About Us

Our history

Our History

District 56 was formed July 1, 1957. We cover 90 square miles and are comprised of 27 counties in Southeast Texas. District 56 was officially created as a result of a north-south split of District 25 along the 31° North Latitude on July 1, 1957, becoming only the second Toastmasters district in Texas.

In the beginning, District 56 included all of South Texas: Houston, Galveston, Pasadena, Beaumont, San Antonio, and Austin. The first District Governor was Alston McAnear, a member of the Houston CPA Toastmasters club. High Noon Toastmasters (club# 505) is the only club from 1957 that is still active today.

Shortly after the north-south split, District 56 (Houston) hosted the 29th Annual Toastmasters International Convention in August of 1973.  The convention voted to allow women to become members of Toastmasters.

By July 1, 1997, District 56 was split east-west during the 40th Anniversary of the district. District 55 to the west includes San Antonio, Austin, and Corpus Christi while District 56 to the east includes all the clubs in Houston and the surrounding areas.

As of January 1, 2020, District 56 was home to 194 clubs, 3,593 members, with a balanced blend of corporate and community clubs.

Past District Directors, Governors, and International Leaders

District 56 Past District Directors and District Governors

2022-2023 Chandra Munagavalasa, DTM 
2021-2022Jo A. Idoux, DTM 
2020-2021Rose W. Bradford, DTM 
2019-2020Kathryn R. Kest, DTM 
2018-2019Sheryle H. Warren, DTMDistinguished
2017-2018Robert W. Sullivan, DTM 
2016-2017Martha Elias, DTM 
2015-2016Carol Caraway, DTMDistinguished
2014-2015Sheryl D. Smith, DTM Distinguished
2013-2014David Rebeles, DTMDistinguished
2012-2013Aundrae M. Romero, DTM 
2011-2012Karen G. Blake, DTM, PIDDistinguished
2010-2011Jan Poscovsky, DTMDistinguished
2009-2010Charlie Pitts, DTMDistinguished
2008-2009Eddie Merla, DTM 
2007-2008Cynthia S. Dennis, DTMDistinguished
2006-2007Pamela McCown, DTM, PID 
2005-2006Allen E. Prescott, DTM 
2004-2005Max E. Rasquinah, DTMSelect Distinguished
2003-2004John R. Moffitt, DTMSelect Distinguished
2002-2003Kevin C. Smith, DTMDistinguished
2001-2002Marcia Hudgens, DTMDistinguished
2000-2001Kevin C. Smith, DTM 
1999-2000Sharon Sharp, DTM 
1998-1999Mary Ellen Hughes, DTM 
1997-1998John Smelser, DTM, PID 
1996-1997Paula Tunison, DTM, PID 
1995-1996Lynda Shaw, DTM 
1994-1995Jean Riggs, DTM, PID 
1993-1994Linda Carter, DTM 
1992-1993Ferol Beer, DTMDistinguished
1991-1992Alene Haynes, DTM, PIDPresident's Distinguished
1990-1991Alberta (Bert) Roberts, DTMDistinguished
1989-1990Paula Tunison, DTM 
1988-1989Tom Carter, DTM 
1987-1988Pat London, DTMSelect Distinguished
1986-1987Carol Gaynes Basile, DTM 
1985-1986David Abel, DTM 
1984-1985Velma Byler, ATM 
1983-1984Karen Thompson, DTM 
1982-1983Suzy Gormley, DTM 
1981-1982Sam Fowlkes, DTM 
1980-1981Eloise Latson, DTM 
1979-1980W.N. McKinney Jr., ATM 
1978-1979James O. Wildes, DTM 
1977-1978W. Frank Hester 
1976-1977C.O. Shaw, DTM 
1975-1976John L. Staha 
1974-1975Joe Robinson 
1973-1974Edward V. Dylla 
1972-1973John A. Shults 
1971-1972George M. Gray 
1970-1971R. Russell Heaner 
1969-1970Norris W. Yates, Jr. 
1968-1969Dr. Loren B. Goss 
1967-1968Walter Wukasch 
1966-1967Richard T. Irby 
1965-1966Joe N. Westerlage, Jr. 
1964-1965Vernon L. Chandler 
1963-1964Ernest G. Bice 
1962-1963T.N. (Tommy) Belew 
1961-1962R.H. (Bud) Lambert, Jr. 
1960-1961Dave Horger, Jr. 
1959-1960Edward G. Bossom 
1958-1959Maxwell M. Herbert 
1957-1958Alston McAnear 

District 56 Past International Directors

2021-2023Monnica Rose, DTM, PID
2013 - 2015Karen Blake, DTM, PID
2009 - 2011Pamela McCown, DTM, PID
2008Alene Haynes, DTM, PID
2006 - 2007John Moffit, DTM, PID
1999 - 2001John Smelser, DTM, PID
1996 - 1998Jean Riggs, DTM, PID
1993 - 1995Alene Haynes, DTM, PID
1976 - 1978John Staha, DTM, PID
1974 - 1976John Shultz, PID
1968 - 1970Joe Westerlage, DTM, PID
1966 - 1968Donald Paape, DTM, PIP
1964 - 1966Alfred Stillwell, PID
1956 - 1958Robert Knotts, DTM, PID
1952 - 1954A.W. Steelwell, DTM, PID
1947 - 1949Bertram Mann, DTM, PID

District 56 Past International Presidents

1978 - 1979Hubert Dobson
1974 - 1975John Diaz, DTM

History of District 56 Toastmasters

View our District 56 History Slide Show


What Is Toastmasters?

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development with more than 345,000 members.


Benefits of joining

District 56 Toastmasters is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people become better communicators and leaders.


District Leadership

District leaders put service above self in supporting all clubs in achieving excellence.


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