Education

Katy Independent School District Police Officer Shannon Dresser, who finished as first runner-up in the Miss United States Pageant in Orlando, Florida. (Photo courtesy Shannon Dresser)

By George Slaughter

Beauty pageant contestants sometimes daydream of winning the pageant and wearing the tiara.

But as a practical matter, the question of what happens after winning the pageant becomes a more complicated. Just what will do you do if you win?

Shannon Dresser can relate. She is the Katy Independent School District police officer who won the Miss Texas United States pageant in May, and competed in the recent Miss United States pageant earlier this month in Orlando, Florida. She was asked that question during the interview portion of the pageant.

“My chief asked me that same question,” Dresser said. “I said, ‘I’ll let you know Saturday (when the pageant takes place).’”

As it is, Dresser did herself proud. She finished as first runner-up at the pageant.

“I did extremely well,” she said. “I had a wonderful time. I went in with the idea to have fun and leave it all on the stage, and that’s exactly what I did.”

Miss Florida United States, Rachael Todd, won the pageant.

“Bittersweet as it is, I’m able to come back and go back to work and serve my community,” Dresser said. “It’s what I needed for my life and career. I would have loved to have won, but I also understand that things happen for reason. I’m just as proud as if I had won.”

The pageant structure in the Miss Texas United States and the Miss United States pageants have a similar structure in that contestants compete in four categories: evening gown, interview, onstage questions and swimsuit.

Dresser said the state judges look at candidates and consider who would be the best representative of that state.

Gaspar Cruz designed the evening gown and helped Dresser with her hair and makeup. He also did these things when Dresser competed in the state pageant.

“When he drew the gown, I could imagine myself in it,” Dresser said. “Not only did I look beautiful, I felt beautiful. You feel fabulous and you feel proud of how you’re performing.”

Dresser has competed in other pageants, and she hopes to participate in other pageants. She said that many contestants in the Miss United States pageant were in their early 20s. Dresser turns 30 next week, and some of her fellow contestants wondered how she looked so good given her age.

“I asked them, ‘What does 30 look like?’” she said.

As an officer, Dresser participates in the Teen and Police Service Academy (TAPS), an international mentoring program that closes the gap between at-risk students and police officers. Students get an elective credit for their participation in this 13-week program, though the mentoring has greater value. Topics covered include bullying, conflict management, and avoiding drug use and gangs, among others.

She is also a K-9 officer, where she works with a Golden Labrador Retriever.

While Dresser may have been the contestant, a lot of people stepped forward with their encouragement and support to make it all happen. She said she was grateful for the community’s support.

“That’s what made this journey so memorable,” she said. “It’s not about me, but the family and the community, and that’s been fabulous. It’s been a marvelous adventure. It’s just so overwhelming, it’s a joy.”

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Doreen Martinez

July 20, 2017 – Katy ISD is pleased to welcome Dr. Doreen Martinez as the new principal for Memorial Parkway Elementary.

Dr. Martinez has worked in the field of education for 28 years.  She began her educational career in 1989 as a teacher in Pasadena ISD.  She has also work in Angleton ISD, Clear Creek ISD and as a grant/technology coordinator in Royal ISD.

She came to Katy ISD in 2001, where she served as an instructional technology facilitator, technology training supervisor, Parent & Patron Center Coordinator and then as an assistant principal at Morton Ranch Junior High.  In 2015, Dr. Martinez returned to Angleton ISD as Principal of Angleton Junior High.  However, it’s the District’s pleasure to have her back home at Katy ISD where she will lead the Memorial Parkway Elementary family.

“Coming back to Katy ISD is such a proud honor and a dream come true,” says Principal Martinez. “My goal is to work to build trust, establish relationships and create a positive environment where our Panthers can excel and achieve their dreams.  Working together as a team we will be ‘the best school in the land!’”

Congratulations!

Rahsan Smith

July 20, 2017 – Katy ISD is pleased to announce Rahsan Smith as the new principal for McRoberts Elementary.

Mr. Smith has worked in the field of education for 17 years.  He began his career with Houston ISD in 2001 as an elementary teacher, serving as a literary specialist and intermediate classroom teacher at JFK Elementary.  He also worked with Pre-K students at Gabriela Mistral early Childhood Center and as a student behavior specialist at Fondren Middle School.

He came to Katy in 2012 and served as an assistant principal at Mayde Creek Junior High, a principal for Katy Summer Academic Term in 2016 and 2017 and before moving to McRoberts Elementary, he was an assistant principal at Seven Lakes High School.

“To become the principal of McRoberts Elementary is truly an honor,” says Principal Smith. “It is a reflection of the Katy community.  A community that is built on integrity, honor, kindness, relationships and success.  As the new principal of McRoberts Elementary, one of my main goals will be to establish a rapport with each and every one of my students and help them to reach their highest potential.  Go Dolphins!”

Congratulations!

Katy, TX, June 6th, 2017– Mothers and daughters from the National Charity League, Inc., Lady Bird Chapter (NCL, Inc.) hosted a Philanthropy Bus Tour for new members to learn more about the Philanthropies in Katy and how to get involved.

Mothers and daughters from the chapter visited St. Bartholomew Catholic Church to learn how Friday
night Bingo supports Keep Kids Connected. Keep Kids Connected is a local charity that provides
tablets to children in hospitals. Other charities visited were Katy Christian Ministries and Meals on
Wheels. In addition to visiting several charities the Mother and Daughter teams heard presentations
on Willow River Farms and Kidz Club.

About National Charity League, Inc., Lady Bird Chapter National Charity League, Inc., Lady Bird Chapter currently has 275 members and provides hands-on volunteer service for 22 philanthropic organizations in the community. Members are women and their daughters in grades 7-12. Through this community service, NCL, Inc. develops socially responsible community leaders and strengthens the mother-daughter relationship. The traditional six-year core program also includes leadership development and cultural activities. Mother-daughter teams nationwide are responsible, dedicated, skilled volunteers actively engaged in local community work in 26 states across the country. To date, there are over 200 Chapters. For more information about the NCL, Inc., Lady Bird Chapter, please visit https://ladybird.nationalcharityleague.org/

About National Charity League, Inc. Established in Los Angeles, California in 1925, and incorporated in 1958, National Charity League, Inc. is the premier mother-daughter organization of women and their daughters in grades 7-12. For more information, visit the website at www.nationalcharityleague.org to find a chapter in your area.

Houston, TX – Bayou Land Conservancy (BLC), a local land trust focused on conserving land and protecting Houston’s primary water source, Lake Houston, announced that Gary and Kathy Adams Clark will be guest emcees for the August 17th Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour to be held at the Star Cinema Grill-Vintage location at 6 pm.

Mr. Clark is the weekly nature columnist for the Houston Chronicle. He publishes features in state and national magazines and has received numerous honors for his writing on the natural world. He has been active in the birding community for over 30 years, serves on a number of non-profit boards, and is a professor at Lone Star College-North Harris.

Kathy Adams Clark, Photographer, by Jeff Rose

Ms. Adams Clark has been a professional nature photographer since 1995. Her work has been featured in publications including Texas Highways and Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. She is past President of the North American Nature Photography Association and teaches photography at local and national events. She leads photo workshops around the world and runs her own stock photo agency that represents the work of fifteen outstanding nature photographers.

Wild & Scenic Film is a production of the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL). It began in 2003 to promote community building within the Yuba Watershed in California, as well as a way to explore environmental issues through an exciting and influential medium – film. Bayou Land Conservancy has worked with SYRCL for three years as a tour partner and will show selected, independently-produced, environmental films from around the globe, including a newly produced film on Texas Rivers from the Texas Living Waters project, www.texaslivingwaters.org.

Says BLC Executive Director Jill Boullion, “We are excited to bring these inspirational films to a local audience and raise the level of awareness around different environmental topics. We are also delighted to have Gary and Kathy Adams Clark involved as our celebrity emcees. The Clarks are well-known and respected in the local community and are international experts in getting people outside to learn about nature. And, finally, August in Houston is hot so it’s nice to stay connected to nature while enjoying air conditioning, food and drinks!”

Tickets for the event are on sale and are discounted when purchased before August 17th through BLC’s web site: http://www.bayoulandconservancy.org/wild-scenic-film-festival. The event will also serve as the official public kick-off of the new, monthly, recurring membership program called “Land Lover” which will provide members with a suite of exciting benefits, including a paddling excursion on Spring Creek.

About Bayou Land Conservancy: Bayou Land Conservancy is a community-sponsored land preservation organization working to permanently protect land in the Houston region since 1996. Bayou Land Conservancy preserves land along streams for flood control, clean water and wildlife. We envision a protected network of green spaces that connect people to nature.

About Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour: https://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/about/mission/

About Gary & Cathy Adams Clark: http://www.texasbirder.net/

The HPRA lunch speaker this Friday is consultant Wayne Dolcefinoformer investigative reporter for ABC Houston, Channel 13. Wayne will discuss the decision of Mayor Turner to throw out a recycling contract that had been negotiated by his predecessor, and strike a 15 year deal with another firm, FCC Environmental, a Spanish company. The debate grows out of the contract’s length, its higher cost, and the fact that the city will be reverting to a single bin system. Dolcefino Consulting represents EcoHub, the firm that lost the contract. Wayne has brought his special investigator’s style to his new career, and it shows up in videos he is posting on his Facebook page. Enjoy …

https://www.google.com/#q=dolcefino+consulting+facebook

MORE:

https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2017/06/28/206596/city-announces-new-recycling-program-partnership/

Mr. Dolcefino was recently injured in an auto accident which is discussed here:

http://sanangelolive.com/news/crashes/2017-04-25/tv-reporter-wayne-dolcefino-badly-injured-crash-west-texas-highway

Houston Property Rights Association

PUBLIC INVITED: $11.49 plus 10% gratuity – buffet self-serve – all you can eat.

Coffee and tea are extra.

The Lam Bo Restaurant (Chinese and American food), is at

6159 Westheimer Road, about a mile west of Chimney Rock on the south side.

(look for us in the back room)

July 21, 2017

Buffet lunch – 12:00 to 2:00 – Program starts at 12:30

Please tell your friends and neighbors about our meetings.

RESERVATIONS NOT NEEDED

Upcoming Speakers and Topics

July 28: South Texas Law School Professor and blogger Josh Blackman – who will discuss his two books on Obamacare, which he will sign for folks who bring copies.

  1. Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare (2013)
  2. Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power(2016)

http://joshblackman.com/blog/

Aug. 4; TBD

Aug. 11: Retired HPD officer Larry Watts and his wife Carolyn -.who will discuss their book, Dishonored and Forgotten, a novel based on the death of an HPD detective in his office in the Houston police department, and officially explained as a suicide.

http://larrywattsauthor.blogspot.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

HPRA wants to thank Computer Services of Texas

for its donated work keeping the HPRA Macintosh computer running smoothly.

(computerservicesoftexas.com

(AUSTIN) — The deadline is extended through July 31 for Texas families to enroll their newborns in the Texas Tuition Promise FundSM and pay this year’s rates for all or some future tuition and school-wide required fees at Texas public colleges and universities. Newborns are children younger than one year at the time of enrollment.

Under the Texas Tuition Promise Fund, the state’s prepaid college tuition program, participants can purchase tuition units and lock in costs based on today’s prices.

“It is never too early for Texas families to consider enrolling their newborns in this program,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “Purchasing tuition units today allows families to lay the foundation for their children’s future educational opportunities.”

Enrollment at 2016-17 prices closed Feb. 28 for children older than one. The next annual enrollment period begins on Sept. 1 and is based on Texas public college and university tuition and school-wide required fees for the 2017-18 school year.

Complete plan information, including plan description and agreement, current prices, enrollment forms and more is available online at TuitionPromise.org, or by calling 1-800-445-GRAD (4723), Option 5.

Purchasers should carefully consider the risks, administrative fees, service and other charges and expenses associated with the contracts, including plan termination and decreased transfer or refund value. Purchasers should read these documents carefully before purchasing a contract. Participation in the plan does not guarantee admission to or graduation from any college or university.

COMMENTS OR COMPLAINTS: Comments or complaints may be forwarded to the Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Program, Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts at P.O. Box 13407, Austin, Texas 78711-3407, or by calling 512-936-2064.

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July 18, 2017 –  During the monthly Katy ISD Board of Trustees Work Study meeting the 2017 Community Bond Advisory Committee (CBAC) Chairman presented the Committee’s $609.2 MM recommended bond package which addresses rapid growth and the near-term needs of the district.

Since early April, Committee members have attended numerous meetings as well as received and assessed extensive and detailed information in order to develop a bond package.  Members agreed on a final bond package which includes funds for six new schools, renovations and expansions at existing facilities, enhanced student technology, safety and security upgrades among other items.  The Committee’s bond package also ensures a zero tax rate increase.

Student enrollment has grown by approximately 2,800 students per year in Katy ISD.  The district currently has an enrollment of more than 76,000 students.  According to the district’s demographer, Population and Survey Analysts (PASA), by 2023 nearly 90,000 students will attend Katy ISD schools and over 98,000 students will call the district their home by 2026.

For more information on the 2017 recommended bond package please visit:
http://tinyurl.com/katyisdbondpackage

 

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By George Slaughter

Katy Independent School District trustees heard a presentation for a $609 million bond package and a work study meeting held Monday night.

Keith Carmichael, chairman of the Katy ISD Community Bond Advisory Committee, and Christopher Smith, the district’s chief financial officer, gave the presentation. They said the bond would not require a tax increase.

Carmichael said that approximately $449 million, or 74%, is for six new schools. Of these proposed new schools, one is a high school, to our junior high schools, and the remainder are elementary schools. Other items covered, with approximate costs, include:

  • Component Replacements $52 million (9%).
  • Comprehensive Renovation: $21 million (3%).
  • Safety & Security Improvements $17 million (3%).
  • School Expansions $15 million (3%).
  • Technology $32 million (5%).
  • Other (buses, portables and fuel tanks) $24 million (4%).

Trustees have until August to amend or approve the proposal. If approved, the bond will be put to voters in the November 7 election.

The committee’s recommendation, made in June, followed seven meetings which began in April. At these meetings, members were briefed on various district and education-related topics.

Trustees in January approved a committee charter and encouraged applications. The 150-member committee is comprised of a broad base of community members representative of Katy ISD campuses, partner institutions, professional and civic organizations and the community at large.

Some members had served on previous bond committees, but Carmichael said that the majority of members were serving for the first time.

During the question period, Carmichael was asked about a proposal that called for removing the proposed high school from the bond package and just changing the high school attendance zones to ease overcrowding. This proposal was sent by e-mail to board members before Monday’s meeting. Carmichael said committee members discussed the idea was discussed but the high school would eventually have to be built to meet the growing number of students.

“They thought it was the better option” to proceed with approving and building the new high school, Carmichael said.

The slides from Carmichael’s presentation are on the Katy ISD web site.

While the bond proposal presentation was the key item at Monday’s meeting, the board heard three other presentations. One was on the district’s strategic design outcomes and priorities from Karen Permitti of Engage2Learn. Another was a 2017 health care update from Lance Nauman, the district’s director of risk management.

Slides from both Permitti’s and Nauman’s presentations are expected to be posted to the district web site.

The board also heard a brief report from trustee George Scott, who serves as Region 4, Position E director with the Texas Association of school boards.

The board considered the following items for final review and approval at its upcoming July 24 meeting:

  • A memorandum of understanding for operation of a juvenile justice alternative education program with Harris County.
  • A memorandum of understanding for operation of a juvenile justice alternative education program with Fort Bend County.
  • The discipline management plan and student code of conduct for the 2017-2018 school year.
  • An amendment of the 2016-2017 contract with the Harris County Department of Education for therapy services.
  • An interlocal agreement with Harris County Department of Education for therapy services for the 2017-2018 school year.
  • July 27 budget amendments.
  • The notice of public meeting to discuss the budget and proposed tax rate.
  • The proposal for the districtwide security upgrade package.
  • The method of purchase for the renovation of the Mayde Creek High School baseball field complex.
  • A proposal for a construction manager at risk contract for the comprehensive renovation Golbow and Pattison elementary schools.
  • The Katy Independent School District Katy Junior High School platt.
  • An amendment to the Stewart Builders, Inc. construction manager at risk contract for the guaranteed maximum price related to the agricultural sciences center expansion.
  • Endorsing Charles Cunningham of the Humble Independent School District for the Texas Association of school boards, district position for Region 4, Position B.
  • Approving trustee Bill Lacy as a delegate to the 2017 Texas Association of School Boards delegate assembly.

Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center offered a new class this past summer, one that they will continue to offer, and indeed, expand upon once the regular school starts.  Called Theatre For Life, it is a full series of classes for tweens on the Autism spectrum being taught by Ann Marie Morris, a Theatre Performance graduate from SUNY Fredonia and formerly a teacher at The Arbor, a private school for Special Needs children.  “This class really fulfills a dream for me – to combine the professional loves of my life, theatre and special needs kids!  It’s a challenge to be sure, for both myself and the students, but so rewarding.”  With each class, the students are encouraged to see how what they are learning can be applied to their daily challenges of life, how the world and the people in it are a theatre and an audience.

The goal is to show the students how theatre techniques can help them cope with and have more confidence in their daily lives.  Classes started with the basics, such as Relaxation and Calming, Learning the Stage Space, Sharing the Stage With Other Actors, Using the Voice and Body, Focus and Memory, Working With a Script, Blocking and Staging, The Five W’s (Who, What, When, Where and especially Why), Making Contact, and The Joy and Pain of Criticism!

As the last weeks of the class approach, the students are starting preparations for their performance on the last day.  With the help of their teacher, each student is writing a monologue about their future.  They will be asked to use all the different techniques that they have been learning to present the monologues for an audience, sharing the stage and working together as a theatre company.  Their enthusiasm is obvious.  They are very much looking forward to, as one youngster put it, “putting on their show!”  And when asked if they would like to continue the class during the coming school year, the response from the kids was a resounding “Yes!”

The goal for KVPAC and the coming school year is to build on the experiences of the summer and expand the class offerings to three classes.  All called Theatre For Life, one class will be for Young Children (ages 6-10), the second for Tweens (ages 11-14), and a third for the Teens (ages 15-18).  All will offer everything from the very basics of theatre techniques to harder work, such as Preparing an Audition Piece and Learning About Directing, Management and Crewing shows.  All classes will be a continuing series and conclude with a performance by the students.  For more information, please visit the KVPAC website at www.kvpac.org or call 281.829.2787.  KVPAC is a 501c3 non-profit arts education organization serving the Katy community since 2001. We are located at 2501 S Mason Rd, # 290, Katy, TX 77450 in the Great Southwest Equestrian Center Complex. ###