- Attorney and Counselor at Law, Texas, 1996
- State Bar of Texas – Real Estate, Probate & Trust Law Section
- Houston Bar Association – Co-chair Elder Law Committee (2015); Probate, Trusts & Estates Section
- Disability and Elder Law Association (DELAA)
- Attorneys in Tax and Probate (ATP) – CLE Chair (2017), Vice President (2019), President (2020)
- Pro Bono Volunteer Attorney – Houston Bar Association and the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program
- Certified to practice guardianship
- Attorney Ad Litem and Guardian Ad Litem in Harris County probate courts
- Garden Oaks Civic Club, President
- League of Women Voters of Houston, Voters Guide Distribution Chair
- Leadership Houston, Class XXXVII
- St. Paul’s United Methodist Church Foundation Board of Directors 2013-2019
- Harriet & Joe Foster Family YMCA Board of Directors 2003 – 2019
- Garden Oaks Kids (GO Kids), Founder
- Friends of Montessori, 2006 – 2015
- Long-time HISD Volunteer in multiple schools
Born in a small town in Central Texas, Tonya is the adopted child of a high school teacher and a football coach, who taught her to value education and appreciate the merits of hard work. Growing up, Tonya developed a passion for law, governance, and her contribution to a more just and civil society.
Tonya earned her Bachelor’s of Business Administration at the University of Texas at Austin, making the Dean’s List and joining Phi Beta Chi women’s business fraternity. She then pursued a Juris Doctorate at the University of Houston Law Center, distinguishing herself in mock trial, moot court, and mediation competitions; receiving awards for her work in evidence and legal research; and being selected as a judicial intern in Harris County District Court.
Licensed as an attorney in 1996, Tonya started her legal practice working in commercial litigation, while also forging a lifelong commitment to serve many underprivileged clients through pro bono volunteer legal work. In 2012, Tonya started her own solo law practice, focusing on estate planning, probate and guardianships.
Tonya successfully reunited with her birth families as an adult, connecting her adoption triad. She is also a stepmother and the mother of three teenagers with her husband Rick; together they have built a loving extended family relationship that includes adoptive, birth and step families. The Knauths regularly host exchange students and others, considering many people from all over the world part of their family.
Tonya and Rick actively volunteer in their community and their kids’ HISD schools. Tonya has a strong commitment to improving the lives of others, and she serves in as many servant-leader roles as she can find hours in the day. As a proud graduate of the Texas public school system, Tonya remains a tireless advocate for children and families from all walks of life. Her work and community service reflect the values of hard work and citizenship she learned growing up, and the conviction that individuals doing good things every day can create a better world.