The Commissioners Court Leadership Academy (CCLA) inaugural class made its way into Texas county government history as 14 county officials graduated Aug. 31 in College Station.
The Academy, a two-year advanced leadership development program for commissioners court members, is sponsored by Texas Cooperative Extension’s V.G. Young Institute of County Government.
“These individuals are to be applauded for the time and effort they spent to enhance their leadership skills,” said Richard O. Avery, director of the V.G. Young Institute of County Government. “I believe the lessons they take away from the Academy will directly benefit those they serve.”
The graduation ceremony concluded the Academy’s final two-day session in College Station. Class members met with leadership specialists and toured the Texas Engineering Extension Service’s Disaster City and the Texas Forest Service’s Emergency Operations Training Center.
“As elected officials, we should demand quality educational programs from educational entities. We tread water without education,” said Oldham County Judge Don Allred, an inaugural class member. “This was high quality education, and it will only grow and get better.”
The CCLA educational program is comprised of four multi-day sessions spread over a two-year period. These sessions are held in various locations in Texas and Washington, D.C., and give commissioners court members a chance to increase their knowledge of county government, develop communications skills, and improve their ability to serve in a leadership position.
“This was the most rewarding educational experience I have had,” said Lavaca County Judge Ronald Leck. “The Academy involved great instructors and great locations with worthy staff and fellow classmates.”
During the graduation ceremony, class members and staff honored the late Polk County Commissioner Bobby Smith, an inaugural class member who passed away before the conclusion of the program. Smith’s son, Brett, accepted a plaque in honor of his father.
“Bobby was a driving force behind this class, and it saddens me that he didn’t get to attend,” said Allred.
The V.G. Young Institute of County Government is a part of Texas Cooperative Extension and The Texas A&M University System. Located in College Station, the Institute works to meet the educational needs of county officials and the public by anticipating, identifying, and addressing the challenges and opportunities faced by Texas county government.
Applications for the next class will be available Dec. 1. To learn more about the next Commissioners Court Leadership Academy or other V.G. Young Institute of County Government programs, visit http://vgyi.tamu.edu.
CCLA Inaugural Class Graduates
Don Allred, Oldham County Judge
Kevin Burns, Wise County Commissioner
Richard Easingwood, Tom Green County Commissioner
Ronald Leck, Lavaca County Judge
Kenny Mallard, Brazos County Commissioner
Ray Meadows, McLennan County Commissioner
Dean Player, Leon County Commissioner
Jerry Rowden, Kaufman County Commissioner
Kenneth Schoen, Kaufman County Commissioner
Charles Shofner, Jasper County Commissioner
Gene Short, Grayson County Commissioner
Frank Summers, Milam County Judge
Nina Trevino, San Patricio County Commissioner
Beth Wisenbaker, Hopkins County Commissioner
By Marsha Broesche, Extension Assistant