PROFILE: Mary Ellen Young


Mary Ellen Young
Dean of Liberal and Performing Arts & Honors College
Texarkana College
1995 Graduate of Leadership Texarkana
2010 Graduate of Leadership Texas 
Yet Another Best and Brightest Native 

What have you learned most about making a difference in Texarkana (or about your opportunity for community leadership) from being a part of Leadership Texarkana?
Leadership Texarkana offers a comprehensive view of the community from education to government to non-profit agencies, healthcare, and economic development.  It provides a platform for all of these entities to work together for the betterment of the community.   It has given me the opportunity to meet so many incredible people who have become lifelong friends.  Leadership Texarkana has also given me the opportunity to make connections and network with others to build stronger organizations and events not only in my profession but also in my work as a volunteer.  It has encouraged me to become much more involved my community.  

What does leadership mean to you?
I see leadership from a servant leader’s heart.  I do not ask of others what I am not willing to do myself.  I strive to lead by example.

For what community organization or issue or opportunity do you have a passion and invest your time, talent or money? 
I view my work at Texarkana College as a calling, one for which I am truly passionate.  We have so many students in our community who face tremendous obstacles and challenges in their journey to receive an education.  Northeast Texas has the lowest education levels in the state of Texas.  I am interested in raising awareness in our community on the value of an education and helping students overcome their obstacles and challenges to receive a credential in higher education.  Having a skilled workforce increases opportunities for economic development and growth. I want to help create awareness and raise the levels of educational attainment in our community so that more people are encouraged to improve their lives and the lives of their families.

If you had one wish and could make a difference of significance in Texarkana (your small corner) what would you do with that one wish and why?
I want Texarkana to meet the state’s higher education plan 60x30TX that by the year 2030 at least 60% of Texans who are 25-34 years of age will complete a certificate or degree.  This would help transform Texarkana to a culture of education, achievement, and service and build a workforce for the 21st Century.

What do many people not know about you that you would to share with us?   What are some of your passions and hobbies?  
You’ll often find me spending my weekends attending events and traveling to conferences with students. Watching them grow and develop leadership skills is one of the best perks of my job!  I also love to travel. I worked as an English as a Second Language and Reading Specialist for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools and lived in Japan for three years and Germany for three years.  Highlights of my travels include Midnight Mass and the Christmas Day Blessing with Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in Rome and the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

What do you most love to do in Texarkana?  
I love to spend time with family and friends at one of our favorite restaurants in Texarkana.  I also enjoy socializing at community events benefitting various non-profit agencies in town. 

What do you most love about Texarkana, in general? 
The amazing people!  We are so fortunate to have so many friendly and caring people in Texarkana who generously give their time and resources to improve the quality of life in our community. 

Mary Ellen Young is the daughter of Donna Young and the late Dr. Mitchell Young of Texarkana.  She has eight brothers, one sister, and twenty-eight nieces and nephews.  Her father and all eight of her brothers are Eagle Scouts.  She and her sister received the highest honor in Girl Scouts.  She is a graduate of Texas High School and Texas A&M University-Texarkana where she received the degrees of Bachelor of Science and Master of Education.  She is currently a doctoral student at the American College of Education in Indianapolis, Indiana studying Higher Education Leadership.

She worked as an English as a Second Language and Reading Specialist for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools and lived 3 years in Japan and 3 years in Germany.  It is this experience that inspired her to write her first children’s book Chase’s Special Gift which is dedicated to the military children living around the world.  The book is written in English and Spanish.

She serves as the Dean of Liberal and Performing Arts and the Honors College at Texarkana College.  She is also an English professor and the advisor for Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society where she has been named an international Distinguished Advisor and inducted into the Advisor Hall of Honor.  She serves as the Vice President for the Texas Community College Teachers Association.  She also serves on the Leadership Texarkana Leadership Team and the Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association Texarkana Heart Ball.

She is a recipient of the Texarkana College Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence Award and the National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD) Teaching and Leadership Excellence Award.  She has also been honored by Texas A&M University – Texarkana as a Distinguished Alumna and Four States Living Magazine Tribute to Women.  She is a 1995 graduate of Leadership Texarkana and 2010 graduate of Leadership Texas.  She is a sustainer in the Junior League of Texarkana. 

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