregiver, Sandra has always had a passion for working with children. She has ten years of childcare experience with children of all ages and abilities. Sandra is excited to be a positive, consistent face for the Playhouse, helping participants, families, and the GiGi's community in any way she can! She has plans to return to graduate school in the future, but she has found a home at GiGi's Playhouse Sugar Land.
Alison Gratz, CCC/SLP
Alison lives in Sugar Land, TX with her husband, Andrew, and their three children, Seth, Anna, and Sara. Alison received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999, and her Master of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2000. Alison has experience working in the public school system and the private clinic setting. She loves to spend time with her family and dogs, travel, scrapbook, watch baseball, and volunteer at organizations that are close to her heart. Alison believes that every individual deserves the opportunity to communicate with the world around them. She is excited to be a part of the GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land family and enjoys working with our families and lead our Amina Grace Speech & Language Program.
2021 Board of Directors
Sonia Storer, President
Sonia Storer, President, lives in Sugar Land, TX with her three kids: Cole, Isabella and Greyson. Sonia has worked in the banking industry for the last 24 years and has been with BBVA Compass for the last 21 years. In addition to her work with BBVA Volunteer Program which focuses on financial literacy and various non-profit support, Sonia has been a part of GiGi’s Sugar Land since before we opened our doors in 2015. She and her family love being part of helping GiGi's Playhouse Sugar Land grow and are all active volunteers. Her son Cole was recognized as Junior volunteer of the year in 2017 with over 150 volunteer hours & Isabella served over 200 hours in 2019 & 2020. Sonia believes GiGi's Playhouse Sugar Land brings our community closer together through its outreach and free progressive programming created specifically for individuals with Down syndrome.
Codi Bouknight, Vice President
Codi Bouknight, Vice President, grew up in Sugar Land, TX and attended the University of Houston. She now resides in Richmond, TX with her husband, Mark, and their children Brooklyn and Brady. Upon learning of her son’s Down syndrome diagnosis, she decided to leave her career as a General Manager in the restaurant industry and focus on her family. She now works from home helping her husband manage their remodeling company, Gulf Coast Builders. Codi was introduced to GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land shortly after Brady’s birth in 2017. She immediately fell in love with the organization and began volunteering her time. She joined the Board in 2018. Codi is also an active volunteer at her daughter’s school and is involved in leadership at her church. Codi is passionate about changing misconceptions and creating opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome. She is honored for the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors.
Lilly Ramirez, Treasurer
Lilly Ramirez, Treasurer, resides in Katy, TX with her husband, Eli. She is an alumna of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she double majored in Finance and Insurance & Risk Management. She has worked at SCP Health for 9 years, currently in Operational Finance. After discovering GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land, Lilly found an immediate connection with the Playhouse. She and her husband have volunteered for the past two years. Inspired by her Aunt, who had a Down syndrome diagnosis, she was drawn to Adult Programming and is a regular T.E.A.M. volunteer. Lilly is excited to join the board and find new ways to contribute to the community and opportunities that GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land provides to individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
Mandy Cancino, Secretary
Mandy Cancino, Secretary, lives in Rosenberg, TX with her husband, Jason and two sons, Hunter (9) and Connor (7). They received Connor’s Down syndrome diagnosis at birth. Mandy first learned about GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land when she started attending the brainstorming meetings back in 2013 and she joined the Board in 2018. Mandy is a HBU alumni, she graduated with a double major in Christianity and Child Development. Since then, Mandy has worked as an Elementary Director for a church, leasing agent in Commercial Real Estate, and Business Development for The Art Institute of Houston. Shortly after Connor was born, she became a stay at home mom. She believes that her skill sets of connecting others together will make a big impact on getting the word out about the playhouse! In her spare time, she helps the Playhouse get donations for raffle baskets and silent auction items, loves spending time with her family and researching about health, wellness, and Down syndrome. Mandy is excited to be part of the bigger picture of GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land!
Paige Baird resides in Sugar Land, TX with her husband, Brant, and their three children, Blaine, Bailey and Parker. Upon graduating from Texas A&M University, Paige spent 13 years working as a classroom teacher. The last nine of which were spent teaching Life Skills at George Junior High School in Rosenberg, TX. Through this experience, she found her love and passion for working with children who have special needs. After pursuing a wonderful opportunity to stay home and spend more time with her three kids, she was surprised to find that something was missing. She wanted her contributions to extend beyond her home and family. Paige enjoys volunteering her time as a Victory volunteer for the American Cancer Society and GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land. Paige loves that GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land has provided her with a purpose that will allow her to continue her passion for educating and tutoring children with Down syndrome.
Paul Halpin resides in Rosenberg, TX with his wife, Jo. Both originally from the UK, they moved to the US in 1999 for a 2-year assignment in New Jersey and came to Houston in 2003 after the 2-year assignment was extended. Paul semi-retired at the end of 2018 from Accenture, where he was a Principal Director in their energy practice. Paul’s work and desire to explore different places and cultures have taken him to 114 countries, and there are a few still on his bucket list. Paul has several degrees, including an MBA in International Business and Strategy, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. Paul has worked with several nonprofit organizations in the Houston area, and became interested in GiGi’s Playhouse when fellow board member, Mandy Cancino, and her husband, Jason, and their boys, Hunter and Connor, moved in next door in 2018.
Amanda Hudson lives in Sugar Land with her husband, Wes. She has served on several other boards in Fort Bend, is a graduate of the Class of 2013 Fort Bend Leadership for Non-Profits and is a YIP Advocate and Scholarship Underwriter. Amanda and her family have been active Parishioners at St. Laurence Catholic Church in Sugar Land, TX for 7 years and previously at Sacred Heart in Richmond, TX for 29 years. Amanda worked in public education for 17 years and her educational background is in Special Education. She is an active volunteer and enjoys sharing GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land’s free educational and therapeutic programs for all individuals with Down syndrome and their families -- especially her granddaughter Sadie who is 7!
Tara McWhirter joined our Board in December 2019 after volunteering with our adult programs for 2 years. Tara lives in Sugar Land with her husband, Desmond and their 2 daughters, Rose (14) and Macy (12). Tara grew up in Dallas and graduated from Texas A&M University. She is currently an Enterprise Channel Manager at Microsoft – Manufacturing and regularly brings her Microsoft team to the Playhouse to train our participants on Microsoft 365. Tara has a passion for family, friends, and travel, and enjoys making an impact through helping people use technology in their everyday life. Tara chose to be involved with GiGi’s Playhouse because of the direct impact she has seen in working with the adult participants and there is no other organization like GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land that provides an inclusive and welcoming place for the Down syndrome community and their families.
Lynne Spiwak has been a volunteer with GiGi’s Playhouse Sugar Land since 2018 as a Volunteer for our T.E.A.M. program (Teaching, Exercise, Activity & Movement) and as a Board Member. Lynne lives in Sugar Land, TX with her husband, Aaron. Lynne is very proud of their two wonderful daughters who are happy and successful. Lynne graduated from Indiana University with a major in Psychology and Sociology. She graduated from Oakland University with a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling. Lynne has worked in a wide range of human/social service capacities for the past 34 years with a passion for children and adults with special needs. Lynne recently retired and is enjoying spending time with her family and puppy.
Shawn Tracey lives in Pearland, Texas with his wife, Tracy, and their two daughters Sailor and Sloan. Shawn and Tracy were Ohio natives and expats in the oil & gas industry before receiving Sailor’s Down syndrome diagnosis and deciding to move to Texas for the educational and medical resources for Sailor. Shawn is a licensed attorney with approximately 20 years of experience including more than 14 years with Marathon Oil Company in various business and legal leadership roles. Shawn has significant executive and board level experience and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Marathon’s international subsidiary. Shawn is inspired every day by his daughter, Sailor, and is passionate about sharing her journey and dispelling misconceptions about those with Down syndrome.