In unanimous votes by the Katy ISD Board of Trustees, Stephanie McElroy was promoted to principal of Bear Creek Elementary School while Shannon Smith was appointed principal at Shafer Elementary …
In unanimous votes by the Katy ISD Board of Trustees, Stephanie McElroy was promoted to principal of Bear Creek Elementary School while Shannon Smith was appointed principal at Shafer Elementary School. The board also discussed options for graduation ceremonies, eventually supporting an outdoor, socially distanced group of ceremonies in June and July.
McElroy began teaching with Katy ISD in 1998 as a fifth-grade teacher. She later moved to Sealy ISD to become assistant principal at Selman Intermediate School and was later promoted to principal at that educational institution, according to a Katy ISD press release. Afterwards, she transferred to Fort Bend ISD as the associate principal of curriculum and development at Sartartia Middle School. In 2015, she became principal of Navarro Middle School in the Lamar Consolidated School District. McElroy has a bachelors degree from Sam Houston State University and a Masters Degree from the University of Houston in Clear Lake.
Smith first began as a teacher at Berry Middle School in Mesquite, Texas in 2005. She was promoted to testing coordinator for that campus in 2009. She later became assistant principal at Sherman High School in Sherman, Texas. In 2012 she relocated to the Cypress Fairbanks ISD just north and east of Katy ISD where she returned to a teaching role. Smith joined Katy ISD as assistant principal at Exley Elementary in 2015 and three years later moved to Taylor High School as assistant principal there. Smith received her bachelors degree from Texas Tech University and her masters degree from Texas A&M Commerce.
Katy ISD Superintendent Ken Gregorski briefed Katy ISD’s trustees regarding options allowed under guidance from the office of Tex. Gov. Greg Abbott. The guidelines allow for three options, Gregorski said.
“We were waiting as a district to receive further guidance from the state and from the (Texas Education Agency),” Gregorski said. “Some of you may or may not know – TEA was tasked with providing districts a variety of parameters that they could give to us for hosting our graduations.”
The first option of having the usual graduation ceremonies at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in downtown Katy was not possible, because Abbott’s guidelines required social distancing and outdoor ceremonies.
The second option was to have an outdoor ceremony with graduation ceremonies taking place at Legacy Stadium’s Johnston Field, located at 1830 Katyland Drive, near the intersection of Franz Road and Katy Hockley Cutoff Road.
“We continue to have dates on hold for June and July for an in-person graduation and we’d always hoped to get back into our (Leonard E. Merrell Center) and have traditional graduations the way we’ve always had them, but that does not look like an option,” Gregorski said.
A third, virtual option for graduation was also discussed, wherein students would walk the stage but not be gathered as a group and copies of digitally produced ceremonies would be provided to graduates and their families. Gregorski said the feedback he’d gotten from parents and the community as a whole was that the virtual option was not sufficient to honor Katy ISD’s 2020 graduates.
Three Katy ISD Board of Trustees members have seniors graduating including Board President Courtney Doyle, Trustee Dawn Champaigne and Trustee Duke Keller.
Board members asked Gregorski and other staff about the district’s ability to ensure safety for students and other graduation attendees. Staff said plans to ensure safety and reduce risk to student, staff and graduation guest health were possible and the district could implement a plan to preserve safety for an outdoor event at Legacy Stadium.
After discussion, the board took no formal action but reached an informal consensus supporting the outdoor ceremony option. Gregorski said staff would work to implement a plan for the outdoor ceremony and inform students and those celebrating graduation with them of that process in the near future.
“Our goal has always been to provide an in-person graduation for all of our graduates,” Gregorski said. “We feel that’s what our graduates deserve; that’s what our families want and that continues to be our goal to do.”