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Former instructor, current student seek college board seats
by Jason Collins
Mar 22, 2014 | 112 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – It’s round two for some of the Coastal Bend College trustees.

About 11 months ago, they were under siege by those opposing layoffs and downsizing of the faculty.

This time the battle seems as though it will be fought by ballots, and the field will be the May 10 election.

Start with the highest profile candidate—Jeff Massengill­—who is challenging incumbent Paul A. Jaure.

Jaure is a retired ag teacher. He earned his bachelor of science degree from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos and received his master of science degree from Texas A&I University in Kingsville. He has served on the board since 1982.

It was about 10 months ago that Massengill was one of 13 employees at that time who would not have their contracts renewed.

Massengill, along with his wife, owns Americana Arms.

The now former CBC communications division chair had been at the college for 12 years.

He and the others who were laid off were part of a reorganization of the college headed by college president Beatriz Espinoza.

During one meeting, Massengill told the board that his division had made adjustments for increasing contact hours and covering the needs of the students, but that his proposal had fallen on deaf ears.

“There are solutions not as drastic as those that have been put forth. I beg you to consider what we have proposed. There are alternatives.”

He says that his demotion just short of a month later was retribution.

“I love the college,” he said. “I don’t have any animosity towards anybody up there.

“I don’t care who is at the helm. As long as the ship is steered in the right direction.”

Massengill said that he is concerned about the current financial status of the college.

“It is not currently looking like it is going to remain afloat and running. I would like to stop the bleeding.”

Jaure, who serves as board president, agreed that recent events will be the key issue in this election.

“People are concerned about changes that are happening in our school,” he said.

Battling budgets cuts from the state and a decrease in enrollment have forced trustees to make drastic changes at the college.

“We are doing everything possible we can to increase enrollment,” Jaure said. “I think it is a matter of doing what we can with the resources we have.

“We are still trying to provide the best service to our kids and be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.”

Taking on newcomer Martha Warner is Tiele Dockens.

It should be noted that Warner was only sworn onto the board within the last few months and was not part of the reorganization efforts last year.

She replaced Emilia H. Dominguez, who resigned a while back.

Warner is the former district attorney for Bee County, having served two four-year terms.

She did not run for re-election for the job in 2012, citing health concerns.

Although Warner retired in 2013, she still prosecutes felony cases and assists the new district attorney as needed.

Dockens, however, was on the front lines when the reorganization occurred at the college—not as an employee but as a student.

At the time, she voiced concern to the board about the cutbacks.

She will graduate in May with an accounting degree and plans to continue her studies in Corpus Christi to receive her bachelor’s degree in marketing.

Recent events, she said, did indeed influence her decision.

“I would not say I am after blood,” she said. “There were some good things and some bad things that came out of it.”

“It did make me feel like I could be a part of the change.

“I believe in a strong CBC.”

And being a student, she said, gives her a personal look and inside knowledge at what has been occurring.

“I feel like I have an inside view of what ultimately would make it successful,” she said.

“I feel like I know what the community is looking for in their college...”

Finally, it is DeeDee Bernal, principal at A.C. Jones High, who will take on incumbent Louise W. Hall.

Hall attended Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin followed by graduate study at the Universidad Autonoma Nacional de Mexico in Mexico City. She managed Hall’s Store in Beeville for many years. She became the first woman to serve on the board of trustees in 1978.

Bernal is the principal at Jones High School. Prior to that, she served as principal at FMC Elementary School.

At Jones High, Bernal is working to bring more technology to the students.

Her goal is to increase the graduation rate of the students. She has more than 20 years of experience within the district.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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