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School Communications Legal Workshops

TSPRA will host a pair of intensive, one-day legal workshops this spring featuring attorney Dennis Eichelbaum of Eichelbaum Wardell Hansen Powell & Mehl discussing social media use, open records requests and current issues affecting school districts. 

The cost will be $120 per person. Non-TSPRA members from your district are also welcome to attend. 

The registration deadline for these workshops is 10 days in advance. If a given session fails to receive 35 or more registrations by the deadline, that workshop will be cancelled. 

Click the links above or visit the Event Calendar section on the TSPRA Member Area to register for the TSPRA School Communications Legal Workshops with Eichelbaum Wardell Hansel Powell & Mehl. 

2016 Conference Speakers


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FEBRUARY 22-25, 2016

Pre-Conference Sessions  •  Monday Afternoon, February 22

Executive Committee Meeting •  Monday Morning, February 22

Regular Conference Sessions • Tuesday, February 23 thru Noon, Thursday, February 25

Horseshoe Bay Resort
200 Hi Circle North; Horseshoe Bay, TX 78657
Phone: (830) 598-2511 • www.hsbresort.com



 Drum Cafe  Shanna Peeples  Jimmie Don Aycock  Legal Series


Tuesday's Keynote Speaker: Drum Cafe

Drum Cafe Team

Drum Cafe is one of the world's leading Team Building and Corporate Events Companies.

Founded in Johannesburg in 1996 by Warren Lieberman, the Drum Cafe started as an actual cafe where drumming was used in a relaxed environment to break down barriers, inspire people and bring people together. Moved by the experience of communal drumming in Africa, and the passion to unite different groups of people together in South Africa’s post apartheid era, Warren Liebermann developed a global team building and entertainment program along with leading motivational speakers, team builders and Africa’s top drummers.

The result 12 years later is a unique yet relevant program used by many of the Fortune 500 companies worldwide. "Drumming is something everyone, and every culture can relate to," explains Warren. "The first thing you hear when you come into this world is the beat of your mother's heartbeat. Drumming relaxes, energizes and motivates in a way most team building companies cannot explain."

Warren Liebermann has personally worked with world leaders including Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Tony Blair, as well as corporate leaders such as Virgin's Richard Branson. In South Africa, most of the prominent companies have used the Drum Cafe for various events.

While the Drum Cafe has expanded it retains its humble origins. It is about connecting people and building teams through Interactive Drumming. The focus is not on the company's facilitators, but rather on the audience. "Each individual is important to the group," Warren says. "The Drum Cafe's interactive drumming allows everyone to feel motivated and rewarded because their involvement contributes to the success. Groups can achieve so much more. They can create 'music' in every way if they work efficiently together."


Thursday's Keynote Speaker: Shanna Peeples

ShannaPeepleslibraryNamed the first National Teacher of the Year from Texas in more than 50 years, Shanna Peeples of Palo Duro High School in Amarillo ISD took a circuitous route to the classroom. She worked as a disc jockey, medical assistant, pet sitter and journalist before teaching, as she says, chose her. Peeples now teaches at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, Texas, where she spends half of her day as a high school English teacher and the other half mentoring, coaching and challenging her colleagues to grow in the teaching profession.

At Palo Duro High School, her students come from many different backgrounds. Amarillo is one of several cities in the United States that helps refugees find new paths in life and gain access to critical resources. As a result, Peeples works with many students who speak English as a second language or recently entered the United States from another country.

“My students, survivors of deep and debilitating trauma, have shaped the kind of teacher I am," she says. "They have taught me to never make a promise I can't keep because so many already have learned to see the world through suspicious eyes. To be the best teacher to them, I have to remember this and honor their background. I remember so I can gain their trust because I want them to read and write their way out of where they are."

As the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, Shanna is shaping the conversation in this country about working with students in poverty, and those who have already faced extreme challenges in their young lives. Through a variety of teaching methods, Peeples reaches her students and helps them achieve their full potential far beyond her classroom walls.

Shanna has taught for the past 12 years, four of them in her current role. She earned an Associate’s degree from Amarillo College, a Bachelor of Arts from West Texas A&M University and a Master of Education from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Key Communicator: Jimmie Don Aycock

Aycock headshot webTSPRA's 2015 Key Communicator Jimmie Don Aycock represented District 54 in the Texas House of Representatives from 2006 until his retirement at the end of the 2015 Legislative Session. During his legislative career he served on the Culture, Recreation and Tourism; Agriculture and Livestock; Defense and Veterans’ Affairs; Higher Education, and Redistricting committees and most notably as chair of the Public Education Committee during the 2013 and 2015 sessions.

As chair, Aycock shepherded House Bill 5 through the 2013 session, significantly reducing end of course testing for Texas students and creating more paths to graduation for Texas students.

In 2015, Aycock proposed legislation that would have added $800 million from general revenue to the $2.2 billion in the House’s original budget proposal. Though he pulled that bill from the floor in the face of apathy from the State Senate, his efforts helped kick start a conversation about repairing the state’s school finance system that many predicted would never happen before the Texas Supreme Court ruled on the state’s latest school finance case.

Throughout his tenure in the Legislature, Aycock has been a vocal defender of Texas students and teachers, celebrating the good news of public education while highlighting the challenges educators face in keeping standards high. His belief in a system that serves Texas’ 5.2 million students has made him a consistent opponent of efforts by lawmakers to introduce private school voucher systems to the state.


Legal Series Speakers

The 2016 TSPRA Annual Conference will feature a legal series of speakers to keep members up to date on the latest developments in some of the areas our members deal with each week in their districts or organizations. Legal speakers include: 


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Janet Bubert
Education Foundation Law

Dennis Eichelbaum

Dennis Eichelbaum

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Justin Gordon

TPIA and Open Records



Joe Hoffer
Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Reporting


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 Shellie Hoffman-Crow
Current Issues Facing School Districts

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 Haley Turner

Copyright and Trademark

2015 Conference Schedule


FEBRUARY 23-26, 2015

Pre-Conference Sessions Monday Afternoon, February 23

Executive Committee Meeting Monday Morning, February 23

Regular Conference Sessions
Tuesday, February 24 thru Noon, Thursday, February 26

Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade
9821 Colonnade Blvd; San Antonio, TX 78230
Phone: (210) 691-8888 • Fax (210) 691-1128


TSPRA is committed to making the 2015 Annual Conference bigger and better than ever before. This year we're expanding our legal series, upping the number of roundtables, introducing new corporate showcases and offering more session diversity than ever before.

Click here for a PDF version of the conference program.

Click here for a tentative conference schedule.

Click here for a partial list of preconference and concurrent sessions.