The Texas Scholastic Esports Federation came together in the Fall of 2019, as educators across the state, seeing the positive impact of esports on the lives and academic achievement of their students, sought to spread that same opportunity to other students across the state. As the team grew, so did our vision, and our goals have continued to expand as more talented individuals have joined the Board of Directors. We truly believe that we have the right people in place to make esports a ubiquitous program across all Texas schools.
When we first began, TEXSEF sought to create a well-managed and curated competition platform for club sponsors who were feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with the existing options. This is why the structure of our competitive play revolves around seasonal titles. Instead of forcing club sponsors--who are often the coach, GM, and CEO of their clubs--to split their time between several games at once, they are able to focus their students on a singular title at a time, and use the remaining time to develop their students in other ways.
At the 2020 TCEA Conference, we knew that TEXSEF was needed in ways that we couldn’t have foreseen. We borrowed a bit of booth space from our friends at Southern Computer Warehouse, and received more traffic than we could keep up with. It seemed that every school in the state was either beginning or had plans to begin an esports club, and none of them knew where to begin. Since then, we’ve brought many of these conference attendees together in our Discord and mailing lists, and are helping them to prepare for their maiden voyages into the seas of scholastic esports. We have also since partnered with TCEA to help bring even more professional development options to educators in our state.
Becoming a NASEF (North American Scholastic Esports Federation) affiliate has been another huge benefit to our organization and its members. NASEF has been the singular most positive force for scholastic esports in the country up to this point, and their contacts and support make our work in Texas bother easier and more potent.
None of this would have been possible without our excellent Board of Directors. I’d like to introduce them to you in the order that they joined, and explain why they are so valuable to our organization.
Gregg Kite - Humble ISD - CEO
I took the first steps toward the creation of TEXSEF by bringing together a small group of educators and esports club sponsors to discuss how to best leverage their programs for students’ academic success, as well as how to create more programs for my district and beyond. As the organization has grown, I have done my best to guide the direction of how we serve our state and the needs of our stakeholders. I continue to seek out partnerships with vision-aligned organizations, and work closely with both esports and education organizations throughout the state to increase the scope and reach of TEXSEF.
Danielle Johnson - Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD - COO
Danielle responded to one of my initial tweets about Texas scholastic esports, and has since taken on a massive amount of responsibility in the organization. She has handled nearly all of the legal work for TEXSEF, and is the sole reason that we have been able to incorporate and move forward in so many ways. Her dedication to making esports an equitable experience has helped shape our mission from the start. A commonly-uttered phrase in our meetings is “everyone needs a Danielle.”
Matt Tarpley - Merkel ISD - Director of Scholastic Partnerships
Matt brought an incredible amount of expertise to the board that neither Danielle or I had at the time. As the head coach of the esports program at McMurry University, as well as the club sponsor for Merkel High School and teacher of their “Esports Marketing” class, Matt brought a lot to the table. As we have continued to grow, he’s been the driving force behind our network of collegiate partners, as well as the point of contact for our work with the Region Education Support Centers across the state.
Nicki Zachary - Klein ISD - Director of Social Media
When I sent out my initial email to schools around the state asking them to come join and help us form TEXSEF into what it is today, Nicki responded enthusiastically. She is one of the most experienced esports sponsors among us, having run a club at Klein Cain high school for three years, and has provided a lot of great insight on club functions that we would’ve missed without her. Her talent for social media has made it easy to leave in her hands, as she runs and curates our Twitter and Facebook sites, with more to come!
Patrick Neff - Galveston ISD - CTO
At some point I thought it would be a good idea to talk to UIL, and when I looked into it I saw that Patrick Neff had presented to them over the summer, and that his presentation really brought it to their attention in new ways. I reached out to Patrick, and couldn’t be more glad that I did. Being a gamer like myself, Patrick has really taken over the execution of the competition platform that we are building. His knowledge of professional esports has helped us in countless ways, and his dedication to our vision has made him one of the most integral cogs in our machine.
Bradford Harris - Aldine ISD - Director of Learning and Curriculum
As I worked on tracking down curriculum for use in Humble’s esports program, Bradford’s name was continually thrown round until I finally decided to give him a call. His passion for the scholastic side of what esports can bring to the table was so self-evident that I knew immediately he was going to be the one to take charge of making our program more than just competition. Bradford has since aligned the entire esports curriculum with existing TEKS, and continues to work with other groups to bring more learning opportunities to Texas students.
Kimberly Lane Clark - Lancaster ISD - Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Danielle brought Kim into the fold as we continued to search for ways to ensure that we meet our mission to make esports an accessible and equitable experience for all Texas students. Kim has a background in making these programs work, and finding ways to bring them to populations who may not otherwise have access, and she has been an incredible partner in crime to Danielle in some of our recruitment efforts!
Roberto Velasco - Dallas ISD - Director of Marketing
Being from one of the biggest school districts in the state, bringing Roberto on was already going to be a helpful proposition just in terms of the reach he could provide. But since then, his insight and connections have proven to be valuable beyond measure, and his infectious passion for creating true esports experiences for students has spread through the rest of the board. Roberto continues to surprise us with new relationships to other organizations almost daily, and his energy is impossible to ignore.
This is the right team, at the right time, to make scholastic esports a reality in the state of Texas. We are here to serve you, and we hope that you will take advantage of what we have to offer by joining TEXSEF today.