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Maria Shah (Williams MS), Becky Eason Burkett, Kristi Mouse (Cain MS), Shelby Byrd (Cain MS), Emily Harris (Utley MS), Stephanie Lawhorn (Utley MS). Barrett Clark (WMS) not pictured.


The Rockwall ISD Education Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural Fran & Haywood Eason Fine Arts Grant. The grant was awarded to the art teachers at each of the middle schools in Rockwall ISD: Shelby Byrd and Kristi Mouse from Maurine Cain Middle School, Emily Harris and Stephanie Lawhorn from Herman Utley Middle School and Barrett Clark and Maria Shah from J.W. Williams Middle School.Their project, titled Ceramic Fever, Very Contagious is a semester-long, hands-on learning experience that introduces students to a new way of creating artwork that will give them the ability to experiment, problem solve and create unique, functional works of art using a pottery wheel. In addition to honing their creative skills, this project requires art students to understand the laws of physics and apply the concepts of centrifugal force, inertia and mass distribution.

The Eason Family Fine Arts Grant is available to all Rockwall ISD fine arts educators and is awarded once a year.

About the Eason family…Haywood & Fran Eason were long-time supporters of the arts in both Dallas and Rockwall. Haywood helped to design the first hydraulic stage in Dallas when he built and co-owned the Country Dinner Playhouse in the early to mid-1970’s and later started a custom home business. Fran Eason graduated from Texas State College for Women (now TWU) with a Fine Arts degree. Her sense of design was apparent as she worked with Haywood in his custom home business. Fran also worked in the advertising industry in Dallas with such early ad pioneers as Liener Temerlin, many of whom they kept in contact with over the years.

As members of the Rockwall community since 1968, they were both involved in organizations that promoted the health, well-being, and education of our area families by being members and early organizers and board members of Helping Hands, Rockwall Women’s League, Rotary & the Chamber of Commerce. Haywood was also a long-time member of the Dallas HAB and national director of the National Association of Builders.

Following the death of her parents in 2008 and 2010, Becky Eason Burkett and her husband, Ernie, decided to provide an endowed Fine Arts grant through the Rockwall ISD Education Foundation. Becky chose Fine Arts as the focus to honor her parents’ love and support of music, theater, and art.  They were also Becky’s biggest fans during her own pursuit of two music degrees and a short career in the music business in Memphis, TN and Dallas, TX. 

The Rockwall ISD Education Foundation, Inc. was created in 2003 to enhance learning in the district through fostering creative, innovative approaches for the benefit of all RISD students. The Foundation operates independently of the school district, relying upon private grants and community partnerships to provide support for learning experiences that wouldn’t otherwise be available to the students in Rockwall ISD.

Pictured in photo

Front row: Maria Shah (WMS), Becky Eason Burkett

Second row: Kristi Mouse (CMS), Shelby Byrd (CMS), Emily Harris (UMS), Stephanie Lawhorn (UMS)

Not pictured: Barrett Clark (WMS)

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