Reaction from two of the seven members of the Board of Managers - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Reaction from two of the seven members of the Board of Managers

12News has obtained a list of the members of the newly appointed Beaumont Independent School District Board of Managers.

Commissioner of Education Michael Williams Monday announced his appointments to a seven-member board of managers for the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD). The board of managers will be responsible for overseeing the management of the BISD, including oversight of the district’s efforts to address and correct identified deficiencies and to implement effective, structural and procedural improvement strategies for long-term, positive change.

“The people I’m appointing to the board of managers understand the difficult task ahead, but are committed to getting the job done for their community,” said Commissioner Williams. “I have full confidence this board of managers will strengthen the overall condition of the Beaumont

Independent School District, while ensuring a solid education for every student.” Commissioner Williams announced in April his decision to appoint a board of managers for the Beaumont ISD. The Beaumont school board appealed the decision. The second and final phase of the record review of the commissioner’s proposed action occurred Friday. A ruling issued today by TEA Deputy Commissioner Michael Berry upheld the commissioner’s decision,clearing the way for the appointment of the board of managers. The board of managers will assume all responsibilities of the elected board of trustees.

A.B. Bernard
President of BGI Contractors Inc, and United Marine Shipyard inc., with corporate offices located in Beaumont.  A longtime community and business leader, A.B. Bernard has more than five decades of  experience in business and management principles, strategic planning, resource  allocation, leadership technique and the coordination of people and resources. In addition  to his extensive professional experience working in large companies, Bernard has a  strong record of community service, including his efforts on the boards of the Beaumont  Chamber of Commerce, Communities In Schools of Southeast Texas, Communities In  Schools of Texas Foundation and Three Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Lenny Caballero
Lenny Caballero serves as the director of event facilities for the City of Beaumont. A decorated Navy veteran who served during the first Gulf War, Caballero has an extensive  professional work history in inter-organizational management, external communications,  labor negotiations and operations and facilities management. He has served on numerous boards in the Beaumont community. Caballero and his wife have three children – two
who attend schools in the Beaumont Independent School District.

Jack Carroll
Jack Carroll is a partner in the Beaumont offices of Orgain, Bell & Tucker, LLP. His principal areas of practice are personal injury and commercial litigation. Carroll earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from Baylor University and a law degree from the Baylor University School of Law. He was a certified public accountant for 12 years and worked for Deloitte Haskins & Sells before attending law school. Carroll and his two children are graduates of the Beaumont public schools.

Joe Domino
Joe Domino, former president and chief executive officer of Entergy Texas, recently completed a long and distinguished career with the company, where he established a well-deserved reputation for quickly addressing issues to maximize performance, strengthen internal processes and strengthen the company’s overall reputation. Domino has served as a trustee on the Lamar University Foundation and as chair of the Trusteeship and Governance Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University and a master of engineering science degree from Lamar University.

Vernice Monroe
A longtime local advocate for children, Vernice Monroe currently serves as liaison to the president on Multicultural Enhancement at Lamar University. The former director of the Social Work program at Lamar, she was awarded the honorary title of Associate Social Work Professor Emeritus upon her retirement in 2008. As board president of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Monroe was named Child Advocate of the Year and has been a volunteer advocate since 2005.

Jimmy Simmons
Previously the president of Lamar University, Jimmy Simmons resigned his position in 2013 to return to the Lamar faculty as a music instructor. Simmons is widely regarded as one of the most successful presidents in the university's history, winning numerous awards for his successful administration. During his tenure as president, Simmons led efforts on multiple fronts to strengthen higher education opportunities in the region. A graduate of Beaumont High School, Simmons has well-established ties to the community.

Robert Turner
An established business leader in the region, Robert Turner was the first African-American to serve as chairman of the board for the Greater Beaumont Area Chamber of Commerce. Turner moved to the Golden Triangle in 2000 and purchased JK Chevrolet, a longtime General Motors dealership. He later opened the Subaru dealership under the same name. Turner and his wife are parents to former and current BISD students. They have four boys, two girls and four grandchildren.

Commissioner Williams also announced the appointment of Vern Butler as BISD interim superintendent when the board of managers is installed. Butler previously served as interim superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District, assisting an appointed board of managers in restoring public confidence in that district. Butler will serve only on an interim basis, until the BISD board of managers can identify and hire a permanent superintendent.

Finally, Commissioner Williams is instructing Fred Shafer to remain in his role as conservator. Shafer, who was appointed BISD conservator in April, will help support the board of managers and interim superintendent due to the overall weakened financial condition of the district, as well as a variety of other issues.

“Due to multiple delays created by the district, this board of managers has been placed in a tough position where a number of large financial decisions must be made in a very short period of time,” said Commissioner Williams. “The district’s road back to true stability and credibility will be a long one, but it will be trusted community members from Beaumont who will successfully map out the path.”

The board of managers will be in place for up to two years. A school board election must be called within two years of this appointment.
The board will be sworn in at a special called meeting July 21.   

 Retired Lamar University President Jimmy Simmons issued the following statement about his appointment:

"I appreciate the confidence TEA Commissioner Michael Williams and others have in me, and I want Beaumont to know that we are up to the task, and it is a huge and critically important one.

 At this point, all eyes are forward.  Our job is clear. The financial house of BISD will be set straight and will be transparent to the citizens who fund it. Management will be policy-based, carefully reviewed, and ethically sound. As we make hard choices, we will strive to make the right decisions and our moral compasses will be the law and best interests of our children."

And Lenny Caballero told us this:

I appreciate the trust and confidence Commissioner Michael Williams and others have in me. I look forward to serving with the other Managers, who are all first class citizens of Beaumont. We all have a lot of work to do but are ready for the challenge. As we make hard choices, we will make right decisions in the best interest of our children and future."

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