BCISD Distinguished Former Employee
The Hall of Honor Committee selected three former staff members for their contributions to the excellence that is the Esprit de Corps. Burnet CISD has one of the best marching band programs in the State of Texas, and it has been built on the foundation laid by John Lopes, Deidra Robertson, and Mike Lewis.
When Mr. Lopes became the BHS Band Director in 1964 there were 36 total students in the music program and the band received the lowest possible scores at contest.
Under Mr. Lopes’ instruction, the program grew to more than 375 high school and middle school students, and the Bulldog Band had earned its first Sweepstakes trophy in the history of Burnet. During his tenure at BHS, the Bulldog Band was the state representative at the Cotton Carnival in Memphis, went on a goodwill tour to Mexico and performed for then President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Mr. Lopes left Burnet High School after nine short years, but not before bringing a standard of excellence to the Bulldog Band that had previously not been seen, and truly making an impact on the lives of many students in the band family.
Mr. Lopes went on to work for Hoover Building Supply for 41 years and continued to support the Burnet community serving on the Boards of Burnet County Concerts, Burnet Band Parents Association, First United Methodist Church, and Friends of the Library.
Mr. Lopes and his wife Rosemary have enjoyed traveling all over the world and are the proud parents of two daughters and two granddaughters. Although still in High School and Jr. High, both granddaughters are accomplished musicians – Kathryn excelling with the harp and Sarah the violin.
Lately, Mr. Lopes has been locating and connecting with former band student via monthly Zoom meetings. He commented, “This reconnection brings me great joy and excitement. Every month more students sign on and join the conversation about experiences of their high school band days. Their looks might have changed, but their personalities haven’t changed a bit”!
Mr. Lopes is pictured with Board Secretary Earl Foster.
Deidra Robertson started at Burnet CISD in 1979, teaching PE and coaching basketball and swim. During her first year, she “transformed” the BHS Pep Squad into a Drill Team, named “The Highlandettes” and started the tradition of the “Spring Show”.
She took “time off” to be a mom in 1983, but continued to volunteer countless hours and served as Highlandette Sponsor ensure their success.
During the 1992-1993 school year, the Highlandettes joined forces with the Bulldog Band becoming the Esprit de Corps. Under the direction of Deidra and Mike Lewis, the Esprit de Corps won 19 straight years of Division I awards at UIL Marching contests, advancing to the State marching contest four times, and finishing in the finals in 2008.
Deidra returned to “work” for the district in 1994, serving for four more years as Highlandette Director and teaching dance.
Spanning her years of employment and volunteerism, under Deidra’s direction, the Highlandettes received many awards, including Sweepstakes, Super Sweepstakes, Judges Awards, and Best of Best Team and Officers. They traveled all over the State of Texas, performing at various events and competitions.
She has inspired many young ladies to continue dancing after high school including for organizations such as the Kilgore Rangerettes, TVCC Cardette, Apachie Belles, and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. We were told from one reliable source, which happens to be her husband, that Deidra brought dance to Burnet!
Deidra and her husband Robby have 4 children – Patrick, Caity, Meghan, and Ryan and 7 grandchildren. The Robertsons are currently building their retirement home where Deidra commented that she stays busy picking out paint, tile, etc. and most of all keeping Robby in line! Deidra will retire from Camp Longhorn in August and looks forward to being a full-time grandmother.
In closing Deidra commented, “I am also proud to have been able to love on so many students and am blessed to keep in touch with many of them. So many of them are successful and several are teachers themselves now. It also never gets old hearing them tell me I had a positive impact on their lives. I am flattered to share this honor with John Lopes and Mike Lewis, who have been “instrumental” in building the band program to where it is today.”
Mrs. Robertson is pictured with Board President Andy Feild.
Mike Lewis recalls coming to Burnet to interview for the band director position in the summer of 1991. “Judy and I arrived at Camp Longhorn, wearing our Sunday best, and with the temperature being a balmy 96 degrees. We quickly realized we were WAY overdressed. Robby and Deidra gave us a quick tour of the camp, and treated us to lunch with a few hundred campers. They introduced us to the chief cook and BCISD School Board president Barney Baker who was wearing jeans, a sweaty white t-shirt and a grease-covered apron. After lunch, we met the rest of the Board on the deck overlooking Inks Lake. They were all wearing shorts and t-shirts. Esther Warden gave me a real grilling; something about the need to hear the band play the fight song at football games, but not wanting to hear Kum By Yah ever again”.
So begins the journey of Mike Lewis as BHS Band Director. It was not long after his arrival that Mike and Highlandette Director Deidra Robertson combined the BHS Bulldog Band and Highlandettes to form the Esprit de Corps, promoting the school motto of “Spirit, Pride and Honor”; not just within the Band and Highlandettes, but also theater-arts, athletics and the student body in general. Mike commented, “Directors and parents from competing schools couldn’t figure out how we got the band and drill team to work together in Burnet. In most places that’s like mixing oil and water”!
A commitment to individual improvement linked to group achievement paid off for the students in many ways including: 19 straight years of 1st Division Awards at UIL Marching Contests, 17 1st divisions in UIL Concert and Sight-Reading competitions, advancement to the UIL State marching contest four times, placing as a finalist in 2008. In addition, the Esprit de Corps supported the Bulldog football team through music and dance at just about every major stadium in the state of Texas during the race to the State playoff years!
Mike left BCISD at the end of the 2010 school year, but his involvement in the music world continues today serving statewide as a Marching, Concert and Sight-Reading judge for the UIL. He also serves as a Judge and Clinician for USBands, judging not only in Texas, but also New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Alaska.
Mike and his wife Judy are very involved in the Vanderveer Street Church of Christ and enjoy traveling, snow skiing, hunting and fishing. They have two sons, Jameson and Carson, who were also members of the Esprit de Corps and currently live and work in Houston.
Mike’s self-written profile ended with these words, “The community support here for school programs is incredible. John Lopes was always an inspiration and shoulder I could lean on for needed advice. Deidra is a creative genius! Together we all created something special in Burnet no one else has been able to pull off. A tradition for success that continues to this day”.
Mr. Lewis is pictured with Board Member Mark Kincaid.
Distinguished Former BCISD School Board Member
Mr. Gary Barnett was selected by the Hall of Honor Committee for the dedication and leadership he provided the school district during his tenure on the Board of Trustees. Mr. Barnett was on the Board from May 1989 until May of 1998. There were many changes taking place in the district during this time. Quest High School was established; Shady Grove Elementary was constructed; the historic Bertram Elementary Classic Building was restored; Bertram Elementary, Burnet Middle School, and Burnet High School buildings were all renovated and/or expanded; the land was purchased for the current high school and athletic complex; and technology in the District was upgraded. The decisions that Mr. Barnett and his fellow Board Members made back then, have had a lasting and positive impact on the District. As Mr. Barnett stated, “1989 to 1998 was a period where BCISD grew tremendously and was no longer a sleepy, little rural school district”.
After his tenure on the Board, Mr. Barnett did not slowdown in his dedication to serving public schools. In 1999, Mr. Barnett went on to serve on the Region 13 Education Service Center Board of Directors, and he has served as President of the Board since 2015. Region 13 includes 65 school districts in Central Texas including BCISD. Mr. Barnett is to be commended for committing a significant part of his life to serving students and school districts all over Central Texas.
Mr. Barnett graduated from Texas A&M and served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. Before his retirement, he was Vice President of Marketing for a nationally respected manufacturer in San Antonio for 35 years. Mr. Barnett and his wife Jann are both proud alumni of Burnet High School. They have two sons, Cody and Clay, who are also graduates of BHS. He enjoys being outdoors, working on his “little” ranch in Bertram, and spending time with his two grandsons. Mr. Barnett stated that another if his passions is flying his airplane.
Mr. Barnett stated, “My most fond memories of serving on the BCISD School Board were the people I served, the parents, teachers, and administrators. It was a very exciting time to watch, and be a small part of all the successes at BCISD”.
Mr. Barnett is pictured with Board Member Robby Robertson.
Distinguished Burnet High School Graduate
Birdo Lee Richards III was always known as Bubba Richards when he was growing up in Burnet. He attended Burnet High School from 2005 to 2009. This distinguished Burnet High School graduate is not one to want to talk about himself. When asked about proud high school moments, Mr. Richards responded, “I did not accomplish much compared to the impact that the community has had on my life. I am just blessed to have grown up in a town that had genuine people. I had plenty of accomplishments in class and with sports. However, none of that matters when I think about it. I am the man I am today because of the tremendous quality of individuals in our community. My greatest accomplishment was and still is helping others achieve their potential. I strive to leave a legacy of spirit, pride, and honor every day”.
After graduating, Mr. Richards joined the Army as a Construction Engineer. He was enlisted for 4 years before receiving a ROTC scholarship and attended Baylor University. Mr. Richards completed his undergraduate degree as a distinguished military graduate in the top 10% of Baylor’s Hankamer (Haan-Kaamer) School of Business at Baylor University. He was then commissioned as a Medical Service Officer in the Texas Army National Guard, where he currently serves as a Captain. He recently graduated with an Executive Master’s in Business Management from the University of Arkansas Sam Walton College of Business. He is currently a Director at Avetta, assisting Fortune 500 companies manage their supply chain.
Mr. Richard ’s mom and dad hold a special place in his heart “My mother taught me to live everyday with a purpose, love those around you, and to leave the room brighter than before you entered. My father Birdo was a die hard bulldog fan. He started running the chains at the high school football games in August of 1990. He bled Kelly green and loved the town of Burnet. Since my father passed away, I have tried to use his name for everything. I am fine with people around here using Bubba, because that is all they have known me by."
Mr. Richards and his wife Laura-Taylor were married in October of 2020. They love to travel to new countries, experiencing new cultures and they enjoy scuba diving when they get a chance.
In closing, Mr. Richards commented, “I am blessed to even be nominated for this award. I had a unique experience growing up, but this town rallied around me to make me better. From school teachers, coaches, and just citizens of the city – they were always there to support me and help me be better. I have been faced with adversity, loss, and grief in my life. However, with every hurdle I had numerous people to support and cheer me on. I could have easily taken the wrong path, but the town of Burnet kept loving me and pushing me to be better”.
Mr. Richards is pictured with Board Vice President Angela Moore.
Distinguished Former Burnet High School Athlete
DeWayne Hyman attended Burnet High School from 1958 through 1961. Mr. Hyman was a 4-year member of the Bulldog football team, receiving All-District and All-Central Texas honors. He also excelled on the basketball court, the baseball field and the track field. When asked about his most memorable high school accomplishments, Mr. Hyman named the following:
• Being pictured in first edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine
• Playing in the Texas Coaches All-Star game in 1961, and
• Being named to the Austin American All Central Texas Football Team in 1959 and 1960
• Playing in the Texas Coaches All-Star game in 1961, and
• Being named to the Austin American All Central Texas Football Team in 1959 and 1960
Mr. Hyman started to work at B Pogue grocery store here in Burnet when he was 13 years old to make his spending money. During the summers he worked in the kitchen at Camp Longhorn and at David’s Department Store. His wife stated, “He always worked hard, whether it be in sports or at a job!”
Mr. Hyman was able to continue his passion for football after leaving Burnet High School. He received a full ride scholarship to Tarleton State College (now Tarleton State University) where he was a 4-year letterman and selected to the All NAIA football team in 1964.
Mr. Hyman enjoyed a career in retail management with several national companies. He served as an Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Denison and has been involved in mission work in Mexico and along the Texas border.
Mr. Hyman and his wife Charlotte, who is also a former BHS graduate, have lived in Bertram for the last 6 years after being away from Burnet County since their high school years. They have two sons and one grandson and enjoy raising chickens, gardening, and going to estate sales. The Hyman’s still enjoy Burnet football and attend the Friday night games when they have an opportunity.
Mr. Hyman is pictured with Board Member Suzanne Brown.