Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

2023 ATPE Summit: Choose Your Own Adventure

2023 ATPE Summit: Choose Your Own Adventure

ATPE members made the trek July 10–12 to Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in Round Rock for the 2023 ATPE Summit. Attendees charted a path for their next ATPE adventures in membership recruitment and public education advocacy during volunteer training and a couldn’t-miss legislative update. Also on the agenda were inspiring professional learning sessions, including keynotes presented by Monica Genta, author of 180 Days of Awesome, and Jim “The Rookie” Morris, the real-life high school teacher-turned-major league pitcher. Plus, the 2023 ATPE House of Delegates elected the 2023-24 ATPE state officers and adopted resolutions and the 2023-24 ATPE Legislative Program.

The following highlights the ATPE volunteer leaders, members, and supporters whose contributions help ATPE remain the No. 1 choice of Texas educators. Thank you to everyone who joined us for an incredible summit!


Thank you to ATPE’s generous corporate and association partners as well as the dedicated volunteers who made the 2023 ATPE Summit a tremendous success.

Corporate Partners

Frost Insurance

Association Partners

It’s Time Texas, TCEA, Texas ASCD, Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE), Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT), Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA)

Region 13 Welcome Committee

Pamela Brown-Ledet, Erin Campbell, Phyllis Crider, Callie Dawson, Mary Dorney, Kim Kauitzsch, Heidi Langan, Samantha Lynn, Cristela Rocha, Danielle Sanders, Kristin Shelton, Christie Smith, Tina Steiner, Greg Vidal, Jennifer Wilson, and Cheryl Zalk

Summit Steering Committee

Erin Campbell, Temeika Durden, Samantha Lynn, Danielle Sanders, Jayne Serna, Kristin Shelton, Christie Smith, Stephanie Stoebe, Greg Vidal, and Jeannette Whitt

Summit Steering Committee

Erin Campbell, Temeika Durden, Samantha Lynn, Danielle Sanders, Jayne Serna, Kristin Shelton, Christie Smith, Stephanie Stoebe, Greg Vidal, and Jeannette Whitt

Educator of the Year Committee

Chair Jackie Davis, Sherise Bell, Sharon Dixon, Colleen Norton, Brooke Anna Roberts, and Angela Rice

Leader of the Year Committee

Chair Evelyn Miles-Hoskin, Carl Garner, Maria Samantha Montano, Daisy Palomo, Cristela Rocha, Cassandra Rogers, and Gayla Rhoads

Nomination/Election Committee

Chair Ron Fitzwater, Belinda Wolf, Sandra Bounds, Kelley Walker, Tara Linz, Art Cantu, and Shannon Bush

Resolutions Committee

Chair Cathy Stolle, Julie Fore, Mary Gardner, Kristy Hollingsworth, Michael Renteria, Davina Carter, and Jennifer Adams

Legislative Committee

Chair Abigail Ramford, Jennifer Bowland, Kim Dolese, Christopher Douglas, Sean Douglas, Jesus Garza, Hayli Hassell, Karen Hill, Phyllis Jarzombek, Dale Lovett, Sarah Mayne, Maria Mendez, Opal Mobbs, Rose Perez, Gayle Sampley, Shelia Slider, Emily Smith, Nattina Wilkerson, Melanie Willett, and David Williams

Membership Committee

Chair Melissa Walcik, Sue Ambrus, Kimberly Anderson, Denise Braun, Gayla Brown, Madonna Felan, Michelle Fuller, Yessica Garza, Jaclean Harris, Taylor Kruppa, Kay Loftin, Meredith Malloy, Patricia Moore, Traci Morrison, Yesica Munguia, Amber Shipman, Greg Vidal, Katherine Whitbeck, Susan Wilson, and Sylvia Zamora

Leader Development Committee

Chair Nicole Fuller, Joy Barreras, Sage Cavazos, Amy Crawley, Carlos Diaz, Patricia Garcia, Samantha Garza, Jordyn Livingston, Tesslyn Mustain, Felicia Robinson, Olena Stuart, Karen Thompson, and Maria Trevino

Public Information Committee

Chair Tracey Smith, Autumn Caro, Blythe Chapman, Phyllis Crider, Greg Fore, Maya Issac, and Erika Mitcham

House of Delegates

ATPE’s annual House of Delegates (HOD) meeting reflects our member-governed philosophy. At the HOD, delegates representing their local units and regions vote for ATPE’s next state officers and consider the reports of the Resolutions and Legislative committees.

State Officer Election

The 43rd Annual ATPE House of Delegates elected the following members to serve as ATPE’s 2023-24 state officers: President Jayne Serna, Leander; Vice President Jason Forbis, Midway (12); Secretary Jerrica Liggins, Paris; and Treasurer Eli Rodriguez, Cypress-Fairbanks. They join Immediate Past State President Stacey Ward, Humble.


The HOD readopted Standing Resolutions Nos. 1–13 as recommended by the Resolutions Committee and the ATPE Board of Directors. There were no current or prefiled resolutions to consider. The HOD also adopted an honorary resolution recognizing Past State President Karen Hames for her service to ATPE. Visit to read the resolutions.

ATPE Legislative Program

The ATPE Legislative Program outlines the association’s legislative priorities and guides ATPE Governmental Relations in its advocacy efforts. The HOD adopted the 2023-24 ATPE Legislative Program. Visit to review the program.

2022–23 Awards

ATPE honored educators, ATPE volunteers, and education journalists at the summit, as well as presented the association’s highest honor, the Judy Coyle Texas Liberty Award.

Judy Coyle Texas Liberty Award

Named after one of ATPE’s founding members, the Judy Coyle Texas Liberty Award is presented to individuals or organizations who have demonstrated superior service to public education. The 2023 recipient of the Judy Coyle Texas Liberty Award is Laura Yeager, a tireless Texas public school advocate who says her work in public education policy is “driven by the belief that public education and civic engagement are the central tenets of a strong democracy and key to a better and fairer world.” Yeager has been a founding member of three organizations dedicated to our public schools: Texans Advocating for Meaningful School Assessment (TAMSA), Texas Educators Vote, and Just Fund It TX.

Alafair Hammett Media Award

The Alafair Hammett Media Award recognizes specific works of journalism that highlight important issues in Texas public education. The award is selected by the members of the ATPE Public Information Committee, who evaluate journalistic works recommended by ATPE staff. The works are evaluated for relevancy, clarity, approach to public education policy, and ability to capture audience interest. The 2022-23 ATPE Public Information Committee reviewed six nominated articles and selected KXAN investigative reporter Kelly Wiley as the recipient for her broadcast package entitled “The Exit: Teachers Leave. Students Suffer.”

ATPE’s Top Recruiter: Amanda Fortenberry

The 2022-23 Top Recruiter is Amanda Fortenberry, formerly of Hardin-Jefferson, who recruited 39 new members. Fortenberry received $390 ($10 for each new member), plus $1,000 for being the state’s top recruiter as part of the One New = $10 for You recruitment challenge.

Doug Rogers Campus Representative of the Year Awards

The Doug Rogers Campus Representative of the Year Awards acknowledge those special ATPE volunteers who are fundamental to the continued growth and development of our grassroots organization.

Local Units/ISDs with 1–200 Members

Sean Douglas
Finalists: Jessica (McHale) Rutherford, Hempstead; Christy Skinner, Lumberton

Local Units/ISDs with 201–500 Members

Roya Dinbali
Finalists: Monique Juliangarza, Spring; Katherine Whitbeck, Nacogdoches

Local Units/ISDs with 501–1,000 Members

Artemio Cantu
La Joya
Finalists: Hilda Martinez, La Joya; Aiesha Odutayo, Houston

Local Units/ISDs with 1,001+ Members

Antonio Mercado
Finalists: Michelle Jeffrey, Katy; Jennifer LeWinter, Plano

Floyd Trimble Local Unit of the Year Awards

The Floyd Trimble Local Unit of the Year Awards acknowledge the efforts and accomplishments of outstanding local units across the state.

Local Units with 1–200 Members

Bandera ATPE
2022-23 officers: President John Milner, Vice President Stan Payne, Secretary Sherrie Williamson, Treasurer Diane Payne
Finalists: Hempstead ATPE, North Starr ATPE

Local Units with 201–500 Members

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ATPE
2022-23 officers: President Michael Sweet, Vice President Lydia Marez, Secretary Dora Melendez, Treasurer Martha Alvarado
Finalists: Allen ATPE, Magnolia ATPE

Local Units with 501–1,000 Members

La Joya ATPE
2022-23 officers: President Artemio Cantu, Vice President Julian Villarreal, 2nd Vice President Vanessa Brown, Secretary Bertha Cantu, Treasurer Jesus Garza, Membership Chair Hilda Martinez
Finalists: Alief ATPE, Houston ATPE

Local Units with 1,001+ Members

2022-23 officers: President Janet Godfrey, Vice President Ollie Kendrick, Secretary Sherry Doll, Treasurer Dalton Lauck, Membership Chair Dedra Robertson
Finalists: Cypress-Fairbanks ATPE, Denton ATPE

University Local Units

University of St. Thomas ATPE
2022-23 officers: President Brenna Ruehter, Vice President Shermeen Patel, Treasurer Anahy Martinez Balleza, Historian Xareni Chazares, Sponsor Jean Kiekel
Finalist: Houston Baptist University ATPE (now Houston Christian University)

Charles Pickitt Educator of the Year Awards

The Charles Pickitt Educator of the Year Award recognizes ATPE members who demonstrate exceptional or innovative capabilities in their respective educational fields.

Administrator of the Year

Christina Flores
Finalists: Claire Bray, Nacogdoches; Kris Mitzner, Katy

Associate of the Year

Francis Sanchez
Zapata County
Finalists: Wanda Bailey, Mesquite; Eduardo Mercado, Edinburg

Elementary Teacher of the Year

Michael Sweet
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo
Finalists: Christy Biehle, Katy; Lacey Brajenovich, Katy

Secondary Teacher of the Year

Daxus Nessoi
Finalists: Clarice Cross, Plano; Joan Pearson, Cypress-Fairbanks

Special Services Educator of the Year

Greg Fore
Finalists: Ana Ramos, Roma; Dedra Robertson, Katy

Political Action Committee Honorees
Stephen F. Austin ATPE-PAC Honorees

The members below have contributed the following cumulative amounts to ATPE-PAC since July 1997.

Karen Hames, Steve Pokluda

MaElena Ingram

Bill Griffin, Shannon Holmes, Shawna Myerson, Shelia Slider, Michael Sweet

Madonna Felan, Lynette Ginn, Barbara Lebold, Paula Marshall, Yvette Milner, Lynn Nutt, Barbara Ruiz, Stephanie Stoebe, Leslie Ward

Lizandra Ayala Valentin, Beverly Bredemeyer, Greg Fore, Stacy Gallier, Yessica Garza, Tiffiiany Godley, Tiffany Gygi, Crystal Hammill, Catherine Harbour, Tommie Hicks, Dorothy Hulett, Rebecca LeBreton, Angela Robinson, Horacio Rodriguez, Jessica Rutherford, Angela Sanchez, Tanya Snook, Mary Stricker

ATPE-PAC Statesman Award

The ATPE-PAC Statesman Award honors ATPE members who have donated $20 or more to ATPE-PAC for 12 consecutive months.

Charlotte Anthony, Betty Berndt, Sherry Boyd, David de la Garza, Sharon Dixon, Twila Figueroa, Ron Fitzwater, Jason Forbis, CaRita Forte, Lynette Ginn, Tonja Gray, Byron Hildebrand, Shannon Holmes, Darlene Kelly, Barbara Lebold, Jerrica Liggins, Dale Lovett, Teresa Millard, Lynn Nutt, Steve Pokluda, Deborah Pleasant, Betty Plunkett, Michael Renteria, Lindsay Robinson, Eliseo Rodriguez, Abby Rogers, Jayne Serna, Maria Slette, Shelia Slider, Wendy Smith, Becky Spurlock, Ron Walcik, Katherine Whitbeck, Richard Wiggins

William B. Travis ATPE-PAC Honorees

This year’s William B. Travis Honorees are those members who donated $150 or more to ATPE-PAC between Aug. 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022.

Shannon Abernathy, Tina Alvarado-Crouch, Susan Ambrus, Charlotte Anthony, Susan Ballew, Betty Berndt, Nelson Bishop, Jerry Bonham, Julleen Bottoms, Sherry Boyd, Beverly Bredemeyer, Brandi Claiborne, Sara Connaway, Hector Cruz, Elizabeth Davis, Ona Beth Day, David de la Garza, Sharon Dixon, Alice Erdelt, Madonna Felan, Twila Figueroa, Ron Fitzwater, Jason Forbis, John Fore, CaRita Forte, Ginger Franks, Donna Gibbon, Patti Gibbs, Sharon Ginn, Tonja Gray, Tanya Gray, Stephen Griffin, Karen Hames, Byron Hildebrand, Jeanette Hlavaty, Lisa Hollowell, Shannon Holmes, Malinda Holzapfel, Maria Ingram, Phyllis Jarzombek, Irma Jimenez, Kate Johanns, Courtney Jones, Darlene Kelly, Connie Kilday, Barbara Lebold, Jerrica Liggins, Tara Linz, Dale Lovett, Elias Lozano, Meredith Malloy, Paula Marshall, Hilda Martinez, Melanie Mathis, Katy Matthews, Shawna Mayerson, Betty McCoy, Evelyn Miles-Hoskin, Teresa Millard, Maria Samantha Montano, Shawn Mustain, Sharon Nix, Lynn Nutt, Bobbye Patton, Deborah Pleasant, Betty Plunkett, Steve Pokluda, Jennifer Price, Michael Renteria, Lindsay Robinson, Eliseo Rodriguez, Abby Rogers, Belinda Rosa, Jessica Rutherford, Gayle Sampley, Jayne Serna, Maria Slette, Shelia Slider, Wendy Smith, Rhonda Smith, Leah Smith, Samuel Spurlock, Becky Spurlock, Stephanie Stoebe, Cathy Stolle, Mary Stricker, Michael Sweet, Marsi Thomas, Maria Trevino, Norma Vega, Melissa Walcik, Ron Walcik, Eileen Walcik, Stacey Ward, Katherine Whitbeck, Shane Whitten, Richard Wiggins, Belinda Wolf

Davy Crockett Fundraising Challenge

This challenge was established to recognize the regions and local units that raise the most money per member for ATPE-PAC. This award covered the Aug. 1, 2021–July 31, 2022, fundraising period.

Region, 10,000 or Fewer Members
Region 11 ATPE

Region, 10,001 or More Members
Region 10 ATPE

Local Unit, 1–200 Members
Woden ATPE

Local Unit, 201–500 Members
McAllen ATPE

Local Unit, 501+ Members
Lewisville ATPE

ATPE-PAC Silent Auction Donors

David de la Garza; Amy Dodd; Andrea Elizondo; Jennifer Mitchell; McAllen ATPE; Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, and 20

Staff Service Awards

Congratulations to the following ATPE staff members honored during the summit for their combined 160 years of service.

Five Years of Service
Celina Leal
Jeff Vega
Mary Jane Waits

10 Years of Service
Bret Messer
Diane Pokluda
Martha Moring

20 Years of Service
Andrea Elizondo
Barbara McGrath
Tracy Revetta

25 Years of Service
Joy England
Brian Park