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School Board of the Year



Dr. Danny Lovett, Executive Director
Region 5 Education Service Center

 July 21, 2021



Region 5 Education Service Center is pleased to announce that Newton ISD is the regional winner for TASA’s 2021 School Board of the Year. Board Members include Donnie Meek, President; Johnny Westbrook, Vice-President; Edwina Lewis, Secretary; Shane Couey, Member; Misti Spacek, Member; Conley Todd, Member; and Brent Noble, Member. Ms. Michelle Barrow is Superintendent.


School Boards are awarded the honor based on support for educational improvement projects and school transformation initiatives, as well as for educational performance in accordance with state-established standards. Other criteria include adherence to adopted board policies, function as a policy-making body, and a number of additional standards.


Specifically, Newton ISD School Board Members have displayed excellence in the following areas, to name a few:

  • Led the way for all campuses in Newton ISD to obtain the highest possible rating of “Met Standard” in the TEA accountability system for two consecutive years.
  • Supported implementation of full inclusion for students in Special Education, with all campuses housing Special Education Certified Inclusion teachers in all four core areas.
  • Implemented the use of technology heavily on district campuses in spite of the district being in a low socioeconomic category, including
    • One-to-one ratio of devices, mainly Chromebooks (before COVID-19);
    • SmartBoards or TruTouch in classrooms; and
    • Desktops or laptops, in addition to Chromebooks, for all teachers.
  • Developed the Deep East Texas College and Career Alliance, which helps provide dual credit courses in the following areas:
    • Core academics, through Stephen F. Austin State University; and
    • Nursing and welding certification courses through LIT.
  • Led the district in becoming a District of Innovation.
  • Completed a TASB policy review and audit, which brought changes to 28 policies, and in addition:
    • Adopted a sick pool policy to aide in supporting employees in times of need.
    • Established and adopted policies to create a school district police department.
  • Supports dissemination of information to communities within the district through
    • Community gatherings that highlight various programs, initiatives and opportunities for students and their families.
    • Community surveys conducted in both paper and online formats.


Quoted directly from the application, “the Board comes together as an entity and works with each other to arrive at answers to difficult decisions faced by modern day education. This harmonious approach to making decisions gives the community of Newton, as well as the students in Newton ISD, confidence that all concerns are addressed with fairness and equality.”


Please join us in congratulating the Newton ISD School Board for a job well done!







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