The following is a brief history (something is better than nothing!) of the Katy Independent School District.  This history was distributed by the school district when I was a member of the Board of Trustees.  Although there is no author listed, if I remember correctly it was written by Brenda Ritter, who was a member of the District's Communications Department. This brief history should be on the District's web site, and it should be updated. If one does not know one's history, one is missing the first step!

                                            The History of the Katy Independent School District


When the Katy Independent School District was established in the spring of 1919, the town of Katy was only about 22 years old.  At that time, rice and cotton farming, as well as cattle ranching were the major industries in this region of Texas.  The Missouri-Kansas-Teas railroad line ran through Katy carrying the farm products from Houston to Smithville.  At that time, Katy ISD consisted of one modern brick two-story school in town and four country schoolhouses.  [One of them was called the Schlipf (sp) school. An effort was made in the 1990's to move this school to the Katy Park, but that never happened. The principal at Katy Elementary collected old school memorabilia to place in the school. I contributed an old school desk, some old school readers and books and some other things. They sat in the foyer of Katy Elementary School for a long time. When the school was not moved to Katy, the objects that were donated seem to have disappeared!]

The town school was at Avenue A and Sixth Street, where Katy Elementary stands today.  Students who lived in the country came to school by horse and buggy or horseback.  To accommodate the horses, there was a barn beside the school.  At noon, 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 hot lunch for 5 cents from the school's cafeteria or bring a sack lunch.  At that time, Katy ISD extended about 3-miles east, 3-miles west, 5-miles south and 2-miles north of the town of Katy.

Katy ISD didn't change until 1931, when two more rural schoolhouses were added to the district extending the boundaries another 5-miles north and 3-miles east.  It was now 121 square miles.

                                                            THE FIRST SCHOOL BUSES

But the 1931 annexation also brought change to Katy.  The children living in the country had to attend high school in town, so the district bought two school buses to transport them.  Now the problem was, who was going to drive the buses?  To solve the problem, two male teachers were hired to serve the triple roles of teacher, coach and bus driver.  Katy students had to adjust to the idea of having males as teachers for the first time. 

                                                     THE LIVESTOCK SHOW AND RODEO

In the early 1940's the district employed vocational agriculture teacher L. D. Robinson to expand the agriculture program at Katy High School.  Robinson's goal was to develop an FFA chapter farm, a local livestock show and build a lighted rodeo arena.  To finance the project, he organized a fund-raising event.  He contacted local cowboys, and told them of his plans to put on a mini-rodeo called a Cowboy Sports Rally.  The high school football field was roped off, and cowboys and cowgirls competed in goat roping, flag, ribbon and barrel racing and other rodeo events.  The rally was extremely popular, and for eight years, continued to be held every weekend during the summer.  The cowboy sports rallies evolved into the Katy ISD Livestock Show and Rodeo that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1993.

                                                         GAS PLANT AND NEW SCHOOLS

Around 1942 the Katy economy began to boom after the opening of a natural gas refining and processing plant built 3-miles west of Katy.  This plant, originally owned by Humble Oil and now Exxon, added immensely to the wealth of the school district.  In 1945, grades 11 and 12 were added to the district curriculum, and in 1947, a new junior/senior high school combination was built on Highway Boulevard.  Then in 1951, a new elementary school was built next to the secondary school.  These buildings are now Katy High School and Katy Junior High.

                                            INCORPORATION OF ADDICKS SCHOOL DISTRICT

In 1961, Katy ISD incorporated part of the Addicks School District which is in the Highway-6 area.  This added an additional 55-square miles to Katy ISD bringing it to 181-square miles and a student population of 727.  Addicks Elementary came with the consolidation and served the elementary students at the east end of the district.  The junior and senior high students were bused to Katy Junior and Senior High.

In 1965, a new Katy Elementary school was built on Sixth Street.  Katy Junior High moved into the former elementary building next to the high school, and for the first time, Katy Junior High had its own school building.  At that time, the administration was housed in a small building next to Katy High School.  The superintendent's office occupied one end of the building, and the business office, tax office and credit union occupied the other. There were five employees including the superintendent.

                                                       DEVELOPMENT BEGINS IN THE 1970s

By 1970 things changed rapidly.  Thornwood, on Memorial Drive in Houston, became the district's first subdivision.  The student population grew to 4,452, and the district built a new school to replace the old Addicks Elementary.  This school is now Maurice L. Wolfe elementary named in honor of its first principal [and the former superintendent of the Addick's School District.]

There was also a building boom in the Mason Road area.  To accommodate the large number of people moving into West Memorial subdivision, West Memorial elementary opened in 1974, followed by West Memorial Junior High in 1976.  By then, subdivisions were springing up all over the school district, and it seemed schools couldn't be built fast enough.  Bear Creek, Hutsell and Memorial Parkway elementary schools opened in 1978 and Taylor High School opened in 1979.

                                                             DEVELOPMENT IN THE 1980s

During the 1980's, 12 more schools were built.  They included Cimarron Elementary and  Mayde Creek Junior High in 1980, Nottingham Country and Williamsburg Settlement (now Diane Winborn) elementary schools and Jack Rhodes Memorial Stadium in 1981.

In 1982, the student population had grown to nearly 15,000, and the district opened Sundown Elementary, Memorial Parkway Junior High, and the Arthur Miller vocational School and the Opportunity Awareness Center.  The building boom hadn't ended , and Mayde Creek Elementary opened in 1983 followed by Mayde Creek High school in 1984.

                                                            OUTDOOR LEARNING CENTER

During this period, 35-acres of virgin land west of the Administration Building were purchased.  A classroom building, museum, and a barn were built on the property.  Kept in its natural state, the grounds include a small lake stocked with fish, as well as nature trails with numerous plant and animal life.  Students at all grade levels participate in science and social studies classes at the James E. Williams Outdoor Learning Center.

                                                            DOWNTURN IN THE ECONOMY

Soon after, with the downturn in the Houston economy, building in Katy ISD came to a virtual standstill.  However, Katy ISD continued to grow throughout the recession.  Slowly, schools became overcrowded and in 1989, Golbow and Pattison elementary schools opened.  Katy Elementary reopened after being closed for a year as it underwent a major expansion and renovation.

                                                              SUPPORT SERVICE COMPLEX

The Katy ISD Police Department was established in 1989.  The primary purpose of the licensed law-enforcement professionals who make up the police force is to enforce the laws protecting the students, staff and property of the district.  The police department is located in the large support services complex on Franz road behind Hutsell Elementary School.  Also located in this complex is the Katy ISD Print Shop, Warehouse, the West Transportation Center, as well as Nutrition and Food Service, Maintenance and Operations, Technical Services and the Purchasing Department.

                                                                      KATY ISD IN THE 1990s

Since 1990, the school district has continued to grow at approximately 1,000 to 1,200 students each year.  In 1991, the school district opened its fifth junior high, T. H. McDonald, and in 1993 its 14th elementary school, Edna Mae Fielder.  In the last five years, nearly every elementary school has had major building expansions to accommodate the growing population.

As Katy ISD celebrates its 75th Anniversary, the student population has grown to 22,675 students.  The district employs more than 1,200 teachers which is about the size of the student population 25 years ago.  More than 3,000 volunteers donate their time to Katy schools and more than 200 business professionals are involved in the Partners in Education Program.  Katy ISD students excel in academic competition, and more than 80 percent continue their education after high school.  The TAAS scores are well above the state average in all areas as are the ACT and SAT scores.

Last year, 11 Katy ISD schools were named Texas Successful Schools.  They are Memorial Parkway, Winborn, Cimarron, Nottingham Country, Pattison, Bear Creek, Sundown, and Wolfe elementary schools; and McDonald, Memorial Parkway and West Memorial junior highs.  Several other Katy schools have won the award in previous years.  Bear Creek and Mayde Creek elementary schools have also been identified as exemplary schools by the United States Department of Education, and Pattison Elementary has been nominated for the 1994 award.

Today, as in its early years, Katy ISD is a cooperative partnership of school, parents and community.  It is preparing its students for the changes and challenges of the future and empowering them to lead productive lives.


The school district has put up this information recently.  It doesn't agree with what the District has put out previously, nor does it agree with the City of Katy version, or with the Barwise version (  Someone needs to put it all together and document it!

Katy ISD Throwback Thursday

Katy ISD's new Throwback Thursday series takes a look back at the history of the District, as well as the City of Katy, and celebrates the tremendous growth and changes.

In 1909, Katy's first two-story schoolhouse was built to serve grades one through 10.  By 1914, seven more one-room schoolhouses were built in the Katy countryside to handle the increased population.  Today, we have nearly 60 campuses serving more than 65,000 students!