Governor Abbott Names Chair And Appoints Five To The Task Force On Academic Credit And Industry Recognition

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Mike Bell, Tac Buchanan, Sam Hurley, Ed.D., Vanessa Steinkamp, and Jim Yeonopolus to the Task Force on Academic Credit and Industry Recognition for terms set to expire on December 1, 2021. The governor additionally named Bell as presiding officer. The Task Force was created by HB 553 during the 85th legislative session to identify academic credit and industrial recognition for offenders within the Windham School at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Mike Bell of Henderson is the vice president of Correction at Management & Training Corporation and a former Captain of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He is a member of American Correctional Association and the Texas Correctional Association. Bell received a Bachelor of Science in administration of criminal justice form the University of Charleston.

Tac Buchanan of Amarillo is the regional coordinator at Bridges to Life, a faith based ministry working with various units with Texas Department of Criminal Justice and local juvenile facilities. Buchanan graduated from Randall High School.

Sam Hurley, Ed.D. of Athens is associate vice president of Correctional Education Division and administrator of the Prison Educational Division at Trinity Valley Community College. He is vice president of the Neches-Trinity Groundwater District, member of Texas Community College Teachers Association and the Association of College Technical Educators, and past president of Athens Kiwanis Club. Hurley received a Bachelor of Science from Arkansas State University, a Master of Science from University of Arkansas, and a Doctorate in Education from Texas A&M Commerce.

Vanessa Steinkamp of Colleyville is a professor at Tarrant County Community College. She is a member of Rotary International. Steinkamp received a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University, a Master of Science in education from Northwestern University, and a Master of Arts in government and politics from the University of Virginia.

Jim Yeonopolus of Harker Heights is Chancellor of Central Texas College. He is a member of the Association of the United States Army Board of Governors and the Central Texas Workforce Commission Board of Directors, and member and past president of the Council of Colleges and Military Educators Board of Directors. Yeonopolus was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force. He received an Associate of Arts from Temple College, a Bachelor of Science from Texas State University, and a Master in Education from the University of Arizona.

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