January is School Board Recognition Month in Texas and Galena Park ISD celebrated the occasion in grand style on Jan. 8 by honoring all 81 dedicated men and women who served on the Galena Park ISD Board of Trustees since the district’s inception in 1930.
Almost two dozen former trustees and their families attended the ceremony which featured an unveiling of a three-foot wide, four-foot tall wood and brass plaque that features the names and years of service of every trustee in Galena Park ISD history and will be permanently mounted in the district’s Board Room.
“Salaries for teachers and principals have all changed in the last 77 years, but board members salaries have not changed,” said Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools, during the unveiling of the plaque. “The fine men and women that we are recognizing tonight have donated hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of service to the community and students of Galena Park ISD.”
Dr. Henry then called out the name of every trustee, or family member representing a trustee, in chronological order while Jeff Miller, current president of the Board of Trustees, presented each honoree with a certificate. The first trustee honored was J.W. Davis who served on the very first Board from 1930-1932. Family members Dorothy Havard and Johnnie Beth Sargent accepted the certificate on his behalf. Havard and Sargent are related to another former trustee, Neal Hogue, who served in 1940 is their uncle.
Betty Austin accepted the award for former trustee G.C. Fuller, who served from 1950-1963. Fuller, along with trustee Sam Adams who served from 1951-1963, were instrumental in the passage of school bonds to build the original North Shore High School on Holly Park, which opened in 1962.
Ruth Tice accepted the certificate for Kenneth Tice who served on the Board from 1957-1976. Tice chaired the committee to provide air conditioning for all district campuses.
Johnnie Rountree, current director of the GPISD Education Foundation, was honored for his 29 years of service. Rountree, who was named the Texas School Trustee of the Year for 1996-1997, served on the GPISD Board from 1963-1966, 1968-1984 and 1990-1997.
Another longtime trustee, James B. Havard, was honored for serving from 1966-1994.
Almatha C. Taylor, who served from 1989-1998, was not only the first woman to serve on the Board of Trustees, she was also the first African American to serve on the Board. Taylor has a school-based clinic named after her, in cooperation with the Harris County Hospital District. The clinic is located at Cloverleaf Elementary.
Family of J.W. Davis: Johnnie Beth Sargent and Dorothy Havard are honored by Jeff Miller, president of the Board of Trustees (left) and Bill Cobbs, trustee.
Rountree: Johnnie Rountree, who served for 29 years, is honored by Jeff Miller as Rountree’s wife, Kay, looks on.
Howard – wife: Bill N. Howard, who served from 1972-1981, is shown with his wife Kay by the plaque that honors all trustees in GPISD history.
Jeff Miller honors Almatha C. Taylor for serving from 1989-1998. Her husband, Johnny, is on the right.