Communications Department
14705 Woodforest Blvd., Houston, TX 77015

April 27, 2012
CONTACT: Jonathan Frey
(832) 386-1231

Local Trustee Attends Program on Celebrating Differences

       Joe Stephens of Galena Park ISD was among a group of school board members gathering in McAllen, TX April 12-14 as part of the continuing yearlong study program, Leadership Texas Association of School Boards (LTASB). Session theme for this, the fourth of five training sessions of LTASB, was "Where Leadership Happens through Embracing the Differences."

       Trustees began activities Thursday with a tour of Thomas Jefferson Early College High School of the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District. The T-STEM designated early college high school campus features special emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and is one of the leading early college high school campus designs in the state of Texas.

       Friday's LTASB session began with a tour of Hidalgo Independent School District, a nationally recognized leader among public school districts for student success on Advanced Placement exams and continuing post-secondary education. A recent winner of the American School Board Journalís Magna Award, Hidalgo ISD has also been recognized by the National Center for Educational Accountability as one of the top three high schools in Texas for educational attainment for all students. Keynote speaker on Fridayís afternoon session featured Alan Lubrano, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Lubrano spoke on cultural class differences among students and its impact on their educational achievement. The LTASB session ended on Saturday with a presentation by Derek Greenfield of Alcorn State University. Greenfieldís remarks explored hidden biases and how people must first recognize them and work to overcome them.

       For Joe Stephens, the trip was very beneficial. "The experience of travelling around the state, seeing different ideas from various school districts and educators throughout the state, will enable me to bring those ideas back to Galena Park ISD and help improve what is already a great school district," Mr. Stephens remarked. Selected by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the group of 31 trustees is participating in a yearlong education leadership study program. The LTASB class of 2012 represents Texas school districts of all sizes, with student populations of 275 to 106,000, and reflects the range of property wealth. Participants who complete all required elements of the study will graduate this year with a unique designation recognized by TASB.

       Each session has a specific theme that builds on the previous session and features state and nationally recognized experts in the fields of leadership development and education. Teams also work on extended learning assignments between meetings throughout the year. Created in 1993, Leadership TASB has almost 700 graduates to date.

       TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school districts. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 4.8 million public school students.

Joe Stephens

Hoping to improve "what is already a great school district," Joe Stephens listens intently during the LTASB sessions.