Gala 2018

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Friends of Texas Public Schools will honor three Texans at its 14TH annual awards gala on December 5, 2018 At 6pm at the Baylor Club, McLane Stadium in Waco.

Michelle Smith, PhD, Director of Governmental Relations, Raise your Hand Texas

Dr. Michelle Smith joined Raise Your Hand Texas in June 2018 after eight years with HillCo Partners. She connects policy, research and classroom experience to offer innovative approaches to the challenges in education policy in Texas. She brings a unique perspective to the education policy space because she has served as a public school teacher and holds a doctorate in School Improvement from Texas State University. Smith also served as the executive director of the Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC) for five years.

Smith has advocated on behalf of education-based for-profits, not-for-profits, advocacy organizations and superintendent-led associations. In 2017, she was named to Capitol Inside’s Top 100 Hired Guns lobby list. At HillCo, she focused on public education issues spanning public school finance, school choice, assessment and accountability, facilities funding, transparency, and elections.

Smith especially enjoys educating association members and boards of directors regarding how to positively engage in the legislative process. She has presented throughout the state to school districts, education services centers, and colleges of education regarding education policy and the political process.

Smith is a product of the Texas public school system and is the proud mother of two children attending Texas public schools. She lives in Buda, Texas with her husband, Codie.

Bobby J. Rigues, Founder, Make Education a Priority & Trustee, Aledo ISD

Bobby J Rigues has been a member of the Aledo ISD Board of Trustees since 2004. He is a 2009 Leadership TASB Master Trustee graduate and recipient of the 2010 LTASB Alumni Leadership Award. In 2011, he was named TSPRA’s 2011 Key Communicator.

His past and current advocacy services include time as a director for the North Texas Area Association of School Boards, often judges for the American School Board Journal’s national Magna Awards, a regular attendee of the Advocacy Institute in Washington D.C., and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Association of School Boards.

In 2011, his statewide grassroots initiative Make Education a Priority (MEaP) gained local and national attention for its public education advocacy efforts. In 2018, MEaP became an advocacy campaign under the non-profit organization Friends of Texas Public Schools. Mr. Rigues continues his advocacy for public education through his local school board, newspaper op-ed’s, conference session presentations, social media, and public speaking engagements.

Mr. Rigues earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Tarleton State University. After teaching/coaching for 7 years, he went into the insurance business and has been a State Farm agent since 1988. Bobby J and his wife Anita reside in Parker County, Texas.

Don Rogers, EdD, Executive Director, Texas Rural Education Association

For over 59 years Don Rogers has served Texas public schools he has worked tirelessly as an advocate for all kids. Dr. Rogers has a long career in public education, starting in the classroom in 1959 as a teacher, coach and elementary school principal. After several years rising through the ranks of administration, Dr. Rogers served Eanes ISD for 17 years as its fifth superintendent.

Following his retirement, Rogers continued his focus on improving public education in Texas and has spent the next 11 years leading community schools, followed by five years working as a public education consultant. Dr. Rogers has spent over the last decade assisting rural school districts as the Executive Director of Texas Rural Education Association.

Dr. Rogers earned degrees from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, Texas A&M University – Kingsville and Northern Colorado University. Rogers is active in the Rotary Club, First Baptist Church of Dripping Springs, Junior Achievement, and the Coalition for School Finance Reform. Married to Patty Joyce Rogers since 1956; together they are the parents of two children and two grandchildren. 

Individual Ticket $175

Reserved Table $1,750 (10 tickets, sponsor name on table, program, prime location of table)