The Historical Commission's Speakers Bureau

The Collin County Historical Commission sponsors a Speakers Bureau to help organizations and individuals find subject matter experts and authors to speak at meetings and workshops.

The speakers' information below is provided to us by the speakers, and is subject to change.

You do not have to be a Collin County resident to be included on the Speakers Bureau. If you are interested in being added as a speaker, please contact

NOTE: Please contact individual speakers directly regarding any appearance fees that may be charged.

Available speakers include:

Speaker & Contact Info Topics

Valerie Alvarez

(210) 316-8677

  • ​Death investigation
  • Medical Examiner procedures and protocols Postmortem affairs

Alfred Arias

(469) 406-4840

  • Teaching children through Historical Archaeology
  • Weird Collin County History
  • Using Improv Comedy to Teach Historical Preservation
  • Finds from the field. - Real archaeology artifacts from Collin County that tell a story
  • Heading West - A Hand-on lesson on how settlers moved west.

James "Rusty" Brenner

(214) 686-0014

  • Tombstone preservation
  • Cemetery mapping/burial databases
  • Ground penetrating radar
  • Monument condition assessment

Robin Cole-Jett

(214) 404-3459

  • Gateway to the Southwest (incl. Wavell's Grant and Peter's Colony)
  • Red River Historical topics including: Red River Steamboats, Great Raft of the Red River, Hunt for the Red River (Custis and Marc's expedition), Women in the Red River Valley, Colonial Red River Valley
  • Historical maps and how to read them
  • Old Roads

Candace Fountoulakis

Collin County Historical Commission

  • Magical History Tour which places the Beatles in Plano as tourists
​M'Lou Hyttinen


Heritage Farmstead of Plano

  • Managing and programming a Historic site, and oversee construction projects on historical structures
  • Has staff that can speak on Education Programming, Collections and Exhibits​
Colin Kimball


  • Reserches and creates the portraits of young men who died while in the service of our country for the Collin County Fallen Warrior Portrait Project. Currently there are 54 portraits on permanent display in the "Hall of Heroes" of the courthouse.​

Beverly Lenoir, Ph.D.

(325) 665-7515

  • ​The story of her great-great-grandmother, Maria Seitz Reich, and her trip to Northeast Texas in 1850; and the Courtship of My Parents in the World War II Era
  • Other topics include: Telling your family story, Getting Started Writing Your Family History, Games Kid's Played in the Early 20th Century, My Faborite Books about Genealogy

Paula Nasta


City of McKinney

  • Downtown McKinney history
  • Urban design history, New town planning, mall history
  • Women's spaces, Women in historic preservation
  • "Animal Hairs as Binders in 19th Century Mortar"
  • Easter Pennsylvania Coal Mining Villages
Jaymie Pedigo

  • ​Chestnut Square and the Heritage Guild
Kathy Wells Power


Franford Preservation Foundation

  • History of the Franford Church and Cemetary, preservation efforts and restoration of the church and disvoery of our prairie area around between the church and cemetary​
​Pat Rodgers


Collin County History Museum

  • Educator, researcher and storyteller
  • many historical topics including: "History of Entertainment in McKinney," "Collin County Poor Farm," "Ralph Fultz 10 Years Running with Bonnie and Clyde," and "Bad Boys, Desperados and Outlaws of Collin County"​

Becky Villareal

(214) 335-1852 

  • Genealogy for Children and Family events
  • Organizing family history night events
  • How to engage children in family history
  • Thinking outside the toybox
  • Combining your writing with your research
Nathan White


Collin County Historical Commission

  • Historical topics including cemtery preservation in and round the Plano area​
​Brittany Yurkovitch


Collin County Historical Commission

Editor of the Weston Point

  • Research
  • Creating a local newspaper
  • Creating a 501(c)3
  • Social studies education and homeschooling
  • Civic education and volunteerism​
​Jennifer Wakefield

  • Col. Wylie - A Legacy of Service: Building Bridges (The Business of Bringing the Railroad to Collin County)
  • Easy Tech Resources for Historical Groups: Google Suite and other tools and social media for your organization
  • A History of North Texas Real Estate: The Business of Opportunity​

Ari Wilkins

(214) 886-5070

  • Black and white Southern families in plantation records
  • Mysterious relatives
  • Getting the most bang for your buck out of the library
  • Funeral home collections
  • Organizing and identifying photograph collections
  • Using apprentice records to trace free people of color
  • Records of the Freedman's Bureau

Karen Zupanic

(972) 569-6909

Heard-Craig Center for the Arts

  • ​The Heard legacy
  • Texas Regional Art Collection
  • Creating a family history board game