November 2021

Page 1

Texas Lone Star

Assessing Your Effectiveness

Where Is Your Board Regarding the Seven Conditions of Student Success?

A Publication of the Texas Association of School Boards | Volume 39, Number 9 | November 2021

Featured Event


TASB Officers 2021-22

Ted Beard, Longview ISD, President

Debbie Gillespie, Frisco ISD, President-Elect

Bob Covey, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, First Vice-President

Armando Rodriguez, Canutillo ISD, Second Vice-President

Rolinda Schmidt, Kerrville ISD, Secretary-Treasurer

Jim Rice, Fort Bend ISD, Immediate Past President

TASB Board of Directors 2021-22

Moises Alfaro, Mathis ISD, Region 2

Jesus Amaya, Los Fresnos CISD, Region 1A

Rose Avalos, Aldine ISD, Region 4H

Carlos Bentancourt, Slaton ISD, Region 17

Kamlesh Bhikha, ESC 2, ESC Representative

Darlene Breaux, Alief ISD, Region 4B

Steve Brown, Ector County ISD, Region 18

Kevin A. Carbo, Mesquite ISD, Region 10D

Dawn Champagne, Katy ISD, Region 4E

Justin Chapa, Arlington ISD, Region 11C

Thomas Darden, Cooper ISD, Region 8

Jason Dohnalik, Cameron ISD, Region 6A

Karen Freeman, Northside ISD, Region 20B

Corinne French, Valley View ISD, Region 11D

Sylvia Sanchez Garza, South Texas ISD, Region 1B

Linda Gooch, Sunnyvale ISD, Region 10B

Mary Jane Hetrick, Dripping Springs ISD, Region 13B

Tony Hopkins, Friendswood ISD, Region 4C

Tricia Ikard, Maypearl ISD, Region 10A

Tami Keeling, Victoria ISD, Region 3

Mark Lukert, Wichita Falls ISD, Region 9

Kathy Major, Liberty Hill ISD, Region 13C

Raymond P. Meza, San Felipe Del Rio CISD, Region 15

Dan Micciche, Dallas ISD, Region 10C

Scott Moore, Conroe ISD, Region 6B

Nicholas Phillips, Nederland ISD, Region 5

Jacinto Ramos Jr., Fort Worth ISD, Region 11B

Tony Raymond, Sabine ISD, Region 7

Georgan Reitmeier, Klein ISD, Region 4A

Cindy Spanel, Highland Park ISD, Region 16

Becky St. John, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, Region 11A

Anne Sung, Houston ISD, Region 4D

Yasmin Wagner, Austin ISD, Region 13A

Mildred Watkins, La Vega ISD, Region 12

Greg Welch, Clyde CISD, Region 14

Robert Westbrook, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD, Region 20D

Terri Williams, North East ISD, Region 20E


For more information about these events or deadlines, visit the TASB website at or call TASB at 512.467.0222 or 800.580.8272 toll-free.

2 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 | Calendar
15 • TASB Facility Services Indoor Air Quality Mysteries and Solutions Training, Austin
16 • TASB Facility Services Compliance Conundrums Training, Austin • TASB Risk Fund DFW-Area Vehicle Collision Investigation Training, Mesquite • TASB Fall Legal Seminar, Kilgore
16-19 • State Board of Education
Policies” Webinar
17 • TASB Special
Solutions “SHARS Matters: New SHARS
• TASB Fall Legal Seminar, South Padre Island
TASB Facility Services Asbestos Designated Person Training, Edinburg
30 •
Update from A-Z, Part 1” Webinar
TASB Facility Services
Practices: Maintenance
Operations Training, Edinburg
TASB Facility Services Asbestos Designated Person Training, San Angelo
• TASB Facility Services Integrated Pest Management Training, San Angelo
TASB “Quick Tips for New School Board Members” Webinar 10 • State Board for Educator Certification Meeting, Austin 14 • TASB “Getting Started as a Board Officer” Webinar 15 • TASB Special Education Solutions “SHARS Matters: Specialized Transportation” Webinar
11 • TASB Facility Services Asbestos Designated Person Training, Austin 12 • TASB Facility Services Integrated Pest Management Training, Austin
• TASB Student Solutions “Eligibility Determinations, Best Practices, and Resources for the Most Common Disability Areas” Webinar
• TASB Special Education Solutions “SHARS Matters: Individualized Education Program (IEP) Ratio” Webinar
1 • TASB Facility Services Integrated Pest Management Training, Edinburg • TASB Student Solutions “What Do I Do When…? A Special Education Legal
2 •
7 •

Research and real-world practices show that school boards can have a profound impact on student achievement. Read about how school board behaviors and beliefs can make a positive difference.

14 On a Mission

TASB 2021-22 President Ted Beard understands why he’s committed to public education and his community. His parents schooled him from an early age. Read what has shaped this longtime Longview ISD trustee into a dedicated education leader.

18 Local Perspective, Statewide Impact

Texas Lone Star recently sat down with State Board of Education Chair Keven Ellis to ask how his local board service has informed his duties and perspective and what he views as the State Board’s successes and challenges.

on Instagram @tasbphotos For more information about and our related sites,


2 Calendar 20 Legal News

22 Capitol Watch

24 Good Governance



From the Top

7 Editor’s Footnote

38 A Final Note

Texas Lone Star • Volume 39, Number 9

Texas Association of School Boards P.O. Box 400 • Austin, Texas • 78767-0400 512.467.0222 • 800.580.8272

Roger White • Managing Editor

Theresa Gage-Dieringer, Assistant Editor Shu-in Powell • Graphic Designer Virginia Hernandez • Photographer Jackie Johnson • Advertising Coordinator 360 Press Solutions • Printer

Texas Lone Star (ISSN 0749-9310) is published 10 times a year by the Texas Association of School Boards. Copyright© 2021 by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). All rights reserved. Reproduction, adaptation, distribution, and exhibition in whole or in part are prohibited under penalty of law without the written license or permission of TASB. Copies of Texas Lone Star are mailed to trustees of TASB member school boards and their superintendents as part of their membership. Subscriptions are available to nonmembers for $36 (1 year), $69 (2 years), and $99 (3 years). Single copies are $5.

Address changes should be sent to Michael Pennant, TASB, P.O. Box 400, Austin, Texas 78767-0400.

Articles in Texas Lone Star are expressions of the author or interviewee and do not represent the views or policies of TASB. Permission to reprint should be emailed to or addressed to the Managing Editor, P.O. Box 400, Austin, Texas 78767-0400.

Texas Lone Star does not guarantee publication of unsolicited manuscripts.

Postmaster: Send address changes to TASB, P.O. Box 400, Austin, Texas 78767-0400.

contact | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 3 Follow us: Features
26 News & Events Contents | November 2021 Web Watch
TASB Online Communications at 512.467.0222
Don’t forget to follow us on social media: on Facebook @tasbpage; on Twitter @tasbnews; and
or 800.580.8272 or visit
8 Assessing Your Effectiveness
Celebrate Our 30 Years With Free, On-demand Investment Officer Training Lone Star Investment Pool is proud to offer our active Lone Star participants free Public Funds Investment Act training through its administrator, First Public. Lone Star Investment Pool — helping school districts succeed for 30 years. 800.558.8875 Free training offer can end at any time. Call your Lone Star representative for details.

What It Takes

School Board Service Involves Feats Of Endurance, Cleverness, Courage

Eight years before her death, my mother, a retired nurse, was asked to give a convocation speech to the 2004 graduating class of Wayne County Community College of Nursing in Detroit, Michigan.

She told two stories worth repeating as I begin my tenure as your board president in a time when many school boards are facing tough challenges.

Stories of Strength

First, she recounted the story of three young Australian Aborigines forcibly separated from their families and sent more than 1,000 miles from home to be trained as domestic servants. Almost as soon as they arrived, the girls, ages 13, 11 and 8, set out for home — a nine-week journey of 1,500 miles through the harsh Australian outback. Naturally, their survival called for endurance, cleverness and courage, qualities that made for an inspiring book and later a critically acclaimed movie, Rabbit-Proof Fence. For my mother, speaking to young graduates embarking on their own journeys, the story of perseverance and resilience seemed appropriate.

The other story my mother recalled was about a girl born in Chireno in Nacogdoches County. The child suffered from rickets, a debilitating bone disease caused by a vitamin D deficiency. Her mother encouraged her to practice dancing for hours every day to build up the strength in her legs. The hard work paid off and led to a career in dance that spanned more than 60 years on Broadway, in television and movies. Her stage name: Ann Miller.

I suspect my mother recalled Miller’s story because the Hollywood star had died that year. She linked it to the story of the Australian girls because both illustrated the importance of endurance, cleverness and courage.

Honored to Serve

As school board members we face challenges that can distract from our mission to provide good governance to ensure a good education for all students, regardless of background. You can endure the long hours and difficult situations that come with your service. You have the cleverness to learn, study and set the vision for positive student outcomes. You have the courage to act in the best interest of students.

Thank you for your resilience, perseverance and hard work. I am honored and humbled to serve alongside my fellow board members and others who believe in the power of public education.

I will close with my mother’s words: “Life is difficult, often painful. Whether you live in the center of the city or on a mountaintop, no matter where you are or who you are, trouble will find you. If you don’t have difficulties in your life today, tomorrow you surely will. Challenges are a natural part of life: They drive our growth, make us inventive, and coax us to explore. Endure, be clever, and have courage.”H | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 5 From the Top
Ted Beard, a Longview ISD trustee, is 2021-22 president of TASB.
I will close with my mother’s words: “Life is difficult, often painful. Whether you live in the center of the city or on a mountaintop, no matter where you are or who you are, trouble will find you...
Challenges are a natural part of life: They drive our growth, make us inventive, and coax us to explore. Endure, be clever, and have courage.”



What Really Matters

The Bottom Line for Public Ed Service: Reaching Every Student in Every Class

When longtime Longview ISD Trustee Ted Beard took office as 2021-22 TASB president at the 2021 TASA | TASB Convention in Dallas recently, he noted that his passion for public education has always boiled down to a simple yet ambitious goal: ensuring that every student in every public school classroom receives the very best education possible.

“For me, my role as TASB president is about others and not about me,” Beard said. “It is the collectiveness of serving along with fellow board members across the state with a common purpose and goal of providing access and opportunities for a quality public school education for all students.”

As Beard and his fellow TASB Board of Directors members work with TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell and a dedicated Association team to provide high-quality services and support this year, a key facet of that mission will be ensuring that local districts have what they need to reach every student.

Texas’s Top Teachers

And on the front lines of each district’s endeavor to reach every student are classroom teachers. This is where “the rubber meets the road.” Recruiting and retaining top-notch teachers is a high priority in any district’s mission statement. It’s often a teacher who makes the difference in a struggling student’s mind.

In that regard, TASB celebrates the newly named Texas Teachers of the Year, announced October 22 by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA).

Ramon Benavides, a high school biology teacher in Ysleta ISD, was named the

2022 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year; and Jennifer Han, a fourth-grade teacher in McAllen ISD, was named the 2022 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year.

Benavides, the son of migrant farmworkers who dropped out of school only to return and become educators in the Rio Grande Valley, says that his parents’ journey was the beginning of his. He’s been passionately sharing the “fascinating world of biology” for the last 12 years at Del Valle High School and El Paso Community College. Han offers bilingual and gifted and talented education in all subjects to fourth graders at Juan Seguin Elementary School in McAllen ISD. She has led initia-

tives for community empowerment and involvement through the district’s Community Youth Development program.

Finalists for the statewide Teacher of the Year honors were:

• Sanford Jeames, Eastside Early College High School, Austin ISD

• Miguel Mendez, Holmgreen Center, Northside ISD

• Ashley Phelps, Andy Woods Elementary School, Tyler ISD

• Bonnie Anderson, Miller’s Point Elementary School, Judson ISD

Award announcements were made during surprise visits to the teachers’ campuses by TASA representatives. Both state-level winners will receive a cash award and a commemorative trophy; they will be honored, along with the other finalists, at a special event in Austin during the TASA Midwinter Conference January 30-February 2, 2022.

TASB sends hearty congratulations to these talented educators!H | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 7
Editor’s Footnote
Public Ed! Copyright 2021 TASB
& Severns
Ahh! You can just feel it in the air!...
Roger White is managing editor of Texas Lone Star
by White
Football season. No, I meant election time.
...The strategy!... ...The bruising interaction!... ...The last-minute comebacks!...

Assessing Your Effectiveness

Where Is Your Board Regarding the Seven Conditions of Student Success?



Editor’s note: This article is the final part of The Seven Conditions of Success series ( that appeared in The Board Update and Texas Lone Star. The previous article, entitled “Professional Learning Communities,” appeared on page 18 of the August 2021 edition of Texas Lone Star.

Research and real-world practices have shown that school boards can have a profound impact on student achievement. For several years, TASB staff have been conducting research into school board behaviors and beliefs that can make a positive difference in student success.

One of the seminal studies on the subject of how school boards can affect student success is the Lighthouse Project. This research study, led by the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB), examined school board-superintendent teams in districts where schools generated unusually high achievement over a period of several years. When they compared those teams to ones in districts experiencing unusually low levels of achievement, they found a significant difference in the teams’ knowledge and beliefs about student success.

During the research, IASB borrowed the terms “moving” and “stuck” from Susan Rosenholtz and her 1989 work to describe the districts in the study. Districts were defined as moving if their student achievement was on the move and above the norm. Districts were identified as stuck if student achievement was relatively stable or below the norm. As you read the assessments regarding the terms moving and stuck for each of the seven areas, you may take the opportunity to informally assess where your board, administration, and district are on the continuum for each of the conditions.

This study and similar research provide compelling evidence about the link between school board practices and student achievement. Armed with the data, TASB began work on the eXceptional Governance (XG) Project to assist districts wanting to improve student success. Building upon the IASB’s work, TASB terms these areas the Seven Conditions for Success. These are areas in which a board’s actions can greatly influence student success. | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 9 UBIRTSID T E D LEADERSHIP
“ Getting everyone on the same page and knowing what we are looking at and what we want to look at — and keeping an eye on those things with constant quarterly updates from the district — provide us with the ability to be able to monitor progress in real time.”
—Amy Gnadt, Allen ISD Board President

The Seven Conditions

So what areas of school district governance are most connected to student achievement? In XG Board Development sessions, the board, superintendent, and staff consider the following seven conditions for success, from the Lighthouse research among others, with the association of moving and stuck areas indicated to help boards assess where their governance team is:

1. Distributed Leadership:

Broad-based and shared leadership to provide direction and focus for the improvement work, featuring strong but sensitive leadership at all levels of the system from dynamic leaders.



• Board members were knowledgeable about the learning conditions in the schools, alternatives for improving education, and the needs of students.

• Board members could mention specific initiatives that were under way and could explain the initiatives and identify specific ways that the board contributed to them.

• Board members described a clear direction and focus on specific goals related to improving reading. Board members could describe the work of staff around the goals in clear, specific terms.

• Board members could describe what was happening in classrooms and with instruction.

• Board members expressed their focus on finding ways to reach all children.

• Board members had high expectations for all students.


• Although some board members said goals and improvement plans existed as written documents, they couldn’t describe how they were being implemented. Some board members mentioned that their districts had goals, but seldom knew what they were. In some cases, board members acknowledged that a specific area — such as reading — was an important area for the district’s efforts but were vague about what was being done and why.

• Board members said it wasn’t their job to know about instruction or they expressed opinions about what was happening in classrooms based on their own child’s experience, their spouse’s experience as a teacher, or some other personal contact.

• Board members indicated student needs were too varied to meet them all.

• Board members had limited expectations for some students.

2. Connections across the System for Continuous Improvement:

A continuous focus on improving education with high levels of involvement and shared decision making, featuring individuals working together because it is important to them to improve education for students.



• Board members seemed to feel an internal desire to improve. They talked about the importance of improving education for the sake of students.

• Board members consistently expressed their belief that all children could learn and gave specific examples of ways that learning had improved as a result of initiatives in the district. Poverty, lack of parental involvement, and other factors were described as challenges to be overcome, not as excuses.

• Board members expected to see improvements in student achievement quickly as a result of initiatives.


• Board members referred to external pressures as the reasons for working to improve. For example, state mandates or “not wanting to have the lowest test scores” were cited as reasons for improvement efforts.

• Board members often focused on factors that they believed kept students from learning, such as poverty, lack of parental support, societal factors, or lack of motivation.

• Board members expected it would take years to see any improvements in student achievement.

10 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 |
“Everything we do as a board we try to do it with regard to something that we know benefits our staff and ultimately our students.”
—Rolinda Schmidt, Kerrville ISD Board President

3. Ability to Create and Sustain Initiatives: A shared understanding about the type of learning culture needed to improve achievement and how to organize the district to make it happen.



• Board members could describe specific ways board actions and goals were communicated to staff, such as a post-board-meeting gathering for teachers and administrators.

• Board members mentioned goal-setting exercises in which the board and superintendent learned and solved problems together.

• Board members could describe structures that existed to support connections and communications within the district. For example, board members could describe teaching teams, faculty committees, and how they related to school improvement initiatives.

• Board members described evidence of regularly learning together as a board. They talked about studying an issue together before making a decision.


• Board members did not describe any clear processes for linking board actions and goals with that of the staff.

• Board members believed the superintendent “owns” information and indicated it was the superintendent’s responsibility to learn, interpret information, and recommend solutions to problems.

• Board members didn’t know or were vague about how teachers and administrators interacted with each other or how teamwork was linked to goals or initiatives. The board assumed this communication was happening. (Staff interviews indicated it was not.)

• Board members did not discuss learning together beyond information that was presented to them by the superintendent or other administrative staff.

4. Supportive Workplace for Staff: In which staff members are supported in ways that help them succeed at improving student learning. Moving:


• Board members expressed a high level of confidence in staff. They made frequent positive comments about staff and could give specific examples of how staff members showed commitment, were improving, and worked to help students learn.

• Board members could identify specific examples of the way the board showed its appreciation for staff, such as recognition at board meetings.

• Board members expressed their belief that changes could happen with existing people, including students, staff, and community.


• Board members tended to make negative statements about the staff, such as identifying the need to change principals or terminate poor teachers. They made few positive comments about staff and seldom indicated how the board recognized staff contributions.

• Board members expressed their belief that new staff members, more involved parents, higher-income families, or perhaps even different students would be needed to positively impact student achievement.

“ We believe that students are in charge of their own learning, so they chart their progress and understand their data folder. And they can tell you everything about the data that belongs to them as it pertains to their learning. It creates a practice within our students at a very young age about how

to get better and how to improve.”
—Julie Cole, Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Board Vice-President
“ Make sure that everyone is on the same page and is speaking the same language. Communication is key.”
—Robin Bullock, Allen ISD Superintendent | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 11

5. Professional Development: An understanding of the purpose for and process of developing people as professionals, including regular schoolwide professional development that is focused on studying teaching and learning.



• Board members described staff development activities in the district and could describe the link between teacher training and board or district goals for students.

• Board members described a belief in the importance of staff development activities focused on student needs.


• Board members described staff development as chosen by individual teachers or as required for teacher certification.

• Board members knew there was a budget for staff development but were unsure whether there was a plan for staff development.

• Board members made frequent disparaging remarks about staff development, both as an expense of time and as an ineffective strategy for changing/improving practice.

“ All the reports that we share with the board at the beginning of the year, middle of the year, and end of the year are about student achievement. We are trying to find the right metrics to see what progress is being made with students — also to identify trouble areas so that we can make modifications.”

6. Balance between Districtwide Direction and School-level Autonomy: Reliance on data to establish a balance between focus and direction from a district perspective with flexibility at the building level to achieve equity across the system.



• Board members talked about receiving information from many sources, including the superintendent, curriculum director, principals, and teachers, along with sources outside the district, such as information about exemplary programs and practices. Information was received by all board members and shared at the board table.

• Board members often referred to student needs — as shown through data about students and groups of students — as the focus for decision making.

• Board members mentioned data on the dropout rate, test scores, and student needs. They talked about receiving information on a routine basis, such as monthly reports.

• Board members could be very clear about their decision-making process in terms of study, learning, reading, listening, receiving data, questioning, discussing, deciding, and evaluating.


• Board members referred to the superintendent as the primary or only source of information.

• Board members discussed concerns that information was not all shared or not shared equally. Some felt left out of the information flow.

• Board members referred to data used in decisions as based on anecdotes and personal experiences. Data on student achievement was received as a report to the board but rarely linked to a decision. The board talked very generally about test scores and relied on the interpretation made by the superintendent.

• Board members generally referred to their decisionmaking process as discussing a recommendation from the superintendent and deciding.

12 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 |
—Mark Foust, Kerrville ISD Superintendent
“ All of this is about holding ourselves accountable and being accountable to our community.”
—Susan Bohn, Aledo ISD Superintendent

7. Strong Community Connection: An understanding of how to generate community involvement and shared responsibility for improvement.


• Board members identified how they had sought ways to connect with and listen to the community.


• Board members expressed pride in their community and in their efforts to involve parents.

• Board members could name specific ways the district was involving parents and community and all indicated a desire for more involvement.


• Board members described parents’ lack of interest and education as a barrier to student learning but identified few actions being taken to improve involvement.

• Board members were less likely to mention specific ways the community was involved and were more likely to express frustration with the lack of involvement. They expressed a belief that there was not much they could do about the level of parentcommunity involvement. They often stated that the lack of involvement was evidence of a lack of interest from parents.

Next Steps

How are your board, staff, and district doing compared to the moving and stuck statements in your informal assessment for each of the Seven Conditions for Success? Where are you doing well? Where can you improve?

You may want to consider your next steps with regard to doing what you can to focus on and improve student achievement. One possible next step is to visit or reach out to TASB’s Board Development Services staff at Ask about how the XG work can assist your board and superintendent team focus on student success.H

Portions of this article were adapted with permission from the Iowa Association of School Boards.

David Koempel is a trustee engagement senior consultant for TASB Board Development Services. | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 13
“Everybody in our community is focused on all students’ success. It is stressed in everything that we do and that we communicate.”
—Steve Johnson, Lockhart ISD Board President

On a Mission

TASB 2021-22 President Follows in Parents’

Footsteps in his Involvement, Leadership

TASB 2021-22 President Ted Beard understands why he’s committed to public education and his community. His parents schooled him from an early age.

“I learned many lessons, two of which were the importance of public education and selfless service,” he said. “They have been my primary motivating factors for getting involved as a school board member.”

A Longview ISD trustee since 1998, Beard first got involved with TASB service as a member of the Risk Management Fund Board in 2007. His eight-year service on the Association’s Board of Directors culminated in September with his election as 2021-22 TASB president at the 2021 TASA | TASB Convention in Dallas.

“For me, my role as TASB president is about others and not about me,” Beard said. “It is the collectiveness of serving along with fellow board members across the state with a common purpose and goal of providing access and opportunities for a quality public school education for all students.”

Leadership is nothing new to the Michigan native, who spent more then 28 years in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve, serving in Desert Shield/Storm and Iraqi Freedom before retiring in 2010 as a decorated sergeant major.

“In the Army, and as a noncommissioned officer, you learn the values of loyalty, duty,

14 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 |
Photos by TASB Media Services Ted Beard, a TASB Board of Directors member for eight years, notes that “for me, my role as TASB president is about others and not about me.”

respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage,” Beard said. “Of those values, I have drawn on selfless service quite frequently as a school board member, putting the needs and welfare of students before the ‘wants’ of adults. This may not be easy at times with adults having personal or group agendas that are not in the best interest of all students. What comes with that is personal courage and integrity to firmly adhere to moral and ethical principles.”

That experience has served him well in a career always focused on people. He graduated from LeTourneau University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in human services. In October 2020, he retired from the Social Security Administration after working as a technical expert and equal employment counselor.

“My initial reason to retire was to take care of my father,” Beard noted. “As the situation changed with my father, I will be able to commit more time to TASB and school board member work. Everything happens for a reason.”

His focus as TASB president will be to continue its tradition of serving the state’s 5.4 million public schoolchildren, especially those who have been historically underserved.

“I would like the Association to continue to provide high-quality and innovative services to meet the needs of school boards and districts as they focus on providing an equitable education to all students,” he said.

Beard added that meeting the needs of Texas schools as they confront the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, related learning loss, and funding issues will be paramount.

“It is imperative that TASB continues to provide various high-quality services to school districts and school boards as they navigate those challenges,” he said.

Beard’s commitment to ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality education was influenced by growing up during the civil rights movement. “I am 57. I was young during the ’60s. My parents gave me personal insights as to what was going on in civil rights and the importance of treating all individuals fairly and with respect.

“My father, who marched in Selma and in Washington in the ’60s, combined with my mother’s stories about her friendship with Betty Shabazz, Malcom X’s widow, gave me an early perspective on civil rights, equality, and equity,” Beard added. “Also, my dad emphasized the importance of the right to vote, and he made sure that he and my mother voted with an informed knowledge of the issues and candidates in every local and national election.”

Putting Student Needs First

Those lessons have come in handy in Longview, where he developed a reputation for expanding opportunities for students and putting their interests first. A 2012 graduate of the Leadership TASB program and past president and current member of the Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members, Beard has served in various capacities on the Longview ISD Board, including assistant secretary, secretary, vice-president, and twice as president. | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 15
TASB 2021-22 President Ted Beard, shown here with Association Executive Director Dan Troxell at a recent TASB Governance Camp, brings years of leadership experience to his role. He has served on the Longview ISD Board since 1998.

During his tenure on the board, the district established a free Montessori program at its elementary campuses in 2008-09 and consolidated the program at the pre-K and kindergarten levels in 2017 by opening the largest certified Montessori campus in the nation. Its mission is to provide a free, high-quality education to all students at an early age.

Additionally, the district implemented a districtwide International Baccalaureate (IB) program that not only provides expanded educational opportunities for students but allows for high-quality IB training for district teachers.

Longview ISD Superintendent James Wilcox noted that Beard’s savvy leadership and decision-making acumen will serve TASB and the Texas public education community well. “Ted is always engaged and never shows up for a meeting unprepared for items on the agenda,” said Wilcox. “One of the ways [he] shows great leadership to the rest of our board is that he always puts student needs ahead of adult desires.”

TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell noted that with Beard at the helm, the Association will be well positioned to meet the needs and challenges of its member districts.

“Ted’s determination to be involved and dedicated to his community, his schools, and the people around him springs from an abiding passion to seek the best possible education for all students,” said Troxell. “His years of service to the students of Longview ISD are an inspiration. I look forward to working with Ted this year in advancing the Association’s Advocacy Agenda and other initiatives.”

Beard credits his longtime work with TASB and its members and staff for preparing him to take on the role of president. “I would say that serving on my local board with Dr. Troy Simmons, a past TASB president, gave me my very first glimpse and eye-opening experience about TASB and its value in advocacy and as a resource for school boards and school districts in educating all students.”

Beard noted that during his years of involvement with TASB, the Association has impressed him with its dedication to the cause of quality public education.

“TASB as an organization has the depth and breadth of an extremely talented team. The combined experience of the TASB team reflects individuals with vast experience not only in the business aspect but also what I call the ‘social pulse,’” he said.

A Collective Passion—and Cheesecake

Though his spare time is scarce, Beard enjoys spending time with family, reading, hunting, and fishing. He and his wife, Rosalind, have been married 30 years and have five children and 12 grandchildren.

A family favorite, handed down from a friend’s parent, is teaching others the fine art of making New York-style cheesecake. “I learned how to make New York-style cheesecake from the mother of a childhood friend in Detroit. For as long as I can remember, she would make one every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I really enjoyed going over to my friend’s house if we were in town during the holidays.

16 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 |
Beard (at center) said his focus as TASB president will be to continue the Association’s longstanding tradition of serving the state’s 5.4 million public schoolchildren.
“Ted’s determination to be involved and dedicated to his community, his schools, and the people around him springs from an abiding passion to seek the best possible education for all students.”
Dan Troxell, TASB
Executive Director
Photo by TASB Media Services

“One year, when I was serving in the Army, I was visiting my parents in Detroit and asked her for the recipe,” Beard added. “My friend’s mother gave me a two-page typed document, which I memorized more than 30 years ago. Occasionally, I will demonstrate how it is made with students in the culinary arts department at Longview High School.”

Beard noted that his service to TASB and his work with school boards across the state has been a rewarding experience: “Collectively, we continue to advocate for an equitably funded public education system for all students. To serve with these individuals makes me proud.”H

Ted Beard’s New York-Style Cheesecake Recipe

3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese

6 eggs (3 to be separated)

1 16-ounce package of sour cream

2/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons of flour

1 tablespoon of lemon juice (fresh-squeezed preferred)

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest

1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


1 stick melted butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon sugar

1 9-inch spring form pan

Prepare Crust

In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and sugar. Be sure to save a little melted butter to thoroughly butter the pan. Slowly mix in butter until consistency of wet sand. Butter pan and place graham crackers in pan, spreading and pressing throughout bottom and a small portion of the sides of the pan. Place some foil around the pan (enough to let the foil cover the bottom and sides). This is to allow the entire pan to sit inside of another pan or casserole dish for a water bath. You can also fill a casserole dish about 3/4 full of water and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Set spring form pan aside and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare Filling

Let cream cheese soften (you may expedite the softening stage by microwaving cream cheese for a few seconds until very soft). Take three eggs and separate whites and yolks with the whites in a separate bowl. Whisk whites with about a tablespoon of sugar until a meringue is formed. Set aside.

For the filling, place cream cheese in main bowl and use low speed with electric mixer to start blending slowly the eggs and the other three yolks from the separation. Begin adding other ingredients while mixing (vanilla, flour, sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest). Mix until ingredients are well-blended and batter has a smooth, creamy texture and look. Carefully fold meringue into mixture. Be careful not to overfold.

Pour mixture into spring form pan and place on top rack. If immersing in water bath, place pan inside of the casserole dish and add water until 3/4 full and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 320 degrees and bake for 55 minutes. When done, turn off oven, crack the oven door, and let cake rest inside oven for about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy! | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 17
Beard’s service to his Longview ISD community includes many hands-on activities, including helping science students’ rocketry projects. Photo courtesy of Longview ISD


A Q&A with State Board of Education Chair Keven Ellis

Editor’s note: State Board of Education Chair Keven Ellis, a former Lufkin ISD trustee, was recently appointed to the Education Commission of the States by Gov. Greg Abbott. Ellis, a chiropractor, was a Lufkin ISD trustee from 2012 to 2016, serving as board president in 2015-16. He left his local board following his election to the State Board in 2016. Along with his service on the Lufkin ISD Board, Ellis was a charter member of the Lufkin ISD Education Foundation.

Ellis has served as State Board chair since September 2019. He is a member of the State Board’s Committee on School Initiatives, which oversees agenda items on topics such as charter schools, State Board for Educator Certification rules, and school board member training. He served as vice-chair of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance, which laid the groundwork for a sweeping new school finance law.

Texas Lone Star recently sat down with Ellis to ask how his local board service has informed his duties and perspective on the State Board, what his recent appointment to the Education Commission of the States entails, and what he views as the State Board’s successes and challenges regarding Texas public education during his tenure.

TLS: What do you consider some of the Texas State Board of Education’s most difficult challenges and greatest successes—and yours personally—during your service?

Ellis: I think my service on the Texas Public School Finance Commission in 2018 was my most difficult challenge, and at the same time, one of my greatest successes. Following the failure of the Legislature to come to an agreement on school finance in 2017, the commission was formed in 2018,

and I was elected to serve as its vice-chair. The challenge was immense, including reconciling the differences between the Senate and the House, updating formulas that had been in place for almost 30 years, determining what programs needed to be funded to increase student outcomes, and determining the amount of new funds needed to bring about real change. Ultimately, the commission unanimously adopted the report that led to the passing of House Bill 3 (a school finance bill passed by the 86th Legislature in 2019 that provided more funds for classrooms, increased teacher compensation, and reduced recapture).

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the Health TEKS revision in 2020 (the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum regarding student health and well-being). The Health TEKS had not been revised in more than 20 years, and you can imagine how much new information and research has come out over that time. Additionally, health education contains many controversial topics. In just two meetings, we had 23 hours of public testimony on this topic. If students are not healthy, they are not in the best position to successfully learn and grow. The new Health TEKS will give students the information they need to make healthy decisions now and in the future.

TLS: What will being named a member of the Education Commission of the States (ECS) entail? What does the Commission do?

Ellis: Each state is able to appoint seven commissioners to the Education Commission of the States. I will be joining Governor Greg Abbott, Senator Larry Taylor, Representative

18 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 |
State Board of Education Chair Keven Ellis, who served as a Lufkin ISD trustee, said his local board service gave him and other State Board members valuable perspective regarding local school district needs and challenges. Photo courtesy of Keven Ellis

Dan Huberty, Representative Morgan Meyer, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, and Higher Education Commissioner Harrison Keller. Among other things, the ECS provides research and reports on education policy and convenes education leaders across the nation to collaborate on best practices. Being a part of the ECS will allow me to learn from education leaders from other states, but more importantly, it will allow me and others to share with the other states the great things that are happening in Texas classrooms.

TLS: How has your experience as a local trustee in Lufkin ISD affected your service/outlook at the state level?

Ellis: Being a trustee for Lufkin ISD afforded me the opportunity to see the needs of our students, our educators, our administrators, and our community members. My role at the State Board is similar in focusing on the needs of those same groups — but on a statewide scale. In fact, a former commissioner of education told me he always felt his best State Board members were former school board members because of the informed perspective they’re able to bring to their work. While the backgrounds of our State Board members are very diverse, six of our 15 board members are former school board trustees. That being said, the needs of Texas public school students will always be my primary focus, and that is why we all do what we do.

TLS: How, in your opinion, has Texas handled the COVID-19 pandemic? Were our schools supported enough? What more could have been done?

Ellis: I think for the most part, everyone did the best they could under the circumstances. In the very beginning, as in any crisis, it fell on those closest to our students to immediately step up to the challenge (and that meant parents and teachers). We saw so many examples of educators doing everything in their power to support their students (e.g., making sure they were fed, coordinating health care services, and making sure they were still able to access their lessons at home, etc.). Then it fell on our districts to find resources such as handheld learning devices and reliable internet service for our students to go fully virtual. Through the leadership of Governor Abbott, Commissioner Morath, our State Board members, and superintendents, and through the advent of Operation Connectivity and creative solutions to enable remote learning (in combination with the work of our educators), learning loss, while pronounced, was greatly mitigated. For obvious logistical reasons, it took time for state and federal resources to get to our school systems; yet due to the heroic work of our teachers, our students continued to be well-supported throughout the pandemic. The next challenge for boards and administrators is to make smart decisions to turn ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds into the resources our students need for their short- and longterm learning recovery.

TLS: Would you recommend State Board of Education service to other local school trustees?

Ellis: I absolutely would. I think the State Board is a natural extension of what local trustees do at the district level, yet there is a tradeoff to serving at the state level. For example,

when I served on my local school board, I continually had opportunities to visit with our students and teachers and it was easier to regularly receive feedback from the students I was representing. At the state level, it’s not that we lack opportunities to visit with students and educators, but it’s just not as regular an occurrence. The difference is this — in my current role, I make decisions that do not simply benefit the 8,000 students of Lufkin ISD but have an impact on the state’s 5.4 million public school students.

TLS: How has your service on the State Board affected your thoughts on public education and board service?

Ellis: It constantly reminds me of the power of public education. As local school board members, we focused on the needs of our students and how improving education at the district level would benefit our community as a whole. Now, I am focused on how improving public education for all Texas students is critical to the future of our state. The last few years have seen many technology, engineering, and manufacturing companies relocate from other states to Texas. These companies are counting on a well-educated workforce — and we need to ensure that our students are well-prepared.

Additionally, it has confirmed to me that public education should not be partisan, even though we must run with an “R” or a “D” next to our name. We must always keep the focus on what is best for students.

TLS: Are there any changes that you would like to see with regard to duties or authority of the State Board?

Ellis: A longtime observer of the State Board recently told me he felt the board is currently operating at its highest level in quite some time. Earlier this century, the board had some of its duties and authority stripped from it as it often made headlines for all the wrong reasons. In fact, just a couple of sessions ago, a senator carried a bill to abolish the State Board. Yet, starting under the leadership of Chair Barbara Cargill in 2011, and then under Chair Donna Bahorich in 2015, the perception of the board started to change. In my school board training, we learned that the best board-superintendent relationship is not a strong board and weak superintendent or a weak board and strong superintendent, but a strong board and strong superintendent relationship that helps boost student outcomes.

From my perspective, the same applies to our situation, with the best scenario being a strong Commissioner of Education and a strong State Board.H | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 19
Now, I am focused on how improving public education for all Texas students is critical to the future of our state.

Student Health Ed Update

A Q&A about the School Health Advisory Councils and Sex Education

In Texas, the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) is the committee that the board of trustees of each school district must appoint to assist the district in ensuring that local community values are reflected in the district’s health education instruction.

The board of trustees must appoint at least five members to the SHAC. The majority of the SHAC must consist of parents of students enrolled in the district who are not also district employees. One of the parent members shall serve as chair or co-chair of the council. The board of trustees also may appoint one or more persons from various community groups, including classroom teachers, certified school counselors, administrators, students, health care professionals licensed or certified to practice in Texas (including medical or mental health professionals),

the business community, law enforcement, senior citizens, the clergy, nonprofit health organizations, and local domestic violence programs.1

The SHAC is required to meet at least four times each year.2

Q: What does the SHAC do?

A: The SHAC is responsible for making policy recommendations to the board on a wide variety of issues regarding student health in district programming and curriculum, including the number of hours of instruction to be provided in health education; appropriate policies, procedures, strategies, and curriculum to prevent physical and mental health concerns, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and suicide; strategies for integrating health curriculum components in a coordinated school health program for the

district; if feasible, joint-use agreements or strategies for collaboration between the school district and community organizations or agencies; and strategies to increase parental awareness regarding risky student behaviors and early warning signs of suicide risks and behavioral health concerns, including mental health disorders and substance use disorders.3

Notably, the SHAC is also responsible for making recommendations to the board regarding appropriate grade levels and methods of instruction for human sexuality instruction.4

Q: Do school districts in Texas have to offer sex education?

A: Not exactly. A school district board

20 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 | Legal News

of trustees may decide to provide instruction on human sexuality, in consultation with the SHAC, but the course is not required as part of the state curriculum. However, in 2020, the State Board of Education (SBOE) updated the state health curriculum for the first time in more than 20 years, adding standards to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that include age-appropriate instruction on sexual and reproductive health in certain grades. The SBOE declined to add to the TEKS proposed standards to address sexual orientation, gender identity, and the concept of consent.

Not every school district requires high school students to complete health

credits for graduation. Therefore, the health TEKS are required only for many students up to eighth grade.

If a district provides human sexuality instruction, Texas Education Code Section 28.004 requires such instruction to emphasize abstinence and prohibits distributing condoms. Districts must require written parental permission to provide human sexuality instruction to a student and may provide sex education to male and female students separately.

Q: How did the 87th Texas Legislature change the law regarding the SHAC and human sexuality instruction?

A: In 2021, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1525, requiring more public access to the SHAC and increasing procedural requirements for school districts that offer human sexuality instruction.

Under Texas Education Code Section 28.004, school districts must provide written notice to parents before each school year of the board of trustees’ decision regarding whether the district will provide human sexuality instruction to students. If instruction will be provided, the notice must include a statement informing the parent of the instructional requirements under state law; a “detailed description” of the content of the instruction to be provided and a general schedule for its provision; a statement of the parents’ rights to review and/or purchase curriculum materials, to remove the student from any part of the district's

human sexuality instruction without penalty, and to use the local grievance process or Texas Education Agency complaint procedures to complain about a violation of this law; and a statement that any portion of the district’s human sexuality curriculum that is in the public domain (i.e., noncopyrighted) must be posted on the district’s website. Schools must also notify parents about how they can get involved in the development of the curriculum.5

The recently amended law also requires public notice for meetings of the SHAC similar to requirements for board meetings under the Texas Open Meetings Act. The SHAC must now post notice of each meeting 72 hours in advance on a bulletin board in the district’s central administrative office and the district’s website and must keep minutes along with an audio or video recording, all of which is to be posted on the district’s website.6

School boards must adopt a policy regarding a process for adoption of materials for human sexuality instruction. The policy must require at least two public meetings of the SHAC, which will then make recommendations to the board, which will take action “by a record vote at a public meeting.”7 The board must ensure that the curriculum materials are (1) based on advice from the SHAC: (2) suitable for the subject and grade level: and (3) reviewed by academic experts in the subject and grade level.8 The curric-

(See Health Ed, page 29.) | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 21
ISD participated in XG Board Development.
how your board can participate in XG at
Board Development team would like to congratulate Aledo ISD for being named the 2021 Outstanding School Board.

Making Your Voices Heard

Delegate Assembly Updates TASB 2020-22 Advocacy Agenda

School board members from around the state adopted revisions to TASB’s 2020-22

Advocacy Agenda on September 25 during the TASA | TASB Convention in Dallas. The current agenda will continue to guide TASB’s advocacy efforts during the interim of the 87th Legislative Session, including any special-called sessions that may occur.

Delegates made their voices — and those of their students and districts — heard on issues ranging from school

finance to educational equity to charter schools.

New Resolutions

The TASB Board did not recommend any changes to the TASB Cornerstone Principles or Priorities but did recommend adoption of 34 new Resolutions. The Resolutions, which guide TASB on issues that may come before the Legislature or regulatory agencies, address issues such as increasing per-pupil funding to the national average, not limiting instruction

and discussion of history and social studies, supporting students receiving special education services, granting more oversight of charter schools to the State Board of Education, and protecting the State Board’s authority over curriculum standards.

Delegates adopted 33 of the proposed amendments, voting down a resolution that would allow districts that perform well in the state accountability system to opt out of state mandates. The current Advocacy Agenda will remain in effect until the 2022 Delegate Assembly adopts the 2022-24 agenda next September.

The full Advocacy Agenda may be found at

Third Special Session

The Texas House and Senate adjourned sine die October 19 after passing their remaining redistricting maps and other priority bills.

Of note to school board members, the Legislature passed a property tax relief bill that will increase the homestead exemption if Texas voters approve the measure in May 2022. Originally, the Legislature was considering property tax relief in the form of a mandatory school tax compression or checks sent directly to homeowners.

22 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 | Capitol Watch

The bill that passed seeks to increase the state’s homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 and will cost the state approximately $600 million per year. The state would provide a hold harmless for school district taxes.

Lawmakers also passed legislation that would require students to participate in University Interscholastic League athletics according to their birth sex. Females would still be able to participate in sports designated for males if there is no corresponding team for females.

The Legislature is not expected to meet again until January 2023 unless called into special session by the governor.H

SHARS Policy Changes: Are You Ready? With a SHARS program subscription, you’ll always be ready when changes occur. 888.630.6606
“Education is the movement from darkness to light.”
—Allan Bloom

New Possibilities

Evidence-based Board Self-assessment Opens Doors to District Student Success

Editor’s note: This three-part series addresses evidence-based governance. Part One, which appeared in the August 2021 edition, highlighted three core governance areas and governance studies. Part Two, which appeared in the September/October 2021 edition, featured examples of Texas school boards putting practices into action. Part Three invites boards to take a deeper look at additional core governance areas and assess governance practices against an evidence-based standard.

Part Two of this series highlighted examples of how two Texas school boards leveraged specific key governance practices to produce highly desirable outcomes for their district. For boards committed to understanding and practicing effective governance, taking an evidence-based assessment is a great first step.

As noted in Part One, research comparing achieving districts to struggling districts set the stage for understanding governance practices that impact student learning. Some boards use this information to develop their own custom assessment and modify their assessment annually based on new learning. Other boards take advantage of comprehensive assessments developed by other institutions or researchers committed to understanding effective governance. Either option enables a board to hold itself accountable for practicing governance that improves student outcomes.

Board Self-Assessment

At a minimum, an evidence-based board self-assessment should gauge

board attitudes and actions in the areas of governance and roles, vision, structure, accountability, and advocacy. These core areas encompass key elements of the State Board of Education Framework for School Board Development. Texas statute requires boards to annually assess their continuing education needs in relation to the State Board framework. By choosing a high-quality, evidence-based assessment, a board can check its performance while meeting training requirements.

Practices and behaviors in the area of governance and roles might be foundational, such as delegating authority to the superintendent to manage district operations. Honoring respective roles is a must if leadership teams want to build effective governance habits.

Other behaviors a high-quality assessment might evaluate in the area of governance and roles relate to professionalism and interpersonal relationships between board members. Do board members treat one another, community members, and district personnel with respect? As noted in Part One of this series, researchers observed that leaders in what we termed as “stuck” districts speak quite differently about their system and people compared to leaders in “moving” districts.

Boards have an opportunity to express high expectations for their system by adopting a vision for the district. Assessing performance in this area of governance should not only check for the presence of a vision statement but also assess for policies and goal-monitoring practices that support progress toward the vision.

Board Actions and Impact

Some board actions might seem routine but still have tremendous impact on the system. These actions fall under the governance area of structure. Ensuring that safety protocols and standards are in place and routinely evaluated or adopting a budget that considers the district’s challenges are examples of behaviors that create structure for student success. Without thoughtful action by the board, the learning environment might fail to fully support high student achievement.

Actions that fall under the category of accountability are most closely tied to student achievement. A good assessment evaluates whether a board is performing actions such as adopting superintendent goals based on student outcomes and regularly monitoring student progress toward specific learning goals.

Only the board can hold the superintendent accountable for districtwide progress. Boards should make assessing practices related to accountability a priority.

24 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 |
Good Governance

The Community and the Board Community members take on a unique leadership role when they join the board. The newly added dimension of board service puts community members in a strategic position to advocate for the district as they promote the district in various social circles. Assessing a board’s effectiveness in advocacy means evaluating how well the board informs the community about district happenings and engaging the community on education decisions that impact them.

These examples demonstrate ways an evidence-based assessment can help your board evaluate its current governance practices. Boards can email for details about these five governance areas and options for complete evidence-based board self-assessments.

With the information available today on effective governance, boards do not have to guess if their team’s actions will have positive impact on their system. Boards can know and do the things related to improving student outcomes now. Setting high expectations for the system and practicing key governance behaviors supported by research are two things your board can do immediately to improve student outcomes in your district.

Take the challenge to evaluate your board practices using an evidence-based assessment and open your team to new possibilities the results provide.H

Orin Moore is a TASB Board Development consultant. | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 25
NEED QUICK ANSWERS TO LEGAL QUESTIONS? TASB Legal Services can help with Quick Guides. Our School Official’s Quick Guide series offers convenient flip-chart publications that cover the basics on:
Nepotism and Other Conflicts of Interest
Texas Open Meetings Act
Grievances Visit to order or to find out more.

Selfless Service

Texas Public School Volunteers Earn State Board Heroes for Children Award

Launching a special education parent-teacher organization that supports parents of children with disabilities, securing financial sponsorships to provide critical scholarships, creating a foundation to provide grants for livestock projects, and taking free professional photos of a local school’s special events — these are just a few examples of volunteer activities performed by the 15 recipients of the State Board of Education’s (SBOE) 2021 Heroes for Children Award, announced in September.

Collectively, award recipients have donated 210 years of service to Texas public schools and communities. Every year, one outstanding school volunteer is selected by each of Texas’s 15 SBOE members to receive this award.

The SBOE has now recognized 495 Texans with this prestigious award since its inception in 1994.

Award winners for 2021 are:

Stephen Hambric, Socorro ISD, District 1. Hambric, a volunteer at Socorro ISD for the last 38 years, chairs the Socorro ISD Excellence in Education Scholarship Foundation’s scholarship committee. The foundation has provided more than 40 students with scholarships worth more than $508,000.

Mayra Lozano, La Joya ISD, District 2. Lozano created a social media forum that gave district parents much-needed resources and ways to help each other during the pandemic. She has volunteered for the past five years, dedicating more than 480 hours to the community.

Isaiah Riebeling, Yoakum ISD, District 3. Riebeling, a local firefighter, made special connections with students at the Dewitt-Lavaca Special Education Cooperative, which serves nine school

districts in the area. His volunteer work during the pandemic included constructing a picnic table for students and donating in-kind and cash donations that directly benefited students and staff.

Terence Narcisse, Galena Park ISD, District 4. Narcisse has been a community volunteer for the past 13 years through his service at the East Harris County Empowerment Council, which he founded in 2008. His fundraising efforts

benefited thousands of schoolchildren in Galena Park ISD and East Harris County school districts with food and school supplies.

Derrick Townsend, Austin ISD, District 5. Townsend is a role model to dozens of students, many of whom he has mentored in 30 years. He has been involved with and served leadership roles in local groups such as Dad’s Club, Men in Education, and his church community.

Beki Perkins, Klein ISD, District 6. Perkins serves on various steering committees for Klein ISD and as an operator of Klein’s SafeWay Driving program. She serves in the Unite for Understanding Council that emphasizes the “No Place for Hate” program that celebrates diversity, inclusivity, love, and tolerance.

Eileen Crues, Friendswood ISD, District 7. Crues launched the Friendswood ISD Special Education ParentTeacher Organization eight years ago with a focus on connecting, providing resources, and supporting parents of

(See Service, page 28.)

26 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 | News & Events | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 27 TASB Conference for Administrative Professionals l February 10–11, 2022 (repeat of October event) Join us at TASB Headquarters in Austin! Check for program details and registration information. SAVE THE DATE! Benefits for everyone. Easy and Affordable Healthcare Options You now have a choice when it comes to healthcare for your district. Contact the TASB Benefits Cooperative about a new choice: The TASB Benefits Health Plan. What you can expect: • Multiple Plan Options • Local, Dedicated Account Team • Equity Renewal Credits • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas Network • Wellness and Incentive Programs 800.558.8875

children with disabilities. As liaison, she played a significant role in hosting a districtwide annual art show that raised approximately $20,000 to date to benefit special education students and classrooms across the district.

Harvey Oyler, Goose Creek CISD, District 8. Oyler, serving as chair of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown’s Partners in Education program, demonstrated his leadership in support of students and staff at the district’s Alamo Elementary School, especially during the challenging year of the pandemic.

Anna Marie Hornsby, Pleasant Grove ISD, District 9. Hornsby has served in numerous volunteer capacities in Pleasant Grove, including involvement as athletic and drill team booster club officer, Health Advisory Committee member, and Pleasant Grove ISD Education Foundation founding member. She helped the athletic booster club raise more than $100,000 to support student extracurricular activities.

Terri Romere, Travis/Williamson Counties, District 10. Romere, a former

Round Rock ISD trustee, showed her support of local students’ livestock projects by creating the Raise ‘Em Up Foundation — with the mission of providing programmatic and financial support for agriculture students to learn valuable life skills.

Randy Cutshall, Weatherford ISD, District 11. Cutshall uses his photography talent to offer his time to the Weatherford ISD community, where his volunteer service is captured by his camera on the sidelines on fall Friday nights. Cutshall is present at most extracurricular events, including graduation, where he takes hundreds of action photos and shares them on social media.

Jon Boyd, Allen ISD, District 12. As local fire chief, Boyd consistently looks for opportunities to partner with the district

Focused training from expert staff

Our special populations training opportunities are free or low cost with a Student Solutions membership. Sessions are SBEC and CPE eligible. Visit studentsolutions to learn more and register.

and support students and staff. In the early days of the pandemic, Boyd regularly hosted emergency planning conference calls and ensured that Allen ISD had a voice at the table. His insight was invaluable as district leaders assessed the early numbers of active COVID-19 cases and made plans for the school year.

Opal Lee, Fort Worth ISD, District 13. A retired teacher, counselor, and activist in the movement to make Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday, Lee is often described as the “grandmother of Juneteenth.” She wrote a children’s book to help educate youth on Juneteenth and its importance and walked many miles in her quest to draw attention to the significance of the day.

Mary Ann Jack, Copperas Cove ISD, District 14. As a founding member of the


28 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 |
Service (from page 26)
“These Heroes for Children, and all those like them, are helping our local schools change the lives of our children every day. We are so thankful for these dedicated volunteers.”

Achieve optimal staffing efficiency and effectiveness

An HR Services Staffing Review examines staffing practices within the context of the district priorities and provides a road map for decision makers.

Areas reviewed include:

• Administrators

• Professional support

• Classroom teachers

• Educational aides

• Clerical support

Five Hills Scholarship Program, Jack has put her stamp on its fundraising efforts and scholarship sponsorship initiatives. Under her guidance, the program awarded more than $110,000 in scholarships and prizes in 2021.

Amy Punchard, Lubbock-Cooper ISD, District 15. As president of the Lubbock-Cooper Education Foundation, Punchard recently led the district’s most successful fundraising concert to date. Over the course of the foundation’s existence, approximately $900,000 has been contributed to the classrooms in the form of innovative grants and scholarships.

“I am so inspired by the stories of the Heroes for Children,” said SBOE Chair Keven Ellis. “With everything our students have been through the last couple of years, now more than ever we appreciate how important our schools are to their local communities. These Heroes for Children, and all those like them, are helping our local schools change the lives of our children every day. We are so thankful for these dedicated volunteers.”H

• Athletics

• Special education

• Operations and facilities

• Student nutrition


Health Ed (from page 21)

ulum materials must then be made available as called for by the statute.9 “Curriculum materials” include teacher training material.10

Under prior law, a parent had the right to opt a student out of human sexuality instruction. Now, schools must obtain written parental consent before providing human sexuality instruction to a student. A district’s request for parental consent may not be included with any other notification or request, other than the notice about human sexuality instruction. The notice must be provided to the parents at least 14 days before instruction is to begin.11 The law defines “human sexuality instruction” to include instruction in reproductive health.12

Q: Where can I get more information or resources?

A: The Texas Department of State Health Services has created a School

Health Advisory Council website (https:// with information about how to start, run, and maintain a SHAC. In addition, TASB Policy Service will provide a sample board resolution to convene a SHAC and a sample parent consent form for human sexuality instruction in an upcoming update to the TASB Regulations Resource Manual.H

1Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(d).

2Tex. Educ. Code §28.004 (d-1).

3Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(c).

4Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(c)(3).

5Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(i).

6Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(d-1).

7Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(e-1).

8Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(e-3).

9Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(e-2).

10Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(p)(1).

11Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(i-2).

12Tex. Educ. Code §28.004(p)(2).

Sarah Orman is lead attorney for TASB Legal Services. | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 29

Ideas, Insight, Inspiration

Public Education Leaders Gather in Dallas for 2021 TASA | TASB Convention

School board members, superintendents, administrators, and other local school leaders from across the state came together September 24-26 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas for txEDCON21 TASA | TASB Convention.

The premier event for education policymakers in Texas featured new learning and networking opportunities and the time-honored lineup of General Sessions, exhibits, and displays.

Highlights included inspiring presentations by executive coach Sylvia Baffour, aerospace engineer Shayla Rivera, and mind-wellness expert Jessica Rector, as well as rousing entertainment by students from Fort Bend ISD and Sunnyvale ISD.

Top award winners were 2021 Superintendent of the Year H.T. Sanchez of Plainview ISD, 2021 Outstanding School Board Award winner Aledo ISD, and 2021 Advocate of the Year Tracy Fisher of Coppell ISD.

Opposite page, aerospace engineer Shayla Rivera addresses the Second General Session audience; at top left, outgoing TASB President Jim Rice (at left) of Fort Bend ISD hands the president’s gavel to 2021-22 President Ted Beard of Longview ISD; at top right, Plainview ISD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez accepts the 2021 Superintendent of the Year Award; at center, Outstanding School Board honorees from Aledo ISD include (front from left) Trustees Julie Turner, Jennifer Loftin, David Lear, (back from left) Vice-President Jessica Brown, President Hoyt Harris, Superintendent Susan Bohn, Secretary Forrest Collins, and Trustee Jennifer Taylor; at bottom, lively entertainment provided by students greeted attendees between sessions.

Photos by TASB Media Services | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 31

High Marks

PDK Poll: Majority of Americans Support Public Schools’ Response to the Pandemic

The 53rd annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Schools reveals that despite the challenges of the pandemic, Americans continue to have high opinions of their local schools — and teachers, in particular. Similarly, respondents are highly confident overall in their local schools’ ability to handle potential challenges in the new school year.

Poll results, released in September, showed that about two-thirds of adults overall, and as many K-12 public school parents, give their community’s public school teachers an A or B grade for their pandemic response. Sixty-three percent of parents and 54 percent of all adults give their local public schools an A or B grade.

When asked how well the public schools nationally have performed during the pandemic, only about four in 10 adults give an A or B grade; this is consistent with past PDK polls, which

have indicated that American adults have much more favorable opinions of their local public schools than of public schools in general.

Parents Remain Confident

“The results offer a rare glimmer of hope at a difficult time. Not only have the nation’s educators persevered through the hardest school year in memory, but most Americans — especially parents with children in the public schools — remain confident in their local schools’ ability to provide effective instruction and leadership. Educators ought to keep in mind just how well-regarded they are in their community,” said Joshua P. Starr, CEO of PDK International.

Other findings indicate that 67 percent of the public feel that their community’s public schools will be prepared to help students catch up on the academics they missed (a number that rises to 74

percent among public school parents) and that 63 percent of the public feel their community’s public schools will be prepared to help students deal with the social-emotional impacts of the pandemic.

The longest running public opinion poll in the United States, this year’s poll was conducted from June 25 to July 5. Based on a random representative sample of 1,018 adults, including 190 parents of children in K-12 public schools, the survey was conducted in English and Spanish via the probability-based Ipsos KnowledgePanel®, which randomly recruits participants via address-based sampling to take surveys online.

Other Findings

Other notable findings from this year’s poll include:

• People whose community’s public schools maintained chiefly in-

A conversation about education

Share your voice.

Share your story.

Share your talent.



Here are three ways to amplify the voices of your students at TASB’s fan-favorite annual Governance Camp* conference: Participate in our student expo featuring a variety of student projects and programs. Present a student-led session featuring a message or a program you think Texas trustees should hear about.


Have your students apply for our scholarship and continue the conversation by participating in our annual student panel featuring scholarship winners. Applications and more information about all three opportunities can be found at

*Your student(s) would need to be available to travel to Galveston and participate in Governance Camp on Friday, March 4, 2022.

32 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 |

person instruction are more apt than those whose schools went fully remote to give an A or B rating to their schools and teachers.

• Confidence about the year ahead is higher among K-12 public school parents than the general public. They are 7 percent more confident that their community’s schools will be prepared to help students catch up on academics (74 percent to 67 percent) and 12 points more likely than adults overall (46 percent to 34 percent) to be very confident that their public schools will be prepared to open fully.

• When given three options to select as the biggest challenge for local public school students in the year

ahead, a plurality of adults (47 percent) cite catching up academically. Three in 10 think the biggest challenge will be readjusting to regular school schedules and routines, and approximately two in 10 select dealing with the social-emotional impacts of the pandemic.

• People whose public schools mainly used a hybrid model in the 2020-21 school year are seven to 17 points more apt than those with fully remote schools to be confident in their schools’ preparedness to reopen this fall, to help students catch up on academics, and to deal with social-emotional impacts.H | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 33 Advertise in Texas Lone Star!
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Cream of the Crop

26 Texas Schools Named Blue Ribbon Winners

Twenty-six Texas schools were among 325 schools named as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in September.

National Blue Ribbon recognition by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps.

The Texas schools named as National Blue Ribbon Schools (alphabetical by district) are:

• Atlanta ISD: Atlanta Elementary School

• Brazosport ISD: A.P. Beutel Elementary School

• Brownsville ISD: Gallegos Elementary School; Mittie A Pullam Elementary School

• Dallas ISD: Kathlyn Joy Gilliam

Collegiate Academy; Trinidad Garza Early College High School at Mountain View

• Dickinson ISD: Calder Road

Elementary School

• Diocese of Dallas: Christ The King Catholic School

• El Paso ISD: Clendenin Elementary School; Hawkins Elementary School; Lamar Elementary School

• Hidalgo ISD: Hidalgo Elementary School

• Houston ISD: North Houston

Early College High School

• Klondike ISD: Klondike High School

• Logos Preparatory: Logos

Preparatory Academy

• McAllen ISD: Achieve Early College High School

• Mesquite ISD: Porter Elementary School

• Navarro ISD: Navarro Elementary School

• Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD: Zeferino Farias Elementary School

• San Antonio ISD: Young Women’s Leadership Academy

• South Texas ISD: South Texas

Preparatory Academy; South Texas

ISD Rising Scholars Academy

• Spearman ISD: Spearman Junior

High School

• Valley Mills ISD: Valley Mills Elementary School

• Ysleta ISD: Ramona Elementary School; Vista Hills Elementary School

‘Rich Teaching and Learning’

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Cardona. “I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”

Cardona added that the National Blue Ribbon Schools award “affirms the hard and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.”

Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories based on student scores, subgroup student scores, and graduation rates:

• Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest-performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

• Exemplary Achievement GapClosing Schools are among their state’s highest-performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The USDE invites National Blue Ribbon Schools nominations from

the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.

For more information about the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, visit index.html.H | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 35 TASB’s Executive Search Services is currently accepting applications for the positions listed below: For information about vacancies or services provided by TASB’s Executive Search Services, call 800.580.8272, email, or visit Mathis ISD. Superintendent. Application deadline: December 8

to Honor Trustees for ‘Rising Above’

With school boards in the news more than ever, School Board Recognition Month (SBRM), set for January 2022, shouldn’t just be business as usual. “We think it’s a perfect opportunity to recognize our school board members for their hard work and commitment to improving outcomes for students across the state,” said Dan Troxell, TASB executive director.

The 2022 School Board Recognition Month theme, “Rising Above,” is especially apt, given that many school board members are facing unprecedented challenges in trying to navigate controversial topics in K-12 education.

Troxell noted that with all the headlines, it would be easy to get the wrong impression of what school boards actually do. “Here at TASB, we want to bring the focus back to the key work of school board members, who are elected to help their districts establish a strategic plan, create budgets, and select and evaluate their superintendent.”

TASB’s School Board Recognition Month planning kit helps districts honor their trustees. The kit includes sample news releases, social media graphics, and more. Visit to get started.H

36 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 | Locating exemplary leaders and visionaries to take your district to the next level. The TASB Executive Search Services Difference: Hands-on, relationship-focused service Broad local and state knowledge Personalized and thorough search process Education industry specialist Satisfaction guaranteed 800.580.8272


Through specialized schools; Head Start early childhood education; afterschool programs; school-based therapy services; and a scholastic art and writing awards program, HCDE makes a BIG impact on Harris County communities.


The Way Forward

TASB Offers Toolkit to Help Boards Navigate These Challenging Times

School board meetings have always been events where critical issues have been passionately discussed and debated. Working for two school districts over seven years, I often had a front-row seat when hot topics inspired parents and community members to address their school board — everything from bond referendums to school boundary changes.

This work was contentious at times. When compared, though, to the shouting matches, threats, and lack of decorum some school boards have experienced recently, it’s clear that there are unique and extraordinary challenges today for elected officials at the local level.

So, what’s the answer? What's the way forward?

Here at TASB, we believe the way forward is the continued advancement of public school efforts that help ensure all students are successful. That's the only way our great state will be able to ensure all Texas communities are successful today, tomorrow, and in the future.

That's why we released A Toolkit for Divisive Times, with the goal of making sure trustees have practical and flexible strategies for dealing with divisive times.

For us, this toolkit is about enabling local school boards to do the work they were called to do — ensuring all students are provided the opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

Here is a high-level overview of the toolkit:

First up is a section called Equity — What It Is and What It Isn’t. As many of you know, equity has become a controversial term in some communities

because it’s been confused with critical race theory. Hopefully, the practical tips and examples for explaining educational equity provided in the toolkit will help us work together to clear up the confusion and reclaim this important K-12 term. Next up, the toolkit outlines five core strategies for advancing your district’s mission while also navigating topics that are dividing some communities. While each of these strategies can be used independently, they’re most powerful when used together and consistently over time.

Stay Student Focused

Amid a heated debate, remember that students are your most important stakeholders. There is no better way to refocus a conversation than to bring it back to the students and how your actions are important for the success of all students.

Monitor Your Environment, But Avoid Opinion Wars

In times of heightened divisiveness, you need to be aware of what the buzz is. Watch for upticks in conversations on social media to better understand how your community members feel about particular issues or initiatives. Many of you have been doing this for years, and it’s simply part of your daily routine. If it isn’t, please consider adding this practice to your work.

Welcome Difficult Conversations

Be proactive! Don’t wait for difficult conversations to come to you. Instead, get out in front of a hot topic when possible. This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s the best approach for creating an environment where conversations

are productive, not destructive. Critical conversations are always difficult, but avoiding them is not a long-term strategy that works.

Leverage Front-line Stories

Show, don’t tell. When the data points to a success in your district, find a way to humanize and tell that story with the students, teachers, and administrators who can bring that accomplishment to life. Positive front-line stories about what’s happening in the schools are one of the most effective ways to build trust.

Lean on Unifying Messages

It’s clear that hyperpolarized tensions aren’t likely to disappear any time soon, so it’s important to look for common ground. Recent research commissioned by TASB shows that most everyone supports the closing of achievement gaps for the future economic success of our state. Texans also agree that special assistance should be provided to students who are failing classes.

If you find any of these strategies useful, check out the rest of our toolkit for board members. We recognize that the work of our Texas school boards in today’s divisive environment often feels overwhelming.

It’s important to remember that this moment in history, defined by contentious issues, is not unique. School boards have frequently navigated through the most difficult topics by staying focused on student success. This is your mission, your calling, and TASB is here to help.H

38 Texas Lone Star | November 2021 | A Final Note
Tiffany Dunne-Oldfield

New Board Member Launch

A road map to success for new board members

• Quick Tips for New School Board Members webinar, December 8

• New Board Member Launch virtual learning bundle

w Virtual seminar, January 19

w Registration includes bonus content available anytime in the Online Learning Center, such as required trainings like Texas Open Meetings Act.

Board Officers’ Academy

The skills board officers need to lead effectively

• A Journey to Excellence: Board Officers’ Academy Remote Coaching

w Multiweek learning experience, begins January 17

• Getting Started as a Board Officer webinar, December 14

• Board Officers’ Academy virtual learning bundle

w Anytime learning in the OLC, begins December 15

w Virtual workshop, January 11

w Virtual panel discussion, January 28 | November 2021 | Texas Lone Star 39 Focus on
For information on any of these offerings: 800.580.8272, ext. 2453 • • TASB helps Texas school boards focus on what’s best for their students and communities. Visit to learn more about New Board Member Launch and Board Officers’ Academy.
what really matters!

Texas Association of School Boards

P.O. Box 400

Austin, Texas 78767-0400

MARCH 2–5, 2022




Curated sessions to support your learning journey as a leader and trustee


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Opportunities to mix and mingle with session presenters and TASB staff


Texas students share their educational experiences, opinions, and ideas to help guide your work as a trustee

Does your board or district have a unique presentation to share with Texas trustees? We want to hear about it! Email to share your idea.

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