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July 17, 2017 – Katy ISD’s 2017 District-wide Elementary Teacher of the Year Kristal Parrish and Secondary Teacher of the Year Phuong Nguyen have been selected as finalists in the Region 4 Teacher of the Year program.

Kristal Parrish

Ms. Parrish is a fifth grade teacher at WoodCreek Elementary where she teaches reading, writing and social studies.  Since 2013, Ms. Parrish has also been the fifth grade team Curriculum and Instruction Leader.  She’s a dedicated teacher that inspires her students to make an impact in the world.  She does this by teaching them to be critical readers and writers, and deep thinkers who are compassionate.  Her philosophy surrounds the ideal that “there is no program, no app, no curriculum that can replace the tremendous power and essence of an effective and passionate teacher in the life of a student.”

Phuong Nguyen

Ms. Nguyen teaches 10th – 12th grade students in the area of Principles of Health Science, Health Science Technology and Clinical Rotations at Taylor High School.  As a teacher, she creates an environment where curiosity is cultivated, learning is collaborative and students develop skills to be successful in every endeavor.  Her philosophy is one of adaptability and emphasis on the importance of a moral compass.  Ms. Nguyen also initiated the Katy Students Run program at her school to create another platform in order for her to mentor and teach the necessary skills to be successful in life.

The Region 4 Teachers of the Year event is part of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Texas Teacher of the Year program and is the initial step into the National Teacher of the Year selection process.

Best of luck to both Katy ISD teachers!

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Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo leadership presented 70 Texas FFA students with $1.4 million in scholarships during the Texas FFA State Convention in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Wednesday, July 12.

Chartered in 1929, the Texas FFA Association contributes to a model of secondary agricultural education in which students take part in classroom instruction and supervised agricultural experiences.

“When the very first Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarship was presented to a Texas FFA member in 1957, a special tradition began between two great organizations,” said Joel Cowley, Show president and CEO. “Texas FFA prepares students for future success through a diverse offering of educational programs, many of which involve some facet of agriculture, and we are pleased to contribute to the development of our future leaders.”

Of the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Texas FFA recipients, 62 percent are female and 38 percent are male, with many students from cities with populations less than 500 people. In the fall, these students will major in 31 different fields of study ranging from agricultural economics to nutrition, and biomedical engineering to pre-law.

Each scholar receives a $20,000 college scholarship, payable over four years.

This is the fourth and final 2017 scholarship presentation, for a Show total commitment over the summer of nearly $14.3 million in scholarships to Texas youth. These scholarships represent a portion of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s annual commitment of more than $26 million to scholarships, research, endowments, calf scramble participants, junior show exhibitors, School Art participants and other educational programs. For more information on the Show’s educational support, visit

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $430 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2018 Show is scheduled for Feb. 27 – March 18. 

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™

2017 Texas FFA Scholarship Recipients (by FFA chapter)

as of July 12, 2017



Molly Edmondson

Kendalia, Texas


Julia Garcia

Bridgeport, Texas

Reginald Lane

Bridgeport, Texas


Kailey Clarke

Bullard, Texas

Hannah Lloyd

Bullard, Texas

Chapel Hill Northeast

Jace Henry

Mount Pleasant, Texas

City View

Kaitlin Raber

Iowa Park, Texas


Emily Stewart

Columbus, Texas

Copperas Cove

Kayla Ayala

Copperas Cove, Texas

Cross Plains

Grace Goode

Cross Plains, Texas


Caitlin Cox

Daingerfield, Texas


Rylan Wade

Dawson, Texas

East Central


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AUSTIN ⎯ The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recently announced the award of $1.03 million to support four new accelerated certificate or degree programs through its College Credit for Heroes (CCH) program, a statewide effort designed to maximize the award of college credit to veterans and service members for their military experience. TWC also announced a new partner school for CCH.

“The United States Military produces some of the brightest and most highly-skilled individuals in our workforce,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “The State of Texas’ investment in the College Credit for Heroes program creates an additional avenue for our veterans to further advance their skills and knowledge, creating greater opportunity to get a job they deserve. With the continued expansion of this program, Texas is ensuring that our veterans receive the college credit they have earned through service to our nation, and I applaud the Texas Workforce Commission for their efforts.”

“The College Credit for Heroes program allows skilled veterans and service members who dedicate their lives to our freedom to receive maximum credit for their valuable military service in order to more quickly transition to a Texas career,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “I am proud these new partners join us as we work together to better serve the military heroes who choose to make Texas home.”

The addition of the new partner, Texas State University, demonstrates the continued momentum of the CCH program, which has grown to include a network of 48 university and community college partners who will help veterans connect with Texas employers.

“Texas employers are eager to hire skilled veterans, and we’re thrilled that College Credit for Heroes and its partnerships continue to grow,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “This program gives employers access to a more qualified workforce and recognizes the veteran’s training and experience gained during their service to our country.”

Veterans can set up an account at Once registered, veterans can access an evaluation of their military experience and training, and request a military transcript from their branch of service to be sent to College Credit for Heroes staff for review. Veterans also may request that a transcript of awarded credits be sent to a Texas college of their choice. In addition, veterans can check the status of evaluations and/or transcript requests, participate in a live chat with a representative, and upload, view and download military evaluation results and related documents.

“By using the College Credit for Heroes website, veterans who are transitioning into civilian life can get a jump-start on their employment search,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “Veterans can learn about and receive college credit for their military skillsets, which can translate into new job opportunities or career advancements.”

New programs that received funding through College Credit for Heroes in 2017 include:

  • Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD)— $262, 977 is dedicated to developing the Veterans Education Transition program, designed to create an accelerated transition to a civilian career by replicating existing programs developed by Grayson College and Lee College. The selected programs include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technology; welding; logistics, supply chain management; and manufacturing technology models to provide direct assessment and alignment for replication.
  • Houston Community College (HCC)— $472,687 is dedicated to developing the Veterans Academy for veterans and service members to capitalize on prior military experiences, translating skills, training and experiences into academic credit and gainful workforce employment opportunities within Texas. The Veteran Academy will use a “fast-track” streamlined model that targets two “credit for prior learning” pathways consisting of Transcript Evaluation for College Credit and Conversion of Continuing Education Contact Hours to College Credit in healthcare, information technology, transportation and logistics.
  • Lee College— $145,457 is dedicated to establishing an accelerated emergency medical technician (EMT) program. The school will replicate fast track curriculum based on the work done by Temple College to establish a non-credit accelerated program. Veterans who received emergency medical training while serving in the military will have the opportunity to gain credit for prior learning experience and credit by exam for their military coursework and be eligible to receive credit for basic EMT certification (Level 1) and parts of advanced EMT (AEMT) certification (Level 2) and paramedic certification (Level 3).
  • Texas State University (TSU)— $145,495 is dedicated to creating and implementing the Accelerate TXState project by developing various online prior learning assessment (PLA) curriculum. As a result, veterans and service members will have access to accelerated learning for employment areas that include athletics, business, business with computer information systems, criminal justice, engineering technology, geography information systems, health care administration, human resource development, occupational therapy, real estate, and social services. PLA will be used to accelerate the veterans’ ability to earn up to 30 hours of college credit for non-collegiate training and/or 24 hours of work-life learning, which will be applied towards a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences.

About College Credit for Heroes

College Credit for Heroes (CCH) was authorized during the 82nd legislative session under SB 1736 and launched in 2011. More than 85,000 veterans have created accounts through the CCH website and 27,000 veterans have received evaluations. CCH evaluations have recommended an average of 25 credit hours per veteran. Texas colleges and universities are awarding an average of 16 credit hours per CCH evaluation.

For more information or to register for the program, visit the College Credit for Heroes website. For more information on workforce programs available for Texas veterans, visit the veterans resource page on the TWC website.



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On July 10, 2017 Katy Area Retired Educators (KARE) met at Brazos Valley Credit Union to plan for their upcoming Hooky Day. KARE’s theme this year is “Teamwork is Key”.

All retired teachers are invited to attend Hooky Day on August 16, 2017 from 1:00-3:00PM at the Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Lane, Room 1200.

For more information about the Katy Area Retired Educators check out our website at .

Back Row L to R:       Dorsey Reese, Cecille Vierling, Elysce Garrison, Sue Fagan, Valerie Reeves, Marsha Smith, MayDell Jenks Front Row L to R:      Karen Reese, Marcia Dye, Lee Ann Nuckles

Attached is a picture from their meeting.



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Four Katy ISD students recently traveled to Carnegie Hall in New York City to be honored with the Gold Key Metals from the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.  Akhil Thadani from Seven Lakes High School, Connie Lau, Asma Mashal and Fatemeh Ebrahimi from Taylor High School were among 25 of the best artists and writers who were recognized.

More than 330,000 entries were submitted and in total, 59 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards were received by students from Katy ISD and other neighboring school districts as well as private schools in Harris County.

“It’s amazing what happens when you mix extraordinary talent with th

e resources, leadership and support our district offers,” stated Lisa Matschek, art teacher for Seven Lakes High School. “To share in the experience of recognizing students at a national level, in the top one percent, was really special.  Katy ISD was well represented with five gold national winners in New York City.”

“It truly was a life changing experience for our students,” adds Ashley Niemi, art teacher for Taylor High School. “At the ceremony the key note speaker talked about how his scholastic award was the kick start to him believing he could live a creative life!  It was truly an inspirational recognition for us all!”

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards recognizes the vision, ingenuity and talent of students and provides opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated.  Harris County Department of Education serves as the regional sponsor of this prestigious national program and hosts yearly judging and awards ceremonies for thousands of writing and art entries.  For more information visit .


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During the monthly Board of Trustees Work Study meeting, the 2017 Community Bond Advisory Committee (CBAC) Chairman will present the Committee’s $609.2MM recommended bond package to address District growth and needs.  The bond package includes funds for new schools, improvements at existing facilities, enhanced student technology, safety and security upgrades among other items, with a zero tax rate increase.

Student enrollment has grown by 2,800 students per year.  The district currently enrolls about 76,000 students.  According to Population and Survey Analysts (PASA), by 2023 approximately 90,000 students will attend Katy ISD schools, and by 2026 over 98,000 students will call the district their home.  Since early April, the CBAC has met to assess this rapid growth and projects that would meet the district’s near-term needs.


For more information on the 2017 recommended bond package, visit:


Where:         Katy ISD Education Support Complex

6301 S. Stadium Lane

Katy, TX  77494


When:          Monday, July 17

                    6:30 p.m.


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Cortez Granted the 2017 Cesar Chavez Spirit Award for Leadership Award in San Antonio 

Texas State Board of Education Board Secretary Ruben Cortez (D- Brownsville) was honored as the recipient of the 2017 Cesar Chavez Spirit Award for Leadership by the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation (CECLEF). The CECLEF has a long history of social advocacy and established to preserve the life & legacy of Cesar E. Chavez, legendary American labor leader and civil rights activist.

Isidro Garza, Jr., CECLEF Board Member, stated “Through SBOE Member Cortez’s continuous advocacy, leadership and uncanny ability to bring clarity and focus to political battles, the topics that matter most to Texans and the future of our children have been better approached by the Texas State Board of Education. He has been a policy-oriented champion for proper depictions of minorities in textbooks, strengthened educational resources and proper educational standards.Member Cortez’s foresight and willingness to reach across the political aisle for the greater good of our Nation embodies the essence of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and solidified him as our Spirit Award for Leadership champion.”

Secretary Cortez stated “The future of a strong Texas lies in people’s ability to recognize wrong and do good by all Texans. I am proud of my work to have this Board recognize the contributions of Mexican-Americans throughout Texas and the US and unanimously reject that atrocious textbook. While it was a long road, full of uncertainty and political topics, I found strength and inspiration in the journies of figures like Cesar E. Chavez who fought for human rights and equity– it was my duty to ensure that his legacy along with millions of others did not fall victim to politics.  I am humbled to be recognized by the CECLEF and vow to continue embodying the spirit of Cesar E. Chavez.

Hon. Cortez will join notable figures like Mr. Charles Butt, HEB Chairman, and Mr. Jeff Moseley, CEO of Texas Association of Business.

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By George Slaughter

The Katy City Council Monday night passed an ordinance that restricts parking during school hours on school days on selected residential streets near Katy High School.

The ordinance comes after complaints from residents who live near the school. Students have been parking their cars in front of those residents’ homes, which prevented garbage and recycle pickup and mail delivery.

Safety was another issue, as students would have to walk across US Highway 90 to get to school.

The new ordinance affects the following streets:

  • On either side of First Street from Carolina Street rail road crossing to Victoria Lakes Drive.
  • On either side of Fern Street from Ash Street to Patricia Lane.
  • Along the entire length of Eva Drive starting from the intersection of First Street.
  • On either side of Dogwood Street from First Street to Patricia Lane.
  • On either side of Carnation Street from First Street to Patricia Lane.
  • On either side of Blue Bonnet Street from First Street to Cedar Street.
  • Along the entire length of Aster Street starting from the intersection of First Street.
  • On either side of Bartlett Street from First Street to Cedar Street.
  • On either side of Dollins from First Street to Pop Oman Street.
  • Along the entire length of Shetland Lane starting from the intersection of First Street.
  • On either side of Ash Street from Fern to Bartlett Street.
  • On either side of Cedar Street from Fern Street to Bartlett Street.
  • On either side of Patricia Lane from Burnet Street to Mert Street.
  • On either side of Birch Lane from Dogwood Street to Bartlett Street.
  • On either side of Pop Oman Street from Bartlett to Dollins Street.
  • On either side of Rice Street from Bartlett Street to Shetland Lane.
  • Along the entire length of Carolina Street south of US Highway 90.
  • Along the entire length of Alabama Street south of US Highway 90.
  • Along the entire length of North Woods Lane starting from FM 1463.
  • On either side of Woods Lane from North Woods Lane to South Woods Lane.
  • Along the entire length of South Woods Lane starting at FM 1463.

Lawbreakers will be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to a fine up to $200.

The issue must now be reviewed and approved by the Katy Independent School Board of Trustees, who will authorize district police to enforce this ordinance in the affected neighborhood.

This map shows streets affected by a new city ordinance that sets no parking zones during school hours on school days. (City of Katy)

In other action Monday, the council:

  • Presented a certificate of recognition to the Katy Lady Cavaliers lacrosse team.
  • Presented a certificate of recognition to the Katy Disciples Under 8 Blue baseball team.
  • Observed the presentation of the Katy Proud Business Award to Purser Architectural Inc., 5702 4th St., by the Keep Katy Beautiful Board.
  • Approved meeting minutes from the June 12 and June 26 council meetings
  • Approved a street closure request for the fourth annual Katy Half Marathon to be held February 3, 2017.
  • Approved a $1,000 annual dues payment for the West I-10 Chamber of Commerce.
  • Authorized Mayor Chuck Brawner to sign an interlocal agreement (also known as an affiliation agreement) with the Katy Independent School District Emergency Management Services Education Program.
  • Authorized Brawner to sign the auditor’s engagement letter for the fiscal year ending September 30 with Whitley Penn, LLP, certified public accountants.
  • Authorized Brawner to accept a water line and sanitary sewer easement from Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc.
  • Authorized Brawner to accept a utility easement, sidewalk easement and temporary construction agreement from Amegy Bank.
  • Authorized Brawner to sign an agreement with Ambassador Services, LLC, of Houston for janitorial services in Katy municipal facilities.
  • Called a joint public hearing of the city council and the city planning and zoning commission to amend the city’s zoning ordinances. The hearing will take place at city hall but the time and date have not yet been set.

July 11, 2017 – Sam Houston State University student Liza Viera surprises Katy ISD police officers with Saint Michael’s medallions, as part of her support campaign, “Back the Blue – Liza’s Mission.”

The campaign started after last year’s deadly shooting of four Dallas police officers.  With encouragement from her father, who is also a law enforcement officer, Liza has presented over 22,700 Saint Michael’s medallions to police officers across Texas.  Whether it’s in the form of a prayer card, medal token or car visor clip with the image of St. Michael, many law enforcement officers have expressed a sense of security and peace in carrying the image of the saint with them.

Katy ISD Chief Robert Jinks and Deputy Chief Robert Meier recently surprised Liza with two challenge coins from the Katy ISD Police Department and the Katy ISD Police Officers Association, a department patch and a teddy cop for her efforts in bringing awareness and support to police officers.

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Hailee Moehnke, from Katy and a student at the University of Minnesota, was recently awarded the Edith Mueller Endowed Fund for Graduate Education in the Tucker Center. The income from the fund will be used to support graduate education, including but not limited to graduate assistantships, research support, travel to conferences, and equipment.
Moehnke is pursuing her Masters of Science in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Her research area of focus is in Positive Youth Development under her advisor, Dr. Maureen Weiss, as Hailee is interested in learning how participation in sport and physical activity affects youth psychological and social maturity. Originally from Katy, Texas, Moehnke attended the University of Minnesota and received a B.S. in Kinesiology in 2016. She is a graduate Teaching Assistant in the School of Kinesiology. She also coaches competitive youth volleyball in various locations around the Twin Cities. Moehnke plans to graduate with her Master’s in May 2018 and pursue a career in the non-profit organization industry, focusing on female youth sport participation.