San Saba Woman Receives Governor's 2018 Criminal Justice Volunteer Award

April 20, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SAN SABA WOMAN RECEIVES GOVERNOR'S 2018 CRIMINAL JUSTICE VOLUNTEER AWARD

WSD Judy Burd Award winner Debra Taylor(AUSTIN) – Debra Taylor of San Saba, Texas was presented the "Judy Burd – Windham School District" Award during the Governor's 2018 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award program today.

The award was presented by Dale Wainwright, Chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier during a ceremony held in Austin.

"Each of these award recipients has given countless hours of volunteer service within the TDCJ and we are extremely grateful for their efforts," said director Collier. "They help to make a profound impact on the lives of thousands of offenders and, in doing so, make Texas safer. They are truly everyday heroes."

Chairman Wainwright said, "These award recipients are giving of their time and gifts to help build better communities throughout Texas. We are extremely thankful for the volunteers we recognize with these awards. They selflessly serve others out of a sense of responsibility to their fellow Texans and to the offenders."

Ms. Taylor is a dedicated TDCJ volunteer who has been instrumental in the success of the Storybook Project at the San Saba Unit. Female offenders will select a book appropriate for their child's age and then read the book as they are recorded. Volunteers then transfer the recording to a CD that is sent to the offender's child along with the book. The Storybook Project helps foster a relationship between the mother and child during her incarceration. It also helps to motivate the offender to read to their child which can be critical to their success and ability to break the chain of criminal behavior.

From left to right: TBCJ Chairman Dale Wainwright, Mr. Taylor, Debra Taylor, Supreme Court Justice Jimmy Blacklock, and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier.

From left to right: TBCJ Chairman Dale Wainwright, Mr. Taylor, Debra Taylor, Supreme Court Justice Jimmy Blacklock, and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier.

"Ms. Taylor's dedication to promoting literacy and helping others is critical to education and reentry efforts," Windham School District Superintendent Dr. Clint Carpenter said. "We are proud of her and of the many citizen volunteers who are supporting efforts to give offenders second chances to succeed in life."

WSD Principal Toni McMillan (left), Women's Storybook Project founder and Director Judith Dullnig, WSD Superintendent Dr. Clint Carpenter, and a volunteer from Women's Storybook Project congratulate Debra Taylor (center).

WSD Principal Toni McMillan (left), Women's Storybook Project founder and Director Judith Dullnig, WSD Superintendent Dr. Clint Carpenter, and a volunteer from Women's Storybook Project congratulate Debra Taylor (center).

The award is named in tribute to curriculum specialist Judy Burd who worked for the Windham School District where she developed the nationally-recognized pre-release program called CHANGES. She was also the Volunteer Program Coordinator for the district who encouraged others to give of their time in service to others. Judy Burd also taught adult education classes at night in her community where she helped many people learn to read and write.

WSD Judy Burd Award winner Debra Taylor and husband Michael celebrate her recognition by Governor Greg Abbott, TDCJ, and WSD.

WSD Judy Burd Award winner Debra Taylor and husband Michael celebrate her recognition by Governor Greg Abbott, TDCJ, and WSD.

Ms. Taylor is one of 14 individuals and 7 organizations from across the state recognized for their efforts to help inmates and those who are on parole or probation. They donate many hours of their personal time every year with the goal of changing the lives of convicted offenders, and aiding and comforting their victims.

In FY2017, there were 23,288 volunteers who provided a total of 395,207 hours of service.

Success Stories

Success Story IconNEW - We can learn and be successful - "My life is proof that we can learn and be successful and stay out of trouble."

Success Story IconTo a WSD welding teacher from a former offender student -
"I got a job welding and I had to write and just thank you so much for putting me ahead of the game."

Success Story IconNEW - After more than 16 years - "I graduated from the electrical program in 1998. I found my Windham teachers were real people, and they..."

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"I was a straight-F student, and I didn’t think I could learn anything. I had a teacher who wouldn’t give up".

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WSD in Images

Offenders often experience academic success for the first time in a Windham classroom.
WSD’s Business and Image Management & Multimedia (BIMM) class offers students the opportunity to learn viable graphic arts and computer skills, helping them prepare for jobs after release.
Vocational and academic skills are integrated in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, such as this Small Engine Repair class in Huntsville, Texas.
Texas State Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill congratulates GED recipients during Spring, 2014, ceremonies. “I am very impressed with the program and with the commitment of the staff and teachers,” she said.
An offender at the Polunsky Unit prepares for graduation after earning his GED through the Windham School District.
Each day WSD correctional educators pass through prison gates across Texas to work with men and women incarcerated within TDCJ.

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