Welcome from your TCEC President for 2015-2016 Dr. Kathleen Kyzar
Dear Texas Council for Exceptional Children Members:
It is my pleasure to serve as President of Texas Council for Exceptional Children (Texas CEC) during the 2015-2016 Academic Year, and to serve alongside a strong and energized board and membership. Among the Texas CEC Executive Board, there is a wealth of experience in special education. Board members represent current and former teachers across grade levels, current and former school administrators, and higher education faculty.
The Texas CEC Board is pleased to welcome two newly-elected members: Emily Rutherford, who is an assistant professor of special education in the Counseling, Kinesiology, and Special Education Department at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls; and Lucretia Gartrell, who is the Executive Director of Special Services at Burleson ISD and also a PhD Candidate at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas.
The full Texas CEC Board for the 2015-2016 Academic Year is as follows:
Past President: Dennis Cavitt
President: Kathleen Kyzar
President Elect: Meredith Walling
Vice President: Emily Rutherford
Secretary: Lucretia Gartrell
Treasurer: George Williams
Standards Committee Chair: Brenda Gilliam
Membership Committee Chair: Clark Cavin
Governmental Relations Committee Chair: Lisa Cavin
Constitution Committee Chair: Jerrie Jackson
Publications Committee Chair: Brittany Hott
In our work this year, the Texas CEC Board and Committee Members will be dedicated to carrying out the mission of Texas CEC, which is to “improve, through excellence and advocacy, the education and quality of life for children and youth with exceptionalities and to enhance engagement of their families.” In the remainder of this letter, I will highlight a few accomplishments and also upcoming activities that align with the Texas CEC mission.
At the time of this writing, Texas CEC is coming off the heels of a successful annual conference. The conference theme was “Connecting Texas Special Educators in Bridging Research and Practice” and we succeeded in accomplishing this goal. A total of 166 Texas CEC members attended the conference. There were a total of 77 presentations and 85 presenters. Participants and presenters represented a wide range of stakeholder roles: teachers and other practitioners, professional organizations, educational service centers, higher education (students and faculty), private or not-for-profit, state representatives, and self-advocates. Texas CEC was pleased to present awards to leaders in the state in the areas of teaching, research, and service. Please read Clark Cavin’s remarks in this newsletter to learn more about the award recipients.
At the 2015 conference, Texas CEC was excited to partner with two CEC state-level divisions: Texas Division on Career Development and Transition (Texas DCDT) and the Texas Division of Early Childhood (Texas DEC). Texas DCDT and Texas DEC sponsored conference strands and were active during the conference in networking with members. Over the next year, Texas CEC will be working with those interested in strengthening current state-level CEC divisions and/or establishing CEC divisions in Texas. Texas CEC will host a leadership summit prior to the 2016 conference in Austin as a culmination of this year’s efforts to strengthen CEC and state divisions in Texas. If you are interested in joining this workgroup, please e-mail email@example.com.
Please mark your calendars for the 2016 Texas CEC Conference, which will take place in late June 2016 (final dates to follow). Meredith Walling, President Elect, is already hard at work on plans. The conference is moving this year from the North Texas area the state capitol—Austin! The conference agenda will include off- and on-site pre-conference sessions and networking opportunities during the conference in addition to traditional presentation formats. You won’t want to miss this conference. We look forward to seeing you there! If you have an interest in participating in the conference committee, please e-mail Meredith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board will meet this month to plan the year’s activities. We look forward to posting announcements about additional professional development and networking events as they are confirmed. Please look for these announcements in the Texas CEC Newsletter, and also follow Texas CEC on Twitter (@texas_cec) and Facebook (Texas Council for Exceptional Children Fans).
I look forward to being a part of the continued energy CEC and divisions are building in the state of Texas. Here’s to the exciting possibilities!
Kathleen Kyzar, Ph.D.
President, Texas CEC