The Fund is a self-insured, not-for-profit risk pool of more than 1, 000 Texas public education organizations collaborating to share risk and protect their resources.
The Fund is Texas’ largest provider of risk management services to educational entities, but we are not an insurance company. We are a self-insured, not-for-profit risk pool of more than 1, 000 Texas public education organizations collaborating to share risk, protect their resources, and succeed together. Our mission speaks volumes about the Fund’s unique role in the Texas public education system.
The TASB Risk Management Fund provides comprehensive and responsive risk solutions supporting educational excellence in Texas public school districts and other public educational entities.
In 1973, the Texas Legislature passed a law requiring public schools to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. The commercial insurance industry showed little interest in covering public entities. Will Davis, past TASB President, noted Austin insurance attorney, and Austin ISD school board member, led TASB in the creation of a joint insurance fund for its members, which began operations in January 1974.
During its 50-year legacy of service, the Fund has evolved to meet members’ changing needs. Today, our comprehensive coverage solutions include Auto, Cybersecurity, Liability, Property, Unemployment Compensation, Violent Act, and Workers’ Compensation.
A Name You Trust
Students, staff, and educators are at the heart of everything we do. The Fund is administered by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), a nonprofit organization with the sole mission to support public schools.
Member-focused Board Leadership
TASB staff carries out the Fund’s operations with oversight from a 19-member board of school administrators and board trustees from across Texas. Our leaders understand the challenges that members face because they face them, too.
TASB Leadership Team
This TASB leadership team is responsible for administering one of the largest and most established risk pools in the country, the TASB Risk Management Fund. The Texas Association of School Boards, Inc. (TASB) is the program administrator of the Fund.
Mary Barrett serves as associate executive director (AED) of TASB Risk Management Services, where she leads one of the largest and most-established risk pools in the country.
Barrett previously served as strategy and risk officer with Risk Management Services, where she was responsible for the oversight and administration of the underwriting, marketing, business intelligence, and technology program functions, as well as the coordination of the Fund’s reinsurance placements and oversight of initiatives related to the Fund’s Strategic Plan. Barrett has been a member of TASB’s Risk Management Services team since 2012. She joined TASB in 1998 as part of the HR Services team.
Barrett is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, where she received a degree in mathematics with a concentration in actuarial studies. She earned a Master of Business Administration from St. Edward’s University in 2005.
Katherine Care is director of the Underwriting and Program Administration Division for TASB Risk Management Services. She oversees all aspects of member underwriting for the TASB Risk Management Fund’s Auto, Liability, Property, Cyber, Workers’ Compensation, and Unemployment Compensation programs.
Care and the team prepare member renewal proposals, develop coverage proposals for new members, assist members with coverage needs and questions, and administer the Fund’s Unemployment Compensation program.
Care joined TASB in 2023, bringing more than 10 years of commercial property and casualty underwriting expertise. Prior to TASB, Care was assistant vice president of underwriting for a national commercial insurance carrier, where she oversaw their commercial underwriting operations.
Care earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas—McCombs School of Business. She also holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) professional designation.
Janina Flores serves as director of the Risk Solutions Division for TASB Risk Management Services, overseeing loss prevention, emerging risks, training, and development of resources and communications.
She joined TASB in 2018, bringing more than 20 years of experience in risk management, risk pooling, and loss control from her roles at the City of San Marcos and the City of Fort Worth. Prior to working at TASB, Flores was the director of pool administration at York Risk Services Group, where she oversaw operations of the Texas Council Risk Management Fund, a governmental risk pool serving the needs of mental health centers across the state.
Flores holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Texas and a Master of Business Administration from Texas State University.
Hiawatha Franks is the claims officer for TASB Risk Management Services. He is responsible for providing strategic and operational oversight of claims operations for auto, liability, property, workers’ compensation, and other programs.
Franks joined TASB in 1998 and served as the workers’ compensation claims manager until 2005. After working for large insurance carriers for 12 years, he returned to TASB in 2017 as the workers’ compensation claims division director and has served as the claims officer since March 2022. With more than 25 years of experience in the workers’ compensation field, Franks has served as the claims director for The Hartford’s small business insurance program as well as in roles of increasing responsibility at companies such as Texas Mutual and American International Group, Inc.
Franks holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas State University and a Master of Business Administration from Walden University. He also earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter and Associates in Risk Management professional designations.
Dawn McMurtrey is the finance and member support officer for TASB Risk Management Services. She is responsible for the oversight and administration of the document processing, claims reporting, contact center, accounting, and technology programs operations.
McMurtrey joined TASB in 2013, serving in various key leadership roles. She previously spent more than a decade working in financial institutions, managing branch operations in community and commercial banks while she pursued higher education. In 2011, she joined the public accounting firm EY as an assurance accountant, where she audited financial statements for insurance, health care, and non-profit entities. In 2012, she earned her CPA license.
She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from California State University, Fullerton.
Guillermo (Memo) Pallares is division director of Strategic Initiatives & Operations Support for TASB Risk Management Services. He is responsible for the oversight and administration of risk management business intelligence, data analytics, reinsurance programs, and initiatives related to the TASB Risk Management Fund's strategic plan.
Pallares joined TASB in 2013 as a data analyst for HR Services and transferred to Risk Management Services in 2015. He has been instrumental in building the risk management analytics team, and he led the deployment of member benchmarking reports and other analytic resources to support underwriting, claims, and risk management consulting.
Pallares is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Bachelor of Mathematics with a concentration in statistics, probability, and data analysis. He hails from El Paso and is a proud product of Ysleta ISD.
Alicia Schwarzlose serves as director of the Administration and Board Services Division for TASB Risk Management Services. She is responsible for the facilitation of Risk Management Fund Board activities and works across Risk Management teams to coordinate and implement strategic initiatives for the Fund.
Prior to this role, Schwarzlose spent 10 years growing data capabilities and business intelligence teams in the risk pooling and financial services industries. Her work involved partnering with stakeholders to prioritize and coordinate the execution of complex data or analytic initiatives, with a focus on continuous incremental progress. Schwarzlose previously served as Assistant Director of Business Intelligence in TASB Risk Management Services.
Schwarzlose earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics, with Statistics and Economics focuses, as well as a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University in 2012. She is also a former student of Texas public schools after graduating from Pleasanton High School.
Todd Shade is the director of the Marketing and Strategic Partnerships Division for TASB Risk Management Services. He oversees three primary areas of responsibility: training and supervising eight regionally based risk management consultants who market and sell the Fund’s programs, creating and delivering new business and renewal proposals, and managing strategic partnerships throughout the industry.
Shade joined TASB in 1996 with more than a decade of sales and management experience in the insurance industry, including an extensive background in workers' compensation and property/casualty coverage. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota.
Paul Taylor is director of the Legal and Regulatory Affairs Division for TASB Risk Management Services. He provides legal support to all areas of TASB Risk Management Services and manages the Fund’s coverage documents, contracts, unemployment compensation claims, and subrogation programs.
Taylor, who previously worked as an attorney for the Texas Workforce Commission, came to TASB in 1996 to represent members of the Risk Management Service’s Unemployment Compensation program. In 2000, Taylor joined TASB Legal Services Division staff, where he updated local policy manuals used by school districts, community colleges, and education service centers across the state. He returned to TASB Risk Management Services as the division director for Legal and Regulatory Affairs in 2009.
Taylor earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and history from Baylor University and a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law. He is a member of the Texas Council of School Attorneys and is an assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 4277.