Stanley Thompson:

When Stanley Thompson ended his school board career in April 1995, his leaving was unnoted by the school district.  I thought that was inappropriate, and so I wrote the following letter to the editor of the New Katy News. I thought Mr. Thompson was the quintessential school board member. He was concerned about local school boards losing their power to the State and losing local control.  How right he was to have had such concerns.  He wanted to set out a plan so that academics remained the primary goal in our school district.  I totally agreed with his concerns, and he has been proven to have been correct in his assessment. As usual, my letter had more than one purpose:  the first was to honor Mr. Thompson, the second was to urge people to see that Stanley's personal qualities were what they should be looking for in a candidate for the school board.


New Katy News 

Dear Editor: 

A milestone at the April regular meeting of the Katy ISD school board passed unnoted.  This monthly meeting was the last for Stanley Thompson who has served the greater Katy community for the past eight years as a school board member.  He is not seeking re-election.  Having served for four of those years with Stanley, I would like to commend him and thank him for his years of service.  Although up until the last agenda item of this last meeting, we were voicing differences of opinion, Mr. Thompson, as has always been his habit, was able to express those differences in a way that garnered him my utmost respect. 

Over time I have become an admirer of his gentle, unassuming presence that sometimes overshadowed his keen and perceptive ability to cut to the heart of a matter.  He always has been able to exhibit his common sense when it was needed most.  As one who is capable of provoking a petunia, I have appreciated Mr. Thompson’s ability to always be courteous and polite when we have had our differences.  He has always been willing to allow all of us to voice our opinions, and when others would have gladly seen me to the door, he was always insistent that I be allowed to hold my own opinion and express it.  Not surprisingly during these last two years, I have found myself on the same page with Mr. Thompson more often than not. 

As the president of the Board for two years, he was the peace maker and strongly led and directed the course of the school district.  His leadership was especially evident when we experienced troubled times and was sorely missed when he no longer held that office. 

During his tenure, he was the first to advocate what has come to be known as the “Katy Plan.”  Mr. Thompson, as well as Ken Burton and I, have urged the administration and the rest of the Board for the last 20 months to construct a long range curriculum plan which would move the district forward to a strong, traditional academic approach to learning.  Without a fourth vote, however, we have been in the minority and unable to accomplish this goal.  At the last work study session in April when I asked for this plan to be brought forward, board member Joe Adams stopped its progress by suggesting that we wait some more until the new superintendent arrives.  What went unsaid was that the driving force behind the “Katy Plan,” Stanley Thompson, will no longer be on the board when the new superintendent arrives. 

Mr. Thompson will be moving on, but the work of the school board remains.  As one of its members with two years more to serve, it  is very important to me that in the upcoming election on May 6, parents and taxpayers become knowledgeable and active voters.  When you decide on your two candidates, I hope you will be looking for someone in each position  who is very much like Mr. Thompson:  someone who first of all loves his or her own children, but who is able to care about everyone else’s children as well,  someone who is fair minded and intelligent, someone who holds the teaching profession in high regard, someone who will vote his or her mind without regard to appearances and who will not be in any other board member’s  pocket,  someone who has a long and varied track record of volunteerism that began further back than six months before he or she filed for office, someone whose children are at least in high school so that they have some familiarity with  all levels of education.  someone who has  a successful employment  record and work ethic and whose work allows for attendance at all  board meetings,  someone who understands that the only employee of the Board is the Superintendent and who will hold that person accountable and not be a rubber stamp,  someone who can represent all geographic areas  of the district,  someone who has exhibited leadership qualities in other arenas so that when the time comes to display those qualities as a board member, he or she will be able to do so in a creditable and responsible  manner, someone who will treat all people in our community with respect and dignity and who will refrain from arrogance,  someone who will be willing to read the vast amounts of material that are required for responsible board membership, who can comment on it intelligently,  and who will not make fun of those who consider this job a serious responsibility, someone who believes in realistic term limits and who is not on an ego trip,  someone who is not just a community or business  acquaintance but someone whose beliefs are in accord with your own.  And finally someone who is honest and trustworthy....


Mary McGarr