Champions of Education Luncheon

Honoring: Mrs. Mary Ellen and Dr. Tim Summerlin

April 27, 2017  11:30 a.m.
Schreiner University Event Center
Kerrville, Texas

Active in every community they reside, Dr. & Mrs. Summerlin know the importance of education all levels. The constant of Tim Summerlin’s career has been higher education.  The variables have been the kind of institutions and his role in them.  He worked in public higher education, Lamar University from 1973-94, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 1995-99, and then switched to a private college, Schreiner University, in 1999.  Although he has always loved teaching, he found over the years that he gets a great deal of satisfaction from administration.  He served as Department Head and Executive Assistant to the President at Lamar University, as Dean and acting Provost at UTC, Provost at Schreiner University and then president from 2001 through 2016.  He continues as Chancellor until May, 2017.

Mary Ellen Summerlin has worked in many areas including, secretary in the Yale Library, pre-school teacher, kindergarten teacher, stay-at-home mom, social worker at the TN Dept. of Children’s Services, non-profit manager for Riverside Nature Center, and special services tutor at Schreiner University. She served as an elected official for the Town of Griffing Park and Council member and Mayor for the City of Port Arthur. Mary Ellen has also been an active board member for Headwaters Groundwater Conservation District and was appointed to a vacant position on the Kerrville City Council last October. She has always volunteered for the public schools through PTA and after school tutoring with the YES Center. 

Both Tim and Mary Ellen were blessed to grow up in big, warm, loving families and continue to find lots of fulfillment in those relationships. Both are elders in the Presbyterian Church, sing in the choir, and teach Sunday school from time to time. Tim mentors for the KISD, has served on the boards of the Chamber and the Symphony. Mary Ellen has served on the boards of the City’s Home Opportunity Advisory Board and Habitat for Humanity. They both love to read, listen to music, travel in the US and abroad, and cook. Tim enjoys gardening and keeps the yard looking good. Mary Ellen likes politics and book discussion groups.

Champions of Education 2017
Keynote Speaker: Councilman Rey Saldana
City of San Antonio – District 4

Rey Saldaña was first elected to serve as a San Antonio City Councilmember for District 4 on May 14, 2011. Councilman Saldaña is a lifelong resident of City Council District 4 and a proud graduate of South San Antonio High School. After graduating from high school, Councilman Saldaña received a Gates Millennium full academic scholarship to attend Stanford University in California, where he earned two bachelor’s degrees in political science and communication, as well as a fifth-year master’s degree in policy, organization, and leadership studies through Stanford’s School of Education.

While in California, Councilman Saldaña worked with the John W. Gardner Center and Stanford’s Institute for Research on Educational Policy and Programs to promote educational advancement through collaborative research. He also served as a coordinator for Kids with Dreams, a community program that provides therapeutic activities for children suffering from disabilities. Long a deep believer in the importance of education, he returned to San Antonio after completing his studies at Stanford to address educational challenges in the city. Councilman Saldaña currently serves as the Chief Engagement Officer for KIPP: San Antonio. Since 2011, Councilman Saldana has been a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio.

Councilman Saldaña is a former captain of South San’s varsity baseball team and a three-year member of Stanford’s baseball team, which earned a trip to the NCAA Division I College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska in 2008. Although his playing days are now over, he continues to maintain an active lifestyle. In his spare time, he can often be found jogging throughout the district and encouraging his friends and neighbors to run with him. He is joined in San Antonio by his parents, Reynold and Marisela Saldaña, and four siblings: Vanessa, Rodrigo, Rene, and Ramiro. On December 13, 2014, Rey married Jessica Flynn at a ceremony held at San Fernando Cathedral. Jessica is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Rey and Jessica recently purchased a new home in the heart of District 4 and serve as foster parents for two rescue dogs.

2016 Champion of Education
James Avery Jewelry
Keynote Speaker: 
Dr. Chris Avery, President & CEO

James Avery Jewelry is a Kerrville legend.  A company that has served to strengthen the local economy for over 60 years.  Now the James Avery Jewelry company has extended to 72 locations and employees over 1400 people across many states creating a positive economic impact for so many other communities in which they serve.

We are all familiar with the beautiful products that define James Avery Jewelry and for many of us, a sense of pride comes with knowing it all started here in our community.  

What you may not know is the passionate dedication the company has for education.  Mr. James Avery always placed an importance on improving people’s lives through supporting them with educational programs.  This legacy continues to be carried out by Mr. Avery’s son, Dr. Chris Avery which leads the company. Many scholarship programs are available and awarded every year.  Dr. Avery feels strongly that we as a society must elevate our importance of vocational and trade education. This includes making that path just as important as the traditional college or university option.  “Critical thinking is fundamental and there must be more focus on teaching that through all forms of education”, Dr. Avery explained.  “Trade and vocational training are so important,” Avery added.  

This focus on education for James Avery Jewelry matches the central theme of making lives better. Dr. Avery explained the James Avery legacy is about have a sentimental connection with others through both tangible and intangible experiences. An idea that might be best captured by a banner that hangs on the wall at the James Avery Jewelry location in Kerrville that states “Giving is what it’s all about.” 

Please join us in celebrating James Avery Jewelry as our 2016 Champion of Education on April 21, 2016.

Champions of Education 2016
Keynote Speaker: Andrew S. Murr
Texas House of Representatives – District 53

Representative Andrew Murr was first elected in 2014 to represent District 53 in the Texas House of Representatives. The district includes Bandera, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher and Sutton Counties. 

An eighth-generation Texan, he was raised on a ranch in Kimble County and attended school in Junction.

Representative Murr attended Texas A&M University, receiving a bachelor degree, summa cum laude, in Agricultural Development with an emphasis in economics and policy. Following graduation, he worked toward his master’s degree at A&M and earned his teaching certification, completing his student teaching in Mason. He subsequently graduated with highest honors from Texas Tech University School of Law.

Representative Murr lives on the family ranch in Junction and raises cattle. He also owns a small business, Telegraph Title Company, and maintains a general law practice. Murr is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Junction.

Representative Murr will be speaking on the importance of adult education and our economy at the 2016 Champions in Education luncheon to be held at the Schreiner University Event Center on April 21, 2016.