ATPE is proud to bring you this series of posts from your board members. The ATPE Board of Directors is made up of 20 regional members, who are elected by their constituents; four state officers, who are elected annually by the entire House of Delegates at the ATPE Summit; and the most recent state past president. Board members were sent questions via email, and their responses will be posted to the ATPE Blog in the order they were received. Today’s post is from Region 6 director Judi Thomas.
How and why did you get involved in a leadership role at ATPE?
I became an ATPE member in 1989 and became the Willis local membership chairperson in 1991. I am not sure what year I was elected to my first region office, but I was nominated AND elected without even being at the meeting! I had agreed to serve, and my nominator took me seriously. I served as region secretary, vice president, and president before being elected director in 2012.
What is your favorite part of serving on the ATPE board?
I have had the opportunity to meet other leaders from around Texas who enjoy working with children as much as I do. Texas is very diverse, and seeing and hearing how various issues are handled around our state helps me to see the bigger picture. I have also enjoyed getting to see the inner workings of ATPE and how our association is truly the VOICE of public education in the state of Texas, and even across our nation.
How has being on the board helped your region?
Being on the board has helped me be a better advocate for public education and has helped me become comfortable speaking to our local and region members about the issues facing our profession. Bringing in new members and retaining current members is critical to our success as an association. With more members, we have a bigger voice, and with that voice, we can change the perception of public education. As we advocate for public education, our influence spreads to the ears of those needing to hear how important our students are and what they need in order to succeed.
What advice would you give to others who might be interested in serving on the board?
Don’t be afraid. In order to grow as a leader, you must step out and take the opportunity when it presents itself. Be willing to work hard, brainstorm new ideas, share vital information with local and other region leaders, and keep the mission of ATPE—providing superior services to our members—at the forefront.
Can you share something fun about yourself that our members might not know?
My hubby and I have been married 40+ years and have four children and eight grandchildren. We enjoy camping and playing games such as corn bag toss, washers, Pictionary, Heads-up, and any other competitive board or card games. And I personally LOVE any and ALL word games, my favorite being WORDS with Friends! A bucket-list trip I would like to take is to travel to Canada and ride the Rocky Mountaineer Train (Gold Leaf Service) and then set sail up to Alaska and whale watch, all while enjoying the true beauty of God’s creation!