Personal and Professional Context
In 1994-95, TCWSE began its second decade, my daughter began her time in high school, and the state of Texas was in the early years of the era of accountability. Having just completed my doctoral work at UT Austin, I was working at the Region 12 Education Service Center in Waco, assisting school districts and campuses as they grappled with the first years of being publicly rated by the Texas Education Agency. Interesting times, indeed!
As TCWSE president, I was compelled by the importance of accountability as well. Under the inspirational leadership of my predecessor, Dawn Youdan, the TCWSE Board had participated in a strategic planning process, creating a detailed blueprint for the future of our organization. As president, it was my duty to align our efforts to the plan we had created together.
We utilized our quarterly TCWSE board meetings to report, discuss, and document our progress in aligning our efforts to our strategic plan. By doing so, we were able to strengthen our existing infrastructure, create and implement additional systems and procedures, become more financially stable, grow our membership while increasing member services, and cultivate the diversity of our reach throughout Texas.
To me, there are two words that are synonymous with TCWSE: Dawn Youdan.
One of my favorite memories of Dawn and of TCWSE occurred during the summer of 1992. As President-Elect, Dawn was in charge of the annual summer conference that year. As a networking opportunity, Dawn arranged for several women prominent in the organization to serve as table “hosts” for small groups of conference attendees at various restaurants in Austin that Saturday evening. Not only did I sign up to be at Dawn’s table, I made sure I got to the restaurant in time to seat myself right next to her! It was a a wonderful evening, being made to feel so comfortable by someone I so admired … just by being herself.
Such is the beauty of TCWSE.
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
For me, TCWSE provided exceptional role models in a field where I was just starting out, and enabled me to form personal relationships with women I greatly admired and respected. The organization taught me how important it is to reach out to smart, strong, capable women educators, encouraging them to pursue leadership positions in our field.
TCWSE today is, as it always has been, a unique creation of, by, and for women – women who pursue a love of learning, those who come to us to learn, and those by whom we are taught.
In considering the future of TCWSE, I must look to the past. That daughter that was just starting high school when I was president back in 1994? After almost a decade in the classroom, she just this week began her own graduate studies in our field of educational leadership. She, along with many others, needs a place to come to know great women she can admire and respect.
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