Friend of the Year Honoree - Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium
“TEGAC has worked since 2012 to build support for and improvement in public education in Texas by bringing philanthropic and business leaders, education associations, and lawmakers together. TEGAC developed and implemented a comprehensive school finance advocacy campaign in partnership with its wide array of partners. In 2018-2019, TEGAC also commissioned and provided credible school finance data, including polling data on Texas voters’ attitudes on school finance.” said Steve Risser, Board President, Friends of Texas Public Schools
Ambassador of the Year Honorees - Nicole Conley & Douglas Killian, Ph.D.
“Ms. Conley was appointed by the Speaker of the House to serve on the Texas Commission on Public School Finance, whose work culminated in an historic $11.6 billion investment into public education and property tax relief. On the state level, Nicole brings over 20 years of financial management experience to the school finance discussion where she passionately supports investments in Texas public education. Under her leadership, Austin ISD has earned some of the highest financial ratings—
from the State of Texas to Fitch and Moody’s—for its strong fiscal management. The district also has earned national accolades for budget presentation, reporting and transparency,” said Blake Cooper, Executive Director, Friends of Texas Public Schools.
Dr. Killian, Superintendent of Pflugerville ISD, recently had the honor of being appointed by
the Lt. Governor to serve on the Texas Commission on Public School Finance, whose work
culminated in a historic $11.6 billion investment into public education and property tax relief.
He began his educational career at United ISD serving as a 1st grade teacher. He has held
various administrative positions including serving as superintendent in Poteet and Huffman
ISDs, as well as administrative roles in Educational Service Center (ESC) 3 and 20. Dr. Killian
was named the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Superintendent of the Year. In
2015, he was Region 13’s Superintendent of the Year. “Dr. Killian is passionate about public
education and is well known for confronting state-wide issues with facts and common
sense. These are attributes he displayed during these hearings,” said Leslie Milder,
Co-Founder, Friends of Texas Public Schools.
Founders' Distinguished Service Honoree - Palmer ISD/Kevin Noack, Superintendent
The Palmer Independent School district family of educators has consistently achieved what many believe is the impossible... 100 percent of its staff turned out to vote in the 2018 and 2019 state and local elections! What's their secret? The bold and courageous leadership of Palmer ISD Superintendent Mr. Kevin Noack and his Board of Trustees. Mr. Noack has very simply created an expectation that every staff member show up at the polls as a model of good citizenship for the students in their care. Palmer ISD has established an authentic and perfectly legal culture of voting. And so, for this extraordinary achievement, Friends of Texas Public Schools presents Palmer ISD with its 2019 Founders' Distinguished Service Award.
Elections matter. Legislators respond to those who vote. Lobbying is a critical part of the legislative process, but no amount of lobbying amounts to the influence achieved by showing up at the polls. Public education was not a priority during the 2017 legislative session because educators had not shown up as a profession to vote in decades. Educators then mobilized in 2018 with 57 percent of the profession voting in 2018. It is not a coincidence that public education was suddenly a priority in this most recent 2019 legislative session. Let's take a page from Palmer ISD's playbook and mobilize all 700,000+ educators across this great state to go vote in the 2019 primary and general elections!