For Release: September 27, 2016
Contact: Barbara Williams, 512.340.2933
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Texas Association of School Boards Elects New Officers

(Austin)—The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) elected its 2016–17 officers during the Association’s recent annual Delegate Assembly and Convention in Houston. New TASB President Charles Stafford of Denton ISD succeeds Immediate Past President Bret Begert of Fort Elliott CISD. Teresa Flores of Ingleside ISD now serves as president-elect. First vice-president is James “Jim” de Garavilla of Silsbee ISD and second vice-president is Lee Lentz-Edwards of Kermit ISD. Jim Rice of Fort Bend ISD serves as secretary-treasurer.

Stafford has been on the Denton ISD board for 15 years and has held positions of vice-president and secretary four times. He served as president in 1993–94, 2007–09, and 2013–14. He studied in the Plan II Honors program at The University of Texas at Austin and continued his education with accounting classes at the University of North Texas. He is a self-employed real estate broker and developer with Keller Williams Realty.

Stafford’s activities include participation in the Kiwanis Club and Greater Denton-Wise Association of REALTORS®, chair of the Advisory Council for the Children's Advocacy Center of Denton County, chair of the Denton Central Appraisal District, member of the Advisory Board for the College of Public Affairs and Community Services at the University of North Texas, cochair of the Capital Campaign for College of PACS, board member of the Animal Shelter Foundation, and board member of the Denton Chamber of Commerce.

Flores has served on the Ingleside ISD board since 1999 and has held the positions of secretary, president, and delegate to the TASB Delegate Assembly. She was elected to the TASB Board of Directors for Region 2 in 2006. For more than 20 years, Flores has served as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch.

After graduating from Ingleside High School, she attended Del Mar College. She currently participates in local school events and has a special interest in legislative activity involving education. Most recently, Flores was asked to participate on the District 32 State Representative’s Educational Advisory Committee.

Past civic involvement includes president of the high school band booster organization, director for the Corpus Christi Harbor Playhouse, member of the Corpus Christi Symphony Community Outreach Committee, chair of the scholarship committee for the Del Mar College Foundation, and treasurer and player agent of the Ingleside Little League, serving more than 450 children and their parents.

De Garavilla has represented Region 5 on the TASB Board since 2009, serving on each of the board’s standing committees. He also served on the Special Committee on School Finance and chaired the Legislative Committee during the 83rd Legislative Session, which saw the passage of House Bill 5.

He was elected to the Silsbee ISD board in 2006 and completed the Leadership TASB and Leadership Southeast Texas programs. He also has been active in the grassroots advocacy process and served on the TASB Legislative Advisory Council. De Garavilla has served in various leadership roles at Silsbee ISD, including chairing its Budget and Finance Committee and an ad-hoc committee on board operating procedures.

Professionally, de Garavilla is a senior polymer research engineer at DuPont and holds several patents in his field. Throughout his 33-year career with DuPont, he has held a variety of technical, managerial, business, and marketing roles.

Lentz-Edwards is serving her 11th year on the Kermit ISD board. She is currently serving her second term as president, having served previously as secretary. She is a graduate of Sul Ross State University with a bachelor of business administration and masters of education and business administration.

She has worked in the field of education for many years, most recently as a special education coordinator. Active in her community, Lentz-Edwards has served as a leader in both Girl Scouts and 4-H, a Sunday school teacher and superintendent at her church, and a member of the Kermit Rotary Club, where she held officer positions as secretary and president. She has been honored as a Woman of Distinction by the Permian Basin Girl Scout Association, Outstanding Adult 4-H Leader District VI, and Kermit Woman of the Year.

Rice was elected to the Fort Bend ISD board in May 2010. During the past six years, he has served as board secretary, president, and currently Audit Committee chair. Elected to the TASB Board of Directors in 2012, he chaired the Legislative Committee during the 84th Legislative Session and served on the Nominations and Planning and Development committees. A graduate of Leadership TASB, Rice is president of Rice & Gardner Consultants, an engineering and construction management firm.

In addition to his professional duties, he currently serves as the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce’s Education Division chair and is a 2005 graduate of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Forum Class. He also has served on the Fort Bend Literacy Council Board of Directors and the Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors and is a cofounder of Fort Bend Cares, a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

Begert was first elected to the Allison ISD school board in 1998 where he served as board secretary and president. In 2003, the district consolidated with Fort Elliott, and Begert moved to the new board. He currently serves as Fort Elliott CISD board president.

A graduate of West Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree, Begert is past president of the Panhandle Area Association of School Boards, where he remains an active member and strong supporter of the Region 16 Education Service Center. He also serves as president of the North American Limousin Foundation and is past president of the Texas Limousin Association. In addition, he serves as lay leader of the United Methodist Church in Allison and is involved in many other church and civic organizations.

Begert is a partner in Begert Limousin Ranch, Inc., a family operation raising black, polled Limousin cattle, and the managing partner of B&H Disposal Systems, LLC.

TASB is a nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local public school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.3 million public school students.