2016 Distinguished Leader Award Recipient

DeSoto, TX - On behalf of the 2015-2016 Leadership Southwest Executive Board of Directors, it is with distinct pleasure we are announcing Curtistene McCowan, Class of 2015, as the 2016 LSW's "Distinguished Leader Alumni Award" recipient.

Curtistene McCowan

Honorable Curtistene Smith McCowan was elected to DeSoto City Council in May, 2012.  She was elected to the position of Mayor Pro Tem in May 2014 and May 2015.  Prior to winning a seat on the City Council, she served five years on the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, where she held the positions of Internal Audit Chair, Vice President and served four years as President.  She is a Founder and Past President of Concerned DeSoto Citizens (CDC) and also serves on the Advisory Board of Methodist Charlton Medical Center; Planning Committee, Methodist Health Systems; and Board of Directors, African American Education Archives and History Program. She is a graduate of the 2015 Leadership Southwest Class. 

Mayor Pro Tem McCowan has made significant contributions to the advancement of education at the local, state and national levels. From October, 2007 until May, 2015, she served on the Texas Southern University (TSU) Board of Regents, where she held the positions of 2nd Vice Chair, Chair of the Development and Legislative and the Administration and Finance Committees.  The first African-American elected to public office in DeSoto, when she won a seat on the DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees in 1990, she served two three-year terms as a School Board Trustee -- two of those years as President.  In 2000, Ms. McCowan was elected as the Charter President of the DeSoto ISD Education Foundation Board of Directors and has served on the Executive Committee since 2001.  In addition, she is an active participant in DeSoto ISD’s Advisory Council and Discipline Management Committee.  Ms. McCowan has also served on the interview panel for the prestigious Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Internship Program.  In honor of her 30+ years of volunteer service, in 2007, DeSoto ISD named and dedicated the “Curtistene S. McCowan Middle School.” 

Ms. McCowan serves as Chair of the Trustee Board at Kirkwood Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, where she has been an active member for over 40 years. A Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Ms. McCowan has held national, regional and local leadership positions, including the National Distinguished Professor Endowed Chair Task Force, Regional Social Action Co-Coordinator and President of Dallas Alumnae Chapter. Mayor Pro Tem McCowan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Dallas Baptist University and an Associates Degree in Business Management from El Centro College.  She was the Senior Investigator for the Federal Trade Commission’s Southwest Regional Office for over 18 years. After more than 32 years of meritorious service, Ms. McCowan retired from the federal government in 2005.Honors and awards include:  2015 National Citation Award for Leadership & Public Service, National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa; 2014 & 2013 Best Elected Official, Readers Choice Award, Focus Daily News; 2012 Leadership Service Award, DeSoto Economic Development Corporation; 2010 “Hall of Fame” Inductee, African American  Educators Archives & History Program; 2008 Community Leader of the Year Award, One Church One School; 2008 “A Class Act” Leadership Award, DeSoto Chamber of Commerce; 2008 Bobby Waddle Citizen of the Year Award, DeSoto Chamber of Commerce; 2008 Neal Hawk Compassionate Spirit Award, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Southern Region; and 2007 Outstanding Texan Award, Texas Legislative Black Caucus. 

Curtistene and her husband, Leon R. McCowan, have lived in DeSoto for over 38 years. They are the proud parents of two sons, Danny (Angie) and Leon Curtis (Stephanie), both graduates of DeSoto High School. They are also the proud grandparents of Tiana, Kirsten and Taylor McCowan. 


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