State Board of Education News

SBOE recognizes school volunteers as 2016 Heroes for Childen

AUSTIN – Fifteen school volunteers will be recognized Friday, Sept. 16, by the State Board of Education (SBOE) for their volunteer service and contributions to Texas public schools.

The Heroes for Children honorees are selected by the State Board members and recognized for their support of the public schools in their communities. Each hero will receive a certificate of honor, a copy of the resolution scheduled for board approval and photographs commemorating the ceremony. Each hero will also have his or her name engraved on a plaque that is permanently displayed at the Texas Education Agency  

  The board will recognize these school volunteers in a ceremony at 9 a.m. in Room1-104 of the William B. Travis State Office Building, 1701 N. Congress Ave., in Austin. The State Board of Education meeting and award ceremony will be broadcast online

Recipients of the 2016 Heroes for Children award, along with a brief description of the contributions each has made to Texas schoolchildren, appear below: 

  •   Yamile Gonzales (Socorro ISD – SBOE District 1)

Gonzales shows outstanding leadership and provides tireless hours in making a positive impact at the Ernesto Serna School and its community. She has been serving as a volunteer coordinator since 2001. She is described as someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty by encouraging a positive culture within her volunteer group.

  •   Cynthia Christenson (Port Aransas ISD – SBOE District 2)

For nine years, Christenson has been a faithful volunteer at more than one campus in the district. She shows up, works hard, loves the students and staff and exemplifies the spirit of the dedicated volunteer. She is known throughout the district as a cheerleader for the schools, the staff and the students.

  •   Keith Graham (Bexar County Area Schools – SBOE District 3)  

Graham founded the Community for Life Foundation in 2001 as a mechanism to give back to Bexar County schools and communities. The Foundation has provided more than $450,000 in scholarships to worthwhile students along with helping others with new cars and providing Thanksgiving meals to families in need. 

  • Alfred Youens (Galena Park ISD – SBOE District 4)

Prior to passing away in August, Youens spent the last 17 years volunteering as a reading tutor in the district. He also gave his time to the Good News Club – an after school Bible class, the Whole & Healthy Children’s Initiative and served as a positive role model for students and other volunteers. 

  • Edward Olson (John H. Woods Charter School – SBOE District 5)

Olson is described as being an extraordinary influence in the lives of the students at the Afton Oaks Residential Treatment Facility since 2012. He has shared countless hours of mentoring and support with the at-risk youths at the school who are challenged with a myriad of issues.  

  •   Joe Yarbrough (Spring Branch ISD – SBOE District 6)

Yarbrough has been a volunteer with the Spring Branch FFA for 27 years. His hands, voice, and financial resources have influenced the success of the program and for the students who participated.

  •   Lori Bell (Nederland ISD – SBOE District 7)

At Langham Elementary School, Bell is known not just as a volunteer, but as an icon to students and staff alike. She has provided a warm and caring demeanor, encouragement and support all from the heart, along with monetary support for many of the school’s programs and students.

  •   Damon Eagleton (Crosby ISD – SBOE District 8)

A lunchtime regular every Monday at the Crosby Elementary School, Eagleton acts as a mentor to many of the at-risk students in the district. He advocates for the students and serves as an exemplary role model and is not afraid to jump in help with any issues as they arise.

  •   Vicki Post (Texarkana ISD – SBOE District 9)

Post, who is described as one of the most dedicated volunteers in the district, is often called “supermom” and “super volunteer” by both the students and staff. A volunteer for more than ten years, she is also known as someone who steps up and immediately says, “I’ll do it.”

  •   Paul Mikula (La Grange ISD – SBOE District 10)

Mikula has contributed to the well being of the district’s children for more than 20 years. He has served as a mentor in the One-to-One Reading program, actively works for and supports the district’s education foundation and solicits other volunteers and supporters throughout the community.

  •   Thomas Bainter (Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD – SBOE District 11)

As a volunteer with the district, Bainter’s impact reaches every level from individual mentoring to organizing fundraisers to working with city and community officials for the safety and wellbeing of the students and the community.

  •   Jack Lowe (Dallas ISD – SBOE District 12)

Lowe has been a driving force both within the Dallas ISD and the community. He served as chair of the board of Momentous Institute, a nationally recognized lab school in Oak Cliff, impacting more than 6,000 students and family members each year. He has also served on the board of the Texas Business and Education Coalition, where his work benefitted school children throughout Texas.

  •   Deborah Ferguson (Fort Worth ISD – SBOE District 13)

Ferguson has provided outstanding leadership and extensive work in support of the district’s schools, including chairing the board at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy and providing her time as a speaker and mentor during career days and ceremonial events.

  •   Robert (Bob) Monroe (Coppell ISD – SBOE District 14)

Monroe spends countless hours each week at Cottonwood Creek Elementary School volunteering and leading the school’s Dad’s Club, a group of grandfathers, uncles and friends as they perform various needed tasks around the campus.

  •   Alan Keister (Amarillo ISD – SBOE District 15)

Keister worked for years to bring free health care to the students in Amarillo neighborhoods through free health clinics at the local schools. His efforts have resulted in an actual brick and mortar clinic – Heal the City – which provides medical assistance to the children who need immunizations, medications and medical care.