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Board of Directors

Harmony Public Schools Board of Directors serve as unpaid volunteers to guide the policies and direction of the organization.

Potential members can be nominated by anyone and are selected by the existing board, which seeks individuals who have expertise, experience or leadership abilities that will contribute to maintaining Harmony’s standard of excellence in education.

FATIH AY (CEO)

Fatih Ay, the CEO of Harmony Public Schools (HPS), has been devoted to empowering students since 2004. With an impressive 23 years of educational experience, he brings a wealth of knowledge to his role. Previously, Mr. Ay served as the esteemed Dallas Area superintendent of Harmony Public Schools for 9 years and was the founding principal of Harmony Science Academy-El Paso. Throughout his career, he has held positions as an assistant principal, science teacher, and coach, contributing to various curricular teams.

Mr. Ay holds a master's degree in education, specializing in instructional technology, and a bachelor's degree in Physics. As the CEO/Superintendent, he is deeply committed to several key initiatives that drive student success within HPS. His focus lies in the advancement of instructional technology, STEM education, college and career readiness initiatives, as well as providing post-secondary support for students.

In addition to his dedication to education, He is highly engaged in community service. He actively serves as a Board member at Texas Public Charter Charter School, where he contributes his expertise to further the mission of providing quality education to students. Furthermore, he holds the esteemed position of a senior fellow at the American Leadership Forum, where he leverages his leadership skills and knowledge to foster positive change within the community.

With his strong commitment to both education and community service, Mr. Ay exemplifies the values of Harmony Public Schools and continues to make a lasting impact on the lives of students and families throughout the Lone Star State.

Harmony Public Schools, a Texas-born public charter school, serves as a beacon of education for over 40,000 students and their families across the Lone Star State. With a strong emphasis on academic excellence and community involvement, HPS continues to make a positive impact in the lives of its students and the communities it serves.

 

DR. ONER ULVI CELEPCIKAY (Board Chair)

Dr. Oner Celepcikay teaches Data Science and Data Management courses at Rice University. In the past, Dr. Celepcikay taught at the University of Houston System and Texas A&M System. His main teaching and research fields are Data Science, Data Mining, Machine Learning and Regional Regression Analysis.

Dr. Celepcikay was among the group of academicians who helped open the first Harmony Science Academy in Houston in 2000 and has been with Harmony Public Schools since then, serving Harmony in various volunteer positions including student recruitment, after school program, grant writing for the first Harmony school, board member, secretary and the board chair.

Appointed by the Texas Education Commissioner, Dr. Celepcikay also served as a board member at the Region 4, which serves a seven-county area composed of 50 public school districts and 45 public charter schools, representing more than 1.1 million students and 1,500 campuses.

Dr. Celepcikay is strong advocate of STEM education. He is the Founder & CEO of CyberSecurityED.com, an educational technology company that focus on cybersecurity education and coding camps and curriculum development.

He received his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Istanbul University and his master's and doctorate degrees in Computer Science specializing in Data Mining both from University of Houston. Dr. Celepcikay worked at the University of Houston Educational Technology Outreach Department from 2000 to 2007, which is the department oversees all online education components at the University of Houston.

 

MRS. HELEN SHERWOOD (Second Vice Chair)

Ms. Sherwood brings a track record of knowledge and community involvement to the Harmony Public School Board. Spending 10 years at Texaco, Ms. Sherwood held the position of Senior Research Librarian. During her tenure, Ms. Sherwood served as Co-coordinator of the Adopt-A-School STEM Program, as well as an initiative that teaches scientific methods through an invention process called, “Create SE Texas.”

As a parent, Ms. Sherwood was an active volunteer for Harmony Public Schools, serving as a PTO member and science fair coordinator, among other roles. Ms. Sherwood also volunteered for 15 years with the Boy Scouts of America as a Cub Scout Pack Den Leader, Pack Committee Chair and additional roles within the organization. Ms. Sherwood is currently a Youth Religious Education Administrator and teacher with Tapestry UU Church and volunteers with the Harris County Election Services as an Election Clerk.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

DR. HAKDURAN KOC (Secretary)

Dr. Koc is currently chairman and associate professor of Computer Engineering Program at University of Houston - Clear Lake. After receiving his B.S. degree in Electronics Engineering, he worked in the industry for two years. Then, he joined Syracuse University where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Engineering.

During his graduate study, Dr. Koc was at The Pennsylvania State University as visiting scholar. His research and teaching are in the areas of digital system design, embedded systems, and computer architecture. His research work is published in prestigious academic conferences and journals.

Dr. Koc is also very active in professional service. He regularly reviews scientific papers for several academic journals and conferences. He has served as executive committee member for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Galveston Bay Section at various capacities including chair, vice chair, and secretary; and he has been the counselor of IEEE Student Brach at UHCL.

He regularly serves in science fairs for middle and high school students. Dr. Koc is the recipient of several teaching and leadership awards including IEEE-USA Professional Achievement for Individuals Award, UHCL Piper Nominee Finalist, IEEE Outstanding Student Branch Counselor Award and IEEE MGA Outstanding Small Section Award. He is a member of IEEE and ACM.

 

DR. MEHMET ARGIN

Dr. Argin is currently dean of the Center of Excellence at the Houston Community College. He received his Ph.D. degree from Arizona State University in Electrical Engineering. Towards the end of his Ph.D., he joined the practice of K-12 education at the STEM-focused charter school system in Arizona. He continued to work in charter schools in Arizona and California until 2015. During his time in K-12 education, Dr. Argin developed and led many STEM activities and secured competitive grants for his schools.

Dr. Argin is active in professional service. He serves as a member of North American Process Technology Alliance (NAPTA) Outreach committee and Economic Alliance Houston Port Region – Workforce Task Force. He is also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

In addition, Dr. Argin has been teaching engineering and electronics classes for the Houston Community College since 2017.

 

MS. LAURA GONZALEZ

Ms. Laura Gonzalez holds the distinction of being the first Harmony Public Schools (HPS) alumna to serve on the board, having attended Harmony schools for nine years and interned as staff at Harmony.

Her commitment to education was further demonstrated when she became a recipient of the Rice Investment Grant, covering all tuition costs while earning her bachelor’s degree at Rice University. Currently serving as an academic advisor at the Bauer School of Business, Ms. Gonzalez specializes in guiding students toward successful careers as accountants.

In her role as an educator, Ms. Gonzalez is dedicated to addressing the unique needs of each student, fostering a sense of belonging, and preparing them for success in our ever-evolving world. As a leader, she prioritizes cultivating a passion for lifelong learning, creating a thriving and inclusive workplace that inspires excellence, and driving organizational success through ethical decision-making, transparency, and accountability.

MS. KIMBERLY D. HOUSE

Kimberly D. House has served in local government for the City of Houston over 30 years with primary focus in financial and administrative management. In her current role as Division Manager, she oversees day-to-day financial activity, programmatic and financial reporting, and compliance for various federal grant programs.

With a strong commitment to supporting youth, Ms. House has volunteered her time in public schools, extracurricular programs, and educational initiatives. She, along with her husband, established an endowed scholarship to support college students seeking a degree in business.

Ms. House holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management, a Certified Grants Management Specialist certification, and is a candidate for Certified Governmental Financial Manager®.

DR. SIMON KOCH

Dr. Simon Koch joined the Harmony Board of Directors in 2024. He has extensive higher education teaching experience in the areas of Computer Science and Engineering. The veteran professor is currently a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.

Dr. Koch also served at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), where he was a tenured full professor and the graduate coordinator. Dr. Koch began his teaching career at UCA in 2008. Along with his teaching involvement, he participated in various research projects, including but not limited to Biomedical Image Processing and Analysis, Biomedical Visualization, and Virtual Reality. He has also been the recipient of over $20 million in grants from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation to address the practical application and acceptance of modern data analytics in medicine.