TCWSE’s Influence and Support
It was now almost two decades ago that I served this wonderful organization as President (1996-1997). I recall the conference that I directed the year prior to that was about Bridges. Certainly, the TCWSE was and has been a bridge for me. Early in my career in Texas, I discovered this group of influential women leaders, including Margaret Montgomery, Yvonne Katz, Janiece Campbell, Nancy McNeal, Susan Sclafani, and Virginia Collier. They were my role models when I was serving in public schools. I began as a Region VI Representative in the organization. I learned so much in advancing my career from the conferences and just from observing the leaders in this organization. Anytime, I feel that I could call any of these women and just pick up the conversation… isn’t it like that with kindred souls and longtime friends?
This group listened as we presented a new concept of a journal to promote women’s leadership issues. They suggested a monograph instead… and so began the monograph series. I didn’t give up on the journal, and it came to pass with a wonderful publisher in San Antonio that provides it free online—true open access to anyone around the world to read about women’s leadership issues and for women and men to publish their research on those topics (Advancing Women in Leadership Journal). Prior to that, the group had helped to develop a Women’s Leadership Course at Sam Houston State University—it was the first in the state of its kind and at that time was fully integrated into the curriculum with a legitimate number.
During my presidency, we tried to get universities more involved. We tried to involved more students from across the state and to continue the work the Juneria Berges had done with increasing the work of the Regional organizations. Mentoring was important, so we tried to mentor teachers who were in their graduate programs on their way to the principalship and those in administrative positions who wanted to move up in rank.
Everything—all of the goals were accomplished—we increased conference attendance with graduate students from across the state, we continued the monograph, we heard from regional organizations, and we offered mentoring to those who wanted to advance their careers—with the help of my friends in the organization—we were a great team! INCLUDING—Ann Halstead… she had become our Executive Secretary, and TCWSE has been all the better for that move!!
I remember going in the summers to the Renaissance Hotel for our meetings… we would always have such a great time together—seeing each other. It was so impressive to have such giants in the field talk with us. Also, I recall that Johnny Veselka from TASA was very supportive to TCWSE. I remember our attorney, Laura Fowler, who gave us wise counsel. I remember Carol Funk Haynie and her broad smile and stately manner and the fun that she would create around her and our friend Anita Pankake… they and the myriad of women, Jackie Jenkins, Genevieve Brown, Barbara Sultis, Lu Stephens, Diane Hess, Judi Benestante, Elizabeth Clark, Shirley Coleman, Nancy Vaughn, Jennifer Blaine, Viviana Lopez, Priscilla White, Diane Stegall, and Ann Halstead—all have led this organization with greatness. I truly am honored to stand among them and to also have been one of the recipients of the Margaret Montgomery Leadership Award. So, I suppose it is our women—these and many others that these I have named represent who “are my stand-out memories.”
A Look to the Future
TCWSE was great then—a vibrant organization. It is great now—women need to have a small group of women with whom they can have professional relationships and bonds that remain across time. An organization like TCWSE is critical to women’s success—it was and it is and will be in the future.
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