When a friend does something to enhance your life you know they are a true friend. That is what happened to me when Ann Trull invited me to be part of the Texas Council of Women School Executives. I had no idea what this organization was about but I always like new adventures so I said “Sure, why not.” Immediately I was taking Ann’s place as the Region VIII regional representative and was attending my first meeting. When I saw all these new successful professionals I was very intimidated. Fortunately, Lu Stephens was there to welcome me and to take me by the hand and introduce me to others and encourage me along the way. This, I have found out, is what Lu does! She helps others and has become a true friend over the years. Ann and Lu may have been my first friends in TCWSE, but the number has continued to grow over the years and the places they are from has grown too.
A Time of Change
I was elected to serve as secretary of TCWSE and then progressed up the ranks to president in 2009-2010. Throughout that year, as we would meet, we discussed the low attendance we were having at our summer conference. There had been additional state conferences that addressed curriculum and other educational issues that were diverting our members away from our conference. For that reason, the decision was made to move the conference from the summer to just prior to Texas Association of School Administrator’s Midwinter conference in January. The 2009-2010 summer conference was the last one held in June.
Also during that year, I was fortunate to be able to serve as president of another state organization, Texas Rural Education Association. Because of retirements, moves, etc., in both organizations, I arrived in the presidency of both organizations at the same time. Luckily, the conferences were one week apart!
As social networking sites were becoming more prevalent, TCWSE decided that we needed to stay up with the times and try our hand at some of the new methods of communicating such as NING. This was a new experience and, through the vision of Ann Halstead, we have continued to add new technology communication tools throughout the years.
The accomplishments during my presidency were moving the annual conference to January, began the process of updating the constitution, and began researching the possibility of an online journal to replace the monograph. Change is always hard but in order for organizations to move forward, change is necessary. The membership of TCWSE eagerly helped with these projects and I am proud to say they each were accomplished. Other accomplishments were the revision of the policy and procedures regarding the sending of flowers/honorariums to members and revised/clarified the procedures for how regional representatives were selected.
Some of my most memorable moments in TCWSE have been the board meetings when such strong personalities shared ideas. Also, I remember the wonderful speakers we have had over the years and how their talks reflected their personalities – some serious, focused, and some very funny. These speakers were mostly from our membership which says something about our organization. Ann Halstead is the backbone of this organization and is the silent servant always working to improve our organization but never wanting the focus to be on her.
A Look to the Future
When I first joined TCWSE, I was in awe of all the professional women and their level of intelligence. When I would hear of all of their accomplishments, I thought, “I could never be like them.” I realized that was right. I could not be like them, but I could be me and achieve what I was supposed to achieve. Through their mentoring, guidance, suggestions, wisdom, and encouragement, I accomplished much more than I envisioned I would when I entered education. I truly feel that TCWSE is the most beneficial organization there is for women educational leaders. I have watched the women who come into this organization who are very timid, unsure, and “downright scared to death” of what the future holds for them. After just a couple of conferences, they are volunteering to serve as leaders, conduct sessions, and are being promoted in their respective districts. The membership of TCWSE represents the most successful women and educators throughout all of Texas and will continue to do so for many years to come.
TCWSE is a unique organization that empowers women leaders to be all they can be and more! The principals and foundations that this organization was founded on with leaders such as Margret Montgomery will be legacies that will not be forgotten by me or any member of TCWSE either now or in the future.
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