La Porte High School graduates Bob Pizzitola and Frank Nance and longtime district employee Mike Clausen will be recognized as 2023 La Porte ISD Distinguished Alumni, while local business leader and philanthropist Beth Brady will be honored as the district’s 2023 Citizen of the Year.
The induction luncheon for the honorees is set for Oct. 6 at the La Porte ISD Bulldog Centre at La Porte High School. Tickets for the event are available here.
Honorees are nominated at large and chosen by a committee of community and district volunteers who submit their selections to the Board of Trustees for approval. Distinguished Alumni and Citizens have typically excelled professionally and served the communities in which they live. Following are brief biographies of the 2023 honorees.
Business leader Beth Brady has served as the Rotary Club of La Porte liaison to the La Porte High School Interact Club for several years supporting numerous teams and departments through donations and advertising, participating in a wide variety of activities for students and staff, donating door prizes for staff events, and much more.
As a board member of Methodist Retirement community, Brady encourages connections between senior citizens and La Porte High School students. She also serves as a community representative for Shattered Dreams, a La Porte High School event that encourages students not to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or while texting. Her generosity extends well beyond La Porte.
In 2013, Brady’s business associate, Kathleen Gibbs, conceived and built her first Joy2theWorld school, a non-governmental organization as a Christian Academy, starting with just three children. Because of Brady’s dedication and devotion to helping children, Gibbs’ cause immediately became Brady’s commitment as well.
Although Beth Brady retired from her insurance business in 2022, her legacy of contributing to La Porte ISD and the cause of education throughout the world will continue. Her volunteerism, efforts, and love for La Porte and La Porte ISD makes her worthy to be inducted into La Porte ISD Hall of Honor as a Distinguished Citizen.
We often use the slogan "Once a Bulldog, Always a Bulldog" to illustrate the devotion and heartfelt school spirit experienced by so many of us who are fortunate to be a part of La Porte ISD. No one exemplifies this more than Mike Clausen, who retired as La Porte ISD's deputy superintendent in 2022.
In his more than five decades of service to La Porte ISD, Mike served as a teacher, varsity coach, and assistant principal at La Porte High School and in various administrative roles such as director of transportation, director of facilities, and executive director of operations. He later became assistant superintendent and then deputy superintendent with responsibilities including a wide variety of support services areas.
Mike is also devoted to community service. He served on the La Porte City Council for 13 years representing District 6. Prior to his election, he was appointed by City Council to help establish a set of building codes. He was a member of the La Porte-Bayshore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, serving as chairperson of the governmental affairs/transportation committee. A long-time member of First United Methodist Church, Mike is also a 30-year member of the Rotary Club of La Porte, having served as its 1999-2000 president, and a life member of the Texas Association of School Business Officials.
We in La Porte should be very grateful for this educator and administrator who devoted his entire career – more than half a century – to making La Porte ISD the best place possible for the children of our district.
Frank Nance, a member of La Porte High School’s 1983 graduating class, is very active in his efforts to help students and teachers in La Porte ISD, among many other causes he supports in the La Porte community.
He began as a volunteer reader at Jennie Reid Elementary School after he moved his business to La Porte in 2014. It did not take him long to join the La Porte Education Foundation as a board member – and eventually its president. As part of the Foundation, Frank has chaired the Hoops Classic committee, which has become a leading fundraiser for the organization, raising more than $27,000 toward teacher grants in 2022 alone. Also in 2022, Frank led the inaugural Lemonade Day partnership between La Porte ISD elementary schools and the La Porte-Bayshore Chamber of Commerce and established the HELPS mentoring program. Franks is very active in the Rotary Club of La Porte and previously served as its president. He additionally spearheaded several initiatives at The Academy of Viola DeWalt High School including setting up an Academy specific scholarship through Rotary, food drives, sponsoring students and their families for Christmas, home repair projects, , helping facilitate two Thanksgiving meals for teachers and students, and fundraising for a gift card project to incentivize student attendance.
Frank spends hundreds upon hundreds of volunteer hours every year to make La Porte a better place to live and go to school, but he also supports numerous initiatives through his State Farm Agency. Without qualification, Frank Nance is the embodiment of a La Porte ISD Distinguished alum.
Robert “Bob” Pizzitola
A newcomer to La Porte would have a difficult time not running into Robert “Bob” Pizzitola. A product of La Porte ISD, the 1963 La Porte High School graduate continues to give back to the school district and the community at every opportunity.
As a student, Bob’s classmates voted him as Friendliest, Most Humorous, Best Personality, and Best Dressed. His passion for service was evident even then as Bob served in several leadership capacities around campus and was a member of the Key Club and Future Teachers of America. All of the qualities he exhibited back then still hold true today.
Bob earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, after which he served our country in the U.S. Navy. Following his service, he earned a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University then began a very successful career as a banker. At a time when he could have retired very comfortably, Bob and his son Dow founded Bayshore Financial Advisors, right here in his hometown.
Just as he did in high school, Bob’s entire adulthood has been centered around service. He served as a board member on the La Porte-Bayshore Chamber of Commerce and Neighborhood Centers. Bob has also been active in the Rotary Club of La Porte for more than 37 years where he is a past president. He is a founding member of both the Citizens’ Advisory Council to Industry and the La Porte Education Foundation and is a member of the San Jacinto College Foundation.
Though Bob had many opportunities to live elsewhere, he chose to make his home in La Porte. This community is better because of his decision.