News And People

Volume 14, Issue 20 - Friday, May 27, 2016
Austin turns in Smart City Challenge application
Competition offers collaboration between cities, with private sector 

When the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced its Smart City Challenge in December 2015, about 50 cities nationwide entered the competition. It seemed like a great opportunity: $40 million from the federal government to address transportation problems by using technology, another $10 million from Vulcan Inc., and the promise of a lot of good press and marketing opportunities, if nothing else.

Austin transportation officials thought so, at least. They entered the competition, and the city was named one of seven finalists, along with Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco.

Even the promise of $50 million, though, won't get a city too far in the world of transportation infrastructure. But, the challenge isn't designed to fund new road construction or the implementation of a new light-rail line. It is designed to initiate pilot programs that will introduce technology into the transportation system, according to Rob Spillar (pictured), of the Austin Transportation Department.

The goal of the challenge is to ask, "How do we address deficiencies in the system with modern technology?" he says. And, the goal for Austin's plan is to address deficiencies in how the city offers social services to its residents. He goes on to enumerate those issues: the digital divide, jobs, affordable housing.

"This grant has really opened my eyes to the partnerships we can work with. Just getting ready for this grant process has had a great influence on my understanding of how we can provide social services."

One such idea is the formation of a transportation club that could function as a sort of van pool. Riders would join, meet at a central location (a park-and-ride facility, say) and the first one there would be the driver. The vans would be provided by the public agency, but everything else would be arranged privately. The cost of the van would be the only charge to the city.

"But that's a capital expense, which is a lot easier than an ongoing expense," explains Spillar.

Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
David Gardner, Deputy Commissioner for Academic Planning and Policy and Chief Academic Officer, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Career highlights and education: As the deputy commissioner for academic planning and policy and chief academic officer, I lead the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Academic Quality and Workforce Division, College Readiness and Success Division, Strategic Planning and Funding Division and Innovation and Policy Development Division. My primary responsibilities include coordination of the statewide efforts toward meeting the goals of the new Texas higher education plan, 60x30TX. Previously, I served the agency as the associate commissioner for academic excellence and research and as the assistant commissioner for planning and information resources.

Prior to joining the Coordinating Board staff in 1985, I was on the faculty at Hofstra University, where I taught in the master's and doctoral programs in the Administration and Policy Studies Department. I was also a visiting professor at Texas A&M University. I am currently an adjunct professor of higher education at The University of Texas at Austin.

I received my Ph.D. and master's degrees from Texas A&M University and my bachelor's degree from the University of Houston.  

What I like best about my job is: Anything we do to improve the academic lives of Texas public higher education students is the best part of my job. Our current focus is on Texas' student-centered strategic plan for higher education, 60x30TX. The aim of the board's strategic plan is to help all students achieve their educational goals and help Texas remain globally competitive. 60x30TX has four broad goals for attainment, completion, marketable skills and management of student debt. Success rests heavily on collaboration among higher education, K-12 education and the workforce, as well as on the local creativity of two- and four-year institutions.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Foster and support local creativity to address higher education issues and achieve success for statewide goals.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Hire talented people and be open to new ideas.

If I ever decided to leave work early, I could probably be found: At home with my family while trying to catch up on my reading and exercise.

People would be surprised to know that: I have two college-age daughters.

One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: I want the people of Texas to know how much the Coordinating Board's staff cares about Texas higher education. As a leader of this agency, I see on a daily basis the dedication and devotion to the academic well-being of students and the commitment to the success of our Texas public institutions of higher education. It is the hard work of the behind-the-scenes staff at both the Coordinating Board and the institutions that enables Texas to work at the continuous improvement of higher education and its benefits.

A&M, UT offer joint bid to run Sandia Nuclear Laboratories
Despite their longtime rivalry, the state's largest institutions of higher education are forming a partnership in an effort to run one of the nation's three nuclear weapons laboratories.

The Texas A&M University System and The University of Texas System will join together with the University of New Mexico, a research and development nonprofit and an aircraft manufacturer on a bid to win the contract to manage the Sandia National Laboratories.

The lab has had a private-sector manager for most of its history, but the $3 billion contract has been put up for bidding by the federal government. Sandia Labs is responsible for the non-nuclear engineering development of all nuclear weapons in the nation. Its main facility is in Albuquerque, N.M., with a second facility in Livermore, Calif.

The Department of Energy announced in 2011 that it would open bidding on Sandia, though multiple extensions to the current contract have been granted since then. A new contract must be in place by April 2017.
Austin officials planning to remake I-35 through central core
The stretch of Interstate 35 that runs through Central Austin is among the most congested roadways in the state. Officials with the city, the regional transportation district and Travis County have for years been discussing methods to improve mobility through the city's central core.

This week, State Sen. Kirk Watson (pictured) spoke of what Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) planners have called the Mobility35 project. It involves several alternatives, the most dramatic of which would depress the interstate lanes through Central Austin and, possibly, cap them to create a tunneled highway that could support development on top.

That plan would be very expensive and, so, officials have been unsure how to proceed. Most proposals have included potential bond propositions. Watson's proposal, presented to members of the Downtown Austin Alliance this week, suggested that neither a bond election nor a tax increase would be necessary.

"Doing nothing with I-35 is simply not an option," said Watson. "It's only going to get a whole lot worse if we don't get after it. We wanted something that would have the least possible negative impact on the ad valorem taxpayer. With regards to financing, we have to ask how much does it cost, and the other is how much do you got. They are still working numbers on both sides of that equation."

The proposal would pay for the potentially $4.3 billion project through a combination of methods, including tax increment financing districts, tax increment reinvestment zones and funds from the Austin district of the State Infrastructure Bank.

Ideas for that portion of the highway include the addition of transit-only express lanes and exits expressly for buses.

Dallas officials announce plans for $250M Trinity River park
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings (pictured) last week presented the city's plans for a proposed park to be situated between the levees of the Trinity River. The park would be set along the river and another proposed project, a toll road.

The park has been a long time coming. Dallas voters first approved funding for it in 1998, and the city council approved a plan five years later. The latest plans call for a park project that will take five years to complete and cost between $250 million and $270 million.

"We've talked, we've debated, we've met, we've voted, we've advocated," said Rawlings. "And, for too long, the project has been either in the waiting room or dividing us. Today is a new day. And it starts with a grand park that will bring this city together."

The money to build the park will have to come primarily from private donations. While the city does have $40 million left over from a previous bond election to begin the project, city officials have said that it won't be included in an expected 2017 bond package. Already, the nonprofit fundraising arm attached to the potential park has received a $1 million gift with which to begin the planning phase.
Texas A&M System invites Blinn College to build on new campus
Officials with the Texas A&M University System and Blinn College are considering an expansion of the schools' partnership. Blinn's leadership has previously announced plans to build a new campus in Bryan. This deal would halt those construction plans in favor of a facility on Texas A&M-owned land near the Bryan-College Station area, along the Brazos River.

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp earlier in May announced plans to build out what has been called the Riverside campus as the system's RELLIS campus. The name reflects the school's core values of respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity and selfless service. The new campus would include seven new buildings and focus on technology research. System units including the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) would have facilities on the new campus.

System officials have now asked Blinn College to consider building facilities on the RELLIS campus rather than on Blinn's own, separate campus in Bryan.

"We believe RELLIS represents a unique opportunity for Blinn College and we are glad the trustees are considering it," Sharp said. "It will be a great opportunity for thousands of young Texans as well."

TxDOT to begin widening of Angel Parkway in Allen in $48M project
Members of the Allen City Council this week approved a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) plan to widen a stretch of FM 2551, also called Angel Parkway.

The project will expand the two-lane road to six lanes and will cost $47.8 million, which will come from state funding. The expansion has been included in Allen's long-term planning for almost 40 years. The road handles about 10,000 cars a day, a figure that's expected to triple by 2035.

"This is one of those arterial roadways that would help complete our network grid of roadways," said Chris Flanigan (pictured), engineering director for the city of Allen. "Obviously, it provides enhancement in terms of convenience for our residents."

Flanigan said construction should begin in late 2018 and take two years to complete.
Amid energy downturn, Austin utility puts new gas plant on hold
With the sustained drop in energy prices, officials with Austin Energy have decided to put off plans to build a new natural gas plant. The capital city's municipal utility had planned to spend $500 million to construct the plant.

The low prices for natural gas that have persisted for at least a year have made the officials doubt the plant's ability to generate enough revenue to pay back the costs of construction within 20 years.

"We definitely have to redo the math before we make any type of decision," said Khalil Shalabi (pictured), Austin Energy vice president of energy operations and resource planning. "If we have high prices, we can fire up the gas plant and bring prices down. Those opportunities are going to be less and less, because market prices are so low right now."

Austin Energy has said it will be able to generate 40 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2017.
TxDOT preparing for widening, other improvements on FM 1960
Engineers with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) are preparing for construction on FM 1960 in Humble. The project would widen that road as it travels through the city. Though plans are not yet completed, it may need to be separated into two projects, according to John Elam, a TxDOT planner.

"This is a $100 million project," Elam said. "This is a major project that includes more than seven miles of roadway. At this point, we are looking at possibly breaking it down to two projects when it goes under construction, which won't happen until 2022."

Another TxDOT project in Humble is closer to commencement. Elam said the agency has plans to expand 1.7 miles of Loop 494 from two lanes to four. He said the plans were prepared almost 10 years ago but have sat unfulfilled since then, due to a lack of funding. After those designs are updated, TxDOT will put the project out to bid by September 2017.
Texas Woman's University to turn to private partnership for dorms
The Board of Regents for Texas Woman's University has agreed to allow school officials to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to build a new residence hall through a public-private partnership (PPP/P3).

The university has experienced a housing crunch for several years, forced to offer discounts to students willing to fit three into dorm rooms designed to house two. The school's housing administration also has leased housing for 200 students from a private company for the past six years.

"Simply put, we have a compelling need for more student housing at the university," said Monica Mendez-Grant (pictured), vice president for student life. "The minimum need is 451 beds, and that doesn't include leased properties. It's 660 with that."

The RFP will be issued in June, and it will solicit proposals for an 800-bed residential hall. Officials hope to select a developer by December and begin the design phase in April 2017 and construction that November.
Travis County to sell downtown site, review courthouse options
Last fall, Travis County voters rejected a bond proposition that would have funded a $287 million new civil courthouse located on county-owned property in Downtown Austin.

Still reviewing options for what to do about locating the still-needed new courthouse facility, county officials have decided to put up for sale the property on which they had planned to build. A request for proposals will be issued to developers soon.

As for the future courthouse, officials have said they will attempt to acquire a former federal courthouse in Austin that is currently controlled by the General Services Administration. Since that building is listed among the National Register of Historic Places and is considered as surplus, it could be given to the county at no cost.

Given the building's age, however, officials consider it likely that extensive renovations would be required.
TWDB launches new website featuring flooding information
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) launched this week a central online portal for flood-related data, The website also will provide information on what to do before, during and after a flood.

The site will feature data from stream gages statewide, as well as up-to-date information on weather, radar and precipitation levels. The data will be displayed on an interactive map, as part of an effort to make data on rising rivers, streams and reservoirs more easily accessible.

In addition, the TWDB staff members have made improvements to the Water Data for Texas website by adding river and stream flood stage information to the lake levels page.

UH System to build new Katy campus, expand UH Downtown
The University of Houston (UH) System is expanding in a pattern that follows the growth of the city it serves, filling out its Downtown campus and building a new one in Katy. Regents last week agreed to spend $13.2 million for 17 acres in Central Houston and $13.8 million on 46 acres in Katy to build out a new campus that will serve the city's western suburbs.

"This purchase signals a new stage in the University of Houston System's strategic plan to serve the greater Houston region," Paula Myrick Short, UH System vice chancellor for academic affairs, said of the new Katy campus. "It will allow us not only to serve more people closer to their homes, but also to offer a broader range of degree programs."

The money for the purchase was allotted by the legislature as part of $46.8 million in construction bonds approved by state lawmakers in the 2015 legislative session. Construction is scheduled to begin within two years.
College Station council approves revised layout for police station
The College Station City Council has been considering a design for the city's new police station for several months. Council members have decided to go with a design that will build a 79,000-square-foot facility that will not include space for fire department administration.

The current police station, which has room for 106 work stations, is too small for the department as it is now, and has no room for its expected growth. The new facility, expected to cost about $28 million, will allow for 202 work stations and provide space for training, storage and an evidence room.

"We're going to make some significant progress on a lot of, not only office space, but general support areas that are critical to our mission," said Police Chief Scott McCollum.

Officials had considered the inclusion of space for the fire department, as well, but decided against that plan. The required extra 10,000 square feet of space would have entailed an additional $4 million be added to the facility's price tag.
Corpus Christi panel finds $17M more needed annually for streets
The Corpus Christi City Council last fall appointed a committee to investigate the city's needs in terms of repairs to streets and roads. Committee members reported back to the council this week that $17 million in new annual funding is needed.

That figure is on top of current funding, but it also is one of four options recommended to the council members, who will discuss the plans at their meeting June 28. The other alternatives would cost $10 million, $14 million and $20 million.

The recommendations call for dividing the city into five districts and developing a five-year work cycle. The committee's report also suggests offering more and smaller contracts, a process designed to increase competition for the projects and allow smaller, local contractors to participate in the bidding process.

"The real objective here is an extensive amount of proactive maintenance to improve ride quality and the safety of residential streets, because we cannot afford to rebuild them all at this time," Committee Chairman Andy Taubman said.
El Paso County to issue $7 million in debt for IT, streets projects
El Paso County officials presented a list of needed projects to the commissioners court last week worth about $15 million. Commissioners indicated they have plans to issue $7 million in bonds to complete the projects.

Among the projects presented by staff members of the public works and information technology departments were the replacement of the roof at the Ascarate Park administration office, installation of a new well to maintain the water levels at Ascarate Lake, replacement of sidewalks around the courthouse, a new software system and new network equipment.

County Judge Veronica Escobar (pictured) said the extensive list of projects was due to years of deferred maintenance. "There's never been a whole lot of planning for end-of-life items or for ongoing maintenance or for upgrading assets," she said. "We have to deal with the urgent needs first."

Escobar said the county still has about $10 million remaining from a previous year's bond proposition. Commissioners will meet soon to decide which projects will get funded.
Need a job? Got a job opening?

Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. New jobs added this week: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board - Assistant Director, Operations Center; Alamo Area Council of Governments - Bexar Aging Managing Local Ombudsman. Click here to view more. Send your posting to

Jobs with closing dates listed will be removed from the listings on that date. If your job does not have a closing date, please contact us once it is filled.
Advocates pushing for $25 million land bridge for San Antonio park
Transportation planners in San Antonio are proposing to build a $25 million bridge over Wurzbach Parkway to reconnect two halves of McAllister Park. Currently, the roadway bisects the park.

The proposed bridge's design is intended to blend into the park's features and to insulate it from the six-lane highway as much as possible. Its walls would curve upward and inward to protect pedestrians from the noise of the traffic.

Advocates of the idea have said they will raise $10 million privately for the project and hope to include the remaining $15 million in a bond election to be held in May 2017.
Denison moving forward with Chestnut Street renovation
Denison's Chestnut Street is paved with red bricks and is in great need of repair. Last week, the Denison City Council got an update on a project that will replace the brick with an upgraded concrete roadway.

"It is going to have an entirely new look in addition to anything on the roadway itself," Denison Public Works Director David Howerton said. "We hope that this will spur interest in redevelopment."

The project will also include the replacement of a water line below the roadway and the addition of sidewalks on either side of the street. In addition, the width of the road will be decreased from 58 feet to 44 feet to add parking on both sides. The costs of the project are estimated to be about $1.4 million.

Design should be finished soon, and bidding for the project will start in June. A contract will be awarded in August, with an expected nine-month construction time.
Calendar of Events

TxPPA's Summer Momentum Conference to be held in Kerrville
June 8-10, 2016
The Texas Public Purchasing Association (TxPPA) will host its Summer Momentum Conference in Kerrville this June. Seminars and speakers from throughout the state will offer valuable information and lessons for public-sector procurement professionals. In addition, the TxPPA's annual vendor showcase will take place Thursday, June 9. It is a one-day-only opportunity to meet with public-sector buyers and managers, and an opportunity for vendors to showcase their products and services, make new contacts and develop new leads. The conference will be held at the YO Ranch Hotel and Conference Center in Kerrville. An agenda is available online and registration is open.

Texas K-12 CTO Council hosting technology officers conference
June 22, 2016
The Texas K-12 CTO Council, a nonprofit association comprised of chief technology officers from Texas schools, will host the Texas CTO Clinic in Austin June 22-23. The event is an opportunity for participants to learn about the latest trends in educational technology, information security and analytics. Speakers will include Larry Johnson, the CEO of the New Media Consortium, an international consortium focused on the use of technology in education. The CTO Clinic also will offer technology officers a chance to network with tech leaders in both the public and private sectors. The event will take place at the Hilton Doubletree in Austin. A schedule is available and registration is open.

LBJ School offers Construction Purchasing Certificate Program
July 26-27, 2016
Buyers, contract administrators and project managers interested in earning a construction purchasing certificate can do so through The University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs. The program aids in understanding and using new terms, remaining compliant with unfamiliar laws, developing control plans and schedules and staying on budget. The LBJ School's Construction Purchasing Certificate Program consists of four core courses and one elective to be completed over a period of two years. The goal of this certificate program is to provide participants with the skills and knowledge to ensure that their organization's construction projects are well managed and secure the intended results and value. The courses are complementary in nature, and each course repeats annually. The next available course is Legal Aspects of Construction Contracts and will be held July 26-27. Registration is open.

Hurricane season here! Public officials prepared ... is private sector? 

By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Epic weather events have been recorded throughout the United States in recent years - droughts, tornadoes, record snowfall and floods. Last year alone, there were 10 weather and climate disasters, with losses of more than $1 billion in each incident. Texas was hit hard by many of the catastrophes.

A National Weather Service report earlier this week alerted Texans that a cluster of Atlantic thunderstorms has the potential to form into a tropical or subtropical storm impacting Texans and other coastal states. The 2016 hurricane season is about to begin.

Tarrant County College Board of Trustees names
two chancellor finalists
The Tarrant County College Board of Trustees last week announced it had selected two finalists for the position of the college's chancellor. The person who gets the job will replace Erma Johnson Hadley, who died in October 2015.

Eugene V. Giovannini (pictured) is the founding president of Maricopa Corporate College in Scottsdale, Ariz., and has served the Maricopa County Community College District since 2002. He has a doctorate degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and both bachelor's and master's degrees from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Barbara Kavalier (pictured) is district president at Navarro College in Corsicana. She spent more than 20 years with the Dallas County Community College District and also has worked in administration at Tacoma Community College in Washington, and San Jose City College in California. She has a doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin, a master's degree from Amberton University and a bachelor's degree from Texas Christian University.

Board members will select a lone finalist June 9.

The offices of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., will be closed Monday, May 30 in recognition of the Memorial Day holiday. The office will reopen at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 31.
Corpus Christi City Council names Rose interim city manager
Corpus Christi City Council members this week named Deputy City Manager Margie Rose (pictured) interim city manager, effective June 23.

She replaces Ron Olson, who announced his resignation last week. Currently, Rose is serving as acting city manager until Olson's resignation becomes officials next month.

Council members said they expect the search for a permanent city manager to take between three and six months.
Shepherd ISD school board rebids roof project
Shepherd Independent School District's board members approved a contract in February to replace the roof at the district's primary school campus. Earlier this month, they decided to change their minds.

Administrators decided to go with a different plan instead. "We're going to back that bid out," said Superintendent Steve Pierce. "We're going to go with a flat roof."

The board members had concerns regarding air conditioning units located on the roof, which could have developed leaks with the original roof design.

Manning named interim Chico superintendent
Chico Independent School District trustees appointed Kenneth Manning interim superintendent, effective June 1. Manning also had served as the district's superintendent in the 1980s.

He will replace outgoing Superintendent Mike Jones. The Board of Trustees already has begun the interview process to find a permanent replacement.

SPI adds Espinoza to roster of consultants
Strategic Partnerships, Inc., (SPI) has added Mario Espinoza (pictured) as a consultant. Espinoza brings decades of senior-level experience with Texas governmental and intergovernmental agencies to SPI's consulting team.

Most recently, he served as the deputy executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), for which he had responsibility for planning, development and implementation of the region's mobility projects. He had previously worked with the Lower Colorado River Authority and the City of Austin.

Espinoza has earned two master's degrees from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor's degree from Texas State University.

Commerce ISD appoints interim superintendent
Members of the Commerce Independent School District Board of Trustees named an interim superintendent last week to replace Blake Cooper.

Current Assistant Superintendent Charlie Alderman will take over administration of the district as interim superintendent, assuming the position June 30.

Midwestern State adds Vidmar to administration
Tony Vidmar this week was named vice president for university advancement and public affairs at Midwestern State University. In that position, he will oversee the operations of departments such as alumni relations, major gifts and university development, marketing and public affairs.

Vidmar will replace Howard Farrell, who announced his retirement earlier this year, and begin his job in July.
He began his career in higher education at Northwest Nazarene University and also has worked at Purdue University, The Ohio State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Cheryl Floyd resigns from Huckabay district
Huckabay ISD Superintendent Cheryl Floyd (pictured) announced her resignation to the school board last week. Her last day will be Aug. 31.

Board members said they will meet with representatives of the Texas Association of School Boards to begin the search for a new superintendent.

Hearne council appoints interim city manager
The Hearne City Council this week appointed John Naron as interim city manager to replace Pee Wee Drake, who resigned earlier in May. City Attorney Bryan F. Russ also resigned at the same time as Drake.

Naron has applied for the permanent position, one of five candidates to do so. Officials said an interim city attorney will be appointed soon.

Austin tech leaders launch ride-hailing firm
The failure of a citywide electoral proposition that would have proposed new rules for ridesharing companies in Austin made national headlines after the companies Uber and Lyft withdrew from the city.

Into that breach has stepped a group of Austin's tech entrepreneurs, who are creating a nonprofit service that will fill the gap.

Austin officials, while unconnected to the project, have in the election's wake advocated for this type of a nonprofit service to fill that niche. The service's backers have said it will fulfill the city's requirements to perform background checks, including fingerprinting of all of the company's drivers.
TEA appoints Perez to lead Edgewood district
Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath this week appointed Sylvester Perez (pictured) as interim superintendent of the Edgewood Independent School District. He will serve in the position until the district's state-appointed Board of Managers chooses a permanent replacement.

Perez retired as superintendent of the San Antonio ISD in 2015 after three years in that role. Prior to that job, he had served as superintendent in the Midland, San Marcos, Clint and Mathis school districts. He also has worked in Harlandale, Judson, North East and Northside ISDs as a teacher or administrator.

Tyler City Council names Greg Morgan to new role
The Tyler City Council this week named Greg Morgan (pictured) the city's Interim Development Manager. That position will require Morgan to oversee long-range planning projects for the municipality.

Among the projects under Morgan's purview would be the construction of a hotel conference center and long-term plans for the city's water and wastewater infrastructure. City management also is considering the creation of a new development department, which would combine all development-related services of the city's utilities, public works and engineering departments.

Gordon J. Mayer was named to replace Morgan as interim water utilities director. He has master's degrees from Texas A&M University and from The University of Texas at Arlington.
Humble ISD selects superintendent finalist
The Humble Independent School District Board of Trustees this week named Elizabeth Celania-Fagen (pictured) as the district's next superintendent. She will replace the retiring Guy Sconzo.

Celania-Fagen will come to the Humble school district from her job with the Douglas County School District in Colorado. She will begin her tenure in July, while Sconzo plans to stay with the district through the end of the year as a consultant.

Prior to her years in Colorado, Celania-Fagen also served as superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona. She earned her doctoral and master's degrees from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and her bachelor's degree from William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Rio Grande City ISD names Alfredo Garcia interim superintendent
Rio Grande City Independent School District board members appointed Alfredo Garcia as interim superintendent this week. He will take over for Joel Trigo, who resigned his position, effective May 31.

Trigo will remain with the school district and work in the student affairs department. He had been superintendent since January 2015.
Garcia has worked for Rio Grande City ISD in administrative support for campus and program accountability.
Jerry Gibson named Marshall superintendent
Members of the Marshall Independent School District Board of Trustees this week named Jerry Gibson the lone finalist for superintendent. Gibson should start his new job June 14.

Currently superintendent at Coldspring-Oakhurst ISD, Gibson was chosen from among more than 50 applicants for the position. He will replace former Superintendent Marc Smith, who was named superintendent at Duncanville ISD in March. J. Brian Nichols has served as interim superintendent and aided the trustees in the search process.

Gibson has served as superintendent for the Coldspring-Oakhurst district since 2013. He earned a bachelor's degree from East Texas Baptist University, a master's degree from Lamar University and a doctorate degree from the University of Houston.

SEDA names Hubbard new executive director
John Hubbard is the lone finalist to lead the Stephenville Economic Development Authority (SEDA) as its new executive director.

SEDA's board of directors reviewed more than 50 applicants before deciding to hire Hubbard.

On Our Website 

Schools leaving tens of millions of federal dollars unclaimed

Liberty-Eylau district superintendent resigns
Liberty-Eylau Independent School District Superintendent Roger Hailey (pictured) announced this week that he will resign his position, effective June 30.

Hailey has been in the job for about one year, having joined the district last June. He previously had been superintendent for the Atlanta ISD for seven years.

Liberty-Eylau trustees will meet June 7 to discuss Hailey's replacement.

Brownsboro names Tommy Hunter finalist to lead school district
Officials with the Brownsboro Independent School District named Tommy Hunter (pictured) the district's next superintendent. He will replace Chris Moran, who resigned his position in March, since when Elton Caldwell has filled in as interim superintendent.

Hunter has been superintendent for S&S Consolidated School District, which serves the cities of Sadler and Southmayd, since 2012 and also has served in the same capacity for Walnut Bend ISD. He will start his new job July 1.
An Audit Report on the Texas Lottery Commission's Administration of Selected Instant Ticket Contracts
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments:
  • Nancy Blackwell, Spring, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority;
  • Joe Ann Clack, Missouri City, Presiding Officer of the Texas Board of Respiratory Care;
  • Latana T. Jackson-Woods, Cedar Hill, Texas Board of Respiratory Care;
  • Shad J. Pellizzari, Cedar Park, Texas Board of Respiratory Care;
  • Sonia K. Sanderson, Beaumont, Texas Board of Respiratory Care;
  • Debra E. Patrick, Tomball, Texas Board of Respiratory Care;
  • Jim Stocks, Tyler, Texas Board of Respiratory Care;
  • Tim Chappell, Plano, Texas Board of Respiratory Care;
  • Gregg Marshall, New Braunfels, Texas Board of Respiratory Care;
  • Kandi Pool, San Angelo, Texas Board of Respiratory Care;
  • Ruth Ruggero Hughs, Austin, Chair of the Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs;
  • Steven Nguyen, Irving, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs;
  • Lisa Hembry, Dallas, Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs;
  • Ali Zakaria, Sugar Land, Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs;
  • Veronica Vargas Stidvent, Austin, Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs;
  • Juan Ayala, New Braunfels, Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs;
  • Bryan Daniel, Georgetown, Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs. 
Texas Government Insider Archives
View our other newsletter,

Texas Government Insider is a free weekly newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.   
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
Editor: Peter Partheymuller   
TGI is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1995 by former government executives and public sector experts, SPI has developed a national reputation as the premier marketing partner dedicated to helping companies secure contracts in the $1.5 trillion state and local government marketplace.   
To learn more about SPI services, click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900. 
Barton Oaks Plaza One, Suite #100
901 S. Mopac Expressway Austin, Texas 78746
Strategic Partnerships, Inc., 901 S. Mopac Expressway, Ste. 1-100, Austin, TX 78746
Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact