Board Term: Jan. 1, 2013 - Jan. 1, 2017
Barbara Cargill, a science educator from The Woodlands, was appointed chair of the State Board of Education by Gov. Rick Perry on July 1, 2011 and was re-appointed to a full two-year term on Feb. 1, 2013. Her appointment was unanimously confirmed by the Texas Senate on Feb. 20. Cargill, whose term as board chair extended through Feb. 1, 2015, is now holding over as board chair until Gov. Greg Abbott names her successor.
A Republican, Cargill was first elected to a four-year term of office on the board in November 2004 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2012. She represents the Houston area and Southeast Texas. She has served as chair and vice chair of the board's Committee on Instruction, the committee on which she now serves. Cargill has also been a member of the Committee on Planning and the Committee on School Initiatives.
Cargill is the founder and director of Wonders of the Woodlands Science Camp, which has been operational since 1995. WOW! Science Camp provides creative, hands-on learning to more than 1,200 children each summer. The camp is an outreach program of The Woodlands United Methodist Church.
Cargill has worked in the field of science education for more than 25 years. Before founding WOW!, she taught biology in the Garland and Hurst-Euless-Bedford school districts between 1982 and 1991. During her years with the school districts, Cargill actively supported extra-curricular activities through work that included serving as the drill team sponsor, cheerleader sponsor, senior class sponsor, instructor for SAT preparation courses, and CARE team counselor for at-risk students. More recently, Cargill served on the Commission for a College Ready Texas.
In recognition of her outstanding teaching, Cargill received the Thanks to Teachers National Excellence Award, the National Audubon Society Award, and the A.J. Sales Educational Award. Recognized as an innovative science educator who is committed to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) training, Cargill recently was invited to participate in the Iditarod Winter Education Conference, which is held in conjunction with the iconic Alaskan dog race. Cargill will also participate in the Iditarod Ceremonial Start, riding in a three-to-four mile parade with an official Iditarod musher. Currently, Cargill works closely with teachers through professional development training and consulting work. Her passion for children motivates her to work in area schools by doing Science Outreach Programs. In addition to her work with science education, Cargill volunteers for many things such as Interfaith of the Woodlands, Habitat for Humanity, and the Woodlands United Methodist Church Family Promise program.
She holds a Masters of Science in Science Education from Texas Women’s University and an undergraduate degree from Baylor University.
As a member of the State Board of Education, Cargill represents about 1.7 million Texans who reside in Brazos, Grimes, parts of Harris, Houston, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker counties.