New Officers Elected for TASB Board

For release: October 15, 2020  
Contact: Denise Schulz, 512.340.2948, denise.schulz@tasb.org
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(Austin)—The 2020–21 officers for the TASB Board of Directors were elected during the Association’s 2020 Delegate Assembly, which was held virtually on October 3. New TASB President Jim Rice of Fort Bend Independent School District (ISD) succeeds Immediate Past President Lee Lentz-Edwards of Kermit ISD. Ted Beard of Longview ISD now serves as president-elect. First vice-president is Debbie Gillespie of Frisco ISD, and second vice-president is Bob Covey of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. Armando Rodriguez of Canutillo ISD serves as secretary-treasurer.

Jim Rice, President

Rice joined the Fort Bend ISD Board in May 2010, where he has served as both board president and secretary. He currently chairs the Board’s Audit Committee.

Elected to the TASB Board of Directors in 2012, he chaired the Legislative Committee during the 84th and 86th legislative sessions. He is a 2013 graduate of Leadership TASB.

Rice is the founder and president of Rice and Gardner Consultants, Inc., 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 vice-chair and is a 2005 graduate of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Forum Class.

He is cofounder of the charity Fort Bend Cares, which benefits underprivileged youth in the community. Rice is involved in numerous other civic organizations, including the Fort Bend Literacy Council and Fort Bend P-16 Regional Council, and is currently a director on the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council.

Ted Beard, President-Elect

Beard was elected to the Longview ISD Board in 1998 and has served in various capacities, including assistant secretary, secretary, vice-president, and president.

He earned a bachelor’s in human services from LeTourneau University and now works as a technical expert and equal employment opportunity counselor for the Social Security Administration. Beard is a retired sergeant major from the United States Army and a combat veteran of Desert Shield/Storm and Iraqi Freedom.

He was appointed to the TASB Risk Management Fund Board in 2007 and currently serves as chair. He is a 2012 graduate of Leadership TASB as well as a past president and current member of the Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members.

Debbie Gillespie, First Vice-President

Gillespie was first elected to the Frisco ISD Board in 2011 and was elected to the TASB Board in 2014.

After graduating from Southwest Texas State University, she worked in interior design and fashion merchandising before accepting a job at Dell Corporation, where she worked in customer service, configuration management, and policy and procedures. Upon moving to Frisco with her family in 1995, she became an active community volunteer.

Gillespie was a longtime volunteer with Frisco Family Services and Starwood Neighborhood Association. She served and held various officer level positions in the following organizations: Frisco ISD Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA), multiple local PTA boards, Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) board, Frisco High School Band Boosters, National Charity League (NCL), and the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL). NCL and YMSL gave her the opportunity to serve organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Shoes for Orphan Souls, Operation Kindness, Susan G. Komen, Prison Ministries, Hope’s Door, North Texas Food Pantry, and Frisco Miracle League.

She is currently an active volunteer with Frisco Fastpacs and Frisco Women’s League, as well as a vocal advocate in legislative agendas for several local organizations. However, Gillespie is most passionate about advocating for public education for all students in Texas. She is a 2014 graduate of Leadership TASB (LTASB), a member of the LTASB Alumni Association, and an Honorary Life Member of PTA.

Bob Covey, Second Vice-President

Covey has served on his local board, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, for more than 15 years and has held the positions of president, vice-president, and secretary. A Leadership TASB graduate and Master Trustee, he is an active member and former director of the Gulf Coast Area Association of School Boards.

At the local level, he is a member of the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce and has participated in the district’s athletic and chorale booster clubs, Bus Buddies program, and Read Across America initiatives. Each semester for the past 15 years, Covey has lectured about school board governance to junior education majors at the Texas State University College of Education. Covey is founder and president of Go Public Gulf Coast. He also is active in Impact at the Harris County Department of Education and in Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, where he has been a member for more than 30 years.

Covey earned his bachelor’s degree at Texas State University. He has held numerous leadership positions with the university’s alumni associations, including serving as past president of the Texas State Alumni Association and a member of the College of Education’s Alumni Advisory Committee for 10 years. He retired from American Alloy Steel, Inc., after 35 years. His retirement was short-lived when the company asked him to reactivate his role; he resumed working in sales eight years ago.

Armando Rodriguez, Secretary-Treasurer

Rodriguez is serving his fourth term on the Canutillo ISD Board of Trustees, where he has served as secretary, vice-president, and president. A Canutillo High School graduate, he has attended board meetings since the eighth grade. He was elected to the Board in 2005 at the age of 20—the youngest person to win an elected office in El Paso County. Rodriguez is recognized among school trustees in the region as an advocate for education and educators.

He is involved with a variety of education and community boards in Texas and nationally, including the Mexican American School Boards Association, where he served as president; the National Hispanic Council of School Board Members, currently serving as chair; the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; and the Far West Texas School Boards Association, where he is a former president.

A graduate of The University of Texas at El Paso, Rodriguez is the business development manager of Hellas Construction, Inc.

Lee Lentz-Edwards, Immediate Past President

Lentz-Edwards has been serving on the Kermit ISD Board of Trustees for 15 years. A 2013 Leadership TASB graduate, she is currently in her fifth term as president of her local board.

She is a graduate of Sul Ross State University with a bachelor of business administration, master of education, and master of business administration. She has a long tenure in the field of education. Currently, she is a coordinator of special populations at the Region 18 Education Service Center.

Lentz-Edwards has been active in her community, having served as a leader in both Girl Scouts and 4-H, a Sunday school teacher at her church, and a member of the Kermit Rotary Club, where she held the officer positions of 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.

TASB is a nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve public school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.4 million public school students. 

Jim Rice, TASB President

Ted Beard, TASB President-Elect

Debbie Gillespie, TASB First Vice-President

Bob Covey, TASB Second Vice-President

Armando Rodriguez, TASB Secretary-Treasurer

Lee Lentz-Edwards, TASB Immediate Past President