Monica Cantrell has dedicated most of her adult life to education. She is currently the executive director of the Hitchcock ISD Education Foundation. It is a non-profit organization that raises funds to support education enrichment opportunities for students and teachers. The foundation also contributes to and promotes the Promises Program, which allows all Hitchcock graduates to attend college tuition free for two years. Hitchcock is the smallest and most diverse school district in Galveston County, Texas, with a high poverty and student homelessness rate.
Mrs. Cantrell has been involved in helping the students of this small town since 1981, when she moved to Texas and married the love of her life, Steven Cantrell. They have two sons, Kristopher and Shane, and have welcomed to the family daughters-in-law Michelle and Ashley. The joys of her heart are her grandchildren, Hannah, Kolten, Easton, Kahla, Kaelynn and baby Kambre. She was a member and leader at the First Baptist Church of Hitchcock for over 40 years. After the church closed in 2020, she began attending Gulf Coast Four Square Church in Hitchcock.
She worked at Hitchcock High School in the counselor’s office, and as Hitchcock High School’s varsity cheerleading coach and student counsel sponsor. After her children graduated, she ran and was elected to the Hitchcock Independent School District’s board of directors. Under her leadership as president, Hitchcock ISD built a new high school and athletic complex, a new primary school and refurbished all campuses. In 2013, Mrs. Cantrell became the executive director of the Hitchcock Chamber of Commerce. Under her leadership, while serving with a great board of directors, she was able to modernize the chamber of commerce, increase revenue, and bring a public awareness to both community and commerce.
In 2017, Mrs. Cantrell was successfully elected to the Hitchcock City Commission, where she served one term and ran for mayor. The city experienced one of the most devastating natural disasters while she was on the commission, Hurricane Harvey. Most of the city was completely flooded, and many residents were evacuated and were moved to the local school gymnasium where Mrs. Cantrell and her friends managed the shelter. Following the flood, the community pulled together with a city wide clean up and rebuild, with a volunteer program under the leadership of Gulf Coast Four Square Church.
Mrs. Cantrell has received many city and school district awards for volunteerism and leadership. She received Woman of the Year twice and the most prestigious lifetime award, Premiere Citizen of the Year. She has returned to her true love, working with children. She is currently serving on the Hitchcock ISD School Board, and working on a bond election to build a new fine arts complex and career and technology center. She plans to retire in the next few months and spend time with family and friends at the lake in her home state of Louisiana.