Brady ISD Trustee Ed Hernandez was among a group of school board members who gathered in Austin Nov. 9-10 to focus on the role of advocacy in achieving educational excellence. Trustees, who met for the second of five training sessions of Leadership TASB, began their activities by touring the Capitol and participating in a mock legislative hearing. Keynote speakers on Friday included Representatives Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), Donna Howard (D-Austin), and Diane Patrick (R-Arlington); Glenna Hodge, director of governmental affairs, Linebarger Goggan Sampson & Blair, LLP; Patricia Woods, consultant and corporate trainer with the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation; and Harvey Kronberg, editor of the Quorum Report, a nonpartisan newsletter covering state politics and government since 1989. Saturday speakers included Arch Lustberg and Mary Gordon Spence. Lustberg is recognized nationally as a leading trainer in effective communications and whose client list includes numerous political candidates and corporate executives. He was followed by Spence, an Austin writer and humorist, who addressed the group about finding humor in the mundane and how Texas school board members can use laughter as a useful tool to maintain a proper sense of perspective. Spence is also editor of Texas School Business. Selected by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the group of 35 trustees is participating in a year-long education leadership study program. The Leadership TASB class of 2008 represents Texas school districts of all sizes, with student populations of 72 to 61,000, and reflects the range of property wealth. Participants who complete all required elements of the study will graduate next year with a unique graduation designation recognized by TASB. Each session has a specific theme that builds on the previous session and features nationally recognized experts in the fields of leadership development and education. Teams also work on extended learning assignments between meetings throughout the year. Created in 1993, Leadership TASB has almost 450 graduates to date. Program sponsors include H.E.B. and Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP. TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school districts. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve approximately 5 million public school students.