Nantz retirement to be honored Friday



By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

David Nantz will cap 37 years in the field of adult probation when he is honored with a retirement reception Friday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m. in Burnet.

The reception will be held at the Sylvester H. Reed Memorial Building, 402 East Jackson Street.

Nantz has been director of the 33rd/424th Judicial District Community Supervision and Corrections Department (CSCD) for 14 years, a career he calls “meaningful.”

“I got my sociology degree from Lamar University in Beaumont and went to work right out of college for the Board of Pardons and Paroles in Houston,” said Nantz. “After about two years, I went back to my hometown of Beaumont in probation work in July 1979.”

As an arm of the 33rd and 424th District Courts for Burnet, Llano, Blanco and San Saba counties, the CSCD operates the District Intermediate Sanction Facility (ISF), is a 54-bed facility with a variety of programs.

“We have more than 40 employees including the 22 employees of the ISF,” said Nantz. “That facility offers ways for men on probation to improve themselves with education and substance abuse treatment. They do community service in the four counties.”

Nantz, a life member of the Texas Probation Association, said the CSCD program in Texas had grown up in his years of service in response to prison overcrowding and has proven successful.

“The Legislature decided it did not want to build more prisons; housing inmates is expensive,” he said.

“They came to depend heavily on probation around the state to rehabilitate offenders and keep the prison population down. We have been largely successful in doing that.

“We have quite a number of treatment programs around the state; intensive supervision programs for high needs and high risks offenders.”

That is not just according to the chief probation officer's observation.

“Research suggests we have been successful in stemming the flow of people going to prison,” he said.”But as a result we have those higher risk, higher needs folks.”

“A person being supervised, who is a productive member of the community, working to support a family is better than housing an individual in prison,” Nantz added. “Prison populations have gone down over that per of time. I think legislators that know would give credit to probation work around the state.”

The rewards of the job are in the success stories he has witnessed.

“I have a little plaque on the wall that reminds me,” said Nantz. “Normally, we give folks in drug court a plaque if they graduate to recognize their success. “One drug court grad gave me a plaque for our program helping her get off drugs.

“From time to time we do get other people who come back to say thanks.

“The most rewarding thing about my career is that it has been meaningful. When you can be instrumental in helping a person turn their life around, it is meaningful.”

“I have a great deal of gratitude for the work David did to make the corrections part of community corrections and supervision a reality in the 33rd Judicial District,” said former district judge Gil Jones. “His close work with me in the Drug Court program in particular was a key part in making that program work.”

"It has been an honor to work alongside someone who is as professional as Mr. Nantz, said 424th District Judge Evan Stubbs. “He understands the goals of the probation department and all of the intricacies involved in managing an efficient and effective department.

“He is a wonderful person and will missed by everyone that has been able to work with him over the years. We wish him well."

“The criminal justice system has undergone many changes throughout David's career in community supervision,” said Cheryll Mabray, justice of the Llano County Court at Law. “Under David's strong leadership, our local adult probation department has excelled and been instrumental in numerous innovative projects. I wish him the best of luck in his retirement & all future endeavors.”

Nantz is to be succeeded by Terry Kennedy, a member of the district CSCD team for three years, who has been appointed by the board of judges—33rd District Judge J. Allan Garrett, 424th District Judge Evan Stubbs and County Court at Law Judge Linda Bayless.

“He will start with the new job March 1,” said Nantz.

“I am really honored and excited for the opportunity to be the director of such a great organization,” said Kennedy. “The 33rd and 424th Judicial District Community Supervision & Corrections Department has the best employees in the State of Texas, in my opinion. They are to most dedicated, professional, hardworking group of people I could ever ask for.

“I am honored that District Judges Allan Garrett, Evan Stubbs, and Burnet County Court at Law Judge Linda Bayless have to confidence in me to lead this organization.”

“I speak for the whole department in wishing David Nantz all the best in his retirement, and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts for his leadership and dedication,” Kennedy added.

As for the retiree, Nantz says he is going to take his time before considering new horizons, as the rest of the family seem set on their own pursuits. His wife Donna, a retired teacher, already works with the computer networking firm of her son, Tanner Smith. Another stepson, Weston, is pursuing his certified public accountant studies with a new masters degree in hand. Their daughter, Kirsten, is a Freshman at Texas State University.

Rate this article: 
Average: 1 (1 vote)