History of TCPEA

  • In the spring of 1974 the professors of educational administration in Texasagreed to establish a formal organization in the state to foster the achievementof objectives of the professorate, and to foster better communication amongthose who were preparing school administrators for the public schools withinthe state. This group of professors met informally at many of the statewideeducational functions such as the Midwinter conference and TASA/TASB fall conventionin September. They included Morgan Moses of SFA, RobertHefner of SWTSU, Harold Hawkins of TAMU, HoytWatson of NTSU, L. Doyne McNew of ETSU, PaulStevens of SWTSU, and Barry B. Thompson of Pan American.Many of this group had been administrators and superintendents within the stateand had familiar ties with each other, but without some type of vehicle to bringthem together, their work was primarily focused in their immediate area withonly limited exchange concerning their work in preparing administrators.

    The professorate in educational administration in Texas was almost totallymale at this time. It was somewhat of a dispersed group who had contact withone another at superintendent conferences and sporadically at the NationalConference of Professors of Educational Administration held in August eachyear. At that time males held all the public school superintendencies in Texas(approximately 1,060) with only one exception. At the organizational meetingof this group, Dr. Barry Thompson, professor and head of educationaladministration at Pan American University, was elected president of the newlyformed association. Stuart Chilton, of East Texas State University,was selected Secretary-Treasurer. Bylaws were drawn up and the group took onthe name of Texas Professors of Educational Administration (TPEA).A newsletter was published by Stuart Chilton to develop interestin attending the first formal meeting of the new association.

    In October of 1974 the first meeting occurring after the organizational meetingwas held in Commerce, Texas, with the East Texas State University faculty hostingthe event. Dr. Floyd Parsons, the executive secretary of the Association for the Advancementof International Education, was the keynote speaker for this event. Thegroup met in joint session on the second evening with the Phi Delta Kappa chapterat the University. Approximately 35 professors made the trip to Commerce forthis meeting and it was considered a rousing success. The group arranged tomeet approximately three times each year with each of the meetings usually attachedto another statewide meeting that was attended by professors as well as otherschool administrators. These eventually included the TASA/TASB fall meeting,first being held in San Antonio, the Midwinter Conference held in Austin, andeventually with CSOTE, the Consortiumof State Organizations for Teacher Education.

    In the fall of 1975 the meeting was held at the newly opened Dallas–Ft.Worth Airport Hotel. Dr. Stephen Knezevich, recently retiredprofessor and former associate executive director of AASA, was the key presenterat that event. Dr. Knezevich was the author of several educational administrationtextbooks that were widely used in classes during that period. Dr. RobertHefner, professor at Southwest Texas State University, was electedsecond president of the organization at that meeting.

    During the next several years a great deal of political change was going onin Texas. The Texas State TeachersAssociation (TSTA) was in the process of unifying with the NationalEducation Association (NEA), which was a move toward trying to develop collectivenegotiations within the state (teacher strikes in Texas were prohibited by statelaw). Also the state political alignment was beginning to change with the firstRepublican Governor being elected since the Reconstruction period after the1865 defeat of the Confederacy. This meant there was a great deal of movementby various educational groups within the state including the superintendents',school boards', principals' and teachers' organizations. Administrative organizationsin the educational field banded together to be heard in a common voice to thelegislature in a loosely coupled group called the TSAC, Texas School AdministrationCoalition. With so many professors being closely aligned with superintendentsand the need to promote sound educational policies in training school leaders,TPEA became a minor player within this coalition that lasted several years;however, for the most part the school boards and superintendents' organizationswere the primary influentials for ideas that went forth.

    During years that the state legislature was in session, a regular focus of theorganization's meetings included the pending legislation that was being consideredfor adoption. One or more influential members of the legislature were frequentlypresenters at the meetings (often held in Austin) to discuss the impact of suchlegislation. Rep. (and later Senator) Bill Haley of Center,Texas, (also a former teacher) spoke numerous times while he was Chairman ofthe House Education Committee. Frequently the topic of school finance was themajor consideration at the legislature meeting years. On several occasions themeetings included presentations by a number of faculty's concerning the contentand delivery of their programs for degrees and certification. During these sessionsthe exchange of program ideas and materials became quite helpful.

    At this point in time only seven doctoral programs in educational administrationexisted in the state at public institutions: UT, TAMU, Houston, NTSU, TexasTech, Texas Southern, and ETSU. State institutions also had very limited budgets,especially for travel, so TPEA meetings were often half-day or one-day eventsand often held at easy travel destinations for fly-in-and-meet conferences.Typically they were held at the larger cities including Houston, Dallas, Austin,and San Antonio. Several retreat type meetings attempted to be more informalevents and were held at an Episcopal Church camp in Navasota, the 7A Ranch inWimberly, and a lake retreat in East Texas on Toledo Bend Lake east of Center.When funds seemed to get tighter at the universities, the attendance becameslimmer at the meetings. As technology became important in education one meetingwas held at the new Infomart in Dallas where members were able to view transitionsthat were coming about due to computers and technology development for dataprocessing. In 1984-85 the bylaws were revised in preparation for the groupbecoming a certified non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Servicelater that year.

    In 1988 some of the organization's members joined an effort led by JimVornberg to put together a book entitled Texas Public School Organizationand Administration. This began as a 14-chapter book with the first editionpublished in 1989 by Kendall/Hunt Publishers. Since that time the book has beenthrough several editions and has sold more than 1,000 copies each year withthe expected 10th edition planned for 2006, now containing 28 chapters. Nearly50 members have participated as chapter authors during this period. The bookeditions have been dedicated to the teachers of Texas, students of Texas, parents,and educational leaders. The 7th edition was also dedicated to BarryThompson, Chancellor Emeritus of the Texas A&M System, and MichaelMoses, then recently Texas Commissioner of Education. The financialsuccess of the book, used in about 25 to 30 institutions as a primary or secondarytext, has made fiscal support for TPEA available since about 1991. CarolynMcCreight edited a second book that developed a study guide focusedon the ExCET or TExES exam and was organized around the contents of the originaltextbook.

    Over the years some of TPEA's meetings have featured juried papers as part ofthe program in which professors and students have shared their research findingswith the membership. Other academic efforts by TPEA included a response writtenby a team led by Linda Avila to the paper criticizing the administratorpreparation program in Texas and recommending several structural policy changes.

    The development of a principal assessment model was another organization effort,lead by the efforts of Genevieve Brown. Beginning in 2003 theTexas Principal Lighthouse Initiative, sponsored by the TexasBusiness and Education Coalition, also provided opportunities for cooperationbetween TPEA and the Initiative in strengthening individual educational leadershipprograms with a dynamic process of evaluation and renewal. TPLI assisted insponsoring programs at TPEA meetings as part of this work.

    By 2003 the organization's membership realized that TPEA needed to restructureto provide better continuity to its goals and efforts. By a vote of the membershipin the fall of that year, Charles Blanton was appointed asthe first executive director. Dr. Blanton had served regularlyas an adjunct professor at Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas Woman's University,and the Dallas Baptist University. A special committee was appointed which wasto rewrite the bylaws to include a governance structure that provided for continuityin leadership and direction. The organization adopted the model in the fallof 2004 with a continuing membership executive board that elected two membersannually for 3-year terms. About the same time of these changes the organizationdecided by vote to change its name to the Texas Council of Professorsof Educational Administration and become the state-affiliate to the National Councilof Professors of Educational Administration. During the summer of 2005 thefirst edition of a new TCPEA Journal — School Leadership Review — was unveiled at the NCPEA conference in the Washington, DC area.

    History assembled by Jim Vornberg assisted by interviews with Barry Thompson,Stuart Chilton, Robert Hefner, Hoyt Watson, and Lynn Turner.