Edgar is our first Executive Director and will be the new voice of The Southern Center.
A native of Brownsville, Texas, Edgar experienced first hand the difficulties faced by students with disabilities in the Valley's public schools.
Edgar has a history of advocating for public education education. He ran for a position on the Pearland Independent School District Board of Trustees in the 2020 election and garnered 7511 votes. He has been a delegate to the Texas State Republican Convention and a National Alternate Delegate to the 2020 Republican National Convention.
During the 87th Regular Session of the Texas State Legislature, Edgar whipped the vote for HB 1252 - a bill to extend the statute of limitations for special education complaints in Texas from one year to two years. The Edgar Pacheco Jr. Act was signed in 2021 by the Governor of Texas and became law.
From our November 11, 2021 Press Release:
"Edgar was among the first special education advocates to volunteer for SCCA, and he
has served informally as our spokesperson for a number of cases supported by SCCA
over the past seven months . . .
Since we officially started tilting at windmills on March 31, 2021, and were granted
501c3 status on July 14, 2021, The Southern Center has provided resources and
volunteer services for a number of cases involving special education litigation in Texas
and Virginia; we've advocated on behalf of parents and teachers to restore local control
over public health issues, like face-covering requirements, by taking legal action to
restrain statewide anti-mask mandates . . . ; we've raised $1,000 for education recovery
in southern Louisiana . . . and, well, our latest effort is a big deal for us. Edgar has
been working . . . with the LEP mothers named in the federal suit filed [on November
11, 2021] . . . and he has observed the issues in the federal complaint firsthand. Their
complaint is due in large part to Edgar's persistent efforts and to his desire to solve
problems he witnessed during his own tenure as a student with a disability in Texas
. . . [We are] in awe of the way Edgar's faith tradition informs his work in the world."
Both a committed Christian and a conservative activist, Edgar advocates for students and their parents and amplifies their voices as a way of sharing his faith.
The Southern Center for Child Advocacy is a non-profit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian advocacy organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for all K-12 children in public schools across the South.
Christie Wills MPA is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Public Process Facilitation. With 20+ years of experience in public relations, Christie is skilled in organizational development and project management and has served as a VP of the Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the Housing Authority in her community.
Teachers like SCCA Director Melanie Hyche are the original child advocates. Dynamic and dedicated, Melanie has a heart for service. In 2016, she shared her talent and tenacity to build the art program at Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy in the Austin Independent School District. Melanie presently teaches at LASA in the Austin Independent School District.
A former camp director for almost twenty years, Alex Barge now serves as the new Director of Development and Marketing for Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia. Alex is the inaugural president of our board.
SCCA Volunteer Director Joe Harden has spent the past 48 years advocating for children and youth. He has served as a mental health social worker, a principal, a district-wide supervisor of education and technology and an environmental educator. Oh, and Joe still goes to camp!
SCCA Director Jake Morgan - a native Virginian and George Mason graduate who beat a path to the Lone Star state - is almost a decade-deep in his public school teaching career. Whether he's tutoring in Taekwon-Do or inspiring a love of language, Jake has a gift for creating community and currently teaches at James Bowie High School in the Austin Independent School District.
The Southern Center, our advocates and volunteers are grateful for the leadership and guidance provided by our Inaugural Volunteer Board of Directors since SCCA's formation on March 31, 2021.
Henry "Hank" Bostwick is a parent and a special education, juvenile justice attorney.