Now that Waxahachie ISD school board elections are over, the trustees have shuffled positions and sworn in the newly elected members.
The restructuring of the board happened Tuesday evening in a called board meeting, following the delivery of the oath of office to James Villarreal, Matt Authier and incumbent Gary Fox. All three were elected on May 9, with three board seats to fill, including former president Mark Price’s position, whose term expired this year.
Following the oath, the board nominated vice president Evelyn Coleman as the district’s new board president, and board member Floyd Bates as the new vice president. Fox was also nominated again as the board secretary, which is the position he held before the election.
Board policy states that at the first meeting after each election and qualification of board members, the board shall organize by selecting a president, who shall be a member of the board, a secretary, who may or may not be a member of the Board, and other officers and committees as the board may deem necessary.
“I am honored that my board members, my peers felt enough about me and felt that I would be able to handle a position of this stature, so I am completely honored to have been selected,” Coleman, who has been on the board since 2007, said after the meeting. “Now this makes my journey with the school district complete, from student, to teacher, to principal, to board member to president.”
Her vision as president is to make sure the board works as a Team of Eight, and makes sure students are put first because everything the board does is for those students, she said.
Bates said he knows the board has a lot of work to do, and he’s honored to be part of it. Bates has served as a board member since 2010.
“I appreciate the board’s confidence in voting me in for vice president,” he said. “I think we’re going to have to continue to work very hard and deliver all of the promises we’ve made, and I’m going to do all I can to do that. Now that we’ve passed a bond, and we’ve got so much work to do and have to get so much built, and the infrastructure around it and the personnel behind it, I believe that’s going to be our priority at this point. Not only that, but what we’re here for and that’s to improve the education for our kids.”
Also on May 9, voters passed a $125 million bond referendum for the district to build a new high school and change the setup of several other campuses, including moving Global High School to the current Waxahachie High School campus.
With that in mind, both Villarreal and Authier know their jobs are just beginning, they said, adding they’re looking forward to working with their fellow board members to better serve the people of WISD. Authier is currently employed by RR Advisors, LLC, an investment advisor, where he serves as fund controller over oil and gas and private equity investment funds. He is also a youth director at Central Presbyterian Church.
“With the bond passing, we’ve got a lot of responsibility to make sure that we do it right, from literally brick by brick to all the things the taxpayers want, and now we go to work,” said Authier, who might be the youngest on the board to date. “We start design probably in about a month, and that process will be intense and we will have lots of meetings. I look forward to it. We got to meet with the superintendent’s cabinet one on one, and we have some really, really talented people in our school district and I look forward to working with each and every one of them.”
With a servant’s heart, Villarreal said he’s just excited to be able to give back to the community in another way. Villarreal has worked with the city of Waxahachie for the last 15 years as the recreation superintendent, overseeing the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
“It’s just exciting for me to be able to give back to the community and just to serve. I truly believe I have a servant’s heart,” said Villarreal, the first Hispanic to serve on the WISD board. “Now the work begins and it’s time to serve our students and our staff of WISD. I’m excited about it, I know there’s a lot of work ahead, but that’s what I signed up for. I’m looking forward to working with the people and to just get to know a lot more people, and accomplish some things and move forward. It’s an exciting time to be a part of Waxahachie, and I’m thrilled to be part of that.”
For more on WISD school board elections or the $125 bond referendum, visit www.waxahachietx.com or www.wisd.org.