To the Members of the School Law Section:
I just recently realized that I started law school 20 years ago this fall. I have practiced school law my entire 17 year legal career. Being entrenched in school law has resulted in me forgetting almost everything that was on the bar exam. Yet, because school law is far-reaching and ever-changing, there are days when I am not sure if I even know any of the answers to the school law questions I am asked. Amid my sporadic confusion, one point is clear: I feel lucky to be practicing school law.
As the current PTA president of my two daughters’ elementary school, I am seeing public education through slightly different eyes than I once did. I am now afforded a daily, unvarnished behind the scenes view at school. Our school staff (principal, teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, etc.) contribute to the system much more than anyone can ever measure, they will never have all of the institutional resources they need, and they are certainly worth more than we pay them. It has made me appreciate people who serve on school boards for no pay and who put in untold hours serving in an often thankless capacity. My PTA experience is a good shot in the arm for me coming twenty years from the beginning of my legal journey. I believe it has already made me a better and more empathetic advocate.
Public education and its people deserve loyal, skilled, and empathetic advocates. I am convinced that the School Law Section fosters these characteristics in us. Some of you have taught me lessons the hard way; others have mentored me perhaps without even knowing it. However, I believe we enjoy in this section a camaraderie not found in other areas of the law. We recently enjoyed that camaraderie at our retreat in The Woodlands this past July. Almost 100 of you attended and were treated to a fantastic CLE program organized by Joy Baskin and Shellie Hoffman Crow, and time for relaxation with family and friends. Please mark your calendar now for July 13-14, 2007. That is when we will be holding our summer 2007 retreat at the San Luis Hotel in Galveston.
I would like to thank outgoing chair Wayne Haglund for his creativity, hard work, and leadership to the section. It has been a real treat following Wayne in service to the section. He has made it exceedingly easy for me to serve as chair.
Finally, I want to thank our Newsletter editors, Julie Leahey and Leticia McGowan. They have worked diligently to bring us a very informative collection of legal articles in this edition. Julie and Leticia have agreed to continue in this capacity for another year. Please contact them if you have ideas for a Newsletter article. They would appreciate hearing from you. I hope you have a great fall.
State Bar of Texas School Law Section