Executive Director, Board of Directors & Board of Advisors

Our Board of Directors

Jane Walker

Jane Walker, Treasurer

Jane Walker moved to Cleburne in 2011, and although she did not grow up attending Cleburne schools, her husband, Bob, did! Jane’s professional background is in technology, including systems design, quality assurance, process improvement and program management. She is a graduate of Furman University (Greenville, S.C). Jane is grateful for her own educational opportunities and is excited to help support the CISD in providing a wonderful experience for teachers and students.

Donnave Abt

Donnave Abt, Secretary

Donnave Abt and her husband, Jim, have lived in Cleburne since 1987. Their two sons graduated from Cleburne High School and both are now teachers. Donnave was a flight attendant with Delta Air Lines for 32 years until her retirement.

Donnave is actively involved in Henderson Street Baptist Church and serves on the committee for the annual Cleburne Christian Leadership Prayer Breakfast. Educational excellence has been a priority in her family’s life and she wants to support our CISD teachers in order to make it as easy as possible for them to teach effectively.

Albert Archer

Albert Archer, Grants Committee Chair

Albert Archer grew up in Cleburne, as did his wife, Beverly and their two children, all of whom are proud graduates of Cleburne High School. Go Jackets!

Albert’s professional background is primarily in sales and management, culminating in his position as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Walls Industries. In addition, Albert has served on numerous community and corporate boards, and brings a wealth of knowledge to the CEF regarding board effectiveness.

Having two grandchildren enrolled in CISD, a daughter-in-law who is a CISD teacher, as well as a long-term love for and commitment to our community makes Albert’s interest in the excellence of our school system a personal priority.


Vance Castles, Nashville Lights Committee Chair

Vance Castles and his family moved to Cleburne in March of 1969 when he came here as the owner of a menswear store. Since 1984 he has been an independent insurance agent. Vance and his wife, Camilla, are heavily invested in the Cleburne community through the activities of civic work, Christian organizations and their church. His son and daughter both attended Cleburne High School.

Education has always been important to Vance, who graduated from Tarleton State University in 1967. His parents instilled in Vance the idea of becoming a productive citizen in the community. Vance lives by his core value that you need God in your life and an education to achieve the best for your family.


Past President

Carolyn Cody has lived in Cleburne since 1972. Always active in the community, Carolyn retired from Cleburne ISD after 41 years of service as a teacher, special education director, principal, Assistant Superintendent and two tenures as interim Superintendent.

Carolyn’s husband, Jeff, retired from Cleburne High School after 45 years of service as a history teacher and basketball coach. Both of their children, as well as their grandson, graduated from Cleburne High School.

Carolyn loves Cleburne ISD and her passion is to see that all students excel and that the district provides excellence in instruction, environment, and opportunity. Carolyn’s desire is to support and assist/encourage teachers and students in their educational journey through Cleburne ISD.

Shelly Samuels

Shelly Samuels, President, Chair, Finance & Operations Committee

Shelly Samuels, a graduate of the University of North Texas, grew up attending Cleburne schools, as did her two sons and her mother! She began teaching in Godley, Texas before transferring to Cleburne, where she served as a teacher for more than 30 years. She is active in St. Mark United Methodist Church where she teaches a Sunday school class and works with children during special activities. Shelly believes that supporting our teachers and students should be the main goal of the CEF as we continue on our path of excellence.


Justin Hewlett, Vice President

Justin Hewlett and his wife Sydney, both grew up in Cleburne and are graduates of Cleburne High School. Justin was in the first class to graduate from what was then the “new” high school in 1978. They have four children, Ryan, Dax, Tyler and Zachary who also graduated from Cleburne ISD.

Justin received an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University and then came back to Cleburne to work for a local bank. He founded his first company in 1987 and has since gone on to start three other local companies. Justin served two terms on the CISD Board of Trustees in the early 1990’s and served as the Mayor of Cleburne for one term.   Justin has served on several non-profit and foundation boards. He and Sydney are very active in the Cleburne community and want to do everything they can to improve the education system in Cleburne. Justin believes that the basis for any successful community starts with a strong school system.

Our Board of Advisors

Ben Allen

Luanne Bailey

Barbara Boulware

Vance Castles

Robert Childress

Crystal Dudley

Brad Evans

Nelle Gentry

Paige Harris

Betsy Harty

Kay Kelm

MJ Larrison

Lori Lyness

Brad Marshall

Judy Patton

Stephanie Philips

Jan Pitcock

Debbie Reynolds

Tammy Sims

Sally Smith

Dan Taylor

Sabrina Watson

Kay White

Cheri White

Susi Whitworth

Amber Witte

Our Organization’s Structure