After a decade of serving on the Mansfield school board, Michael Evans is retiring.
Evans, 50, has two more years on his fourth three-year term at Place 3, but ran unopposed for a seat on the Tarrant County College board of trustees this spring. He cannot serve on both boards because they work together, he said.
Evans’ last meeting as a Mansfield trustee will be April 25. He will be sworn into a six-year term as TCC’s District 5 board member May 18, replacing O.K. Carter, whose term is ending.
“It’s time for me to take what we’re doing on the school board level and push it up to the community college level,” said Evans, who is pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
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When he ran for school board, there were four things that he wanted to accomplish, he said.
“In our strategic plan, we say that we want our kids to be college ready,” Evans said. “I thought we were leaving out the kids who needed to be career-ready. I pushed to expand resources to provide for our kids through vocational resources. Accomplished.
“At the time, coaches were running the (special education) program,” he said. “That’s not the case now. We have specialists running the program. Mission accomplished.
“I wanted our kids not only to excel in advanced placement classes, but in dual credit classes,” Evans said. “Check another box.
“And I wanted to work on diversity in our schools,” he said. “I wanted to be part of the evolution to celebrate the diversity and not act like it was not there. We’ve been working toward building more diversity in the staff.”
After completing all that he set out to do on the Mansfield board, Evans is following a lot of Mansfield school district students who head to TCC after graduating high school.
“I think it’s a natural transition from the MISD board to the TCC board,” he said. “It’s the most economical decision a student can make on the way to a four-year college or career.”
School board trustees will have to discuss what to do about filling his place on the board, said board president Raul Gonzalez. It is too late to his Place 3 seat on the May 6 election, Gonzalez said, so the board will have to decide whether to hold a special election or appoint someone to finish the final two years of his term.
“He is definitely going to be missed,” Gonzalez said. “He has been an honorable leader and served with distinction. He’s doing what’s best for himself and the community. He’s going to have a large contribution for our students and the entire community.”
Evans was orginally elected in 2007 and served as board president for two years, vice president and secretary of the board. He said he will remember the superintendents that he served with, including the grace of Vernon Newsom, the energy of Bob Morrison and the compassion of Jim Vaszauskas.
“I saw our board focus the agenda on our students’ needs and accomplishments and not just the board looking at facts and figures,” Evans said. “We looked in their faces and saw their achievements.
“The times that hurt the most were when we lost a child,” he said. “They got into our hearts.”
Evans started as youth minister at Bethlehem Baptist in 1989, and became pastor at age 24 in 1991.
He said it has been a blessing to be part of a non-partisan board.
“I think we can take some of the lessons (from the Mansfield school board) to the TCC board and even to the state level,” he said, hinting at the possibility of seeking more offices.