As a school board member, one is asked from time to time to give a speech of one sort or another.  Just to show my readers that my heart was in the right place, I'm putting out this copy of a welcoming speech (short but sweet) that I gave at the Partners-in-Education Kick-off breakfast on September 23, 1994.  Notice the similarity between the theme of this speech and a recently held volunteer appreciation breakfast! Of course I was naively thanking businessmen and women for their time. I still had no idea what the true intent of this program was.  Just call me "Pollyanna"!


Good morning!  The Katy ISD Board of Trustees welcomes you to this yearís Partners in Education Kick Off and Recognition breakfast.  I am Mary McGarr, Board secretary.  Also attending this morning and representing the Board are Ken Burton, who serves as treasurer and Joe Kimmel. 

I would first like to tell you how much the Board appreciates Michelle Hughes, the Partners in Education Specialist and Charles Rogers, KISDís Public Information Officer and all the members of their staff who work so hard year round to provide the leadership and direction for this program.  We think they are a class act that is unparalleled and a great asset to our school district. 

And the Board would like you to know how very much we appreciate all that each of you, as well as the companies you represent, do for our schools and our students.  Many of our programs would not exist if it were not for your continued support. 

Today marks the beginning of this yearís involvement for you, and I know that some have already hit the ground  running.  We have great expectations.  We need you.  We see you as a vital part of the Katy Independent School District, and because you are here today, we know that you are committed to the worthy goals of the Partners in Education program. 

As a volunteer myself, I know why you want to accept this commitment, and I think I know what your rewards are.  They donít come in a form people would normally recognize as a reward; they come as smiles, and hugs, and letters, and notes, and shared stories, and those special looks of appreciation.  The list of rewards is endless and immeasurable.  But it adds up.  The feeling you have when you have finished your job cannot be described.  But it exists, and it is tremendously satisfying. 

When I had children in the public school, I always tried to write notes to those who assisted them as they were growing up to thank them for their efforts.  In thinking back, a recurring theme appeared in those notes.  It was always the time that people were willing to spend that meant so much to me and to my children.  The Little League coach, the teacher, the club sponsor, the Junior Achievement volunteer, the high school coach -- they were all there, giving that extra time, to help my kids. 

Time, is your most valuable possession, and to give it to others is the ultimate contribution. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your time.


I too was duped in many ways as a school board member. We all make mistakes! Michelle Hughes, who was one of the administrators I liked the most, was not the person I thought she was.  When she turned up at the School Board bond committee meeting in the summer of 2006, and again in 2014 after the bonds were defeated, I was very surprised to see her as the "facilitator."  I wasn't personally disappointed to see her there, as I know that teachers and administrators do what they believe they should be doing.  It's just that I so often think to myself, "Why can't they see what they are doing?"  "Why can't Mrs. Hughes see that, at least in my opinion, manipulating people to get them to do what you want them to do without their knowing what you are doing is just indefensible?"

Over time, after 1994, I began to realize that the Partners-in-Education organization was just another part of the School to Work puzzle.  Getting corporate figures to visit with students in a one-to-one situation was part of the encroachment set up by the School to Work agenda.  When I first heard that these business people were going to be mentoring students, I asked at a Board meeting if parents had any say in the process.  I wanted to know if the parents could meet the business person and decide for themselves if they wanted this person influencing their child for an entire school year on a regular basis.  I was told, by the superintendent, that no, parents had no say in this process.  At the time that seemed very odd, but I learned later that the schools didn't want the parents having veto power over this liaison. Having corporate citizens mentor impressionable minds is not a good thing.  Think of all the many ways this encounter can go wrong.  Why should untrained business people have such access to students?  The student is there to be taught by the teacher, not mentored by someone that the student's parents don't even know!  And as far as I know, these mentors do not undergo a background check by the school district.  If I am incorrect on that matter, someone please tell me.

And then, there's that word partners again. The public schools would like for parents to believe, as I have explained elsewhere, that their children belong also to the school district!  The word partners has a legal connotation.  That shouldn't be missed by parents.  The public schools are NOT partners with you in the rearing of your children OR their education.  They are CO-OPERATING with you in an effort to have your child become academically educated.  They do NOT have to be a "partner."  They are there to provide a service (teaching your child), and that is the limit of their involvement with your child--unless you allow them to become more than that.  If you will stop and think about this matter, you will realize that you do not WANT the public schools or their employees to be anything more than that!

If I were a business person, I would think twice about engaging in this "Partners In Education activity.  If I were a parent, I wouldn't allow my child to be mentored by anyone other than a school district employee.

Footnote:  Ms. Hughes does not work in Katy ISD anymore, but she is regarded as an excellent "facilitator" and as someone who can Delphi the bond committee into believing that they are doing something useful. 


Not to be Missed!

Katy ISD Partners in Education Call Us Maybe - & Volunteer 2012:

Catch school board member Ashley Vann in the front row.


The following is the "strategic plan" for the Partners in Education program in Katy ISD.  Had I known on August 18, 1993 what I know now, I would never have gone along with this effort to manipulate and control Katy ISD students. The plan was revised on October 6, 1994. That I stopped the educational foundation nonsense fifteen years ago is very important.  It took a board member and a superintendent later with a clueless, witless Board to get the foundation implemented, and it had to be done OUTSIDE the control of the school board.  That KISD now has a foundation is a tribute to the tenacity of the socialists among us. If we ever get a conservative school board elected, their first move should be to end the foundation.

Partners in Education was and is a backdoor effort to implement the leftist agenda in our school district.  That the District brings in Michelle Hughes, the designer and implementer of this effort,  as the "facilitator" for bond committees is just scary.




 AUGUST 18, 1993


The Katy Independent School District, through a balanced, dynamic curriculum and cooperative partnership with parents and community, will prepare students for the changes and challenges of the future, empowering them to pursue productive and fulfilling lives. [Note that there is no indication here that this school district with provide an academic education to our students!]


Partners in Education exists as a vehicle for creating and sustaining positive relationships between [sic] Katy Independent School District and the community.  We believe that these cooperative partnerships are capable of significantly impacting the quality of education of our students.

Team Members:  Charles Rogers, Michelle Hughes, Erica Alexander, Lee Rios

I.  FUTURES INVENTORY - the next five years

*Social and psychological services by schools

* Decreased/uncertain school funding

*Growing student population

*Ethnic diversity

* Changing curriculum and instruction

*Increased business involvement

*Westward movement of businesses

*Year-round schooling

*National standards and exit exams

*Increase in societal problems

*Technological opportunities

*Vocational training emphasis


*Principle centered leadership

*Successful educational foundation

*Students, staff, Board of Trustees and community as stakeholders with positive perception of PIE

*Adequate staffing and budget

*Continuously improving

*Successfully integrated PIE and district goals

*Genuine and measurable impact on classroom

*Adequate record-keeping to show value added to district

*Opportunity for professional growth

*Local, state, nation recognition/reputation

*Reviewing goals on regular basis to address changes in focus

* Sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships with business and community


*  Students

*  Teachers


*Business community

*Organizations - local, state, national




*Provide principle-centered leadership for PIE program

*Improve quality of PIE program

*Increase scope of PIE program

*Promote student-centered emphasis of PIE program

*Support an active and effective volunteer base on every campus

*Work toward establishment of educational foundation

*Incorporate measurement and evaluation as part of the Partners in Education program


A.  Provide principle-centered leadership for PIE program

1.  Hold strategic planning session yearly


2.  Develop mission for PIE program


3.  Develop PIE team through:


a.  staff meetings

b.  team approach to partnership design

c.  regular communication - newsletter/annual report

d.  staff notes

e.  effectively utilizing expertise of PIE advisory board

     (MH, CR, HH)  [That would be Michelle Hughes, Charles Rogers, Hugh Hayes)

B.  Improve quality of PIE program

1.  Develop campus PIE liaison team concept  (MH)

2.  Effectively utilize expertise of advisory board (MH, CR)

3.  Learn and utilize the quality improvement process (MH, CR, LR Lee Rios)

4.  Access professional development opportunities  (All)

5.  Develop PIE brochure and teambook  (MH, CR, LR, BR ?)

6.  Establish mission and goals for each new partnership

7.  Complete yearly program evaluation  (MH)

8.  Include PIE Advisory Board, PIE liaison, and VIPS in PIE strategic planning

C  Increase scope of PIE program

1.  Recruit new business partners  (MH, PIE Board, additional staff)

2.  Utilize advisory board expertise for strategic recruitment and advice (MH, HH)

3.  Present model partnerships on local, state, and national levels  (CR, MH, LR, VIPS coordinator)

4.  Participate in VIPS strategic planning (CR, MH, LR, VIPS coordinator)

5.  Investigate campus PIE liaison and volunteer PIE assistant ideas (MH, CR, principals)

6.  Begin documentation of incoming PIE resources  (Karen Wilson, Tim Ford, JR, MH, LR, businesses, principals)

7.  Facilitate community interaction on campus improvement teams  (In the margin I have written "Take over!")

D.  Promote student-centered emphasis by PIE

1.  Include students and teachers on partnership steering committees when appropriate  (MH, CR, BR)

2.  Maintain student focus in PIE publications  (MH, CR, BR)

3.  Integrate PIE activities with district mission statement (MH)

4.  Direct PIE activities to impact student attendance, achievement and career awareness  (MH)

5.  Place special PIE emphasis on at-risk students

E.  Support active and effective volunteer base on every campus

1.  Publish volunteer handbook  (MH, CR, BR, LR, JR)

2.  Implement VIPS strategic planning session (CR, MH, LR)

3.  Design a district VIPS orientation presentation (MH, CR)

4.  Hold monthly VIPS coordinators meetings (CR, LR)

5.  Orchestrate appropriate recognition events (CR, MH, CR, ? MH ?, LR, JR)

F.  Increase PIE staff communications

1.  Prepare monthly PIE staff notes (MH, LR)

2.  Begin to publish PIE newsletter

3.  Access speaking/presenting opportunities internally and externally  (MH, principals)

G.  Increase PIE training opportunities

1.  Offer general PIE information at new teachers' orientation

2.  Present at principals' meetings

3.  Be available for in-service opportunities

4.  Write and publish a training handbook for principals, teachers and administrative staff

5.  Write and publish a training handbook for businesses

6.  Write, publish and present a mentor training handbook

8.  Work toward establishing an Educational Foundation

1.  Formulate district path forward  (MH, CR)

2.  Work with Dr. Hayes to build team to address educational foundation  (CR, MH, HH)

3.  Prepare foundation proposal for Board of Trustees (CR, MH)

4.  Initiate subsequent activities pending Board approval (CR, MH, and team)

I.  Incorporate measurement and evaluation as part of the Partners in Education program

1.  Process through the use of a database the numbers of partners, increases/decreases in numbers of partnerships, types of partnerships

2.  Process through developing a systematic reporting system financial donations, in-kind donations and service donations by Partners in Education