The School Zone: News


The Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees is proud to announce the names of 28 community members who were selected by lottery to participate as members of the first cohort of the Board of Trustees’ new community development program, LeadSBISD. 

The Cohort I roster was formally approved by the Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Nov. 18, 2019. The Board vote was unanimous (7-0).

Lead SBISD members represent the diversity of the SBISD community, with four representatives from each geographic middle school feeder pattern in the local school district. 

More than 160 parents and community members applied to join the program, which focuses on SBISD learning and leadership.

“I’m extremely excited to get more people engaged and informed about the [school] system, about navigating in it, about being a voice,” Board Vice President Chris Gonzalez said before Board voting on Nov. 18. “It’s just really exciting to see the overwhelming interest in this first cohort. I can’t thank people enough for their time and investment.”

The LeadSBISD Cohort I members are: 

  • Courtney Anderson
  • Rebecca Barbier
  • Amira Dakhil
  • Thomas DeBesse
  • Virginia Elizondo
  • Morad Fiki
  • Laura Gunkle
  • Kristen Hassett
  • Bailey Henderson
  • Charlotte Jackson
  • Shaundra Jacobs
  • LaKeisha Jones
  • Ed Kaczenski
  • Marc Laney
  • Heather Layton
  • Noel Lezama
  • Shixuan Liu
  • Tariq Masaud
  • Rafael Mejia
  • Katherine Mejias
  • Mitesh Patel
  • Renee Rice
  • Bertha Rosella
  • David Slattery
  • Laura Smith
  • Dmel Tatum
  • Sarah Torres
  • William Zukley

These individuals represent the first cohort to participate in this new Board of Trustees-initiated program. While participating in the 12-month long program, participants will learn firsthand from SBISD leaders and Trustees about the role of the school board as well as insights into district academics, safety and security, technology, finance, legislative issues, advocacy and community engagement. 

Board member Josef Klam said before the Nov. 18 Board vote that he was thrilled to see broad representation, and excited about the high application response. 

His SBISD involvement began on a finance committee without benefit of broad learning options like LeadSBISD, he said.

“I got to learn a lot about finance, but I think about the deep dive these folks will do with the breadth of our district. It’s really exciting to think that when we get through with this process, we’ll have a significant number of folks who will have a better grasp of how and why our district does what we do, and how we do it,” he said. 

LeadSBISD participants will attend an opening session on Jan. 15, 2020, followed by five evening sessions through November 2020 and a December graduation. They will also be required to attend an SBISD Board of Trustees Workshop and Regular Board Meeting during the course of the program.

The sessions are designed to provide participants an opportunity to learn more about SBISD, various aspects of district operations, and the role of the Superintendent and Board of Trustees.