HZC Teachers, Practice Leadership & Board of Directors
Gaelyn Godwin Roshi, Abbot
Gaelyn has been practicing Zen full time since 1985, when she began practicing at San Francisco Zen Center, where she was in monastic and residential training for more than 18 years. She visited the Houston Zen Community at First Unitarian Church for the first time in the mid-90’s, and moved to Houston in 2003 to help establish Houston Zen Center on Heights Boulevard. More on the Abbot’s biography can be found here.
Glen Duval, Dharma name Kogen
One of the founders of HZC, Glen is one of the early group who established the sitting group at First Unitarian Church in the mid-90’s, Glen has served on the Board of Directors and the Practice Committee, and has served as Tanto, Head of Practice. He has undertaken many projects on behalf of HZC.
Glen received Lay Entrustment from Abbot Godwin and is authorized to conduct interviews and practice discussions with all members and seekers who come to HZC.
One of the founders of HZC, Cathy is one of the early group who established the sitting group at First Unitarian Church in the mid-90’s. Cathy has served on the Board of Directors, and was the long-time chair of the Finance Committee until stepping down in 2018.
Cathy received Lay Entrustment from Abbot Godwin and is authorized to conduct interviews and practice discussions with all members and seekers who come to HZC.
One of the founders of HZC, Louise is one of the early group who established the sitting group at First Unitarian Church in the mid-90’s. Louise has served as President of the Board of HZC.
Louise received Lay Entrustment from Abbot Godwin and is authorized to conduct interviews and practice discussions with all members and seekers who come to HZC. She currently serves as co-Tanto, co-Head of Practice, along with Gayle Klaybor. She is also a member of the Practice Committee.
Mary Carol Edwards
Mary Carol began her practice with HZC when it was meeting at the First Unitarian Church. Since then she has served in many capacities, especially in the design and maintenance of the landscapes around the temple grounds. She also serves on the Practice Committee.
Mary Carol received Lay Entrustment from Abbot Godwin and is authorized to conduct interviews and practice discussions with all members and seekers who come to HZC.
Gayle is the co-Tanto, co-Head of Practice of Houston Zen Center and is authorized to meet in informal practice discussions with members and visitors to HZC. She is also on the Board of Directors; a full biographical statement appears below with the other members of the Board of Directors.
Laura Salazar-Hopps, President
Originally from Pennsylvania, Laura moved to Houston in 2014, when she began practicing at Houston Zen Center. She holds a BA in English from Boston College and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School, where she was part of the Buddhist Ministry Initiative. She spent several years working with nonprofits in Nicaragua whose efforts focused on social and environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, women’s health and community organizing. She currently serves as a Palliative Care Chaplain at Memorial Hermann Health System. In 2016 she received jukai from Gaelyn Godwin Roshi, with the dharma name Hōdo, or Dharma Path. Laura serves on a number of committees at HZC, teaches classes, supports the Dharma en Español group, and coordinates a group of interpreters working to provide live Spanish language interpetation for Dharma events.
Judson Dunn, Vice-President and Membership Secretary
Judson has been a practitioner at Houston Zen Center since 2011, and was given the Dharma Name Heido. Born in Memphis, TN, he moved to Houston in childhood. Judson holds a BS in Microbiology and Cytogenetics from UT Austin and MD Anderson Cancer Center. He worked in genetics labs at Labcorp and MD Anderson before moving into information technology roles supporting various lab workflows, applications and software. He is certified as a LEAN/Six Sigma Green Belt process for organizational workflow and efficiency improvement. Judson volunteers as HZC’s Membership Coordinator and IT Coordinator, managing various applications that are in use. Outside of HZC, he is also an active volunteer with ACLU Texas the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.
Parmita Derden, Secretary
Parmita has had a meditation practice for many years. When she moved back to Houston in the early 1990’s she would occasionally meditate with the Houston Zen Center founders at the Unitarian Church but she did not become a full-time member of HZC until 2006. She received the Bodhisattva precepts in 2008. Parmita has served as HZC Board Secretary since 2011. She is also a member of the Finance and Personnel Committees. Since receiving her MBA degree from UT Austin in 1986, Parmita has been working in Information Technology for various Corporate America companies. Her work takes her all over the world and she has had the pleasure of visiting Zen and Buddhist temples in Asia, India, and Europe.
Gary Grubitz, Treasurer
Gary Grubitz has been a member of the Houston Zen Center since the late 1990’s when he joined the group at First Unitarian Church. He has been Treasurer since 2002, and a long-term member of the Finance Committee. Gary was born in Oklahoma and attended OU, earning degrees in psychology and geology. He worked in oil and gas exploration for over 35 years, leading BHP in the Gulf of Mexico division. Gary enjoys reading, fly fishing, gardening, and playing with his granddaughters. He volunteers as a reading tutor with the United Way.
Troy Porter, Member-at-large
Troy is a native Houstonian. He currently works as the Capital Projects Estimating Manager for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. He earned a BS in Civil Engineering from University of Texas at Austin and a MBA from Texas A&M May's School of Business. Troy has been sitting regularly and involved with the Houston Zen Center since 1999. He has served on the HZC Board for over two years and he generally sits at the zen center in the mornings on the weekdays. Along with the Houston Zen Center, he served as Board Chair for Urban Enrichment Institute and currently serves on the Program Committee of the Rothko Chapel.
Carter White, Member-at-large
Choan Carter White is a senior member of HZC. He has been instrumental in the initial development of the Center’s campus, both in fundraising and preparing the land for its present use. Carter is an attorney and holds a PhD in Chemistry. Woodworking, metalworking, working on and racing cars, and supporting his partner Terese training Shelties in canine agility provide practice opportunities cooperatively with his HZC activities. His Dharma name means Morning Hut referencing the Buddha’s glimpse of the morning star.
Audrey Charlton, Member-at-large
Audrey is a fully transplanted New Yorker, who came to live full-time in Houston in 2012 in order to help care for her two dynamic grandchildren, Niko and Isabela, who are among her finest teachers. Leaving behind a twenty-five-year career as an independent organizational consultant, and adjunct instructor at the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College Columbia University gave rise to some entirely new and transformative experiences. In deep gratitude for the opportunity to serve and to learn, her practice now also extends from the Zen Center, where she has been a member since 2011, to the Ikebana (flower arranging) community where she serves on the board of three organizations and president of one, to the local Urasenke (tea ceremony) group, and to her continuing work with incarcerated mothers in a residential recovery program.
Gayle Klaybor, Member-at-large
Gayle has had an active spiritual and meditation practice for many years and found the Houston Zen Center in 2007. Currently, she serves as Co-Tanto or Head of Practice. She completed her long time career as a psychotherapist and social worker in 2018. During her career, she worked with individuals, couples and families, supervised the development of new therapists and was an adjunct faculty member at The University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work. Besides serving on the Board at HZC, she has taught classes and led a one-day sesshin. She helped organize a group of practitioners dedicated to Ikebana Flower arranging and designs flower arrangements for Zen Center. She also developed an initiative called “Sangha Care” which provides contact, meals and transportation for Sangha members facing health challenges.
Zack Becker, Member-at-large
Zack grew up in the Boston area before attending Wesleyan University, where he graduated with a B.A. in English. In 1999 he moved to Houston to join the Houston Police Department as a police officer; he is now a Lieutenant in the department’s Homicide Division. Zack began practicing at HZC in 2008 after taking the Introduction to Zen Meditation class, and later received the Bodhisattva precepts (jukai) from Setsuan Gaelyn Godwin Roshi in 2014, receiving the dharma name Hōdō Onkai (Dharma Way, Ocean of Kindness). In 2018 he published his first book, a private-eye thriller titled Gun Shy. Along with writing, he enjoys the outdoors, running (he ran his first and so far only Houston marathon in 2010) and CrossFit (where he gets his butt kicked on a regular basis). In 2017, he worked up the nerve to do his first 5-day retreat and is happy to report that he survived. In joining the HZC board, he is pleased to support and serve the sangha and looks at it as a way to deepen and extend his practice.
Eileen Dwyer, Member-at-large
Kyō Getsu Eileen Dwyer began practicing at the Houston Zen Center in 2008. She participates with the Kaleidoscope Working Group and serves on the Doan Ryo for Saturday morning Zazen. Eileen has worked as a speech-language pathologist for nearly thirty years in hospitals, schools, and home health settings with particular emphasis in acquired swallowing and communication impairments. Her interests include dogs, nature, music, reading, and political activism. She is a Founding Partner of the Rice University Center for the Study of Women, Gender, & Sexuality; a former member of the Board of Annie’s List and PAWS Houston; and she volunteers for a variety of activist organizations.