Hundreds of community members, Katy ISD staff members, and state and local leaders gathered to get a quick look from Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt into Katy ISD's success in the past year and what the future holds for students, families, and faculty.
KATY MAGAZINE NEWS | Katy, TX
October 25, 2017
The word of the day at the Katy ISD State of the District address was undeniably, "partnership." It was echoed in the uplifting and informational speeches given by guest speakers from Fulshear and Katy.
Attendees, which included Katy ISD teachers of the Year, Katy ISD Bond Committee members, school namesakes, and various other members of the Katy community, were greeted with breakfast and a wonderful performance from Katy High School's jazz band.
Katy ISD Board of Trustees President Ashley Vann made opening remarks, introduced the days speakers, and welcomed the state representatives who were present.
Jeff Roberts, Mayor of Fulshear First to speak was Fulshear Mayor Jeff Roberts, who thanked Dr. Hindt for allowing Fulshear to be represented. "Schools are a huge marketing tool for attracting families to Fulshear, and the subdivision of Cross Creek Ranch is 85% Katy ISD," he said.
The city of Fulshear has recently had a taste of the rapid growth the Katy area has been experiencing - growing from a population of roughly 1,000 people in 2010 to just under 10,000 in 2017. And it's not expected to slow down anytime soon. According to Mayor Roberts, the City of Fulshear is expected to hold 45,000 people within the next four years. The main reason for that explosive growth, he says, is the attractiveness of living within Katy ISD boundaries. "With this kind of expansion on the horizon, it takes a team of trailblazers and leaders, partnering together and planning strategically for the future to move the district along and provide students with the best educational experience possible. We can't wait until tomorrow, it's already here," he says.
The city of Fulshear will be home to Katy ISD high school #9, a new junior high, and a new elementary school within the next few years.
Durran Dowdle, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Katy
Mayor Pro Tem Durran Dowdle gave guests an overview of how Katy ISD and the City of Katy have worked together to keep things on track after Hurricane Harvey, and reminded us of the importance of being able to respond to unexpected changes.
After the Tax Day floods, the City of Katy came up with a plan on how we would respond if something like this ever happened again, and because of that, we were able to recover remarkably fast after the storm and get back on track. Dowdle pointed out that when it comes to leadership, the little things go a long way; staying late at Katy ISD Bond Committee meetings or City Council meetings to answer questions from concerned community members and making adjustments to your plans for the benefit of everyone.
"You have to be able to move fast, and sometimes your five year plan ends up being your two year plan. Leadership is being able to make those adjustments and provide great information to the community," says Dowdle. "The way we way we want to grow is solvent, the partnership with the district is solvent, and our plan for growth is solvent."
The City feels like families are still moving here for the right reasons, and that projects like the Katy Boardwalk, Amazon Headquarters, is a step in the right direction for attracting families to the area.
Rick Ellis, VP, Katy Area Economic Development Council
Next on the podium was Vice President of the Economic Development Council, Rick Ellis, who gave a short summary of Katy demographics and notable recognition that make this such a desirable place to live, work, and learn. Ellis pointed out that from the 340,000 residents living in district boundaries, that number is expected to grow to no less that 390,00 in 2020. One huge reason for this is that Katy ISD has been given a 4.3 star rating and was ranked Top 20 Best School Districts in Texas by Niche.com, something that business owners looking to set up shop in Katy really pay attention to.
"We don't just want to attract businesses to bring their businesses here, we want their employees to live here, too," says Ellis. The EDC currently has plans in place to diversify by the year 2020, adding more to Katy's repertoire than just oil and gas. Corporate data centers, research and development centers, labratories, and international companies are all part of the vision for Katy's future.
With all of Katy's anticipated economic growth, it stands to reason that the needs of the district will grow and change along with it.
Ann Hodge, President/CEO, Katy Area Chamber of Commerce
After 19 years serving on the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Ann Hodge says that she and her husband could not be more proud of how the Katy community stepped up and showed the entire country what it looks like to serve with no thought to self-recognition.
"The chamber was originally created 55 years ago because a bridge was needed in downtown Katy, and being a city that resides in three counties has it's challenges.I want to applaud Katy ISD and the entire Katy community for partnering together and for your behind-the-scenes efforts."
Dr. Lance Hindt, Superintendent, Katy ISD
Finally, Dr. Hindt himself took the platform, sporting his Astros baseball gear and predicting a World Series victory for Houston before launching into his address.
"In the last few months, our mission statement, 'Be the Legacy' has been put to the ultimate test in Katy ISD." says Hindt. "Never in the history of the district have we had two start dates within six weeks of each other, but the challenges presented by Hurricane Harvey taught us a lot."
According to Hindt, 75% of the district flooded in the storm, and 15,000 students experienced major flood damage, mandatory evacuations, and displacement. Creech Elementary took on up to four feet of water, and is still not fit for students to return.
The Leonard Merrell Center, where the address was held, saw damage on the first floor as well, and staff members are currently making do wi