Knox Haskell TRLP Announces 2015 Graduates and Community Projects

The Knox-Haskell Texas Rural Leadership Program (TRLP) has completed its 2015 pilot program. The program, which kicked-off in October 2014, was a combined effort between Knox and Haskell counties to encourage individuals to become better educated about resources and community leadership roles in rural communities. The Knox-Haskell TRLP had a total of 15 active participants who will continue to implement what they learned through the program. The participants met once a month for eight months to study leadership curriculum as well as hear from local civic and business leaders regarding resources and leadership roles in each of their respective communities.

The last session of the TRLP was held on May 4th at the Turnrow Grill in Knox City, Texas. During the session, participants and their families, as well as special guests of the program, gathered for a graduation ceremony where awards were distributed and each group’s community projects were announced.

Knox Haskell TRL 2015 Graduating Class
Back row: Ronnie McDonald, Dr. Lynn White, Joy Lynn Pool, Mitzi Welch, Scott Bearden, Carl Milburn, Parris Pittman, Laura Bowers, Lorrie Coop, Teresa Martinez Front row: Tatiana Nchotu, Tammy Cunningham, Erin Dunnam, Jimi Coplen, Sheena Crosson, Mary Drury

During the graduation ceremony, program participants and guests heard from Ronnie McDonald, Executive Director of TRLP as well as Dr. Lynn White, President of TRLP who traveled from College Station, Texas, to acknowledge the series, its accomplishments and future project plans that program graduates plan to implement in their communities.

The Haskell county class’ community project plans included a Haskell city park clean-up and beautification effort as well as spearheading a long term vision and fundraising plan for city park improvements. Graduates of the Haskell county class who will implement the plan include Scott Bearden, DaLinda Black, Laura Bowers, Sheena Crosson, Erin Dunnam, Mary Drury, Tammy Cunningham, Teresa Martinez, Carl Milburn and Parris Pittman.

The Knox county class’ community project plans included pursuing state grants and funding for additional sidewalks and decorative lighting around the Knox County courthouse area as well as helping with other projects around the City of Benjamin. Graduates of the Knox County class who will implement the plan include Lorrie Coop, Jimi Coplen, Tatiana Nchotu, Joy Lynn Pool and Mitzi Welch.

At this time, the series is expected to be repeated for the 2015 – 2016 calendar year. If repeated, the eight part program again would include the following topics and themes: Introduction to Community Development, Leadership in a Nutshell, Communication Skills, Organizing and Group Dynamics, Leading Together as well as Planning and Project Management.

Initial organizers for the TRLP included the City of Haskell, Development Corporation of Haskell, Haskell County Extension Service, Knox County Visioning Group, Knox County Extension Service as well as the Texas Rural Leadership Program leaders based out of College Station, Texas. Businesses who sponsored an employee to attend included Davis Kinard, Haskell CISD, Haskell County, Haskell Early Learning Center, First Bank Texas, Richardson’s True Value, Haskell Feeds, Knox County Appraisal District, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Applications for the next leadership course will be available starting in August of 2015. For more information, please call 940-459-4121 or 940-864-3424.

Haskell CISD’s Seventh Grade Class Participates in 2015 Leadership Haskell Series

Haskell, TX – – During the months of April and May, Haskell CISD’s seventh grade class participated in the third annual Leadership Haskell series sponsored by the City of Haskell and the Development Corporation of Haskell (DCOH). Fifty students attended four class sessions that explored different topics relating to personal and community leadership.

The first session was held on April 23rd at the Haskell Civic Center and focused on leadership skill building. Kelli Lehman and Wendy Scott of Texas 4-H traveled to Haskell to lead the interactive presentation which included group problem solving exercises and activities exploring how good leaders communicate, use teamwork and employ creative thinking to lead.

Students mapping out local community assets.
Students mapping out local community assets.

The second session was held on April 24th at the Haskell Civic Center and was presented by Haskell resident M.E. (Bud) Walker and former Executive Director for the DCOH, Mary Drury. The session focused on how to set personal goals as well as how to identify community needs and work with others to achieve community goals. Students were asked to map out Haskell’s current assets and to identify community and commercial assets that a “Haskell of the Future” might have. The topics of entrepreneurship and innovation where discussed as well as what role future students might take if they chose to make Haskell their home after high school/ college graduation.

The third session was held on May 1st and included a day trip to Austin, Texas. All fifty students traveled by Haskell CISD school buses that departed at 4:30 a.m. that morning. While in Austin, the students met with Texas Representative Drew Springer, had a formal tour of the Capitol and Capitol Visitors Center complexes and competed in a scavenger hunt on the southeast ground of the State Capitol.

Rep. Drew Springer, Brandon Anderson & Haskell 7th Grade Class.
Rep. Drew Springer, Brandon Anderson & Haskell 7th Grade Class.

The fourth session of Leadership Haskell was held on May 11th and included a day trip to Dyess Air Force Base (AFB). All fifty students traveled by Haskell CISD school bus and departed at 8:00 a.m. to Dyess AFB. While on base, the students toured the base museum, linear air park, fire station and Explosive Ordinance Disposal. Also during their visit, the students ate at the military dining hall and visited with base personnel on what a career in the military is like and how they might pursue such a decision to join the armed services.

The conclusion of the 2015 Leadership Haskell series was held at the Haskell High School auditorium on May 13th during the junior high awards ceremony. During the ceremony, the 2015 Class Leadership Award was awarded to student Caleb Wright, son of Steve and Nicole Wright, for his outstanding participation during the series. A short video presentation also was shown for students and parents which highlighted the series and topics discussed during this year’s sessions.

The purpose behind the City of Haskell and DCOH implementing the Leadership Haskell program is to showcase the Haskell community to students and actively engage them in personal and community development as well as goal setting. The City of Haskell’s Leadership Haskell series was loosely based on several other leadership programs held throughout Texas such as Hamilton and Sweetwater’s leadership series. In 2014, the City of Haskell was recognized for its efforts made through the program by the Texas Midwest Community Network during its application for the All Star Community award.

For more information on this program or to be a part of next year’s efforts, please contact the DCOH offices at (940) 864-3424 or visit to see pictures highlighting this year’s students, speakers and activities.