TPWD News Release — Aug. 21, 2014
HOUSTON— Tim Spice, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Boater Education Coordinator, has been selected as the “State Educator of the Year” as well as the “Southern States’ Educator of the Year.”
TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith presented the award to Spice at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting Thursday in Houston.
During the 82nd Legislative session in 2011, House Bill 673 by Rep. Tan Parker required TPWD to produce a video on water safety targeting high school age students. This bill required the video to be placed into the Texas Driver’s Education curriculum to be seen by all who take the course.
There was concern from the driver’s education community because they felt that their courses were going to become overloaded with the addition of the water safety materials, which they claimed were outside the scope of their courses intent.
“Spice took the helm and was able to navigate through treacherous waters and come to a resolution with the education community by inviting their input while recognizing their desires to keep a concise message and avoid a burdensome product,” Smith said.
The second issue Spice had to address was the unfunded mandate created by this bill. Through an extensive network of partners, he rallied the water safety community to back this important initiative and provide the necessary funding to make the project a reality.
In the end, he was able to raise all necessary funds from several non-profit water safety organizations and by June 2013, all participants were gathered at Lake Ray Hubbard for a two-day video shoot where teens and adults told their stories of tragedy, loss, and the vital message of water safety.
“It was important to Spice that the message was effective, that it not be limited to a specific location and that it can be used across the nation,” Smith said. “He wanted the message to be global in nature and the title of the project, “Never Happens,” hit home in a true sense for the teens who over and over said, “I never thought this would happen to me” while telling their stories.”
In August 2013, Spice received notification from NASBLA that the video had been given the “Seal of Safe Boating,” which indicates it adheres to the highest standards of boating safety information.
“His leadership in the water safety community is unprecedented,” Smith said. “His influence, community spirit, and ability to bring everyone together to make boating safer and safe lives make him an invaluable educator and innovator.”
Spice will be competing against two others for the “National Educator of the Year” award, which will be announced in Bar Harbor, Maine at the October NASBLA conference.