By Rebecca S. Jones
HOUSTON – “All children can learn if placed in an educational environment conducive for teaching and learning.” This philosophy is one which has guided the career path of the much accomplished and distinguished Warner D. Ervin. With having dedicated over four decades to education, his thorough and comprehensive knowledge of instruction and administrative practices and phenomenal interpersonal and organizational skills has allowed him to experience many successes in the world of academia.
Warner D. Ervin hails from the small community of Hooks, a town located west of Texarkana. He was reared in a religious environment by his parents, the late Rev. & Mrs. Henry W. Ervin. His fundamental years of education was completed in the Hooks Independent School District. After graduating high school, he matriculated at Texas Southern University. There, he majored in Health and Physical Education, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1973. The following year, he received a Master of Science degree in Health and Physical Education. After such attainments, he secured employment as a Teacher/Coach with the Houston Independent School District (HISD) at George Washington (also, Recreational Director) and M. C. Williams Jr. High Schools.
While employed as a Teacher/Coach, Ervin decided to further his education at Prairie View A&M University, where he achieved his Administrative and Superintendent certification in 1976. Thereafter, he became the assistant principal at Patrick Henry Jr. High School in 1977 and continued in that role at Booker T. Washington High School. Over the course of the next twenty-years, Ervin continued to soar through the ranks as a Principal at Charlotte B. Allen Elementary School, James D. Ryan Middle School and James Madison High School.
Ervin developed quite an impressive reputation after assuming the role of Principalship, making remarkable strides at every campus he served. When first selected as Prinicpal at Madison, HISD gave him one mission, “Reform Madison”. Ervin made haste and hit the ground running with his two-pronged strategy; get students in the classroom and teach them. He also implemented morning and afternoon patrol duties for teachers, enforced the student’s dress code and imposed a “no-backpack” rule, to eliminate the presence of concealed weapons on campus.
Although Ervin’s authoritarian deportment often made him unpopular amongst many of his teenage students, his method of leadership proved to be an intangible asset. Under his administration, Madison’s test scores and dropout rate improved significantly and the school built a new and larger library. To add, he also initiated programs for the severely mentally and physically challenged students; a Meteorology and Space Science Magnet Program in partnership with Channel 2, as well as, the Pre-AP/AP Program to challenge students to create a college-bound culture.
Furthermore, under his leadership Madison became the only school in Texas to receive a $250,000 College Bound Grant from the General Electric Corporation. In 1998, then-Deputy Superintendent Faye Bryant noted Ervin’s impeccable track record by referencing him as, “one of the finest principals we have.”
In 2000, Ervin transitioned from Principal to HISD-South Regional Superintendent. Continuing on in a legacy of excellence as a Regional Superintendent: he strongly supported and supervised implementation and maintenance of the PreAP/AP Program in all middle and high schools in the HISD South Region; increased the number of Recognized/Exemplary campuses in the region from “zero” in 2000 to approximately 70% in 2009 and implemented regular small group sessions (after hours) for new principals in region.
During his tenure with HISD, Ervin served in various leadership capacities and on numerous committees. He was previously a member of the Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (appointed to serve on the Governing Board), National Alliance of Black School Educators and HISD Superintendent’s Ad Hoc Committee.
Today, Ervin’s passion for educating young minds continues. After retiring from HISD as a Regional Superintendent in 2010, he incepted wEw Educational Consulting & Associates, LLC, where he serves as the Senior Consultant. wEw Educational Consulting & Associates, LLC subscribes to the mission, “Blazing New Trails and Creating a Thirst for Learning.” wEw is an educational solutions firm which offers various services to both public and private K-12 schools, to help school district administrators meet district and state level goals. The firm is comprised of knowledgeable teachers, professionals, instructional development coordinators and administrators which are tailored to accommodate organization’s specific goals and needs. For more information about services offered at wEw call, (713) 482-1311 or (713) 724-8931.
Aside from his involvement with education, Ervin has maintained an active role in the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (HLS&R) as a life member. He made a historical imprint by becoming the first African-American appointed as Vice President and Lifetime Vice President of the HLS&R. To that regard, he serves on the HLS&R’s Board of Directors. He has also served as, Corporate Secretary, Chairman of the Black Go Texan Committee (1999-2002) and currently serves on several Rodeo committees including: Grand Entry, Educational Contributions Review, Heritage, Speakers and Calf Scramble.
Over the years, Ervin has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. To affirm his stance as an influential and successful educator and administrator, he has been featured and recognized by Newsweek Magazine, the Miami Herald, the San Antonio Media and the Japanese Educational Television Station.
In past, Ervin has also retained memberships with other organizations and committees and served in varying positions including: Houston Association of School Administrators (President), Young Learners Board of Education (Member), Varnett Public Schools Inc. Board (President), Houston Symphony African-American Leadership Board (Member) and State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee. He is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He also completed the Houston Citizens Police Academy within the City of Houston, graduating as the President of his class.
Warner D. Ervin is married to the love of his life, Melba. Together, they are the proud parents of one daughter, Mauri; one son, Warner, II; two granddaughters, Seciley and Koirtlyn and one grandson, Karson Warner. Ervin enjoys spectator sports, horseback riding, motorcycle riding, volunteering for the HLS&R, ranching, fishing, cooking outdoors and spoiling his grandchildren. He is an active member of Brentwood Baptist Church, under the leadership of Dr. Joe Samuel Ratliff.
Photo credit: Priscilla Graham Photography