Influential Indians

Influential Indians

Honor someone you feel has made a real difference in education in Jacksonville by making them an Influential Indian with a donation of $1,000 or more to the Jacksonville Education Foundation in their name.


Brad Stewart

Colleagues and friends named Brad Stewart, Associate Superintendent of Personnel & Facilities, an Influential Indian at the Legacy on August 10, 2017. Those who worked with Brad during his years as a teacher, principal, and now Associate Superintendent all contributed as did the Jacksonville Lions Club of which Brad is a member. Mr. Stewart fully exemplifies "Once an Indian, Always an Indian".


Lisa Cox

Colleagues and friends also named Associate Superintendent of Curriculum & Student Services, Lisa Cox an Influential Indian at the Evening With the Stars event in August, 2017. Lisa was a teacher and principal at Jacksonville Middle School, and many of her teacher friends as well as past and current Central Office colleagues contributed to present her with this honor.


Mary Summers Peacock

Longtime JISD teacher Mary Peacock was surprised with the Influential Indian distinction by her son and daughter-in-law Nick and Kelley Peacock. Mary has impacted decades of students throughout her career in Jacksonville.


Ben Peacock

JHS Assistant Principal Ben Peacock was also surprised when named an Influential Indian by his in-laws, Randy and Mary Claudia Swanson and his brother and sister-in-law Nick and Kelley Peacock. Mr. Peacock chose to move his family back to Jacksonville to join the staff at JHS after serving 5 years in the Bronx, New York teaching English in inner-city schools.


Jimmy Hines

Long-time teacher at JHS, Mr. Hines spent years of his life devoted to Jacksonville ISD. HE was a favorite among the students, and at age 95 was designated an Influential Indian by Kiepersol Winery. His grandson and wife, Jim and Marnell Durrett surprised him with the award on August 10, 2017. His acceptance speech delighted the guests.


Janice Crosby Stone

Judge Stone received the Influential Indian award at the Evening With Our Stars event. Her husband, Mayor Dick Stone designated her with the well-deserved honor. Judge Stone is a JHS Alumi, Class of 1974.


Dick Stone

When presenting the award for his wife, Janice, Dick had no idea that she and his three children had named him an Influential Indian as well. Julie Stone Harvey, Matt Stone, and Jason Stone along with Janice, surprised him with the well-deserved recognition.


Sara Sheffield

As the first female mezzo-soprano and emcee of "The President’s Own" Military Band, Sara Sheffield has performed for Presidents, earned many honors and established legacies. The Education Foundation was proud to honor her as one of the 2017 "Stars" and aptly named her an Influential Indian.


Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville

As a Corporate Sponsor of JEF, The Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville names an Influential Indian each year. This year, the Club itself was recognized as an Influential Indian due to the dedicated service to education that the club prides itself on. JISD and JEF are grateful for the generous support of the Kiwanis Club.


Coach Dick Sheffield

Former coach of the Indians, the late Dick Sheffield is legendary in Jacksonville. Former players Eddie Arrington and Martin Swanson named him an Influential Indian and presented the award to his wife, Betty at the August 10, 2017 event. Coach Sheffield influenced many young men who still reflect on his legacy today.


Coach Gene Bates

Also recognized as an Influential Indian is a former Indian Coach, Gene Bates. Mr. Arrington and Mr. Swanson named him along with Coach Sheffield as yet another Influential Indian who tremendously influenced many young men during their careers at Jacksonville High School. Coach Bates was unable to attend due to a recent illness, but his son, Eddie and daughter, Peggy, were both on hand to accept the award on his behalf.


Coach Connie Irby

Another coach from the Sheffield era, Connie Irby was in attendance with his family and was surprised by being named an Influential Indian by Eddie Arrington and Martin Swanson. Coach Irby was also a strong coach during the Sheffield era and is still active around Jacksonville and popular with his former players.


Micah Hoffpauir

Named by his family and Sunday School class, Micah Hoffpauir exemplifies what an Influential Indian truly is. After graduating from Jacksonville High School, he played major league baseball for the Chicago Cubs and the Nipon Dragons in Japan. He now resides in Jacksonville and serves as a board trustee for Jacksonville ISD.


Jeff Austin, III

Austin Bank, founder of the Jacksonville Education Foundation has a history of naming Influential Indians each year, surprised JHS graduate Jeff Austin, III with the Influential Indian designation. Jeff stays involved with the Foundation and JEF thanks him for his support of all of our endeavors to strengthen JISD.


Janis Adams

As Director of First Impressions at Austin Bank, Janis is a delight to everyone who walks in the door of the business she has worked with since her graduation from JHS. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Education Foundation. Jeff III surprised her with the announcement and several fun memories.


Dr. and Mrs. Charles Creed

Last year’s star Brad Creed and his wife, Karen left instructions to name Dr. and Mrs. Creed as Influential Indians at this year’s Evening With Our Stars event. Dr. Creed served many years on the JISD School Board, and Mrs. Creed spent years involved in all school activities involving their children, Brad and Sarah. Congratulations to this cherished couple.


James Houser

James Houser served on the JISD School Board for many years, most of those years as president. Calling him her longtime mentor, inspiration, and friend, Associate Supt. Lindy Finley named Mr. Houser an Influential Indian with the funds received when she was honored with the TASBO Commitment to Excellence Award.


Mike Pope

After a lengthy career with Jacksonville ISD as Director of Custodial Services, Mike Pope was named an Influential Indian by Associate Supt. Lindy Finley. Mrs. Finley worked directly with Mike during his career and very much wanted him to be acknowledged for his dedicated and commitment to doing the best job possible.


Dr. J. Bradley Creed

Austin Bank named Dr. J. Bradley Creed an Influential Indian during the 2016 Evening With Our Stars event where he was honored as a JEF Star. A Jacksonville native and 1975 graduate of JHS, Dr. Creed received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from Baylor University, graduating cum laude. He earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He began his current duties as Campbell University’s 5th President in 2015. His previous appointments include Provost and Executive Vice-President and Professor of Religion at Samford University, Professor, Associate Dean, and Dean at the George Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University.


Mr. Val Rose

As a legend in the JHS Band arena, Mr. Val Rose enjoyed a large crowd of former band students at the EWOS event in 2016. His former students also surprised him by naming him an Influential Indian. Mr. Rose established a state-wide recognized band program in Jacksonville during his 13 years as band director, and to this day is still in contact with so many former students who credit him with instilling inspiration, confidence, and pride during their high school years. Many of his former students are now band directors as well. Gail Wheat Colwell led a group of band students as they presented Mr. Rose this award.


Mr. Larry Cigainero

Another "Great" in the JHS music world is Mr. Larry Cigainero. Larry spent 33 years in JISD, first as a music teacher before taking the lead as JHS Choir Director where he led his choir to a lengthy run of awards and honors and established a tradition of excellence for the program. Many of his former students remain in touch with "Mr. C." and they joined together to name him an Influential Indian. Former choir student, Brandy Peacock Traylor, announced the award on behalf of a large number of choir students during the Evening With Our Stars annual event in 2016.


Phil Waller

Legendary JHS teacher, Mr. Phil Waller, was surprised at the Evening With Our Stars event in August, 2016 as friends and former students awarded him the Influential Indian designation. Mr. Waller is a graduate of Jacksonville High School and taught History and Political Science for decades in a manner that is rare and unique to Phil Waller. His students still seek his advice and predictions concerning politics, and his photographic memory of classes and students, as well as current events continues to amaze those around him. There is no doubt that this JHS legend is correctly named an Influential Indian.


Gayle Miller

Mr. Gayle Miller led the JHS Golf Team and program to new heights during the 1980’s. Former colleagues and former golf students combined efforts and awarded retired Coach Miller the Influential Indian designation in August, 2016. Former JHS golfer Dean Brown introduced a surprised Coach Miller as family and friends applauded the worthy recognition of an important person in the Jacksonville golfing world.


Dan George

Wayne Cessna presenting on behalf of the Kiwanis Club

Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville chose to name club member, Dan George, as their Influential Indian in 2016. At the time of the Evening With Our Stars event, Mr. George was hospitalized and fellow club member, Wayne Cessna, announced the award and spoke of Dan’s contribution to the Kiwanis Club. Mr. George passed away not long after and this tribute to him by the club he loved belonging to is a fitting memorial to someone who truly served Jacksonville as an Influential Indian.


David and Becky Hanna

This power Indian couple were named Influential Indians by Tim McRae. Tim rightly recognized the combined years of service and dedication of both Becky, as a former math teacher, JHS Student Council sponsor, and cheerleader sponsor, and David as the current head of the JHS Tennis program. Under Coach Hanna’s leadership, the tennis program at JHS and at JMS have grown into a popular athletic program producing district, regional, and state qualifiers annually. Congratulations to this amazing couple!


Jill Swink

Jill (Bailey) Swink is known far and wide as the premier dance teacher in our area. Huge numbers of former and current dance students contributed to name "Miss Jill" an Influential Indian, as well as fund a Classroom Grant in her name. The $1,000 Classroom Grant was presented to the Cheer and Charmer sponsors to be used for both programs at JHS. Introducing the surprised Miss Jill were sisters and former dance students, Tiffany (Ballard) Hoffpauir and Brandi (Ballard) Ropollo.


Sheila Sadler

Mrs. Sheila Sadler seemed genuinely shocked as her former teaching colleague, Tena Comte, announced her name as a new Influential Indian. Many former colleagues and students of Mrs. Sadler were eager to award her this distinction to honor her years of inspiration as one of the "all-time great teachers" in JISD. Decades of students began their early years with a solid foundation as Mrs. Sadler instilled her love for education at East Side Elementary. She served as an example to many new teachers and is still referred to as the one to strive to teach like. Her students who are now teachers credit her with their desire to go into the education field.


Matt Montgomery

JHS Class of 1978 alum Mark Cook surprised his classmate and good friend, Matt Montgomery, at the EWOS event in August at the Castle on the Lake. He sent a quote to be read about Matt as the president of JEF seemed truly shocked by the award. "I doubt that JEF has any idea what an asset they have in Matt Montgomery. I frequently interact with people who work in developmental departments of various organizations, and I can assure you that Matt has skills equal to or surpassing most. Persuading people to participate with their pocketbooks takes patience, wisdom, credibility, and impeccable timing. Persuading people to participate with their hearts takes conviction. There is no doubt in my mind that Matt loves Jacksonville, JISD, and his neighbors. It shows in everything he says about all of you. You are honoring Matt tonight, but he is an Influential Indian 100% of the time. Thank you, Matt." ~Mark Cook


Grace Traylor

Judy Cook named a longtime friend as an Influential Indian in August, 2016 at the JEF annual event. Mrs. Cook sent this quote to surprise Grace with the announcement, "Although our contact has been sporadic, hardly a week has gone by in my adult life that I haven’t thought about this person. For me, she is the embodiment of the Biblical tree that sends out strong roots and yields fruit no matter the circumstances. She is steadfast, courageous, honest, relational, tender, and optimistic. Every interaction I have with her leaves me so enriched. Over the last 2 years, I’ve watched her work with JISD and JEF, and I’ve been inspired to join with her in her efforts to support the program. If she thinks a project is worth doing, I want to be a part of it! JISD is fortunate to have a woman of her caliber communicating on its behalf. Thank you for your presence in my life....and in the life of your community." ~Judy Womack Cook


Billy Redd

In a rare move by the City of Jacksonville, Mayor Dick Stone surprised city employee and JHS graduate, Billy Redd with the Influential Indian designation in 2016. Billy Redd has served the community of Jacksonville is so many ways. Billy not only has dedicated years of service to the city, but he has supported the JISD athletic program throughout his adult life. He has guided many Jacksonville youth in extra-curricular athletics and supported city-wide football, basketball, and baseball teams right alongside of the Jacksonville Indian teams. A debt of gratitude from many community leaders is signified by the city recognizes his efforts.


Rosa Cigainero

In a fitting memorial to a great teacher, colleagues of Mrs. Rosa Cigainero collaborated to add her name to the list of distinguished Influential Indians. Mrs. Cigainero earned her teaching degree late in life and enjoyed a rewarding career as a middle school teacher. Her friends wanted to acknowledge the significance of her years spent at Jacksonville Middle School and presented this award to Larry Cigainero and Laura Cigainero Pitts during the EWOS event where Larry was being honored as one of the Foundation "stars". Lucy Farmer DeRoeck and Judy Terry, who were car pool buddies with Rosa as they travelled to college together to earn their teaching degrees, presented the award.


Suzi Rose

While being honored as a JEF Star in 2016, Mr. Val Rose in turn honored his late wife, Suzi, with the Influential Indian distinction. Suzi was the elementary music teacher in JISD for many years while Val served as JHS Band Director. He credits her with helping and guiding him through his band directing years, resulting in numerous awards and honors. Suzi passed away just months before the EWOS event honoring her husband, after a courageous and long battle with cancer. Jacksonville students from the 60’s and 70’s fondly recall her warm smile and gentle nature.


Robert Nichols

Austin Bank proudly named Senator Robert Nichols an Influential Indian in August, 2016. First elected to the Texas Senate in 2006, Robert Nichols represents 19 counties including the greater part of East Texas and Montgomery County. In the Texas Senate, Nichols serves as Chairman for the Transportation Committee. He also serves on the Senate Finance, Business and Commerce, and Administration Committees. He is a member of the Legislative Audit Committee and is currently serving his second term as a member on the Sunset Advisory Committee.

A 1963 graduate of JHS, Nichols was a captain on the Fightin’ Indian football team coached by Dick Sheffield. Working his way through college by selling fireworks and ironing clothes for other students, Nichols earned a bachelor's degree from Lamar University in 1968. He served on the Jacksonville city council, as mayor, built four successful manufacturing facilities, earned 32 U.S. patents, 128 foreign patents, and created more than 900 jobs for East Texas families.


Judy Batton

Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville rightly named club member, Judy Batton an Influential Indian in 2015 at the Castle on the Lake event in 2015. Judy is not only a supportive member of the Kiwanis Club, but is a tireless volunteer for anything concerning the betterment of Jacksonville. Thank you, Judy for your efforts to keep Jacksonville a great place to live. You are truly an Influential Indian.


Becky Westbrook

Most people understand the impact of a great campus secretary, especially one that "trained" 4 principals and left a lasting legacy on a campus. Becky Westbrook retired from JISD after 37 years of unending service to the staff and students of Jacksonville Middle School. Instigated by her sister, and joined by numerous friends, Becky was named an Influential Indian in 2015. JISD is proud of the recognition of such a valued employee. Congratulations to an Indian who left tons of influence on so many!!!


Olen Morton

Olen Morton was honored with an Influential Indian award by Lee Lewis Construction on August 13, 2015. Olen recently supervised the construction of 3 new campuses, as well as renovations and additions to 3 other campuses. He retired from JISD in December, 2015 after 30 years in the district. He began in 1985 as a general maintenance worker and retired as Director of Construction and Facilities.


Dr. Joe Wardell

Retired Superintendent, Dr. Joe Wardell was named an Influential Indian at the Evening With Our Stars event in August, 2015 by Lee Lewis Construction Company. Dr. Wardell served as superintendent from March, 2009 through March 2015. Under his leadership, two bonds were passed for construction of 3 new campuses and renovations and additions to three others. Dr. Wardell also served on the Board of the Jacksonville Education Foundation. He was introduced and presented the award by Asst. Superintendent Judy Terry.


LeeAnn Womack

The tiny beauty who happens to be a country music legend, calls her home Jacksonville, Texas! LeeAnn was born and raised in J’ville, and as the daughter of retired JISD school teachers, still has close ties to the district and community.

Jacksonville is so very proud to call this little lady our own, and JEF was honored to have her as one of our "STARS" this year. Austin Bank appropriately named her an Influential Indian during our Evening With Our Stars event this August. Thank you, LeeAnn for continuing to make your hometown proud!


Billy Guinn

Mr. Guinn is known to literally thousands of Jacksonville students as "the best teacher they ever had". His reputation as the famous biology teacher at JHS for decades still resounds whenever and wherever JHS alumni gather.

Many did recently gather to honor him as one of the Education Foundation’s 2014 "STARS"! What a wonderful tribute for Austin Bank to name him an Influential Indian during the recent JEF events. Thank you, Mr. Guinn for the many lessons, memories, stories, and influence you left so many of us with. What a gift you have given to those who have known you in your many capacities as a teacher.


Barbara Murray

Her infectious laugh and fun personality has never faded, and everyone present at the EWOS event loved it when she was surprised by being named an Influential Indian.

Introduced by longtime friend Jana Autry and honored with this award by her brother, Mark, this lovely lady well deserves this distinction.


Julie Duren

Julie Moved to Jacksonville in June of 1983 to start her State Farm Insurance agency. Julie and her late husband, Tim L. Smith, always believed in and supported of JISD.

She served on the Board of the Jacksonville Education Foundation for many years, and Tim was a proud graduate of the JHS Class of 1961. Julie continued that support by establishing the Tim L. Smith Scholarship Fund with memorial contributions from friends and family. Julie loves Jacksonville and it’s friendly, caring citizens. She most definitely is an Influential Indian.


Barry Hughes

The Jacksonville Education Foundation Board of Directors aptly named Mr. Barry Hughes an Influential Indian during recent JEF events.

As an original board member and President, Barry took the reins of JEF and navigated it to the current very active status it is today. Much appreciation and thanks goes to this man who gives so much to his community through his time and talents. Barry is a prime example of "Once an Indian, Always an Indian"


John Alexander

John Alexander was a favorite coach and teacher at Jacksonville High School from 1978 through 1997. His 1984 Jacksonville Basketball team advanced to the state semi finals in Austin. In 1988 he was voted by Texas High School Coaches Association to coach the South All-Star team in the annual All Star game. John retired with 613 wins and after 34 years of teaching and coaching. He brought out the very best not only in his players, but also in every student that he so graciously took the time to get to know and encourage each day.

"My greatest honor in coaching was being able to coach my two sons. Although I did not graduate from JHS, it is my home. I passed up several job offers because I wanted my children to graduate from JHS. Each one received a quality education that has enabled them to be a success in life, as have hundreds of others. I bleed Blue and Gold!"


Jean Mixon

Named an Influential Indian by over 60 friends and family, the JEF is honored to add retired JISD teacher and East Side Principal Jean Mixon to the growing family of Influential Indians. Her name is synonymous with East Side, where she spent over 20 years teaching and 20 more as principal at the little red brick school.

Jean is credited with developing a lifelong love of reading for so many of her students. According to her devoted fans, Jean was a role model not only to the children, but also to the entire faculty and staff. This award was presented to Jean Mixon at Convocation as a "Thank you for being the heart of East Side".


Joey Villavisencio – (In memoriam)

Joe Villavisencio was a 3-year starter for JHS, graduating as a Top 10 graduate in 2008. His senior year he was 2nd Team All-State from both The Associated Press and the Texas Sports Writer's Association ; 1st team All-District as junior and senior at JHS; 1st Team Academic All-State as a senior and 1st team All-East Texas as a senior. Joe was one of the most highly recruited lineman in the state of Texas in 2007 . He attended Texas A&M where he was a 3 year letterman and majored in radiological health engineering. Joe tragically passed away on 12/22/2011 in a car accident.

He was so highly respected by teammates and coaches alike. His head coach at Texas A&M was Mike Sherman who said, "His teammates, coaches and fellow students will remember him as someone who would do anything for anybody. I will always remember him as always offering me a smile whenever we talked and would always answer my questions with a simple, 'yes, coach' or 'no, coach'. He was one of the most respectful and high character players I have ever coached. It was an honor and privilege to have known him, and to have coached him. I will never forget him."


Margaret McCown

As the renowned matriarch of the McCown family in Jacksonville, Margaret not only provided our community with a large, community-oriented family, but also left a lasting mark on JISD as a favored elementary school teacher. Her legacy lives on and her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren continue to be involved in our district and community. Her grandson and JISD Board Trustee, Randy, surprised her at Convocation in 2014 as he represented the McCown family as they aptly named her an Influential Indian.

Heather Avera

Heather Avera currently teaches Math at the JISD Compass Center, and was voted Campus Teacher of the Year for 2013. As a true advocate for her students, Heather is not afraid to challenge the status quo to ensure that her students have the most opportunity to benefit from their lessons.

More importantly, she has a passion for working with at-risk youth. She truly cares about their academic progress as well as their personal successes. Her husband, Bill (JHS class of 74) surprised Heather with this award at JISD Convocation in August. Both are Inspiring Indians!


Chuck & Billie Hopson Family

As the first Influential Family for the Jacksonville Education Foundation, Chuck and Billie Hopson honored each family member with an Influential Indian Award recently. One of JEF’s original Board members, Billie has been a JEF Influential Indian since 2009, when Chuck surprised her with this unique birthday gift.

This August at JISD Convocation, the Hopson’s generously chose to name each of their children, as well as Chuck, making their entire family "Influential" to the Education Foundation! These Important Indians include, Chuck Hopson, Billie Hopson, Chris Lilley, Lisa Hopson Harris, Tony Harris, Renee Hopson Hamon, and Gene Hamon.


Hit the Spot Designs

Hit the Spot Designs is the Foundation’s most recent Influential Indian! Owners Bryan and Tricia Thomason show continued support for JISD and the Indians through their creative screening and design business.

Many wonderful "gold and blue royal" t-shirts and caps have originated there. We are deeply appreciative and proud to have Hit the Spot Designs added to our distinguished gallery! Check out their website for the latest J’ville Indian designs.


Joyce and Wilson Folden

Meet Joe Wright Elementary’s favorite retired couple; Joyce and Wilson Folden. Mrs. Folden taught multiple grades at Joe Wright for 31 years, and Mr. Folden taught for 14 years following his retirement from the manufacturing business.

They have 3 children who are graduates of JISD – Cindy, Larry, and Mindy. In their retirement, they fully support JISD and the Jacksonville Education Foundation is honored to recognize them as Influential Indians!

When visiting the Joe Wright campus, you'll find that the Cafitorium was dedicated in their names in 2013.


Margo Martindale

Although Margo Martindale is an Emmy Award winning TV, Movie, and Stage actress living in New York, she still calls Jacksonville her home. Margo grew up in Jacksonville and graduated as" Miss JHS" in 1969. She was then, and continues to be a cheerleader for JISD.

She graciously serves as co-chair for the Jacksonville Education Foundation. Austin Bank named Margo an Influential Indian at JISD Convocation in August, 2012.


Pete Lammons

Pete is a former professional football player for the 1968 AFL-NFL World Champion New York Jets . He also played for the Green Bay Packers and in college was part of the UT Longhorn National Championship team in 1963 . Most importantly, he was a JHS Fightn’ Indian, graduating in 1961.

Pete continues to support Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Education Foundation and serves as co-chair for the JEF. Austin Bank honored Pete as an Influential Indian at JISD Convocation in August, 2012.


Lindy Finley

Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations, Lindy Finley was surprised by being named one of JEF's Influential Indians at JISD Convocation in August, 2012.

The staff of JISD Central Office and members of the JISD Board of Trustees joined to award this to Lindy after years of dedication and superb management of the district's finances and operations. Lindy's guidance continually keeps JISD at the top of financial ratings state-wide.


Susan Todd Phillips

In August, 2012, Austin Bank aptly named Susan Phillips as one of Jacksonville's Influential Indians. Susan has shown a lifetime of dedication to JISD. After attending Jacksonville schools for all 12 years, Susan began a 40 year long teaching career in public schools with 27 of those being here in JISD.

She has left a lasting impression on former students and fellow teachers, and is continuing her support for education in Jacksonville by tutoring and mentoring on campuses.


Neta Hanna

Three cheers for Neta Hanna being named by her family and close friends as an Influential Indian - Mrs. Hanna dedicated 40 years to teaching, 33 of those years as the cheerleader sponsor at Jacksonville High School.

She has influenced many girls throughout their high school years, and is still friends with most of them to this day. She serves on the Board of Directors of the JEF and lends much support to education in Jacksonville.


Jan Gowin

Jan is a long-time top biology teacher at JHS. Many of her students are now doctors and nurses. As her son Rob Gowin said when he surprised her with this designation, "There is absolutely prayer still in school – just ask any student who has been in Mrs. Gowin’s class!".

She was named JISD Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2011, and JISD is so fortunate to have teachers of her quality in our schools. Mrs. Gowin certainly has been and continues to be an Influential Indian.


Nelda Lake

As one of JISD’s longest working employees, Nelda Lake was appropriately honored with the Influential Indian award recently by her daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Matt Montgomery. Nelda is as familiar a face at JHS as anyone who has ever been associated with the campus would agree.

She then worked at the Support Center until her retirement in 2011. She has a great love and pride in JISD, and enjoys still being a part of the activities in the district. JEF is honored to have her in this prestigious category of honored Indians.


Kirk Sadler

Kirk, commonly known as "Mr. Jacksonville", was surprised by being named an Influential Indian at JISD Convocation in August, 2012. Kirk is a 2004 graduate of JHS and throughout his years in JISD was a constant favorite of classmates and teachers.

He continues to be an inspiration to everyone in Jacksonville. Rob Gowin of Sadler’s Kitchen honored Kirk with this award.


The JHS Class of 1961

The JHS Class of 1961's designation is the product of a generous donation of $2500 to the Jacksonville Education Foundation. This active group proudly supports JISD and the Jacksonville Education Foundation benefits tremendously from their generosity.

The class is represented by these three classmates; Lynn Lugenbuhl, Bonnie Jackson Crockett, and Shannon Smryl.


Sadler’s Kitchen

The Sadler family has a long history in Jacksonville best known for the historic Sadler’s Restaurant. Third generation family member Rob Gowin resurrected the historic restaurant in 1995, now known as the city’s popular Sadler’s Kitchen.

A JHS Class of 1986 graduate, Rob constantly supports and contributes to numerous district-wide functions. He and Sadler’s Kitchen are proud advocates of making Jacksonville and JISD a great place to live.


Tim McRae

Jacksonville Education Foundation recognizes Tim McRae as an "Influential Indian". Tim is a graduate of the JHS Class of 1978 and Stephen F. Austin State University Class of 1983. He is the President of Bill McRae Ford Lincoln in Jacksonville.

He was named Business Man of the Year in 2004 and Citizen of the Year in 2009. He is currently Asst. Governor for Rotary Dist. 5830, Chair of the Nan Travis Foundation, Chair of the Airport Advisory Board and is on the board of the Jacksonville Industrial Foundation.

He and his wife Dawn are members of the First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville. He continues to give generously to our Community through Scholarships, numerous sponsorships and overall Community Leadership and Volunteerism.


Marjorie Avera

"I am making this contribution in memory of my mother, Marjorie Poland Avera, Class of 1942. After retiring from the Texas Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation, she returned to Jacksonville and became active in HOPE, served on the Cherokee Child and Family Services Board, and was active in First United Methodist Church.

She taught me and others exactly what it meant to truly be a servant leader!" Bill and Heather Avera.


Sissy Austin

JHS Class of 1959 Valedictorian Sissy Austin has been named a Jacksonville Education Foundation Influential Indian.

Ms. Austin has been a constant advocate of JISD for many years. As a prominent and successful businesswoman, Sissy Austin sets the standard of unfailing support of the Jacksonville Independent School District for the entire Austin Bank family.


JHS Class of 1979

Influential Indians-(From left to right) Austin Bank Vice Chairman, Jeff Austin III presents Jennifer (Clark) Lee, Janie (Fernandez) Reyes, Kathleen Owen (Stanfill), Debbie (Skinner) Griffin, Grace (Swanson) Traylor, Peggy (James) Beasley, and Lynn (Cummings) Littlejohn, with a certificate designating the JHS Class of 1979 as "Influential Indians".


Billie Hopson

State Representative Chuck Hopson honored his wife, Billie, on her birthday by naming her an Influential Indian.

Mrs. Hopson served as a counselor for JISD from 1984 through 2002. She remains a staunch supporter of JISD and serves in an advisory capacity on the Jacksonville Education Foundation Board of Directors.


Lucy Farmer

Lucy Swanson Farmer, a 1975 JHS graduate, taught math and was an instructional strategist for JISD for 17 years. Better known as "Miss" around campus, her enthusiasm, support, and concern for all students made her a favorite year after year.

Throughout her years with JISD, Mrs. Farmer also sponsored numerous school organizations and extra-curricular activities. After leaving Jacksonville, she spent 3 years working for the Texas Education Agency in Austin, Texas where she resides today.


Judy Terry

Judy Terry, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Curriculum, is surprised by being awarded the Influential Indian Award.

The required $1,000 donation to the Jacksonville Education Foundation was made in her name by the JISD Central Office Staff. Mrs. Terry is currently serving her 31st year in education.


Mrs. Cordelia Adams

Jeff Austin, III, Vice Chairman of Austin Bank and President of the Jacksonville Education Foundation, presents the first Influential Indian Award to Dr. Cordell Adams who made a donation to the foundation in memory of his mother, Cordelia Adams, who was a long-time educator in the Jacksonville school district.