Governance Camp Keynote Speakers

First General Session: Thursday, February 27, 2020

Merlyna Valentine, Educator, Speaker

Merlyna Mathieu Valentine@merlynainspires

Merlyna Mathieu Valentine's heart beats with passion for living a purposeful life. 

As an educator for the last 30 years, she has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and executive director of elementary schools.

Merlyna's dedication to making a difference in the lives of others has garnered recognition and commendations, such as Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, and Louisiana Regional Principal of the Year.

Merlyna's life changed in 2007 when she experienced the closest call to death imaginable. Against overwhelming odds, she overcame a medical tragedy and thrives in her new life as a sepsis survivor. Instead of focusing on what happened, she chooses to embrace her new path as a quadruple amputee with a grateful heart and a positive attitude.

Her powerful story of perseverance, courage, and hope was featured on the Today Show and in Ebony Magazine. Her message inspires her audiences to live life without limits and succeed beyond expectations. Merlyna's passion for education and living life to the fullest captivates audiences and inspires them to be the difference in the lives of students.

Second General Session: Friday, February 28, 2020

Student Voice Scholarship Panel


A highlight of Governance Camp is the High School Senior panel which kicks off our second day of learning together. Currently enrolled high school seniors are invited to submit an application to participate. 

Four students will be selected for the panel and will receive $1,000 in scholarship monies from our sponsor, Walsh Gallegos Trevino Russo & Kyle P.C. 

For more information, visit the Student Voice page. 

Third General Session: Friday, February 28, 2020

Justin Forsett
NFL Pro-Bowler, Entrepreneur, Perseverance Expert

Justin Forsett@JForsett

Justin Forsett has a genuine desire to positively impact others with his message of perseverance through life’s disappointments. His witty and down-to-earth personality engages audiences from corporate environments to youth groups as he shares his inspirational journey of hope, focus, determination, and the importance of a legacy.

A native of Mulberry, Florida, Justin moved with his family to Texas in his junior year of high school. He played collegiately at the University of California-Berkeley, where he ranked third in school history with 3,220 rushing yards and fourth with 26 touchdowns.

In his career, Justin has rushed for 3,890 yards on 820 carries with 19 touchdowns. He played in nine games for the Jaguars in 2013 before an injury forced him to miss the remainder of the season.

He spent parts of four seasons (2008–11) with Seattle and the 2012 season with the Texans. No matter the challenge, he never gave up.

Additional Information

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Thank you to our 2020 Sponsors

Claycomb Associates Architects logoWalsh Gallegos Trevino Russo & Kyle, P.C. logo