As the summer progresses, additional personnel changes are occurring in Blanco—in school administration, at the Blanco Library, and even at the Blanco police department.
Sue Ann Reininger began her duties as the new principal of Blanco Elementary School on July 1 and is eagerly awaiting a new school year. A native of Trinity, Texas, Sue Ann earned an undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Masters of Education in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. She has worked in Comal County for the past six years—three years at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School and three years at Rahe-Bulverde Elementary. Although this is her first full principalship, she feels prepared because of mentors at her previous schools who gave her responsibilities and helped her grow professionally. Sue Ann lives with her husband Michael on a family ranch in Bulverde with two sons—a thirteen-year old who will enter eighth grade at Spring Branch Middle School in the fall and a sixteen-year old who will be a junior at Smithson Valley High School. Their family also includes Michael’s four grown children. Sue Ann’s hobbies include reading, gardening, and taking care of two cats and three dogs.
In a recent interview, Sue Ann confided, “I’m so excited about being the principal here and being part of the community. “ She looks forward to building relationships with students and teachers as well as parents, and hopes that parents will come to the school. She plans on building “a cohesive team, and family is part of that.” Of course, a priority is to bring up test scores. “I want people to hear wonderful things about Blanco Elementary School—they will want to work here and bring their children here for school,” she concludes. One of the activities she particularly looks forward to is working at Friday night football games.
Across Highway 281 at the Blanco Library, another enthusiastic new face can be seen—the new librarian, Crystal Spybuck, who also began working July 1. Crystal is a native of Euless, Texas, and a graduate of the University of North Texas in Denton, where she received an undergraduate degree in General Studies and a Master of Library Science degree. She has always had a love of libraries and reading and enjoys a variety of literature ranging from horror to sci-fi, to mysteries. One of her favorite series is the “Cat-Who” mysteries by Lillian Jackson Braun. Crystal also enjoys keeping up with the latest in Young Adult fiction. In her leisure Crystal enjoys knitting, checking out online book stores, and playing with her two cats.
Crystal says she has always known she would choose a career in the area of human services. Her first impressions of Blanco are that everyone has been “so helpful and welcoming. It’s the kind of home I’ve been looking for.” She also gives thanks to the more than 40 library volunteers, who, in her words, “have made this transition very comfortable.”
Assistant Blanco Police Chief Carl Bragg assumed new duties as the Interim Police Chief on July 4 with the retirement of Chief Ed Sonier. Sonier recommended that Bragg, who has served as an officer with the Blanco police department for the past four years, replace him as chief; and Mayor Tina Gourley appointed him. Bragg has Hill Country roots—he graduated from San Marcos Academy and has always wanted to come back. He spent his early years in Big Sandy and obtained a degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Texas at Tyler. In his over-thirty years in law enforcement, Bragg has worked with various populations including the worst offenders at the Coffield Unit near Palestine, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States. He has also worked as a security officer at Smithson Valley High School, and as an officer with the Blanco County Sheriff’s Department.
Bragg sees the department’s biggest challenge as “keeping up with the growing demands of the city of Blanco,” both the traffic, which he characterizes as growing “phenomenally”, and its increasing crime rate. His objective as acting chief is “to make this the best-run organization that we can have.”