WSD and TDCJ: Gatesville tour for Governor's staff focuses on partnerships, successful re-entry efforts

Board of Trustees Chairman Dale Wainwright and Windham School District staff hosted eight members of Governor Greg Abbott's staff for a tour of the Woodman State Jail and maximum security Hughes Unit. They were joined by Chairman of the Board of Pardons and Parole David Gutierrez and other leadership from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The Gatesville tour was conducted earlier this year to observe Windham academic and vocational training programs focused on developing new collaborative efforts between TDCJ and Windham. These efforts support successful reentry of released offenders.

The examining group witnessed Windham staff working to train and educate the challenging and varied population served in TDCJ. It also watched WSD teachers in action in classrooms and listened to WSD teachers and administrators recount stories of student success.

Visitors spoke with offenders about learning the necessary skills to obtain jobs and create brighter futures upon release from TDCJ. Participants also heard more from Windham job partnership staff about companies which have committed to hiring skilled and certified students who have completed WSD education programs. 

The group was able to see the close working relationship between TDCJ unit staff and WSD educators. The combined effect of Windham and TDCJ working together to accomplish the goals of the State was evident in the partnership of senior leadership from both organizations.