Leadership Katy: Leading by Example

Leadership Katy was created and designed to show our community the workings of Katy ISD from the inside out. The idea was to provide community members with an encompassing and broad yet behind-the-scenes look into this great school district. Think of it like going to a great restaurant where you also get to meet the chef, take a tour of the freezer and hear how the menu was planned and designed.

By Rebecca Fox, Katy ISD Board President –

Ten years ago, Kris Taylor, Executive Director for Communications, and Janet Theis, Director of Community Partnerships, were looking for a method to give the community a way to look, really look in depth at Katy ISD. The purpose was to allow community members to understand the breadth of the work that happens inside Katy ISD, interact with the great people who run it and see first-hand the work that is done on behalf of students and teachers every day. Taylor and Theis looked at other districts for ideas and didn’t find any, so they created and built Leadership Katy. It was launched in 2003 with 50 members who became co-architects of the program.  Their experiences and input helped shape this unique program and provide the relevance and impact for over 800 participants in the past decade.

The members of Leadership Katy have ridden all over the district, visited nearly every campus, bus barn, food services and police department. They have talked to people in Katy ISD’s Teaching and Learning Division and have seen how children are instructed, the importance of assessment and the technology first hand. They have understood demographics and growth.  Theis said, “They have worn their walking shoes and worn them well.”

Leadership Katy has been recognized by both Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA), and the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), and now other school districts come to Katy to learn how to involve the community in their school districts. In fact, several of them have copied the model. The majority of each year’s Leadership Katy members are nominated by campus principals, ensuring that every corner of the district is represented in each year’s class.

The key to the success of Leadership Katy is the administrators who have graciously welcomed these groups into their world and so competently shared their knowledge with our community. The Leadership Katy members have embraced the program and continue to instruct and inform the larger community. This program is a wonderful learning opportunity for people interested in being involved with Katy ISD in a deeper manner. Many of these members have gone on to serve at a district level in advisory groups for district programs, guide bond issues, select district teachers of the year and more. All Leadership Katy alums enjoy an open invitation to attend any and all Leadership Katy meetings at any time during the school year.