Patsy Stanley becomes Katy ISD’s newest namesake as Stan C. Stanley Elementary adds her moniker a year after her husband's passing.
By Meagan Clanahan | KATY MAGAZINE, September 2017
Photography by Anetrius Wallace
Long-time Katy resident, Patsy Stanley, dedicated 31 years of her life to public education, impacting countless students and inspiring staff and parents alike. Her certifications and accolades are numerous, including a B.S. in Physical Education from Sam Houston State, master’s degree in PE from Louisiana State University, and TEA Certifications in Counseling, Guidance, and supervision from Prairie View A&M. Beyond the degrees though, is a woman who is passionate about supporting all things children, especially at Stanley Elementary (SSE), named for her devoted husband of 33 years, Stan Stanley.
Always a Team
Ask anyone who knew the Stanleys and the most oft repeated phrase would be, “they were just a team.” Stan was often front and center as a well-respected businessman, community volunteer, Katy ISD mentor, and long time proponent and volunteer in the Boy Scouts. Stan had a service-minded attitude toward people in all walks of life and was known for asking, "how can I help you?"
Patsy was the perfect complement for Stan’s giving spirit and always sought to be his “head cheerleader in all of his volunteer endeavors and community involvement.” Tragically, their earthly partnership and dancing love affair came to an end in 2016 with Stan’s death following surgery from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. Thousands in Katy mourned Stan's passing as loved ones and friends sought the best way to not only honor Stan but also support his beloved bride, a service-minded community leader in her own right.
An Idea Born from Tremendous Loss
Soon after Mr. Stanley’s death, close friend and vice president of the Katy ISD School Board, Courtney Doyle, began to mull over the idea of adding Patsy’s name to Stanley Elementary. “I really took time to reflect on the memory of Stan’s legacy and wanted to recognize Patsy as such a large part of that,” Doyle says. However, she also recognized that although “it had been on my heart since he passed, we still needed time to process what that looked like.” As the months passed and Doyle observed Patsy’s continued passionate involvement in everything around SSE, from reading to the children, volunteering in the cafeteria, showing up at every event, and even carrying on Stan’s tradition of signing children’s book bags and folders, she became even more convinced that the name addition needed to happen.
Getting the Go-Ahead
Early in 2017, Doyle chatted informally with Katy ISD Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt about her brainstorm, not even sure if it was something that could be done. After checking with the legal department and thorough research, she discovered that indeed it was a possibility. The next step was to add the item to the school board’s agenda and as is protocol, she recruited other board members to stand in support of the school’s renaming. However, Doyle knew first and foremost she needed the approval of the person most integral in the equation, Patsy Stanley.
“Real happiness is serving others with
purpose, passion, and perseverance.”
- Patsy Stanley
Shortly thereafter Doyle, also SSE’s opening PTA President, found herself standing with Patsy along with opening Principal Kerri Finnesand at Stanley’s Spring Carnival. “It was perfect timing as we stood there reflecting on Stan and watching all of these children run around,” Doyle tearfully recalls. “So I just turned to Patsy and said, ‘I’ve been thinking Ms. Patsy. You were the educator, you are the living legacy of this school, and you are carrying on the value and character instilled in this name. I’d like to have your permission to ask the school board to add your name to this school.’”
Doyle remembers Patsy’s eyes welling up with tears and in her own words, “My response was that the thought had never occurred to me. The school name had been an incredible tribute to Stan and I was very proud of that for him. When I was told the board was considering a name addition, I was totally surprised.”
An Emotional Ceremony, a Proud Community
On April 24, 2017, surrounded by family, friends, and educators decked out in their Stanley spirit wear, the Katy ISD School Board voted unanimously to add Patsy’s name, officially declaring SSE as Stan C. and Patsy Stanley Elementary School.
As Patsy humbly accepted, she noted that “Stan always referred to us as a team and his heart would have been so happy to have our names together on Stanley Elementary School.” As plans formulate for an official renaming ceremony, Patsy continues business as usual in her very vibrant and prominent volunteer role at the school. “She’s a rock star here,” says current Principal Rebecca Wingfield. “She’s an integral part of Stanley Elementary and a positive part of our campus. The amount of love she shows the campus, encouraging the students to always excel; she’s just a ray of sunshine.” For her part, Patsy’s hopes and dreams for this new chapter of the school’s legacy is unchanged. “I want excellence in unity and continuity in students, parents, teachers, and staff who fill our students with knowledge and their hearts with joy in learning and who love what they do and love Stanley Elementary School.”
PATSY STANLEY TIDBITS
Mother of three daughters, three granddaughters, and one grandson
Active member and officer of the Katy Area Retired Educators
Involved at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church of Katy and Bible Study Fellowship
Passionate about Texas History and teaches special lessons to the fourth-graders at Stanley Elementary
Favorite Quote: “I want to be a positive messenger for those who will go after me.” -Robin Roberts
MEAGAN CLANAHAN is a Katy wife and mom to twin 7 year olds who proudly call Stan C. and Patsy Elementary their school home. Mrs. Stanley’s autograph is one of their most prized treasures on their backpack.
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