Meet Greg Degeyter and His Family
Greg Degeyter is a disability attorney who has made over 4,500 court appearances to help individuals obtain disability benefits. Law is a career change, and before becoming an attorney, Greg was a meteorologist. After graduating with a Master’s degree from Mississippi State University, Greg worked for the Environmental Protection Service, and was injured in an automobile accident. After recovering from the injury he went to South Texas College of Law.
While studying for the bar and at the beginning of his legal career, Greg was an adjunct professor at Lamar University in Beaumont and taught the introduction to geology labs as well as weather studies course. While at Lamar it quickly became obvious that some students were at a distinct educational disadvantage and the disadvantage had lasting effects on their ability to perform basic college level course work. His time spent as an instructor at Lamar is in keeping with the family tradition of educators; his mother, sister, and aunts on both side of the family are active and retired teachers.
Greg met his wife Rochelle though Catholic Match, and they have three children. Kenshin, a soon to be four year old, and four month old twins Kenan and Nicolette.
Rochelle is an emigrant from Cebu, Philippines, where she was a registered nurse. Rochelle was working in Singapore when she first met Greg. A year later Greg went to Cebu to ask her parent’s blessing for marriage and proposed. Four months later she emigrated and they were married. With three small children at home, and one needing 24/7 nursing care, Rochelle stays home and cares for the children and helps with incidental activities in Greg’s law practice. She hopes to one day return to the medical field once the children are enrolled in school.
Kenshin is Greg and Rochelle’s first born child and has Down Syndrome and significant health challenges. In addition to the difficulties he was born with, Kenshin coded three times last year. Due to the Covid visitor restriction, Greg was not allowed in the hospital during his stay. On the phone with Rochelle when Kenshin was in ICU, Greg heard alarms blare and his wife, Rochelle, wail “he’s dead get to the hospital!”. That experience has had a profound impact on his life and has pushed Greg to get off the sidelines and to act to put his beliefs in action. Kenshin is a very happy child despite the hardships he has encountered.
Kenan and Nicolette
Kenan and Nicolette are twins born in April seven weeks premature. They are just now starting to become interactive and do normal baby things like coo and recognize mommy and daddy. Kenan was born with two distinct birth defects. Both children are thriving and doing well and Kenan is steadily closing the developmental gap.
Each of the three children have distinctly different potential, and all three need to receive appropriate nurturing and guidance to maximize their distinct potential. This is the same avenue that Greg wants to lead the district - look at each child individually and see what needs to happen to help each child reach their maximum potential. Whether it’s partnering with outside entities to develop more advanced placement opportunities for the gifted and talented students, or providing better support for the special needs population to get the district out of special education conservatorship status, a philosophy change from a limited pie brown-black divide to a philosophy that is based on maximizing student potential needs to occur. We need to ensure all students are receiving appropriate support to leave them in the best position possible for success after their time in HISD.