Is your school board doing all that it can to advocate to its community and state legislators?

Raise Your Hand Texas’ Trustee Advocates Program gives Texas school boards and their superintendents the tools they need to find, use, and amplify their voices and the voices of communities to influence state education policy.

Trustee Advocates Program Logo


Trustee Advocates Program participants learn how to build an advocacy system within their school district that supports local community connectedness and influences state legislative outcomes. All Texas school districts are invited to apply for the competitive Cohort Offer that opens on Friday, August 25, 2023.

Raise Your Hand Texas teaches and coaches trustees and superintendents from Texas school districts in six sessions over 18 months. 

  • Session 1 takes the form of a 3-hour local Team of eight training for the entire school board and superintendent that will occur within each individual cohort school district.
  • Sessions 2 to 5 occur in Austin over approximately two days with the superintendent and up to three (3) of the school board members.
  • Session 6 will occur in an online format. 

Texas school districts that want to build an advocacy system that includes a community engagement model and learn how to influence education policy are invited to apply for this cohort offer.  All of the work will be issue-based, non-partisan, and in alignment with the Open Meetings Act.


State elections are critical to determining the environment in which public education policy is made. However, many elected officials are unfamiliar with the key public education issues and challenges. Election years are an important season to build relationships with candidates and educate them on their local school districts and include the community in this effort. 

Messages that are clearly and consistently conveyed to candidates on the campaign trail are well-positioned to be the issues they remember and act on at the Capitol. Furthermore, elected officials have a significant incentive to pay attention to constituencies who are engaged and voting in their districts.

School districts will not be involved in supporting or opposing specific candidates. Rather, examples of task focus could include:  

  • Educating local communities about public education challenges and policy, and the state government’s role in addressing them.
  • Educating and building relationships with candidates.
  • Learning from the primary and general elections.
  • Building a non-partisan voter education plan that provides facts about voting. 
State Capitol of Texas, located in Austin, TX


The legislative advocacy efforts will focus on the 89th Legislative session that begins on January 14, 2025. 

Examples of learning could include:

  • Embedding a system of advocacy into the school district.
  • Including the community in the district’s local and state advocacy efforts. 
  • Testifying in mock Legislative and State Board of Education hearings.
  • Advocating at the Capitol during the legislative session.

Connecting the community to the legislative advocacy process will be an important part of the program.


While recognizing the need for local flexibility and adaptation, each school district will be expected to develop and complete the following deliverables over the course of the program: 

  • Shared Team of 8 advocacy agreement
  • Community Engagement Advocacy Model
  • Community-generated legislative priority recommendations
  • Board-adopted legislative priorities 
  • Nonpartisan voter education plan 


As a TEA-registered provider of continuing education, Raise Your Hand Texas will award continuing education credit to the participating superintendents and trustees at the end of each session for the hours spent in Trustee Advocates Program training.  

Additionally, Raise Your Hand Texas will provide continuing education credit to the participating trustees for their Team of 8 training. 


The superintendent and trustees who successfully complete the Trustee Advocates Program will earn the designation of Master Advocate and receive a lapel pin designating this prestigious status. 

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Session 1February, March, April 2024 (dates TBD)Various (within each school district)
Session 2April 17-19, 2024Austin
Session 3September 18-20, 2024Austin
Session 4January 15-17, 2025Austin
Session 5April 9-11, 2025 Austin
Session 6June 26-28, 2025Online
Program Schedule Table for the Trustee Advocates Program

The above schedule is subject to change.

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Applications open on Friday, August 25, 2023

Applications due by Friday, October 13, 2023

Cohort Offers announced on Friday, January 5, 2024

Cohort Offers must be accepted by Friday, January 26, 2024

“We aim to impact education policy by developing effective individual advocacy, effective team advocacy within a school board, and ultimately activating entire communities.”

Missy Bender Signature

Missy Bender is a Raise Your Hand Texas Regional Advocacy Director and Experienced Superintendent and Trustee Thought Partner.

[email protected]


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