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New director brings varied experience to Region III Education Service Center

By Carolina Astrain
March 10, 2014 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated March 9, 2014 at 10:10 p.m.

The Region III Education Service Center's new executive director, Patty Shafer, is from Port Lavaca and attended Southwest Texas State University, University of Houston-Victoria and Nova Southeastern before beginning her career in education. "I like working with students, they are our future," Shafer said.

Patty Shafer

Here are some more highlights from Patty Shafer's career in education over the last 36 years:

• 1969 - Graduated as high school salutatorian from Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca.

• 1972 - Graduated from Southwest Texas State University with a bachelor's degree in education

• In later years - Graduated from the University of Houston-Victoria with a master's in education and Nova Southeastern University with a doctorate in education. She completed Lamar University's Superintendent Academy and the Association of Education Service Agencies' Executives-in-Residence Program.

• 2009 - Shafer was named Metro Austin Superintendent of the Year by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

•  2014 - Shafer's children's book series "Annie: The Texas Ranch Dog," won the Silver Mom's Choice Award for best in its class for a juvenile chapter book.

Source: Region III Education Service Center

The blue in her eyes match the water near where Patty Shafer used to call home.

The former Port Lavaca resident began her post as Region III Education Service Center's new executive director in February.

Since her time spent by the bay, Shafer has lived in several towns across the state serving as superintendent for school districts and as the deputy director for the Region IV Education Service Center in Houston.

"Moving around broadens you," Shafer said. "I've been able to see how things are done in different districts."

After graduating from Southwest Texas State University, Shafer and her husband, Cecil, moved back to Port Lavaca, their hometown, where she worked as a teacher, counselor, principal and director of curriculum for the Calhoun County school district over a 25-year time period.

Once her husband retired from Union Carbide, they became more mobile, Shafer said.

"He followed me," Shafer said. "For which I am very grateful for because not all men have the confidence to do that."

Shafer and her husband have been married for 43 years.

Shafer said she's looking forward to working with the 39 school districts serviced by the education center.

"The main thing for us is to be there for them," Shafer said.

Guy Sconzo, Superintendent of the Humble school district, worked with Shafer when she worked for the Region IV Education Service Center.

"Patty was probably one of the most responsive folks I've had the opportunity to work with," Sconzo said. "She always made me feel like I was her only customer."

Sconzo described Shafer as an effective communicator with strong intrapersonal skills.

"She is a consummate professional," Sconzo said. "She is ideally suited for work in education service centers."

Most of the projects Sconzo said he worked on with Shafer were centered around curriculum and professional development.

"Patty worked with all the superintendents in Region IV and participated in our monthly meetings," Sconzo said. "She really had her hands in everything, but she was especially adept to curriculum instruction."

With the incoming changes tied to the passing of House Bill 5, Shafer said she knows the smallest school districts - some of which don't have counselors - will look to the service center for help.

"With the new endorsement tracks being introduced, there is going to be a need for more counselors," Shafer said. "For smaller districts in our area, it's harder to find staff members because of the Eagle Ford Shale activity."

The Shafers have three daughters, Jennifer Wyatt, Shannon Shafer and Wesla Caffey.

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