Communities In Schools of Houston rings in 2019 with new CEO

Lisa Descant takes the helm as nonprofit expands to meet record demand for services


Communities In Schools of Houston, the nonprofit which partners with education leaders to support students on campuses across Greater Houston, welcomed 2019 with new leadership as the organization expands to meet record demand for its services.

Lisa Descant and Cynthia Clay Briggs

Lisa Descant and Cynthia Clay Briggs

Former Chief Operating Officer Lisa Descant took over as CIS of Houston’s Chief Executive Officer on January 7, 2019, succeeding Cynthia Clay Briggs, who retired after 40 years at CIS. Descant took the helm as CIS Student Support Specialists are called onto campuses at unprecedented rates.

CIS Student Support Specialists are embedded within 156 campuses year-round to help more than 117,000 students annually in their times of need. From crisis intervention, trauma and mental health counseling to basic necessities and extra-curricular activities, CIS Student Support Specialists do whatever it takes to help break down barriers to students’ success.

“As we expand partnerships with educators and other community leaders to support a record number of students facing challenges of all shapes and sizes, we are bolstering our services to meet unprecedented demands,” said Communities In Schools of Houston CEO Lisa Descant.

For years Descant has worked together with state, community and education leaders on critical efforts to support students and their success in school and in life. She was introduced to CIS while volunteering for Boys & Girls Clubs as a college student at The University of Texas at Austin. It was through that experience Descant recognized her purpose: to support students who are coping with major life challenges and everyday stressors so they can focus on achieving their full potential. A licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist, she earned her Master of Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University and worked for CIS in elementary, middle and high schools. In the past 15 years at CIS of Houston, Descant served as a Student Support Project Manager, Director of Quality and Standards, Chief Strategic Officer and Chief Operating Officer.