Katy ISD Turns 100: A Look Back at the Early Days of a Legacy in the Making

With its early academic standards and passion for children, Katy ISD always seemed to be a legacy in the making. Now as the district gears up for its 100 year anniversary celebration, Katy Magazine takes a stroll down memory lane and looks back at the way we were in the earliest years of Katy ISD.

KATY MAGAZINE I October 2018

By Katrina Katsarelis

The date was February 25, 1919. Enacted by the legislature of the State of Texas, the Katy Independent School District was established and created out of a part of Harris, Waller and Fort Bend Counties, Texas.

The Forming of Katy ISD

According to historical documents, residents in the area voted to establish the Katy Independent School District in the Spring of 1918 but the state prohibited an independent district that included two or more counties, and Katy had three. In 1919, local businessman W.H. Weller (representing the residents of Katy) spoke before the court of county school commissioners and petitioned for a new district. The court granted his request and Katy ISD was officially established. At that time, the district only extended about 3-miles east and 3-miles west of the town of Katy, 5-miles south and 2-miles north of the town site of Katy.

Early Beginnings

The actual district included the two buildings in town and incorporated the rural Hennessey, Dishman, Sills, McGinnis and Schlipf schools and what was then known as the "Negro School", which was moved into town to meet at the Antioch Baptist Church. Students who lived in the country came to school by horse and buggy or horseback.

Barn Side Learning

To accommodate the horses, there was a barn beside the school where at lunchtime, the children would have to feed their horses as well as themselves. With an hour for lunch, those living in town would walk home. Others could either buy a lunch for five cents, or bring a sack lunch. Some of them chose to go to one of the stores in town for candy.

Original Board of Trustees

Katy ISD's first board of trustees were J. Cope, T. H. Wallace, F. R. Hoyt, C. E. Hegler, F. A. Poorman, S. J. Porter, and John Sills. Over 80 hardworking, volunteer trustees have served on the board through the years including prominent names like Judge Glen Beckendorff, Bill Callegari (State representative), and Don Elder Jr. (Former Katy Mayor).

First Leadership

The first superintendent was J.B. Oliphant followed by J.B. Oliphant, who served until 1920 followed by J.B. Bolton (1920-1924), C.T. Sims (1924-1926), John Merryweather (1926-1928), and J. H. Sandlin (1928-1929).