“The Tom Lea Institute was created to engender an appreciation of the art, character, and legacy of Tom Lea. It is committed to educating students and the public about Tom Lea’s relevance to history, art, and literature. Through curricula, public programs, exhibits, and publications, the Institute shares Lea’s legacy in order to inspire present and future generations.”
2021 Board of directors
Joe Lea Jr., CHAIR, Austin
Tania Schwartz, CHAIR-ELECT, El Paso
Cecilia Hager, SECRETARY, Fredericksburg
Stephen "Steve" Feinberg, FINANCE, Santa Fe, NM
James Polk, Finance, FINANCE, Santa Fe, NM
Sarah Laucirica-El Paso
Catherine Lea Weeks, Houston
Pete Leavell, Denver, Colorado
Trudy Lewis, Odessa
Adair Margo, FOUNDER, El Paso
Isha Rogers Santamaria, El Paso
Leola Westbrook, El Paso
Raymond White, Austin
J.P. Bryan, Houston
Laura Bush, Dallas
Micki Costello, Fredericksburg, VA
Bill Kiely, Spicewood
James D. Lea*, Houston
meet the board
JOE LEA, JR. (Chairman) is an Austin trial lawyer where he has been practicing for over 48 years. He is an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. El Paso was his home growing up and in his earlier years as a lawyer. He treasured the times he spent with his uncle Tom Lea.
TANIA SCHWARTZ (Chair-Elect) is Vice President of The Mesa Group and a Trustee of the Schwartz Foundation. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Texas Cultural Trust and president of Texas Women for the Arts. She has a B.A. in English and American Literature, a M.A. in Education and she is working on her Doctoral in Educational Leadership and Foundations. She was inducted into the El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006. Tania lives in El Paso with her husband, Scott Schwartz, and their two children.
CECILIA HAGER (Secretary) is a native of San Antonio and spent her formative years on South Texas ranches in Brooks and Zavala counties. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Trinity University and has served on the boards of the Uvalde Arts Council, Hill Country CASA, Kerrville Public School Foundation, Texas Public Radio and as President of the South Texas Cattle Women.
STEPHEN 'STEVE' FEINBERG (Finance) is the Chairman and CEO of Dorsar Investment Co., a diversified investment company with interests in real estate, agriculture, and private equity. Steve is also on the boards of the Continental Transmission Corporation and Security Capital Preferred Growth. Selected board service includes presidency of the Feinberg Foundation; American Jewish Committee; University of Texas at Austin, College of Education Advisory Board; and several other institutions. He was born in Chicago and has homes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and El Paso.
JAMES H. (JAMIE) POLK (Finance) has been active in the real estate investment business since 1974, both in El Paso and in Santa Fe with the ArchstoneSmith Trust and with Security Capital Group. Through his family’s long friendship with Tom and Sarah Lea, he has been an admirer and collector of Tom Lea’s works for many years. Past Board affiliations include the Lee Moor Children’s Home in El Paso, the New Mexico Nature Conservancy and St John’s College in Santa Fe and Annapolis. He received an engineering degree from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the University of Virginia. Residing in Santa Fe with his wife, Mary, he enjoys spending time with family in Austin and Denver.
Myra Crownover, was born in Oklahoma City in 1947 and was two months old when the family moved to Colorado City, Texas. Myra is a fifth generation Texan with a deep family history of ranching, oil and gas, and public service. Myra earned her BA from Southern Methodist University. Upon graduation she married Ronny Crownover and they moved to College Station where Ronny earned his DVM and Myra earned her Master's degree from Texas A&M University while teaching public school. They settled in Denton where they raised four sons together. During her 40. years in Denton Myra was active in church, and nonprofit boards while at the same time balancing the demands of managing the family drilling company, North Star Bank, and raising her sons. Myra and Ronny celebrated their 30th anniversary before his death from Leukemia. In 2000, Myra was elected to the Texas House of Representatives where she served eight terms as State Representative for District 64. During those 16 years Myra served six terms on the Appropriations Committee where she was twice named a Subcommittee Chair and appointed to the House/Senate Conference Committee responsible for writing the state budget. She also served as Chair of the Public Health Committee, and multiple terms as Vice Chair of the Energy Resources Committee before retiring in 2017 . After retiring, Myra married Terral Smith of Austin where Myra now resides. Myra is still actively involved in her community and church as well as actively managing multiple business interests.
SARAH LAUCIRICA, Originally from Johnson City, Tennessee, Sarah attended Southern Methodist University with a degree in Art and Studio Design. She spent two years in Washington D.C. as a staff writer for Rep. Newt Gingrich and staff member of the Arts in Embassy’s program at the US State Department. She returned to her native home in the Smoky Mountains to work for ABC News as primary news anchor and talkshow host. This led her to Atlanta to work as Manager of Multimedia Communications for Emory University. It was at Emory that she managed a project with Apple Computer and IBM in conjunction with the 1996 Olympics. This led to an offer from IBM in International Sales primarily in Latin America where she grew to love and appreciate the Latin culture. After receiving a Masters in Construction Engineering from East Tennessee State University she moved to Houston, Texas to work in the energy sector both in pipelines and petro chemicals as Supply Chain Manager, setting up a Foreign Trade Zone along with diverse roles in Project Management, Operations, Client Relations. Sarah is technically adept with a strong eye for operations and process design. She’s been peripherally involved in the arts in many aspects for most of her life and she feels so very fortunate to have discovered Tom Lea and his love of El Paso which is so beautifully reflected in his art and writings. Sarah now runs The Southern BlueRidge Company, Inc. which focuses on architectural landscape design as well as project management
CHARLES (PETE) LEAVALL, Leavell is CEO of 4UR Ranch Inc. in Creede, Colorado, a 3,000-acre luxury guest ranch. Pete’s parents, Charles and Shirley Leavell, were friends of Tom Lea, who together spent many days fishing at the ranch. Some of Tom’s experiences and his love of the outdoors were enlivened at the ranch, featured in Tom’s novel, The Primal Yoke. Back in El Paso, Shirley and Sarah were known as the “gold dust twins” for their ability to raise money for good causes. Pete retired as CEO of Renaissance Entertainment Corporation. He was the founder and President of Leavell Management Group, Inc, in which he acquired, developed, and managed numerous real estate ventures and Wolf Creek Pass Ski Area in Colorado. Pete is the founder of Ellora Energy LLC, a natural gas exploration company. He produced the award-winning documentary of the Grand Prix Racing Circuit at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975. Former board affiliations include the Denver International Film Festival, Chairman of the Board of Colorado Conservation Trust, and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Presently Pete holds Pioneer status as a member of the Roundup Riders of the Rockies, a prestigious 60-year-old organization of horse enthusiasts. He and Lindsey, a successful artist, have two grown children, Jennifer, and Brian, and two grandchildren.
TRUDY LEWIS is a retired public-school teacher in Odessa. She has 39 years teaching experience in Waco, Midland, and Odessa where she taught AP U.S. and European history as well as International Baccalaureate history of the Americas. Currently she is active as a community volunteer serving on the boards of the Ector County ISD Education Foundation and the Ellen Noel Art Museum and a grants committee member of the Permian Basin Area Foundation. She graduated from Rice University with a BA in History. She and her husband, Tryon, are the parents of two daughters.
ADAIR MARGO (Founder) owned Adair Margo Gallery in El Paso from 1985-2010, exhibiting over 400 artists from a dozen countries. She became devoted to preserving the legacy of Tom Lea and founded the Tom Lea Institute in 2009. During the two-term presidency of George W. Bush, Adair chaired the President’s Committee on the Arts and joined First Lady Laura Bush for the United States reentry into UNESCO. She was appointed by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the US National Commission for UNESCO; and received the Aguila Azteca, the highest recognition given by the Mexican Government to a non-Mexican citizen, from President Felipe Calderon and the Presidential Citizens Medal from President George W. Bush. Adair Margo earned her B.A. in Art History from Vanderbilt University; studied Renaissance art and Italian in Florence, Italy, with Syracuse University; and completed her M.A. in Art History at New Mexico State University. She lives in El Paso and is married to Dee Margo. They have two grown sons.
ISHA ROGERS SANTAMARIA, Isha has been in real estate acquisition and restoration for about six years, along with her husband, Steve. Their company is named “Saint Rogers” – “Saint“ for Santamaria and Rogers, for Isha's maiden name. They are well known for restoring the old Southwestern Railroad and Freight Depot. One of their recent projects is the Tom Lea Airbnb and also the St. Rogers apartments, where Tom and Sarah lived shortly after their marriage. Isha’s appreciation for Tom Lea started with a painting she inherited and has now blossomed into a collection of drawings and paintings—some featured in the unique Airbnb. In December 2017, she purchased a flight that stopped along portions of the Tom Lea Trail as part of a TLI fundraiser. Isha had a fantastic opportunity to visit some of Tom’s work at the Hall of State at the State Fairgrounds, the UT Medical Branch at Galveston, the Carroll Library at Baylor University, and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. Included in the couple’s next projects is the beautification of Murchison Park, located on the southernmost tip of Mount Franklin, which is itself the southernmost part of the U.S. Rocky Mountain chain.
CATHERINE LEA WEEKS is the granddaughter of Tom and Sarah Lea. She is a native Houstonian with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Houston. She worked for 17 years for Shell Oil Products US and Shell Trading in various positions within the Downstream Stock Accounting, Supply, Controllers and Operations Support groups.
LEOLA WESTBROOK brings her expertise from the entertainment industry as a television executive producer. With 20 years of experience in the Docu-Series/Reality genre, her work has appeared on a variety of networks, including Bravo, Lifetime, BET, A&E, the CW, TLC, MTV, VH1, Oxygen, E! Entertainment, USA Network, and HBO Max. Leola was part of the team that produced the 2008 GLAAD Media Award nominated TV show, Shirts & Skins, and played a key role as Producer on MTV’s Making His Band, a 2009 GLAAD nominee. Her versality matches her creativity working across a wide range of genres. A transplant from Los Angeles, Leola tells her entertainment friends, “El Paso is the new now next! She brings an infusion of energy and ideas to the Institute
RAYMOND WHITE focuses his law practice on complex commercial and civil litigation disputes. He has represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of disputes in federal and state trials and appellate courts. White is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Consumer and Commercial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has the distinction of having the U.S. Top 100 Verdicts, The National Law Journal (2012) and Texas Top 50 Verdicts, The Texas Lawyer (2012). In 1980-81, White clerked for Judge Jerre S. Williams, United States Court of Appeals, for the Fifth Circuit. He is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law. Raymond grew up in El Paso, the son of El Paso’s Congressman, Richard White, who represented the city for 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been a strong supporter of Tom Lea Month events in Austin, Texas.
J.P. BRYAN is the founder and chairman of Torch Energy Advisors. He was CEO and President of Gulf Canada Resources Limited (1995-98). Chairman (1990-97) and CEO of Nuevo Energy Company (1990-95). Chairman and CEO of Torch Energy Advisors, Inc. (1981-95); CEO of Bellwether Exploration (1987-97), First Vice President of E.F. Hutton & Company and Director of Investment Banking-Southwest Region (1978-1981), President and CEO of The Mortgage Banque (1974-1978), Executive Vice President and Director of Dominick & Dominick, Inc. (1969-1974), and Vice President of Morgan Guaranty Trust Company (1966-69). He received his B.A. from The University of Texas-Austin (1959-62); his L.L.B. from The University of Texas Law School-Austin (1963-65); and his B.F.T. from the American Institute of Foreign Trade-Phoenix. AZ (1966).
Mr. Bryan has been actively engaged in the energy business for over 30 years. He has extensive preservation experience. He has served on the advisory board for the Brazoria County Historical Museum, the Chairman of the Board for the Institute of Texan Cultures, served as President for both the Texas Historical Foundation and Texas State Historical Association, and as a Commissioner for the Texas Historical Commission. He has written numerous articles and given speeches on various subjects, mainly pertaining to Texas history and its preservation, and collects Texana. Among his numerous business awards are Texas Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1994 and Canadian Oil Producer of the Year in 1995.
LAURA BUSH is one of the most beloved and admired American First Ladies. For decades, she has championed key issues in the fields of education, health care, and human rights. She has traveled to more than seventy-six countries, including two historic solo trips to Afghanistan, and has launched groundbreaking education and healthcare programs in the U.S. and abroad. Today, as the Chair of the Woman’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, Mrs. Bush continues her work on global healthcare innovations, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform, and supporting the men and women who have served in America’s military. Laura Bush holds a degree in education from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Texas. President and Mrs. Bush are the parents of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, son-in-law, Henry Hager, and proud grandparents of granddaughters Margaret Laura “Mila” and Poppy Louise Hager.
MICKI COSTELLO, born in Vallejo, California, has spent a lifetime on the move, first as the daughter of an Air Force pilot and then as an Army wife. After raising her family, she returned to work in the Army Family Liaison Office in the Pentagon while operating a small art business in Clifton, Virginia, and now in Dallas, Texas, carrying on the tradition in keeping with her creative family. Her artistic skills were developed under master artists in Italy, Germany, and the United States as well as at the University of Virginia. Her work has been featured in local Dallas galleries. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Performance from the University of Texas at Dallas, and has served as board member and advisor to the El Paso Armed Services YMCA, Fisher Houses and women’s organizations. She currently serves as a board member on the Education and ArtScape Committees of the Arboretum in Dallas, Texas. Micki and her husband, Jack, have two married children: Patrick, a major currently stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and his wife, Rachel, who works as a free lance photographer; and Adrienne, a Department of Homeland Security specialist working for Booz Allen Hamilton, and her husband, Steve Tekampe, who is a professional engineer in Fairfax, VA.
WILLIAM 'BILL' KIELY: Water centers the life trajectory of El Paso native William “Bill” Kiely, a life he says has been “pretty exciting and sometimes bizarre,“ from a childhood playing in irrigation well water on his parents’ Vinton farm, to earning his engineering degree from the University on the Rio Grande (Now UTEP), to soldiering in Vietnam’s rice paddies. He was a pioneer in deep water submersibles and off-shore terminals for oil supertankers. Tom Lea’s art also flows through Bill’s life. Later, just returned from Vietnam, he, “a total stranger,” knocked on Tom and Sarah’s door. “ I asked a hero from my youth if he would have a print I could purchase to take with me to my new life in D.C.” Lea gave him a small signed print of Ranger Escort West of the Pecos. History. Says Bill, “While Tom and Sarah did not remember that brash young soldier at their door 30 years previous, over the next few years, we developed a truly wonderful and strong friendship.” Kiely and his wife, Ann, helped purchase Tom’s World War II sketchbook for the El Paso Museum of Arts permanent collection.