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Distinguished Lecturers

JBS Distinguished Lecture featuring 2014 Texas Gubernatorial Candidate Wendy Davis

The John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute is pleased to announce the topic and guest speaker for a special John Ben Shepperd Distinguished Lecture. The title is: “Educating Texas: Complex Challenges – New Perspectives.” The lecture will feature 2014 Texas Gubernatorial Democrat Nominee & Author Wendy Davis. The goal of the lecture will be to examine the state of affairs in Texas public education systems today, particularly with regard to funding. Ms. Davis will also discuss positive movements in the charter school arena, what we can do to marry traditional and charter public school interests so that they sustain and support each other’s efforts. Wendy will also touch on the Texas Dream Act and why it is important to the future economy of our state.

Former Texas Senator Davis’s public service career spans three decades. She graduated first in her class at Texas Christian University, later graduating with honors from Harvard Law School. As a first-generation college graduate, she has worked hard under challenging circumstances to improve public and higher education, fighting to prevent dramatic funding cuts to Texas public schools, and co-authoring a law that enabled the growth of high performing charter schools in her state.

This distinguished lecture will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2015 at 7:00 PM. It will be held at the Wagner-Noël Performing Arts Center, 1310 N FM 1788, Midland, TX 79707. Bob Brescia, Executive Director of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute and Pat Canty, Publisher of the Odessa American will co-moderate the panel. The event is free and open to the public – no tickets or reservations required.

At JBS, we take on the long perspective when planning and offering lectures that will benefit our community. For example, having Wendy Davis as our next speaker completes a three-part series of lectures around a topic that the Texas Lyceum poll consistently lists among the top three concerns of most Texans: how well we are educating our Texas students.

  1. The first lecture in the education series we offered surveyed the Permian Basin’s educational offerings from pre-school to university, including adult education. This Leadership Roundup took place May 29, 2014. It featured the heads of nearly all of our school systems and also an executive from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). It was designed to reveal the current landscape of our offerings and how they fit together within that solid educational fabric.
  2. The second in the series is Wendy Davis on April 21st. Her primary focus will be on supporting public higher education – setting in place structures that will allow every prospective student to seek and obtain an affordable education. She will also, however, touch on charter schools and how they can improve their synergy within the public ISD systems that they operate with.
  3. The third lecture in our 3-part series on education will be former First Lady Laura Bush on October 22, 2015. Mrs. Bush will speak about the K-12 educational landscape in Texas with an emphasis on reading and literacy challenges.

The combination of these sessions features a multitude of differing ideologies and perspectives on the state’s challenges in education.

The John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute is the state’s Center of Excellence for public leadership education, ethics, and public service. It prepares young Texans in these areas and conducts on-site leadership training at schools and organizations throughout Texas. The JBS Institute is co-located and part of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB). Information about the Shepperd Institute’s services and events is available at www.shepperdinstitute.com.