Governor Abbott Appoints Three To Texas Southern University Board Of Regents

February 6, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Richard A. Johnson, III, Ed.D. and Brandon Simmons and reappointed James Benham to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents for terms set to expire on February 1, 2029.

Richard A. Johnson, III, Ed.D. of Houston is the director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. During the 85th and 86th Texas Legislatures, he served as a chief of staff and a senior policy analyst for a member of the Texas House of Representatives. Johnson was an educator for more than 20 years and has extensive experience in teaching and research. He is a former member and vice president of the Houston Chapter of the Texas Association of Black Psychologists, former member of the American Psychological Association, Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education, Texas Association of Black School Educators, National Academic Advising Association, and the Houston Business and Professional Men’s Club. He is a member of the Wiley College and Texas Southern University Alumni associations and a life member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Additionally, he is former president of 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston and the Louisiana Prison Chapel Foundation, and former Chair of the NAACP Higher Education Committee. Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Government from Wiley College and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology and a Doctor of Education in Education Administration from Texas Southern University. Additionally, he served in the U.S. Army after college, obtaining the rank of sergeant.

Brandon Simmons of Houston is founder and chairman of Let Our Vision Evolve, a nonprofit organization educating college students and young professionals about private sector opportunities. He is also an investor and advisor to GameOn Technology, which provides chatOS services globally to corporate customers and professional sports players, teams, and leagues. Previously, Simmons was a general partner of venture capital firm Prime Movers Lab. Additionally, he served as CEO and in other leadership roles for Tachyus Corporation. Simmons began his career as a law clerk for Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit and as an attorney at Hogan Lovells. He serves on the boards of directors of Venus Aerospace, Space Perspective, and polySpectra. He previously served on the boards of directors of Carbon Capture, Elevian Therapeutics, Unlimited Tomorrow, NobleAI, and Pyka. He is a member of the California State Bar, District of Columbia Bar, and Young Presidents Organization. Additionally, he is a board member of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship and an advisor for the Texas International Lawyers Society and the Urban League. Simmons received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School.

James Benham of College Station is chief executive officer of JBKnowledge, a 280-employee global insurance software company founded in 2001. James was appointed by Governor Abbott to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents in October of 2020 and has served as board secretary and chair of the Development and Legislative Affairs committee. Additionally, he served five years as an adjunct professor of construction science at Texas A&M University and two terms on the College Station City Council. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization, an alumni mentor for the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Company C-2, and was a volunteer for Texas Boys State and Y-Adventure Guides and Princesses. He was also a former board member of the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Association. Benham received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University.

These appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.