The Ambassador of the Year Award was established by Friends to highlight the efforts of an educator stepping up as a champion for the public schools of Texas, in hopes that he or she will inspire other educators to take bold action in defense of their good name.
“Gary and Pamela VanDeaver have exhibited the courage and bold action we intended to recognize when we created this award,” said Scott Milder, Friends co-founder. “Both career educators, Gary and Pamela recognized the Legislature was not taking care of its public school business and made the courageous decision to step out of their public education roles and into the Legislature where they could affect desperately needed change on behalf of all 5.3 million Texas public school students. The VanDeaver’s are to be commended for selflessly putting themselves out there against the unscrupulous opposition of the anti-public education establishment.”
Gary VanDeaver, Ed.D., was elected as State Representative for Texas House District 1 in 2014, which serves Bowie, Franklin, Lamar, and Red River Counties in northeast Texas.
“The state of Texas is blessed with tens of thousands of public school educators who provide love and care on a daily basis to the millions of students in our public schools,” said Representative VanDeaver. “These educators often sacrifice their own personal wellness, finances, and time with family to ensure that their students have the best possible educational opportunities. I have been extremely honored to serve alongside these dedicated professionals and now I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to continue to serve in the Texas legislature. At a time when our public schools are under constant attack, I am so thankful for Friends of Texas Public Schools and their continued commitment to telling the awesome stories of courage, commitment, and accomplishment in our public schools.”
Representative VanDeaver is a member of the Public Education and the Appropriations committees. Prior to his election to the Texas House, VanDeaver was a 33-year rural educator, serving most recently as Superintendent of New Boston ISD in Bowie County. He began his career as a high school vocational agriculture teacher. Inspired by a deep-seated belief in serving others and investing in the rising generation, VanDeaver eventually completed a Doctorate of Educational Administration and became a leading voice for providing the best possible education for Northeast Texas schoolchildren.
Pamela VanDeaver is a native of Avery, Texas and is a graduate of Avery High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M-Texarkana. In a career that spans 30 years, Mrs. VanDeaver has served in three school districts, including Avery ISD, Clarksville ISD, and Maud ISD. She has served each district as Business Manager/CFO, where she said it has been her responsibility to keep her school district fiscally healthy in order to provide the resources necessary to equip teachers and other instructional staff who directly serve students. Mrs. VanDeaver is a member of TASBO, where she has served as the secretary of the local association chapter and worked through their mentoring program to help other Texas school business officials.
The VanDeavers have been married 31 years and have two grown daughters, a son-in-law, and best of all, a beautiful seven-month-old granddaughter, Susanna.
Friends will present the VanDeaver’s with this award during its 12th Annual Friend of the Year Gala on December 7th at Baylor University’s McLane Stadium in Waco. For more details about the event or if you would like to consider a table sponsorship, please contact Jennifer Storm at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the event website at www.fotps.org/events.