Highland Park ISD Board of Trustees
(left to right) back row: Tom H. Sharpe (Place 7), Stacy A. Kelly, (Place 6), Jae Ellis (TASB Delegate, Place 4), Dr. Tom Trigg (Superintendent of Schools) front row: Edward Herring (Place 5), Lee E. Michaels (Secretary, Place 2), Jim Hitzelberger (President, Place 1), Kelly J. Walker (Vice President, Place 3)
The Highland Park ISD Board of Trustees consists of seven members, each of whom has been elected to serve a three-year term. School board members are entrusted with the responsibility of setting policy and promoting educational excellence for Highland Park ISD, and receive no compensation.
Jim Hitzelberger joined the Board of Trustees in 2009 and was elected to serve as the President in 2017. He previously served as Board Vice President and the Chair of the School Board's Facilities Committee. Prior to joining the board, he served as a member of the Finance Committee, the Facilities Committee, and the Superintendent Search Focus Group. Hitzelberger served as president of the Highland Park High School Alumni Association from 2004-06.
Hitzelberger is an attorney and mediator. Raised in the Park Cities, he is a 1974 graduate of Highland Park High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1979 from the University of San Diego and earned his law degree from the University of Tulsa School of Law in 1992. He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1993 and to the Washington bar in 2002. He is a 2001 graduate of the American Academy of Attorney-Mediators.
Hitzelberger served as president of the Garland Bar Association. He is a member of the Dallas Bar Association.
Jim is married to Laurie and is the father of three sons, Christian, a second-year student in the Plant and Soil Science Master's Degree program at Texas A&M; Michael, a senior at Bennington College; and Mark, a sophomore at the University of Oregon. The Hitzelbergers are members of Highland Park United Methodist Church.
Kelly Walker joined the Board of Trustees in 2010 and was elected to serve as Vice President in 2017. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the HP Education Foundation and is a guild member of La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas. She previously served as the School Board Finance Officer, Chair to the Board Facilities Committee for the 2015 Bond Election, and is a former member of the Hyer PTA Gift Committee and the HPISD Strategic Planning Committee.
Walker was born in Dallas and has been a University Park resident for the past 30 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in geology from Tarleton State University in 1985 and her MBA in 2017 from Southern Methodist University. Walker is a Registered Professional Geologist in the state of Texas. She is the president and founder of Benchmark Environmental Consultants in Dallas, and she has previously served on public and private boards of directors and continues to serve as a board member and advisory member to privately held companies.
Lee Michaels joined the HPISD Board of Trustees in 2015 and was elected to serve as the School Board Secretary in 2017. She also serves as Education Services liaison, PTA liaison and as board rep on Park Cities: Hope, the Park Cities’ mental health task force. Prior to her election, she served as a member of the Finance Committee and in numerous PTA roles, including President of HPMS and Chair of the Gift Committee, Parent Education Committee and Building/Grounds Committee for HPISD schools.
Born in Lexington, Kentucky and raised primarily in Sarasota, Florida, Mrs. Michaels received her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in 1984. After a brief career in banking, she attended the SMU Dedman School of Law and received her law degree in 1991. She practiced corporate law for various firms and corporations for more than 10 years and also worked as a Career Counselor at The Dedman School of Law.
She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum and is the President of the Board of CARE Dallas, a non-profit whose mission is to provide education and raise awareness about substance use disorders. She also is a member of the Grant Halliburton Foundation’s Auxiliary, an organization that addresses the mental health of teenagers and suicide prevention. Ms. Michaels volunteers with Meals on Wheels, Vickery Meadow Food Bank, The Bridge, and March to the Polls.
Lee and her husband, Paul, have two children. Kate is a 2011 HPHS graduate and a 2015 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Lindsey is a 2014 HPHS graduate and a recent graduate of Washington and Lee University.
Jae Ellis joined the HPISD Board of Trustees in 2019 and serves as the Board of Trustees’ Delegate to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), Liaison to the HPISD Central Dads Club, and Liaison to the HP Sports Club.
Ellis has been licensed to practice law since 1999, and he currently serves as a Director for the litigation consulting and litigation support firm of Courtroom Sciences, Inc. Ellis’s professional history includes experience working as a Senior Manager at Deloitte and as a litigation attorney at Gardere & Wynne. Ellis earned his bachelor’s degree in government at Harvard University and his Juris Doctorate from The University of Texas School of Law. Before attending law school, Ellis was a classroom teacher and coach at Highland Park High School. Ellis is a member of the Texas State Bar, the Dallas Bar Association, and the Salesmanship Club of Dallas. He also serves as the Chairman of the Board for Project Unity and as a member of the Board of Directors for Friends of Harvard Football.
Prior to his election to the Board of Trustees, Ellis served on the Board of Directors of the Highland Park Education Foundation for eight years, where he served in numerous capacities, including as a member of the Finance and the Strategic Planning Committees, Board Secretary, Mad for Plaid Co-Chair, and Foundation Liaison to the HPISD Central Dads Club. Ellis currently serves the Highland Park Alumni Association as a Class Representative for the HPHS Class of 1990, and he previously served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors for ten years, in various capacities, including Vice President, Treasurer, and Membership Chairman. Ellis has represented HPISD in numerous other volunteer capacities including as a member of the HPHS Principal’s Sounding Board; the HPISD Committee for Review of the Extracurricular Code of Conduct; the HPHS Inclusion and Respect Committee; the HPISD Centennial Celebration Event Planning Committee; and the Dads Clubs at HPHS, MIS/HPMS, and Armstrong Elementary School.
Ellis is married to former HPISD classroom teacher and HPHS 1990 graduate, Liza (Graham) Ellis. They are the proud parents of Caroline and Judge. Caroline, a 2019 HPHS graduate, is a freshman at The University of Texas. Judge is a freshman at HPHS and will graduate with the Class of 2023. The Ellis family enjoys active church membership at St. Paul United Methodist Church and the family also participates regularly in worship services at Highland Park United Methodist Church.
Edward Herring was elected to the Highland Park Independent School District Board of Trustees in May 2016. Prior to being elected to the Board, he served as a member of the District’s Finance Committee since 2014.
Herring is the Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner of Tailwater Capital, a specialized private equity firm focused on the energy industry. He has over 23 years of investment experience, and his primary responsibilities at Tailwater include deal sourcing, execution and monitoring of the investments as well as management of the Firm. Prior to co-founding Tailwater, Herring was a Partner with HM Capital and served on the firm’s Investment Committee. He also worked in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. from 1993-1996. Raised in the Park Cities, Herring attended Bradfield Elementary, McCulloch Middle School and Highland Park High School, where he graduated as salutatorian in 1989. Herring received a double major in Economics and Political Science from Stanford University in 1993 and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1998.
Herring has previously served on numerous public and private boards of directors and currently serves as a board member of fourteen privately-held companies in the energy sector. As a former Board member of Capital for Kids, Herring has been active in charitable organizations focused on improving the lives and educational opportunities for children in North Texas. Herring is also an active volunteer for the YMCA and has coached his children’s sports teams for over 30 seasons.
He and his wife, Kay, who is also a 1989 Highland Park graduate, have four children all of whom attend or attended HPISD schools: James, a 2018 graduate of Highland Park High School now attends Harvard University; Johnny, a junior at HPHS; Luke, a freshman at HPHS; and Abbie, a seventh-grader at Highland Park Middle School. The Herrings are members of Highland Park United Methodist Church.
Stacy Kelly was elected to the Highland Park ISD Board of Trustees in May of 2017. Prior to joining the board, Stacy led or served in 20+ positions across HPISD schools and District including 2012-13 University Park Elementary School PTA President, MISHPMS Raider Café Volunteer Chairperson, HPISD Learner for Future Profile, Mad for Plaid Community Liaison, and HPISD Superintendent Search Focus Group.
Tom Sharpe was elected to the Highland Park Independent School District Board of Trustees in May 2017. Prior to being elected to the Board, he served as a member of the District’s Finance Committee since 2011. He previously served on the Demographic Advisory Committee in 2010.
Sharpe is Vice President of Compatriot Capital, Inc., a real estate investment and operating company, and a subsidiary of Sammons Enterprises, one of the largest private companies in the United States. Prior to Compatriot Capital, Tom was in senior management at Savoya (a travel logistics firm) and Watermark Community Church. Before his time at Watermark, Sharpe was a partner at E2M Partners, a private equity firm focused on commercial real estate investment, which followed several years working for JPMorgan in its mid-corporate investment banking division. Raised in the Park Cities, he attended Armstrong Elementary, McCulloch Middle School and Highland Park High School, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1992. Sharpe received a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University in 1996 and earned an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 2003. Prior to business school, he was a Lieutenant in the US Navy where he served as a junior officer aboard the USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716), a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine.
Sharpe has volunteered with several organizations around the community, including the UP Elementary Dads Club (President, 2010-2011), Boy Scout Troop 82 and the Park Cities YMCA, through which he has coached numerous teams for his three children. He and his wife, Catherine, have three children who attend HPISD schools: Jack, a senior at HPHS; Tyler, a junior at HPHS; and Campbell, an eighth-grader at HPMS. The Sharpes are active members of Watermark Community Church.