Vanessa has been a leader and change maker from a young age. She came to Tarrant County in 1998 to attend Texas Christian University, where she studied religion and philosophy. During that time, she served as director of youth ministry at WestWind Church in Keller, TX. Her work with the youth in monthly service projects led her to pursue a masters of science in social work with a focus in non-profit management.
Vanessa worked with Northside Inter Church Agency, Lena Pope Home, and The Institute for Learning Abilities, and she spent five years in charitable management for a local business. Her work with various organizations provided an opportunity for Vanessa to meet many local and state public servants, which inspired her to have a more direct impact in her community. In 2007, Vanessa was appointed to the Benbrook Parks and Recreation Board and later, the Planning and Zoning Commission. She also actively volunteered with the Obama Campaign, registering voters, canvassing, phone banking, and training volunteers - often bringing her daughter, Sophia, along in a baby carrier.
Her volunteer work with the Obama Campaign made her feel at home in a way that she hadn’t while in the private sector and motivated her to find a new way to serve people in her community. In 2009, Vanessa started teaching science in Fort Worth ISD, first at Rosemont Middle School and later at Benbrook Middle-High School, where she now currently serves as a middle school teacher for the college readiness focused AVID program.
As a teacher, Vanessa has been recognized as a leader in her field. She has written curriculum and has led trainings within the district, as well as at the Science Teachers Association of Texas annual conference. Vanessa has presented workshops to first-year teachers in the T-MATE alternative certification program at Tarleton State University, and she also served as Benbrook Middle's Science Department Vice-Chair for four years. In 2014-2015, Vanessa was recognized as the Teaching Chair of Excellence for Secondary Science in Fort Worth ISD. Vanessa has also played an active role in her school outside of the classroom, sponsoring the student-led LGBTQ+ group and serving on the PTA, Site Based Decision Making Committee, District Employee Relations Council, and the Gold Seal Program of Choice Exploratory Committee.
Vanessa is an active member of her congregation, First Congregational Church - United Church of Christ in Fort Worth. She currently serves on the Christian Education Committee. In the past, she has served as a Sunday school teacher and served on the Pastoral Relations Council and as the Chair of the Christian Service Committee where she had an active role in planning the church’s annual participation in the Fort Worth Pride Parade. Together, with her husband, Dean, Vanessa strives to teach her daughters, Sophia and Violet, about how their faith calls them to care for others.
As a candidate for U.S. Congressional District 12, Vanessa remains dedicated to serving her community. She believes in the responsibility a representative has to serve her constituents, and she is committed to listening to and acting on the concerns of the people.
Vanessa refuses to accept corporate PAC dollars and is fighting to end the corporate influence on politics. By running a people-powered campaign, not beholden to lobbyists or corporate PACs, Vanessa is working to ensure the people of District 12 reclaim their seat at the table.