Board of Directors

The work of the board is to determine the mission of AZC; select and support the Head Teacher or Abbot; support the staff; engage in strategic planning; oversee AZC’s budget and programs; protect our organization’s assets; assist with fundraising; and ensure AZC’s legal and ethical integrity.


Ernest Caple became interested in yoga and meditation after moving to Austin in 1973 after serving in the USAF. After studying yoga for a summer at the Himalayan Institute, he continued a lifelong yoga practice. He has also enjoyed practicing various martial arts including Karate, Chi Gong and Ti Chi. He started studying Zen with David Collins in 1998. In the last two years, he has studied Zen more intensively at the Austin Zen Center. Ernest graduated from the University of Texas in 1981 in mechanical engineering and worked in Austin until his retirement in 2010. He is married to Sondra Creighton, who is also a retired engineer. They have one daughter Michaela Caple. Ernest and his wife enjoy exercising, traveling and hiking in Colorado.


Eric Travis was sure he would like to join a sangha some day after many years of reading about Buddhism. He began sitting at the Austin Zen Center in 2008 and received the bodhisattva precepts in December 2012. Eric has worked as a librarian at various locations within the Austin Public Library system since 1991. He is married to Vivien Addison, who is also a librarian. They have a daughter, Ariel, and a son, Severin, who are now adults and do not show any signs of becoming librarians. Eric has lived nearly all of his adult life in Austin and grew up in San Antonio, Texas.


Melanie Gulick read about the happenings at the Austin Zen Center as an email list subscriber long before coming to beginner’s meditation instruction in December 2009. She pledged membership the next month and kept coming, taking lay vows with seven other Sangha members at a Jukai ceremony in December 2015. Cello and dance and choreography were her early forms of meditation. Moving to Austin from Washington state in 1982, she worked at Wheatsville Food Co-op for six years before joining the staff of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at UT-Austin as a Graduate Coordinator in 1989. Melanie and her girlfriend of 25-plus years, Ms. Jeffrey Lee Hillhouse, were married on July 7, 2015. The family includes River, a Plott Hound mix; cats Chester Ray and Bradley Gene; and the friendly ghosts of many beloved pets.


David Adelman has long been interested in Buddhism and meditation, but he did not begin practicing Zen until 2010. Not long after moving to Austin, his experience at AZC drew him into the practice and introduced him to the teachings of Shunryu Suzuki and other Zen masters. He lives with his wife Helen, who helped reintroduce him to meditation practice, and daughter Hazel, who provides inspiration for embodying Zen practice in all aspects of his life. David enjoys yoga, hiking (particularly in the high country of Colorado and California), traveling, and reading. He is a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.


Tim Brisko has been practicing at the Austin Zen Center since mid 2014, where he met his partner, Melissa. They were married at AZC in March of 2017. Tim received the bodhisattva precepts in 2015, four days after the birth of his son Jack who brings joy, levity and often some unique noises to dharma talks and community events. Tim and Melissa share a deep connection to practice and to the Austin Zen Center. While not sitting zazen, they are commonly found behind the lens of a camera and more recently taking long contemplative walks with Jack. In addition to commercial photography, Tim is a software architect and works solving problems of every nature for a financial company founded in 2005.


Leslie Kuykendall is a native Texan who has lived in Austin off and on (mostly on) since arriving bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as a Plan II freshman at the University of Texas in 1984. She has been practicing meditation and learning about Buddhism at the Austin Zen Center since February 2016. When not geeking out at her job as a criminal appellate lawyer, Leslie enjoys gardening, yoga, hiking wherever there is flora and fauna at which to marvel, wrangling and being wrangled by her beloved four-footed companions (dog, Lucky, and two cats, Tabby Tail and Little Bit), and spending time with her fiancée.