In the late 1960’s Texas school personnel administrators realized they needed more information about personnel issues. Until that time they had been attending the Mid-Winter Conference in Austin but found little information about issues related to their work.
In 1964 a small group of personnel administrators met in the Austin ISD boardroom the last afternoon of the Mid-Winter Conference. They discussed problems and shared information. Only large districts had personnel officers at that time: Austin, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, and Waco. That group became the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA) in 1966 and elected Elmer Hinkel of Spring Branch as its president. For the next several years TASPA continued to meet in the Austin ISD boardroom on the last afternoon of the Mid-Winter conference. As membership grew, the group meeting moved to an Austin ISD auditorium. Dues were $5.00 per year.
In December of 1976, TASPA moved from the Mid-Winter Conference and held its own 1½-day conference at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. In 1985, president Harry Beavers of Jacksonville ISD convinced the TASPA board that the conference should be held every other year following the biennial session of the State Legislature in order to give members comprehensive information about legislative action affecting personnel matters before school started in August. Later, members asked for a 1½-day summer conference every year.
During this time, a constitution and bylaws were drafted. The articles of incorporation were drafted for TASPA become a non-profit 501(c) (6) organization. After a long and tenuous process, the IRS approved TASPA’s status as a non-profit 501 (c) (6) organization in 1992. Ann Berg, the Executive Secretary, worked diligently to get this accomplished.
After Barry Nettles replaced Ann Berg in 1994, conferences were expanded and others were added so that the structure became what it is today. What began with a handful of people has now expanded to a vast organization serving the school districts of Texas.
In 2002, TASPA opened an office in Austin, Texas, and Dr. Alejandra (Alex) Martin was hired that year to replace Barry Nettles as Executive Director. The office space leased is located in the office building owned by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). It is located in close proximity to the State Capitol. By moving the office to Austin, TASPA began to establish a presence at the legislature, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC). In addition to the 3 annual conferences and 2 law conferences, the Personnel Skills Workshops continued, and the Documentation Workshops were added. The first association strategic plan was developed.
Melva Cárdenas served as the Executive Director from 2010-2015. Under her leadership, the TASPA website was redesigned, and an online association management system was purchased and implemented to provide for for online event registration, online member database, online invoicing/payment by credit card. TASPA expanded its workshop offerings by adding the Certification Fundamentals Workshops (presented by TASPA staff) and the Developing Professional Growth Plans Workshops. A series of 4 webinars began in 2013-14. TASPA’s presence/voice at the state level continued. Staff has participated in numerous TEA and SBEC stakeholder committees and/or meetings. Staff also presented at the TASA Mid-Winter Conference, the TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy, and the TASB/TASPA HR Administrators Academy. The strategic plan was updated, including participation from the membership in the process. TASPA membership reached an all-time high of nearly 1000 members in 2015. The staff grew from a full-time executive director with 3 part-time staff members 2010 to include a Program Director, Marketing/Communications Specialist and part-time Finance Manager by 2015.
In mid-2015, Dr. Rose Benitez replaced Melva Cárdenas as TASPA’s Executive Director. TASPA membership continues to remain strong at over 1,000 members. Dr. Benitez has also added three workshop topics to those already offered: Basic Personnel Skills & Documentation, Handling Grievances, and Conducting Investigations of Employee Misconduct. TASPA continue to represent, serve and support the HR administrators through the state.