LEAP LEADs Through Education

October 18, 2021

Jacqueline Galo

LEAP LEADS enjoyed another informative evening at their fourth meeting of the fall semester. We had discussions and presentations which covered the topics of public and higher education–with two guest speakers who know their fields–not to mention a surprise visitor.

The evening began with a surprise visit by US Congressman Kevin Brady. He was there for a meeting but decided to make a quick stop and meet LEAP LEAD members and the LEAP Ambassadors.

We started our meeting with updates and reminders before we were introduced to our first guest, Ken Holland, (a Huntsville ISD school board member).

He kicked off the meeting about how the school structure system works and what his role is as a school board member. This led to an in-depth (for us!) discussion of what school boards do, their responsibilities, and approaches. Afterwards, we had a Q&A discussion in which fellow LEAP LEAD members asked questions such as how public schools get their funding, how standardized testing has changed education, and how COVID affected the attendance percentage and what was done about the situation. 

As part of our continued education on education, we had dinner and enjoyed local fare from Sam’s Table. Dishes ranged from hamburgers, paninis, Casado, to Alfredo pasta. We enjoyed the good portions, and Sam’s Table was generous to give each of the LEAP LEADs member a card with a lollipop and a 10% discount for the next purchase.

After dinner, Ken Holland closed his speech with his intriguing adopting experience and how that helped shape him to who he is today.

We then dove into a different topic: higher ed. Our second guest was SHSU’s Interim Vice Provost, Dr. Anne Gaillard. 

Dr. Gaillard spoke on what her day-to-day role is as an Interim Vice Provost and was followed by an organized Q&A that LEAP LEAD members had prepared. She discussed her educational background such as her Biology PHD, her challenges, and her most rewarding feeling on the job as well as how she manages to balance her personal life with such a role. The members were surprised when learning how her lab experience has helped her with her current role as administration. She ended her speech and brought us a gift, which was a Sam Houston medallion of Austin Hall.

Thank you both, Ken Holland, and Dr. Anne Gaillard, for sharing your experiences and challenges and for providing insight on public and higher education. LEAP LEAD members were very satisfied after a memorable night.

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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