2019 Citizen of the Year Finalists
This Westie is given to an individual in the Greater Westlake Area who has contributed time, energy, and heart to the community, sometimes unnoticed. They are an inspiration for others to follow as he or she can influence others to accomplish the objective by providing purpose, direction, and motivation. It is in recognition of their outstanding contributions through civic and community service activities that have made them an inspirational role model for the Westlake community.
Finalist: Ellen Balthazar, EISD Board of Trustee & Eanes Historian
Ellen crafted the partnership between Westbank Libraries and EISD to celebrate the history of our unique area. She facilitates a monthly meeting of the Eanes History Group, and recreates the Eanes History Center by recovering artifacts from storage and constructing displays. She helped create a two-week field trip on how communities form and what history we all share as Eanes community members. Every April, 2nd grade students are greeted by “the lady who tells the stories” when they experience their fieldtrip to the Eanes History Complex.
With a record 19 years of service as an EISD Board Trustee, Ellen enjoys her focus on Student Safety, Social-Emotional wellbeing, Staff Development, and Co- and Extra-curricular enrichment.
As a Westlake United Methodist Church leader, Ellen has chaired the Community Service Committee, Vacation Bible School, Adult Ministries Council and Church Council.
Since retiring as ED of Any Baby Can, Ellen has served as a consultant for United Way’s Success by 6 Leadership Team and School Readiness Action Plan, the Children’s Optimal Health Shared Leadership Initiative and the E3 Alliance Advisory Board.
Finalist: Simms Browning, Community Activitist & Past EEF Board President
Simms has a passion for community activism, bringing people together, and advocacy for our schools. He is a natural at identifying what a community needs and what brings a community together.
As Simms became involved with the Westlake July 4th Parade, familiarizing himself with local business, and as a coach with Westlake soccer, he began to recruit new families to the community. Whether setting up for Eagle Day, supporting a local school board candidate or helping raise funds for teachers, he is passionate about making Westlake the best place to live, work and play. Most recently, Simms served as Eanes Education Foundation President, pushing the boundaries for excellence and teacher funding, popularized the idea for a WHS Alumni Association, served on the EEF Endowment Committee and founded the CCE Dad’s Club. Simms is committed to keep Westlake the best place to live and raise a family.
Finalist: Heather Sheffield, EISD Board of Trustee & Westlake Chamber member
Heather is a passionate advocate for public education and serves on the Eanes ISD School Board. She is a member of the district’s Safety and Security Committee and is an Eanes Education Foundation Teacher Fund representative. She testifies at hearings at the Capitol, the Texas Education Agency, and the State Board of Education on behalf of Eanes Advocates (a group she founded), Decoding Dyslexia, and as President of Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment. In February, Heather will meet with Senators and Representatives about public education in Washington D.C. and attend the National School Board Association Advocacy Institute.
Heather is a Rotarian, a member of the Westlake Chamber and Junior League, a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, and she volunteers with her daughter with National Charity League.
Heather enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, three dogs, and friends. Professionally, Heather is a Business Development Representative for Capital Title.
Last Year's Winner: EISD Superintendent, Dr. Tom Leonard
2018 Winner: Cord Shiflet, Moreland Properties
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