One of the longest-serving members on the governing board for the Texas School for the Deaf was recently re-appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. He has also lived in Waxahachie since 2003.
David Saunders' new term expires in January 2025.
Saunders has served on the Board of the Texas School for the Deaf since November 2015. Before that, he served as the president for 18 years for Workforce QA, a nationwide drug testing and background provider with a focus on the trucking industry.
A 30-year veteran in the trucking industry, Saunders said he grew up in the industry thanks to his father, who owned his own trucking business. Although Saunders held a passion for music and wanted to pursue it professionally, there was one obstacle in his path that prevented him from doing so – he had severe hearing loss.
“I was born with it,” Saunders stated. “I love music, but I can’t hear so I couldn’t enter into that profession.”
After he graduated from Temple High School in 1976, Saunders went to work with his father’s trucking company – at first as a mechanic, then later as a truck driver himself. He has spent his entire life adjusting to his hearing impairment.
“I’ve had to work very hard on how I try to talk,” Saunders expressed. “How I try to hear. To be transparent and tell someone I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you. I do wear hearing aids, although hearing aids don’t really help with high-pitched sounds. It’s just an aid. It’s not a fix.”
“Communication is one of the hardest barriers for any hard of hearing or deaf person has,” Saunders elaborated. “Whether you write an article, whether you’re in a relationship, whether you’re in a business deal, communication is the key with anything. You don’t know what they’re saying, and you can’t hear what’s being said. It’s very difficult. I really struggled.”
His struggles, however, didn’t stop him from eventually owning and operating his own business, which grew into a $30 million company. When he met Abbott in 2015, he said the governor was so impressed by his experience that he asked if he would be interested in serving on the board for the Texas School for the Deaf.
Saunders said he’d be honored to.
While serving on the board, Saunders oversees the provisions of all TSD services, including interpretation, sign language and master plan education, as well as prepare the school’s budget, policy adoption and superintendent appointments. Abbott was so impressed by Saunders’ service that he reappointed him and five others to the board.
But to Saunders, his service and his circumstance isn’t anything unique. He’s just glad he can provide the opportunity to others that went through the same struggles as he did.
“Without having to crawl back in my turtle shell and say I can’t cope with it, you stand out front and you move forward,” Saunders expressed. “I’m not special. That never entered my mind. I just became myself.”
Saunders’ term on the board expires Jan. 31, 2025.