01/19/2023 Alumni Spotlight

After graduating from McMurry in 1992 JoLisa Hoover taught at Bryan ISD for 13 years. During that time, she pursued her master’s degree in educational psychology from Texas A&M. After grad school and a move that located her closer to family, she found herself teaching at Leander ISD for another 13 years.

“When I returned to the classroom, I was part of the advisory council for Teach Plus Texas, a policy fellowship that I was involved with for three years,” Hoover said.  “After 26 years of teaching, I joined Raise Your Hand Texas as the Central Texas Regional Advocacy Director.  I was promoted to senior director and then moved into my current position this summer.”

Hoover majored in multidisciplinary studies while at McMurry and through her time teaching developed a passion for championing public education, which fit right into Raise Your Hand Texas.

“Raise Your Hand Texas is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization supporting public policy solutions that invest in Texas’ 5.4 million public school students,” Hoover said.  “We envision a world-class public school system that fuels a brighter future for all Texans. Our advocacy work, alongside current research, informs the policy recommendations we make to Texas lawmakers.”

Throughout her time teaching Hoover said she had always felt the urge to do something louder for students in the state of Texas. She had developed skills that would be beneficial in serving in an organization like Raise your Hand Texas.

“Our public schools are so important to our communities and we saw during the pandemic how they were community hubs that kept us connected, fed, and learning,” Hoover said.  “I’m a proud product of a Texas public education and, as both a former Texas student and a Texas teacher, I know the vital role our schools play in preparing our students for whatever career they may choose as well as investing in them by growing their skills as leaders. As we say at Raise Your Hand Texas, the future of Texas is in our public schools.”

Her love and passion for the role public education plays have always been important and inspirational to Hoover. But on a personal level, her grandmother has inspired her service and want to help others have a steady education.

“I’m inspired by my Grandma Reat and her example of leaning on her faith throughout her life raising six kids, playing piano at her church and farming in the Panhandle,” Hoover said.  “She once told me, “A good teacher is as good as a good preacher. Many are watching and some will follow you”  She taught me what it means to live a life of service and faith and how to live into your mission.”

Hoover invites people who are interested to sign up for the Raise Your Hand Texas newsletter to learn about opportunities to get involved.They also have a statewide advocacy team who each live and work in communities throughout Texas to raise the voices of parents, teachers, community leaders, business owners, and students who care about the future of public education. Each one of them would welcome opportunities to help someone get involved. Find the Regional Advocacy Director for your region.

During her time at McMurry Hoover said she came in not knowing a soul but quickly felt at home and found things she was passionate about. The lessons she learned at McMurry drive her as she continues through her journey.

“I’m grateful for the strong foundation McMurry gave to me academically and in leadership skills,” Hoover said.  “I’m especially thankful for the opportunity to learn from such strong professors, the lifelong friendships, and the McMurry community that has mentored me and supported me throughout my career.”

Do you or an alum you know have a great post-McMurry story? We’d love to feature YOU! Contact the Alumni Office at alumni@mcm.edu to schedule an interview.