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EMS ISD leaders honored by Saginaw Area Chamber of Commerce

The Saginaw Area Chamber of Commerce honored Dr. Heather Hughes, EMS ISD Executive Director of Special Programs, and Dick Elkins, EMS ISD School Board Member, for their contributions to public education and the community. Hughes was recognized as EMS ISD Educator of the Year and Elkins was named Public Servant of the Year at the Chamber's annual awards banquet on Friday, February 8, at Texas Motor Speedway.


EMS ISD Educator of the Year - Dr. Heather Hughes

Heather Hughes poses with her Educator of the Year award. The Educator of the Year is awarded annually to a teacher or an administrator working in EMS ISD. Consideration is given to nominee's years of service as an educator, special accomplishments in the profession, innovative teaching practices, endearment to students and other educators, awards and other recognitions previously received, and other demonstrations of dedication to the education profession.  

Dr. Heather Hughes is the Executive Director of Special Programs for Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD. She oversees student interventions and special education programming and services for 119 staff members and nearly 5,000 students in EMS ISD. 

Hughes is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral. She currently serves on several boards of directors for nonprofit organizations and provides direct behavior analytic and consultative services, specializing in assessment and evidence-based interventions and practices. She also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas.

Hughes previously served as the Associate Executive Director of the University of North Texas Kristin Farmer Autism Center. Prior to her work at UNT, Hughes has served as director of Special Education, special education coordinator, special education teacher, and general education teacher in public schools in Texas.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and two master’s degrees in special education and school psychology, all from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She also holds endorsements in special education and early childhood education, and is a certified educational diagnostician. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of North Texas with a research focus in autism.


Public Servant of the Year - Dick Elkins

Dick Elkins poses with his Public Servant of the Year award. The Public Servant of the Year is awarded annually to a City of Saginaw, Tarrant County, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD (non-teacher or administrator), or State of Texas employee or elected official who has gone beyond the call of duty in his/her function as a government employee and/or elected official. Consideration is given to years of service, special professional accomplishments, service to the community, and other qualities that demonstrate an attitude of service. 

Dick Elkins has served the students, staff, families, and community as a member of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Board of Education for nearly two decades. In his 21 years of service, Elkins has contributed significantly to the growth and progress of the school district and the community. He has served as President of the Board four times, most recently in 2015-2016 when the EMS ISD Board of Education was named a top-five Honor Board for the State of Texas.

In addition to his service with EMS ISD, Elkins is an active member of the greater Saginaw community. He owns the family business, Elkins Hardware, which has served the Saginaw area community for over 50 years. He also is an entrepreneur, a local rancher, and philanthropist involved in numerous community and charity events. He has been an active member of the Saginaw Area Chamber of Commerce for many years. He served as Past President of the Chamber and has volunteered on the boards of the Rotary Club, YMCA, and Boswell High School Senior Celebration.