Katy, TX Blog (June 5, 2017) – Seven Lakes High School graduate Caitlin Ricketts is now traveling the world modeling for top name brands

Written by Debbie McDaniel 

As a young girl growing up in Katy, Texas, Caitlin Ricketts only dreamed of the life she’s now living as a model for the Wilhelmina Agency in New York City. “I love being from Katy and I’m so happy I have all of my family still in Katy to come home to,” she says. She grew up in Katy ISD, attending Roosevelt Alexander Elementary School, Beckendorff Junior High School, and Seven Lakes High School. “I have lived in New York City for years now, but Katy will always be my home and a place to bring me back to reality.”

A Big Break
Ricketts was introduced to modeling at a young age. “I started modeling when I was a baby for brands like Foley’s and Palais Royal and stopped when I was about 5 years old. It wasn’t until I was 14 when my older sister Chelsea convinced me to try it out again and go to an open call for Abercrombie.” Ricketts shares how she ended up booking the job, and saw that she loved it. “I realized then how much fun and exciting it was!” The Abercrombie job jump-started her career. “It just took off after that,” she adds. Ricketts went on to sign with the New York agency Wilhelmina Models when she was 16. She moved to NYC and has been there five years now, modeling full time. “Since then, I’ve worked for brands like CoverGirl, which was one of my big dreams, Maybelline, and Garnier, and have had the opportunity to live in so many amazing countries such as South Korea, London, Japan, and Australia,” she says.

Traveling, People, & Projects
She shares that while traveling is one of the most exciting parts of her job, it can also be one of the most challenging. “I’m thankful for the chance to travel the world, and even though it can be hard to be gone for months at a time, I wouldn’t change a thing about it,” says Ricketts, who has been to 26 countries in the last few years. “My next stop is Iceland and I can’t wait.” Another fun part of her career are the people and projects. “I have had the chance to work with so many talented people like Bruce Weber and Bobbi Brown. I also had the pleasure of being a part of so many fun ads for brands such as LeSportsac and Kendra Scott, and magazines like Glamour and Shape.”

A career in modeling may seem glamorous, but Ricketts still embraces the Texas girl she truly is. “I love Tex-Mex, burgers and fries, and of course, some good ole’ Texas barbeque,” she laughs. “I grew up going to the rodeo every year and spent Friday nights dancing with my high school drill team during football season. I still cheer on the Texans from NYC and am a big fan of JJ Watt.”

Ricketts says she treasures her family, and also loves a glass of red wine and an episode of Game of Thrones. A great sense of humor is vital in her life and industry, and she recalls one of her most embarrassing moments. “I embarrass myself daily, but one memory that sticks out the most is when I dropped a shampoo bottle in a store and it busted open. I then ended up slipping in the mess and falling on my face right in front of the checkout line.”

Being looked to as a fashion icon isn’t always easy, but she describes her style as a mix of being very feminine and girly one day, to being very tomboy and gothic the next. “My style is ever-changing,” she adds. Ricketts encourages other young women to embrace their dreams and go after them no matter how big or small they might seem. She says her favorite quote has always been, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” KM


  • CoverGirl
  • Glamour Magazine
  • Seventeen Magazine
  • Maybelline
  • Shape Magazine
  • Garnier
  • Kendra Scott
  • Abercrombie
  • LeSportsac
  • Marie Claire Magazine
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Katy, TX Blog (May 22, 2017) – LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch will now be offering shuttle and valet to the public for free.

  • Valet: Thursday – Sunday, 4 – 11 p.m.
  • Shuttle: Daily, 12 – 8 p.m.
Courtesy of LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch 

Visit lacenterra.com.


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Katy, Texas (May 2, 2017) – The Katy Flyer was built by American Car & Foundry in 1953 as 44-seat coach No. 5468. It was renamed the Katy Flyer in 1993.

In 1896, the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railroad announced the inauguration of the Katy Flyer, with service between St. Louis, Mo., and southwest Texas. By 1905, “The Fast Train to St. Louis” raced between Galveston, Texas, and St. Louis in about 37 hours. The Flyer carried a boilerbuffet-sleeper for the convenience of those passengers who wished to have their meals served aboard the train. Other passengers were permitted to detrain at Parsons, McAlester or Dallas, Texas, to eat at the company-owned dining station where “the price is only fifty cents and the railway spares no pains or expenses to please the most fastidious.”

By the mid-1920s, the Texas Special and Katy Limited were receiving most of the attention on the Katy. Nevertheless, Nos. 5 and 6 still carried the St. Louis-to-Galveston passengers, handling not fewer than six sleepers, many of them destined for San Antonio, which Katy proclaimed “The Winter Playground of America.” In 1936, for the Texas centennial, the temporarily renamed Katy Centennial Flyer carried tourists to a variety of celebrations on the Katy’s service area.

By the end of World War II, the Katy Flyer was on a downward slide, meal services were cut back, and by 1961 the train name disappeared, with Nos. 5 and 6 offering only coach service. All passenger service ended June 30, 1965. Nonetheless, Katy and its passenger train service played an important role in opening and promoting the Texas Southwest. No Katy train was more prominent in this effort than the Katy Flyer.

Courtesy of Union Pacific 
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Katy, TX News (April 19, 2017) – The dates for early voting and election day for the 2017 Katy ISD Board election have been announced. The Board is comprised of seven members who are elected at-large to fill available positions. In accordance with the provisions of the Texas Education Code, a person may not be elected as a trustee of Katy ISD unless the person is a qualified voter.

An individual seeking election as a member of the Board of Trustees must have been a resident of the state for 12 months and a resident of the District six months prior to the last date on which the candidate could file to be listed on the ballot. The following persons have filed as candidates for the upcoming election.

Dates, candidate information, polling information, and more below.


Monday, April 24, 2017 – Tuesday, May 2, 2017 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Cinco Ranch High School
    23440 Cinco Ranch Blvd.
  • Morton Ranch High School
    21000 Franz Rd.
  • Seven Lakes High School
    9251 S. Fry Rd.
  • Taylor High School
    20700 Kingsland Blvd.
  • Leonard Merrell Center
    Rooms 143 – 144
    6301 S. Stadium Ln.


Election Day is Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Precinct 1 – Seven Lakes High School
    9251 S. Fry Rd.
  • Precinct 2 – Cinco Ranch High School
    23440 Cinco Ranch Blvd.
  • Precinct 3 – Katy City Hall
    901 Avenue C.
  • Precinct 4 – Katy Municipal Court Building
    5432 Franz Rd.
  • Precinct 5 – Hayes Elementary
    21203 Park Timbers Ln.
  • Precinct 6 – Taylor High School
    20700 Kingsland Blvd.
  • Precinct 7 – Maurice Wolfe Elementary
    502 Addicks-Howell
  • Precinct 8 – Morton Ranch High School
    21000 Franz Rd.
  • Precinct 9 – Mayde Creek Junior High
    2700 Greenhouse Rd.
  • Precinct 10 – Bear Creek Elementary
    4815 Hickory Downs
  • Precinct 11 – Pattison Elementary
    19910 Stonelodge Dr.
  • Precinct 12 – Shafer Elementary
    5150 Ranch Point Dr.
  • Precinct 13 – Beck Junior High
    5200 S. Fry Rd.

Click here to locate your precinct based on county boundaries.


Position 3 Candidates 

  • Candice Perkins
  • Ashley Diehl Vann
  • Dr. David Velasquez

Position 4 Candidates

  • Courtney Doyle
  • Carlos Young

Position 5 Candidates

  • Henry Dibrell
  • William E. “Bill” Lacy

Courtesy of Katy ISD. Visit katyisd.org for more information .

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Katy, TX (March 29, 2017) – Katy Magazine gives a shout-out to all the good news happening in our community.

Compiled by Katy Magazine’s Editors

Katy ISD’s Lunch Angel
An anonymous donor contributed $650 to pay off negative balances for free and reduced lunch students at Mayde Creek Junior High, Cardiff Junior High, Mayde Creek Elementary, and Mayde Creek High School.

Katy Million Meal Pack-A-Thon
Host churches Redeemer Community Church, The Fellowship, and Westland Baptist Church held an event where 626,000 Feed the Hunger meal packages were packed by 2,500 Katy area volunteers.

Katy High School Faculty
Faculty and staff raised $4,450 to donate to The Ballard House.

Santa Cops
Katy ISD’s Santa Cops program helped 674 children and more than 330 families by providing toys and clothing.

Raising Cane’s
The chicken finger restaurant sold white plush puppies to patrons. The sales of the puppies went to help the animals at Special Pals Shelter.

Fort Bend Rancher’s Ball
The ball raised almost $290,000 through the hard work and dedication of Katy residents as well as Commissioner Andy Meyers. The money has been donated to Katy Christian Ministries, Simonton Christian Academy, and Katy Contemporary Arts Museum.

Watercrest at Katy
Residents of Watercrest at Katy raised $1,746 to donate to Katy Christian Ministries.

During an evening charity event, the upscale clothing boutique donated 20% of its sales to Clothed by Faith.

Cinco Ranch Giving Circle
The members, made up of Katy area residents, collected $1,521 to donate to Child Advocates of Fort Bend.

Employees brought clothing items to their company party and donated everything to Hope Impacts.

Impress Computers
The company collected teddy bears to donate to the Joe Joe Bear Foundation.

Fulshear Police Department
For every Red, White, & Rescue calendar sold, the police department donated funds to Special Pals Shelter.

Camp Bow Wow
Katy Employees and patrons dropped off pet food, toys, and other needed items for animals in foster care.

Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch
The health and fitness club partnered with Cigna to offer free health screenings to help people find out their four health numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and BMI.

BH Hair Studio
The salon gave away free makeovers to five lucky patrons.

Girl Scout Troop 129068
Scouts prepared pancakes, bacon, and eggs for dinner, then served them to residents at The Ballard House.

Katy Triathlon at Firethorne
The event raised more money than expected and is increasing scholarships from $1,500 to $2,000.

Houston Methodist West Hospital
Volunteers from the hospital visited families delivering teddy bears donated by Beckendorff Junior High, tigers from Katy Junior High, and blankets donated by National Charity League Katy Chapter.


Have something GOOD to share? Email good@katymagazine.com.
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Katy, TX News (March 8, 2017) – Teachers can get their coffee fix every Monday during the school year at one of these McDonald’s locations.

Seven Meadows
7104 S. Fry Rd.

Cross Creek Ranch
6748 FM 1463, Fulshear

Spring Green
27140 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Stop by and present a school ID for a free small McCafe coffee.


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Katy, TX – November 22, 2016 Over the past few weeks, Katy ISD hosted dedication ceremonies for two of their newest schools, MayDell Jenks Elementary and Catherine Bethke Elementary. The Katy community, Board of Trustees, Fort Bend County officials, and the namesakes themselves, MayDell Krivacka Jenks, and Catherine Gigi Bethke, were all in attendance.


These new schools were designed and built as a result of the district’s $748 million bond referendum approved by voters in November of 2014. VLK Architects was hired by Katy ISD to work in collaboration with the district and the community to create a new two-story elementary school prototype with Bethke and Jenks as the first schools to open. The hope with these new schools is to inspire students and engage different learning styles through the availability of collaborative and flexible spaces. In addition, these new facilities were constructed to address and accommodate Katy ISD’s increasing student population.

“I could not be more proud to have this opportunity to open a new state-of-the-art facility,” said Katy ISD Superintendent, Dr. Lance Hindt. “I am in awe to see the student adaptability and creativity as they develop individual modes of learning and collaboration through the use of flexible spaces.”

At the Jenks Elementary School Dedication Ceremony, Principal Troy Kemp spoke about how humbling it is to be a part of and represent Jenks in his role as principal. “This week the ‘Book of Awesome’ showed up in my mailbox,” said Kemp. “It is a book filled with pages of the little things in life that can turn an ordinary day into something very special. While opening a new school is by no means a little thing, I have to say it is awesome! It’s awesome in the traditional sense that it is something to be enjoyed, revered, and respected. It is also awesome because of the children and the families that I have gotten to know by being a part of this school.”

Mike Schofield, Texas House of Representatives, District 132 attended the Bethke Dedication Ceremony and spoke about how valuable it is to attend a new school and have the opportunity to pass wisdom down to descendants. “Fifty years from now, when some of the students who attend Bethke Elementary are retiring and happen to be driving by with their grandchildren, they will tell them ‘this is where I went to school. This is where I learned the lessons that I passed on to your parents, and they passed on to you,” said Schofield. “I can’t think of a higher calling or a better use for a piece of land than to be the place where that happens.”

Katy ISD’s Board of Trustees President, Rebecca Fox spoke at both dedication ceremonies and mentioned how much she enjoys seeing new campuses open within her own community. “There are no words that explain what a privilege and honor it is to represent you on Katy ISD’s School Board,” said Fox. “We are just so grateful that we get to be a part of a community that values education. You all have been supportive of us as we continue to grow and make more opportunities for our students to learn.”

These projects have been a two-year journey to completion which was a success that greatly benefited from the cooperation of the district, bringing these campuses to life.

“I just want to say thank you to the Katy ISD community for the opportunity to design learning spaces that will be used by your next generation of learners,” said Todd Lien, VLK Principal. “It was truly a collaborative effort and we could not be more grateful.”

Courtesy of VLK Architects
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Dear Editor,

I married a beautiful lady here in Katy, last December. She encouraged me to write poetry, after my brain surgery a year ago, to keep my mind (what’s left of it) sharp. So I began to try & then began to post what I wrote on my Facebook page.

I call them T.P.O.T.D, which stands for “The Poem Of The Day” in abbreviation. I refer to my postings as “Fruit from the Poet’s Tree” and today’s plucking was inspired by how much I’ve come to love Katy. I was born in Austin & still maintain a house there. I tell Roxanna (my sweet, amazing bride) that it’s now our vacation home, since we are in Katy the vast majority of our time.

I’ll always love Austin too, but never wrote a poem about it. That brings me to why I am writing “a letter to the editor”. Below is my T.P.O.T.D. I hope this doesn’t waste your time. I appreciate your efforts to publish a fine magazine, which I always enjoy reading.

My T.P.O.T.D.:


rr town

Katy Was a Rail-Road Town
Back when folks were
“West-ward HOO & Bound!”
looking for a future & a
brand new town to found.
And I certainly should mention:
’twas the Missouri Kansas Texas extension,
called then by the old brand of
“Union Pacific – Southern Branch”
It went passing along & thru quite a few
farms to market &/or ranch,
soon, that name got grounded
& dropped out of contention,
in favor of a line that became simply known
as the M.K.T. Folks in Texas just liked the way
that “M.K.T.” sounded.
Yes, most of them would agree.

As the Metro-plex of Houston grew
& Katy, Texas was still brand new,
just how fast Katy would grow?
Who knew?
But it sure would not be slow.

As the railroad started laying tracks back in 1895,
The town that James Oliver Thomas was busy
laying out, began to come alive!
Giving it the name of Katy,
He knew that it would thrive,
long before that first M.K.T. railroad train
was scheduled to arrive.
Expecting vast prosperity, folks began to come.
either by the new locomotives,
or in wagon-trains came some.

The original depot station
still stands & holds the memory
of the founders, then filled with elation,
That made Katy come to be.
So, if in the vicinity,
stop in so you can see
the beauty long ago
brought here by the M.K.T.
Yours Truly, George Knaak

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Growing up in Katy was one of the best things my parents could have done for me. I was raised a Winborn Eagle, A Katy Tiger, and a member of girl scouts, KYF, and more. Although I didn’t get to fulfill my dream of being a Katy Tiger, I was still able to appreciate everything Katy had to offer. However, besides a great education and amazing town experiences from little league games to the Katy Rice Harvest Festival, my most favorite treasures are my friends.

College station
Diane Winborn Eagles to Texas A&M Aggies
(Left to Right: Ashley McElmurry ’15, Brecklyn Gordon ’15, and Stephanie Ellis ’15)

At the age of four years old, my parents enrolled me in Williamsburg Country Day School and it was there that I met some of my best friends. Soon after, I began my six years at Diane Winborn Elementary, and met some of the best friends that I still have today.

Growing up in Katy made it easy to grow with these friends. We all did girl scouts and attended local town events. We joined the community and participated in almost everything together, even leaving home. Fast forward through high school, and we have arrived at June 2011. We all graduated from High School and were ready to leave Katy. Most of us went to the same place, the place I have called home for the past four years.

One by one, we all traveled to College Station. Some of us went straight to Texas A&M and some of us enrolled at Blinn in hopes to one day be an Aggie. With all these people here, the transition was supposed to be easy. However, I found myself missing home. I started going home a lot, and taking advantage of all of my childhood experiences. I went and rode the rides at the Rice Harvest Festival, sat at Starbucks in La Centerra, and walked around Katy Mills Mall as if I was 13 again. Although this was fun and all, I knew I had to let go, and fully immerse myself in this Aggie town. Lucky for me, I still had a few of my best friends left with me to make these past couple of years easier.

As my roommate and hometown best friend was receiving her ring the other day, it dawned on me that I had to do something I have never done before. I needed to stop and appreciate everything my hometown has done for me. It brought me friends for life and as we all realize that we are permanently connected through the Aggie Network, we acknowledge the fact that we are connected from our hometown roots as well.

Now as a senior in college, I can say that it is time to come home. When I graduated high school I thought I was ready to leave my little home called Katy, Texas. Now, as a more wise soon to be college graduate I can say that I finally appreciate home. So from Katy to College Station, and back home again I go.

By Ashley McElmurry

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Katy, TX News (January 29, 2015) – The City of Katy has selected Blackboard Connect, a leading mass notification platform, to facilitate important communication and emergency preparedness. The first community-wide test call will be held on Thursday, January 29, 2015.  A test call to business will launch at 2 pm and the test call to residents will launch at 6:30 pm.

The City of Katy implemented Blackboard Connect so that officials can stay connected to residents and efficiently provide them with direction in the event of severe weather warning, planned and unplanned all-hazard events or community events as well.  Using Blackboard Connect, officials can record and send an unlimited number of personalized voice messages to home phones, businesses, local agencies and mobile phones in just minutes. The service also sends email, text messages (SMS) to mobile phones and posts on Facebook, RSS feeds and Twitter channels. Messages can also be sent to TTY/TDD devices for people who are hearing impaired.

“Keeping our community safe and informed is our top priority, which is why we need to be able to communicate with residents quickly in an urgent situation,” said Maria Galvez, City of Katy’s Emergency Management Coordinator.  “Katy•Connect, powered by Blackboard Connect enables us to communicate efficiently with residents in just a matter of minutes, helping save valuable time, use resources efficiently and protect our community.”

City officials can target each message to an unlimited number of groups. Authorized users can also use the system’s geo-mapping and group subscription features to contact residents based on specific geographical locations and interests, helping ensure recipients receive relevant, targeted information.

“With Katy•Connect – powered by Blackboard, we know our residents are receiving the information that matters most to them, whether it’s an urgent situation or routine community update,” said Mrs. Galvez. “I strongly encourage residents to register their contact information and update their message preferences into the system’s secure database so they are prepared to receive important notifications.”

Publicly available primary residential and business phones in the City of Katy will automatically be included in the system. However, to ensure the City has the most up-to-date contact information, including cell phone numbers and email addresses, residents should visit the City of Katy website at www.cityofkaty.com  and click on the link that says “SIGN UP NOW – SERVICES BY BLACKBOARD CONNECT” in the KatyConnect portal and provide their complete contact information. Users should also manage their message preferences by indicating their preferred mode of contact, language and message topics. You may also opt-in to receive information directly from the PARKS & RECREATION portal as well as PUBLIC WORKS.  Those without Internet access are encouraged to call 281-574-8638 to provide their current information. Residents with call blocking services should add that phone number to their approved number list to ensure they receive important notifications from the city.  All opted-in SMS messages will be sent from a 23177 or 63079 number.

“Targeted communication is the best way to keep residents safe and allows them to receive the information that matters most to them,” said Ed Miller, president of Blackboard’s administrative platform group. “With Blackboard Connect, administrators can ensure the right messages get to the right people.”

For more information about Blackboard Connect, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/connect.

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An inside look at Katy ISD’s dedicated board of trustees

Written by Shetye Cypher | Photography courtesy of Katy ISD

As one of the fastest growing communities in the nation, Katy ISD is the perfect combination of long-standing tradition and a cutting edge approach to learning. Through collaboration, commitment, and a desire for greatness, the Katy ISD board of trustees is always striving to provide the best educational experience possible for Katy students.

KM_14_Katy ISD Board of TrusteesGroup 4x5 Large
The Katy ISD Board of Trustees (Back Row from Left to Right: Charles Griffin, Ashley Vann, Joe M. Adams, and Courtney Doyle. Front Row from Left to Right: Rebecca Fox, Bryan Michalsky, and Henry Dibrell.)

Bryan Michalsky, President

  • Is the CFO of Cotton Holdings, Inc.
  • Has lived in Katy for six years
  • Was a Bearkat cheerleader for Sam Houston State University
  • Was elected to the board in May 2012

Both lifelong educators, Bryan Michalsky’s parents instilled the importance of a good education early on, which he feels
had a huge impact. “I love children, which to me is the first prerequisite to serve on the board,” he says. He also truly believes that the board has made strides in engaging the community over the past two years since he has served.

In addition to his passion for education, his professional experience provides him with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions. He loves that Katy ISD provides its students many opportunities to learn and succeed. “From athletics, to fine arts, to FFA, Katy ISD does a remarkable job of educating the whole student and preparing them for a fulfilling life,” says Michalsky.

Henry Dibrell, Vice President

  • Plays the drums and was in a band that traveled around the U.S.
  • Is a licensed minister
  • Is a flag football coach at CrossPoint Community Church
  • Was elected to the board in May 2011

Henry Dibrell refers to the involvement of parents and community volunteers as the “secret sauce” behind Katy ISD’s success. “We have an opportunity in Katy to change the face of education for all young people,” he says. “Katy is a great community. We have a bright future. As we continue to grow, we must work together to ensure that greatness continues and is passed down to the next generation.”

Dibrell decided to run for the board out of a passion for seeing young people achieve. He believes the board’s mission is to make sure every child in the community has access to unparalleled learning experiences. “Education is the great equalizer in our society. In this great nation, if you have a good education and work hard you can achieve great things. The key to the preservation of our liberties is an educated populous,” he says.

Rebecca Fox, Secretary

  • Has served in PTA’s, the VIPS executive board, and the Katy Council of PTA executive board
  • Has lived in six countries
  • Works as a motivational speaker

No matter the strengths, challenges, or interests of students, having talented educators ready to teach and inspire is what Rebecca Fox loves about Katy ISD. “I love children of all ages and watching them learn new things. Giving them opportunities that meet their individual strengths makes me excited,” she says.

Fox could not be more proud of the amazing programs that Katy ISD offers students, from fine arts to special needs. “I have attended countless graduations and shaken thousands of hands, and I still get misty-eyed every time I hear the music as they walk the stage and throw their caps into the air. It’s my favorite time of year. I am so proud of them, and happy that they are prepared for the future.”

Charles Griffin, Treasurer

  • Retired from the U.S. Air Force
  • Coached by Gary Joseph at Katy High School
  • Third-generation Katy grad
  • Elected to the board in May 2012

In Charles Griffin’s travels around the world, he has seen the value of a great education. Having lived almost his entire life in Katy, he wants to help restore the trust of the community in the district. “I grew up in Katy and moved back here so my children could have the same great experiences. I wanted to give something back to the district having received so much myself,” he says.

Griffin believes that being a leader includes being honest, loyal, steadfast, and of sound character. He feels the current board’s vision statement works well. “It was put together by this community and covers all the important needs of our students, community, and the district,” he says.

Courtney Doyle, Sergeant-at-Arms

  • Mother of six children
  • Active in PTA and as a community volunteer
  • Secretly wants to adopt six more children
  • Was elected to the board in May 2014

Courtney Doyle feels she is acutely aware of the importance of all kids being given an opportunity to learn. She felt running for the board was a unique opportunity to add another woman’s voice to the leadership. “I want to continue to aid in opening the lines of communication between
the district and the community. We not only have to communicate our goals to those who have been in Katy forever, we have to engage and find unique opportunities to communicate effectively to families who are new to the area,”
she says.

Doyle loves walking the halls of the schools and spending time at extracurricular events. The students brighten her day and her outlook on the future. “Children have a way of sharing hope without even knowing they are doing so. They are innocent, quick to love, quick to laugh, and eager to be great,” says Doyle.

Ashley Vann, Member

  • Graduate of James E. Taylor High School
  • Third-generation community servant
  • Vann and her mother were the founding members of the National Charity League – Katy Chapter
  • Was elected to the board May 2014

Ashley Vann feels that being a Katy resident means that you are a part of something great. “People move to the Katy area for the Katy ISD schools, and I love being a part of this district – its past, its present, and its future,” she says.

A James E. Taylor High School graduate, Vann has served in leadership positions for over a decade in Katy ISD. She is a third generation community servant who felt a calling to do more for the school district. “I campaigned honestly and tirelessly. I communicated clearly, and truly committed to do this job with all of my heart the minute I filed,” says Vann.

Vann also loves that even though the district is significantly larger than when she was a student, it still feels like a small town. “As a product of public education, I always believed my children would be, too,” says Vann. “Education is more than just the classroom. It is hands on learning outside the four walls of a school building. It is achieved through mentoring, the many co-curricular activities that are available, and the fundamental basis and commitment that exists at home.”

Joe M. Adams, Member

  • Has been a proud Katyite since 1986
  • Has held every board position at least once
  • Is a private pilot and owns his own plane
  • Has been a member of the board sine 1989

Joe Adams believes that the board’s job is managing the district along with the superintendent. He says the board wants to continue to improve the district so all students have opportunities to excel. “Education is important for our students because they are our future. One day they might be my doctor, my mechanic, or even the president of the U. S.,” says Adams. “We need to make sure every student is prepared for the next step in life, whatever that might be.”

Adams is confident in the opportunities Katy ISD can offer. “I cannot tell you how many times people have told me that their children have done well in college because of the education they received in Katy ISD,” says Adams. “We need to be proud of our district, our leadership, administration, and teachers. We are all in this together and it is important for us to be successful.” KM

Shetye Cypher is a freelance writer who is also the journalism teacher and publications advisor at Tompkins High School.

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Katy Fire Department hires a four-legged firefighter

Written by Kirsten Cornell|Photography by Christopher Rodriguez

Katy, TX News – When Lt. Shane Hughes of the Katy Fire Department (KFD) first thought about adding a four-legged team member to their department, a Dalmatian was a natural choice. “Like any family thinking of getting a dog, we had to carefully consider everything that goes along with pet ownership: costs, vet care, who would walk her, etc.,” says Laurie Conrad, firefighter and president of the Katy Fire and EMS Association. “Everyone in the department had to agree before we would proceed.”

KM_F_14_Katy Dalmatian_Katy with firefighter gear 2_photo by Kristofor Rodriguez
Katy is a rescue Dalmatian at the Katy Fire Department

Rescuing Katy
After considering their options, KFD decided they preferred giving a rescue dog a good home. Beth White of Dalmatian
Rescue of Colorado put them in touch with Jeanne, a woman who was fostering a Dalmatian in League City. Lt. Hughes
met with Jeanne and the foster dog to evaluate her demeanor and evaluate whether or not she would make a good fit.

“A few days later, Jeanne brought her to the station for a site visit,” Conrad recalls. “We fell in love with her immediately, and I believe the feeling was mutual.” They appropriately named their new team member, Katy. She was reportedly rescued from an animal hoarder and had only been in foster care a few days before coming to live at KFD. “She was very thin, but otherwise in good health,” says Conrad. “We knew when we rescued a dog that we would have to give her plenty of time and space to settle in.”

Other than being a little protective of her toys at first, Katy adjusted very quickly. “It almost seemed like she had never had her own toys and wanted to protect them. When we gave them to her, she ran and hid them in her kennel,” says Conrad. With the safety and security of constant love and attention, Katy now feels right at home – and her toys can be found all over the station.

KM_F_14_Katy Dalmatian_Katy Fire Dept. C shift pose in front of a antique Chevelot Firetruck 2_photo by Kristofor Rodriguez
Katy Fire Department works 24 hours on three shifts with Katy being assigned two handlers per shift to ensure consistency

Training as a Firedog
Katy is an official City of Katy employee, has a photo ID just like the rest of her team members, and her training number is D01. Although she has not been to a working fire yet, she Katy Fire Department works 24 hours on three shifts with Katy being assigned two handlers per shift to ensure consistencyhas been on the fire truck during her training exercises and has done very well. “She will eventually be responding to all calls. She loves to be on-the-go and anywhere we are,” adds Conrad.

Katy lives at the fire station, and although she has her own space, has been known to sneak into a few dorm rooms. During shift changes, she makes the rounds, greeting each member of the on-coming shift and saying goodbye to the off-going shift. “She seems to have an awareness that we come and go and which people belong together,” Conrad laughs.

Mac Macintosh, a trainer with 48 years of experience who has also worked with Katy Police Department canines, has donated his time and service to work with Katy and her handlers. He notes that Katy is very intelligent, a quick learner, and eager to please.

Spotting Katy
Katy’s primary role will be in public relations. She will be a key component at events and station tours, and will
ultimately demonstrate fire safety techniques such as, “stop, drop, and roll.” “We hope that she will make a great impression on kids,” Conrad adds. Katy will be making several public appearances in the community, especially at schools, and KFD is excited to be able to utilize her in this capacity. “She is energetic but very even-tempered, perfectly suited for interacting with the public,” says Conrad.

If you take a tour of the station, you’re sure to spot Katy greeting guests or chasing her favorite toy, a stuffed green avocado, and generally loving her new home. “KFD is truly like a family and Katy completes our family,” says Conrad. “She is our companion, but she also has a job to do. We love our jobs, and we think Katy does, too.” KM

Kirsten Cornell is the lead associate editor at Katy Magazine. She is the daughter of a firefighter, but they regrettably did not have a Dalmatian.

Katy the Firedog visits Katy Magazine (6)
Katy Magazine had the pleasure of meeting Katy Fire Department’s newest team member

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Katy ISD parents Vince and Pam Zinnante speak out on the Katy 2014 Bond Election

Written by Pam Zinnante

Katy, TX News –  We have lived in Katy for 35 years, and have seen multiple bond issues approved to relieve overcrowding in schools. My husband and I were pleased to vote in favor of the bond that provided relief to the south side of Katy when there was an outcry that Cinco Ranch High School had hit over 3,400 students and would grow to almost 3,800 students by the time Seven Lakes High School was due to open. Within a few years, fast growth indicated the need for yet another high school serving Katy ISD south of I-10, and a community that should not take sides rightly voted in favor of another school and additional improvements and spaces to benefit all students district-wide.

Both Morton Ranch and Katy High School are hoping for relief from the expected growth in the Grand Pkwy. corridor. Those who think new buildings are unnecessary may be unaware that Morton Ranch High School is severely overcrowded. Lunch hours have to be expanded in order to be able to feed all of the students, and extra time between classes is needed to make it to outdoor temporary villages through halls too packed to navigate. How does that impact the education of students? Every minute of educational time lost matters!

So, my husband and I ask our friends and neighbors in Katy ISD to not abandon the needs of those students who would benefit from the changes suggested in the bond. This is not about a vote for a new stadium, but about the recognition that all students in Katy ISD, regardless of feeder pattern, have a need to be educated in a safe environment where the focus can be on curriculum. Thank you for voting in favor of the 2014 Bond Package, Build a Better Tomorrow Together, and supporting the education of our kids. KM

Vince and Pam Zinnante have lived in Katy for 35 years and have watched their three daughters graduate from Morton Ranch and Katy High School.

Katy Magazine would like to thank the Zinnante’s for offering their opinion on such an important issue. For information on the Bond package, visit katyisd.org.

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Four Tips on How To Manage Your Work Duties

As I write this, my pre-teen son is hassling me for a snack – he just arrived home from school with an empty stomach, and caught me in the middle of “work.”  Working at home is an on-going challenge to the life balance for sure, especially when there are children living in that same home.  It is specifically difficult to stay focused on the job at hand and the direction of a business when said children are present and hungry!

In all seriousness, though, work from home professionals are always on the prowl for advice on balancing work duties and family, as my situation currently reminds me.  Here are four tips to keeping a strong focus on your home business, in spite of your circumstances:

1.       REVIEW your priorities, REVISE your plan.  Sit down, scratch out a priority list for your business this year; what do you want to achieve in productive activity?  In profit?  In growth?  Now, examine your personal priorities: How important is family time to you?  What reasons motivated you to decide to work from home in the first place?  Was it the desire to hands-on parent more?  As you look at your business priorities in comparison to your personal ones, make sure they interact appropriately.  For instance, if your business goal is to grow by 25% in sales, you may need to output at least double that much in effort to produce those results.  That means less time available for other things, which could translate into less family time or attention.  Is the family on board with this decision, and capable of handling it?  This is just a brief idea of what needs to be laid on the table as a business owner, and family manager.  As your own experience with business and family needs are unique, and specific to you, the solution for finding a determined direction and plan will also need to be customized.  The point is to make a plan, and go from there.

2.       DECIDE – Focus on the plan no matter what. Distractions can be detrimental to your business, and I’m not talking about your children interrupting you!  Too many ideas, information overload, draining clients; these are all very real and troublesome distractions to your focus.  What it really boils down to is making a decision: a decision that you are going to achieve your goals for your business no matter what.  We all wish it was easier than that, that there is a magic formula, easy trick or miraculous event to get us from the idea to the result, but there isn’t!  Once that decision to focus on your plan has been made, other good decisions follow which lead to small successes, which lead to more successes, and then one day, you stop for a minute and look at your business and realize you are succeeding!

3. STOP making excuses for why you can’t. There will be times when you will disappoint someone, either in your business or in your personal life.  This is unavoidable, because you cannot please everyone all the time.  What you can take responsibility for, however, DO.  If there is a way to meet with your client AND make it to Billy’s game, then make it happen.  Making excuses for why you can’t do something or fulfill a responsibility will take the positive focus off your performance, and put it in a negative light on the person, which is never a good thing.

4. NEVER Give up. Sometimes you do everything in your power to stay focused and achieve results, but life gets in the way.  It happens to everyone at one time or another, the key is to keep focused on the purpose of your business.  If the purpose is still there, the focus has not really been lost, just shifted for a little while.  While you can’t keep hindrances from occurring, you can keep the goal in center vision.  Never give up on your goal.

Although distractions may come and complete concentration may go, you can keep a central path cleared on your way to achieving success in your home business.  Just use these four easy tips to re-focus on that goal, take a deep breath, and plunge back in to the daily routine.  And don’t forget to smile the next time you are interrupted by someone needing a snack!     

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Six Simple Ideas

For those of us who work from home, whether part or full-time, the quality of our workspace has a real impact on productivity.  We can make do with a card table in the corner of the living room for a while, or pop open the laptop on the kitchen table to “clock in.”  If you plan on working from home for a substantial period of time, however, establishing a pleasant and professional workspace is a must.  Here are some simple ideas to create a permanent workspace that produces creativity and consistency.

1.        Designate an area away from hub of family activity – In our house, the kitchen is where we spend 75% of our family time, so a corner desk in there for a home office would not be conducive to productive activity!  Late last year, I convinced my husband to surrender the formal dining room, and begrudgingly, he gave in.  My home office presently sits in the room opposite the kitchen and family area, separated by a wall, but still with easy access to those rooms through a back-entryway.  Now I am just steps away from the kitchen table, where I can supervise homework and other activities, but have the privacy of my own workspace at the same time.

2.       Keep the area clean and de-cluttered – If an item in the workspace is unnecessary to the work you are doing in that home office, then it should be removed from the area.  If the area is kept clean and clutter is kept out, the activity in that workspace will continue to be productive, paying work.  If the office becomes the family’s dumping grounds or the baby’s newest toy box, chances are productivity will be affected.

3.       Keep it family-friendly, but not family-central – This one can be tough, especially if you have multiple little ones.  The idea is to welcome your family into your space, especially if you work full-time from home, but ultimately, they may tend to make themselves too much “at home” while you are “at work!”  One idea is to take several breaks during work time to give them attention and care, then “clock back in.”  Another method might be to involve them in what you are doing.  If they are older children, they might even like to “work” with you; stamping/labeling envelopes, filing, stocking supplies, etc.  In the last few weeks, I’ve begun teaching my nine-year-old daughter how to type properly so that she can “work” as a transcriber for me.  She’s excited to be a part of my work and is learning a valuable skill for her own future in the meantime.

4.       Surround yourself with things you love – Put up framed pictures of your family, friends, pets, etc. to brighten your workspace and prepare you mentally to work! Surrounding yourself with things that stimulate positive, productive feelings in you will pay off in your profitability.  A couple of meaningful quotes are always a good addition, for some, it’s a unique pen or figurine.  My personal favorite object sitting in my office is my puppy, a Chihuahua/Yorkie mix, who believes her main job requirement is to warm my feet while I work!

5.       Keep temperature stable and comfortable – If possible, keep the temperature in your home office pleasant and consistent.  It is imperative that you be comfortable to be productive!  If you are too cold or too hot, you won’t be as motivated, and you’ll easily become sleepy.  Though this may sound like too simple an idea, temperature is an important factor in determining where you set up your home office.

6.       Create an atmosphere of productivity – This can be very easy to do; play your favorite music while you work, at the volume you prefer.  I personally recommend internet sites like Pandora for a free customizable radio station with very little advertising.  If you get up from your computer to take a break, the station automatically pauses after a few minutes to preserve your free play time.  Another simple way to create the ambiance is ensure plenty of lighting.  Keeping healthy munchies and your favorite beverage readily available also adds to the atmosphere.  You’ll be more productive on a comfortable full stomach than if all you can think about is lunch break!

All of these important, but easy-to-do ideas will assist you in creating a home office that promotes your creativity and self-discipline, furthering your success as a work-at-home professional.

Do you work from home in the Katy area?  What are some ideas that you have learned along the way to keep your home office comfortable, and family happy at the same time?  Share with us your thoughts!

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Katyite Offers Tips to Get a Jump on Spring Cleaning

It’s a new year again, and time for a fresh start in your home office.  Take a look around your work area: is it clean and organized?  Or, like many other home offices, is it in dire need of streamlining?  What many career professionals working from home have found is that it is not as hard to keep systems, like a paper flow filing system, in place.  It is the initial setup that can be overwhelming.  Here are some easy steps to take to tackle the daily influx of paper and mail that inevitably stack up at the end of the day.  Once you implement these five tips, you’ll eliminate the stress and mess that come with the piles, and have a system in place for a smooth working year of paper-pile freedom.

1.        Have an action system in place for the first look – Do you already have an In/Out box that is overflowing onto your desk with the kids’ school papers, or junk mail?  A smart, stylish three-part filing rack, on the desk, or hung crisply on your office wall is a great solution.  A convenient label should designate what file is for which function: To Read, To File, To Do.  Of course, this can be customized for your specific filing need (i.e. Data Input, Reports to Send, etc.)  Keep to the “one time” rule, once that paper touches your hands, it must be filed into one of those slots, to prevent “shuffling” and unnecessary stress.

2.       Begin using a single notebook for notes, reminders, drafts, etc. – Quickly rid your work space of unsightly paper scraps, post-its, and other distracting methods by consolidating all of them into one area, a medium to large notebook, designated solely for your desk.  A trainer once taught me to put all notes in one notebook, like notes during phone calls, to-do lists, even post-its, to have within easy reach in one place later.  Now I can’t live without my notebook, and I rarely ever lose information anymore!

3.       Create a simplified filing system to encourage filing consistency – For example, for a family filing system, each person in the family gets a hanging file folder with several  different manila folders – Personal Papers, School, Medical Info, etc.  Chances are, with a simple system in place, the papers leaving the “To File” box, will go straight into the correct place, and take no time, every time.  If the system is hard to understand, or is redundant or complicated, papers will pile up because the dread of filing is too much!

4.       Do it daily – I know, I know, you didn’t choose to read this article just to be told this!  However, if the daily amount of papers is dealt with on a daily basis, it will only build to that level.  If it is left to pile, it will grow – exponentially!

5.       Go paperless on as much mail as possible – This is getting easier to accomplish, as more companies are streamlining their own systems, and facilitating paperless statements, bills, etc.  When the junk mail does come in, shred it that day.  Those pieces of paper should never make it to the “To Read” bin!

So, these methods, simple as they sound, go a long way in preserving your work surface, and sanity, as you work to success in 2011!

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Bookworm Heaven In Katy 

Katy has so many libraries within the city that are open different hours of the day. I never knew Katy was filled with so many libraries within the city or near the city until I started to look for some with different hours of the day. This summer the library will be full of children and adults getting those exciting books to read as well enjoying their summer activities within the facility. Check out each library for their times and days of fun activities that are not only for children but as well for adults. Cyfair ISD and Katy ISD has also put out their summer reading list for our children but some of the libraries have them as well. Oh and the best part is that its in an air condition place! So start saving on your electricity bill this summer.
Here are some libraries that I have found near Katy or in the city:
Katy Branch is located off 5414 Franz Rd
Katy Texas 77493
Hours: Sun: Closed, Mon: 10-7, Tues: 10-7, Wed: 1-8, Thurs: 10-6, Fri: 1-6, Sat 10-5
Cinco Ranch Branch is located off 2620 Commercial Center Rd
Katy Texas 77494
Hours: Sun: Closed, Mon: 12-9, Tues: 10-9, Wed:10-6, Thurs: 10-9, Fri: 12-5, Sat: 10-5
Maud Marks Branch is located off 1815 Westgreen Blvd
Katy Texas 77450
Hours: Sun: Closed, Mon: 1-9, Tues: 10-9, Wed: 10-6, Thurs: 10-6, Fri: 1-6, Sat: 10-5
Katherine Tyra Branch (Bear Creek) is located off 16719 Clay Rd
Houston Texas 77084
Hours: Sun 1-5, Mon: 1-8, Tues: 10-6, Wed: 10-8, Thurs: 10-6, Fri: 1-6, Sat: 10-5
Cyfair College Branch is located off 9191 Barker Cypress
Cypress Texas 77433
Hours: Sun: 1-6, Mon: 7-10, Tues: 7-10, Wed: 7-10, Thurs: 7-10, Fri: 8-6, Sat: 8-6
What other fun places have you found in the city or close by that is indoors for the family to enjoy?
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“You’ll love this place!”

Fabulous Schools– Most people admit that an excellent school district is what brought them to Katy.  The Katy ISD school district is indeed impressive.   Most of the elementary, junior high, and high schools within Katy ISD are rated exemplary.  There is tremendous parent involvement within the district, and students within Katy ISD become accustomed to a rigorous academic environment.

Extra-Curricular Choices-There is no shortage of choices when it comes to extra-curricular activities in Katy.  Sports offered in Katy include Roller Hockey, Basketball, Bowling, Dodge ball, Fencing, Football, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track, Volleyball, and Baseball.  There are also many excellent dance studios, martial arts studios and art, theater and music studios.    

Friendly People-Having moved ten times in the past sixteen years, I must say that Katy ranks at the top of my friendly people cities.  In Katy, Texas, people smile, extend helping hands and make you feel as if you are finally home.

Family-Oriented-Katy is a bedroom community, and due to the strong school system, families move here in droves.  If you refer to the Katy Texas events page on the Katy Magazine website, you will find many family-oriented activities year round.

Strong Economy– Job growth and stability in the housing market are two factors that put Houston, Texas at the top of many national economic forecast lists.  In Katy, the purchase of a home is still a good investment because the economy remains stable. 

Good City Planning-In spite of the amazing growth in population, the Katy City Government is very adept at looking forward and projecting infrastructure needs.   Road expansion, housing development, and school construction remain ahead of the growth.   

Affordable Housing-Compared to any other major metropolitan area, Houston Texas boasts very affordable home prices.  I was amazed at the many choices in builders, location, and style of homes available in Katy.

The list goes on and on.  How glad I am to live in such a beautiful, safe, affordable, and friendly city.  No wonder everyone is so happy in Katy!  What do you like about Katy?  Post a comment below.

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New Health Care Law Hits Katy

It has been an interesting time for Katy residents as the Health Care and Reconciliation Act bills recently became law. Below is a list of provisions in the new legislation that all Katy residents should know.  The following items will be implemented throughout 2010. 

To be implemented immediately:

  • Employers with 50+ employees must provide breast feeding breaks to new mothers.
  • Small Business Tax Credit (for businesses with less than 50 employees) of up to 35% of employer’s contribution to health insurance. 
  • Medicare Part D rebate of $250 after you spend $2,830 in total drug spending to help fill the  “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage.
  • Adoption Tax Credit and Adoption Assistance increase of $1,000.
  • Temporary credit to organizations for investing in new therapies to prevent, diagnose and treat acute and chronic diseases.
  • Tax relief for health care professionals who work in underserved or shortage areas and have state student loans.
  • Establishes a National Health Care Workforce Commission for Health Care professionals.
  • All new health plans must provide coverage for preventative care without co-pays.
  • Requires group health plans to cover dependent children up to 26 years old.
  • Requires Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to States to create health insurance consumer assistance to receive and respond to inquiries and complaints regarding health insurance coverage.
  • Requires better screening of health care providers to reduce fraud.
  • Creates a federal council to promote healthy policies.
  • Extends Medicare payment protections for small rural hospitals.
  • Establishes a private, non-profit institute to identify national priorities and provide for research to compare the effectiveness of health treatments and strategies.
  • Offers an option to allow States to cover parents and childless adults up to 133% of the poverty level.
  • Creates new requirements of non-profit hospitals.
  • Expands and improves low-interest student loan programs, scholarships and loan repayments for health students and professions.
  • Requires BCBS organizations to have a medical loss ratio of 85% or higher to receive special tax benefits.
  • Insurers cannot cancel policies to avoid paying medical bills if a person gets sick.
  • No more lifetime limits on benefits.
  • Creates a grant program to help the States in requiring health insurance companies to submit justification for all requested premium increases.

To be implemented July 1

  • Eligible people cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • Indoor Tanning Services will be taxed an additional 10%.
  • Creates a temporary reinsurance program that helps companies provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55-64 to help with the expense of the coverage.
  • Requires the HHS to create a website for people and small businesses to find affordable state health insurance.  It will also give information regarding reinsurance for early retirees and small business tax credits.
  • Creates an investment fund for prevention and public health programs.

To be implemented by October 1

  • Insurance companies cannot cancel coverage when a person gets sick.
  • No lifetime limits on benefits.
  • Requires new group health plans to provide an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.
  • Children cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions in employer and individual plans. (Will be effective for all plans by 2014.)

My future posts will describe what the law provides from 2011 – 2020.

So how does this new law affect you and your family?  Are you happy about the new health care bill or does it cause you great concern.  Let me know what you think.  Email me at lmcland@mclandhr.com  I am running an unofficial survey and will publish the findings in a future blog.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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There are many volunteers opportunities in Katy

Several days ago, I went to my child’s elementary school for a class party.  Upon entering the classroom, I felt like a rock star!  When the children saw me, they all began saying, “Hi, Mrs. Lewis!  I remember you!  How are you?”  You see, I had been their Junior Achievement teacher, so I had taught five short Junior Achievement lessons in their classroom.  I had loved every minute!  As I walked into the classroom, I felt honored that they knew me and felt even happier as I watched my son swell with pride.  I have really enjoyed helping in the Katy School District.

I am amazed at the parent support in the Katy schools.  I have never seen more parents who are willing to donate time and energy to making the schools better.    Some parents spend hours and hours volunteering at the schools as room mothers, PTA board members, lunchroom helpers, library volunteers, workday helpers, party planners, and organizers of special programs such as PATHS, Ranger Science, and Junior Achievement.   No wonder the schools are so good in Katy!  The parent support is unmatched!  I have just started to become acquainted with all the volunteer opportunities, but, boy is it fun!    

Last week my husband and I volunteered to read in my son’s kindergarten classroom.  The children looked at us with wide, eager eyes as we read some of our favorite children’s books to them.  Since reading is a passion of mine, I was thrilled to be able to share this love with some of my son’s classmates.

Another time this year, I helped with PATHS (Parents and Teachers Helping Students).  The theme was “Traditions around the World”.  Each of the Kindergarten classrooms was decorated to look like a given country.  As children entered each classroom, they were taught about the country’s food, dress, customs and culture.  What an amazing day that was!

Opportunities abound in the Katy School district.  You can volunteer as little or as much as you are able.  If you have always wanted to be treated like a rock star, trust me, volunteering in the classroom is where it’s at! 

What has been your favorite volunteer activity in Katy?  Post a comment below.

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Ideas for Making Yourself an Invaluable Employee

KATY WORKLIFE –Katy, Texas– March 22, 2010–  In today’s competitive job market, new employees are always looking for ways to stand out and get ahead in the workplace.    Follow these tips and you will make yourself invaluable in the workplace.

  1. Bring Solutions, Not Problems. Bosses like it when you have already mulled it over and can recommend a solution. Also, be willing to help implement the solution.
  2. Provide Exceptional Customer Service. Come up with innovative ways to provide superior customer service and demonstrate it daily.
  3. Avoid Clockwatching. Employers notice who stays a little longer to finish the project and who  races out the door at 5:00 sharp.
  4. Be a Giver.  Ask yourself ‘how can I be of service to someone at work today?’ Try a random act of kindness, acknowledge someone’s hard work, or offer to take on a new project.
  5. Maintain Flexibility. Workplaces are constantly changing and nothing is ever set in stone. Employees who learn to roll with it are more valuable than ones who are too set in their ways. Never have a ‘that’s not my job’ attitude.
  6. Be a Great Communicator. Convey your expectations to others, respond to emails politely, and resolve lingering disputes in a professional manner. Bottom line – get your needs met by using positive communication skills. At the core of almost all workplace problems is miscommunication.
  7. Stay Positive. Gossiping, bickering, commiserating, and down talking others or the company never amounts to anything good. Refuse to be pulled in that direction by the negative types.
  8. Complete Projects and Follow Through. If you say you’re going to do something – do it!
  9. Bring Ideas to the Table. Take time to think about how your department or workplace processes could be done better, smarter, or faster. Suggest cost-saving measures to your supervisor when you see areas for improvement.
  10. Be  Team Minded. Try to make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the company rather than what’s in it for you.  In the long run, being a team player will benefit you because higher ups will notice your dedication to the company.

© Katy Magazine 2010

If you have more ideas or feedback about this story, let us know by posting your comment below.

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Are you making mistakes sending out resumes?

How can you get your resume to outshine everyone else’s and make it to the top of the potential employer’s pile? Try these tips for finding a professional level job in Katy or West Houston.

Individualize. Never email blast the same resume to several employers at once in the same email. Chances are they’re just going to hit the delete button.

Customize. Send your resume to each job personally and customize the objective line, subject line of the email, and introductory email/letter to fit the job you’re applying for. It may take five minutes of your time, but in the end, employers will be more likely to consider you.

Use buzzwords. Use power keywords in your resume that match the items in the job description. (But only if you have experience in these areas.)

Be email savvy. Create an email account with your name through Gmail or Yahoo and check it frequently. Never send your resume from an email address such as hotchic77@aol.com or tatoodude12@sbcglobal.net. Sorry, but aol and hotmail accounts are not very impressive to employers.

Use proper grammar in all communications – even the body of the email. You would be surprised how many young applicants write in text type or slang. Employers want you to represent their company well.

Choose a great subject line. Sending a resume without one shows a lack of attention to detail and makes it hard for the employers to notice it at all. The best subject line has the title of the position and your name. Customer Service Manager Applicant Alice Brown.

Follow up. It’s okay to send a follow up email to check on the status of the position or see if your resume was received. It shows enthusiasm for the job and most employers like that.  Only do this if you did not get response.

© Katy Magazine 2010

Do you have  a resume tip to share? Post your comment below or email editor@katymagazine.com

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CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital is one of the top employers in Katy

A Talented Workforce in an Ideal Location

Besides being a great place to live, the Katy Area is also a wonderful place to work. The community offers employers a growing, energized, and world class talent and workforce base with high educational attainment.  A majority of existing employers rate the Katy Area workforce as available, high quality, productive, and available at a reasonable cost.

Katy Workforce Stats

  • 1,564,567 civilians employed*
  • Average Unemployment Rate, 3.86%*
  • Manufacturing Employment: 167,213*
  • Engineering, Research, and Accounting workers: 105,928*
  • High Workforce Participation Rate in Katy ISD: 70.17%
* within a 30 mile radius
Source: Nielsen Claritas, a division of The Nielsen Company (US), LLC 2008  This information may not be redistributed.

Suburban Atmosphere

The Katy Area, a rapid population growth center located west of Houston, enjoys the benefits of being part of the Houston Metro area. Katy offers a quality suburban atmosphere, “small town” lifestyle, and an energetic talentbase for quality companies. Other benefits include the following:

  • Part of the Houston Metro Area, the 4th largest city in the United States, featuring a suburban and small town atmosphere and lifestyle
  • Well educated, talented workforce with high educational attainment
  • Large white collar, world class, workforce
  • Contains a major part of the acclaimed Energy Corridor
  • Award winning, acclaimed, K-12 public education system
  • 181 square miles in 3 counties: Fort Bend, Harris, and Waller
  • Diversified economy strong in corporate headquarters, energy services, engineering, medical,  distribution, and retail sectors
  • Moderate climate, award winning master planned communities, housing costs well below the national average, low cost of living, and excellent quality of life
  • Quality, available, industrial, and office buildings, and sites
  • Available tax and non-tax incentives, training grants, and low-interest financing

Source: Katy Area Economic Development Council


Katy is thriving and offers many employment opportunities. The Katy Area Chamber of Commerce and Katy Area Economic Development Council list the following businesses as top academic, retail, medical and energy industries and employers in Katy and the surrounding areas.

Katy Independent School District

BP America


CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital

Wood Group/Mustang Engineering

Katy Mills

Shell Oil

Academy Distribution Center

Igloo Products


Exxon/Mobil Chemical

Global Santa Fe

Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital

WalMart Super Center, Fry Rd.

WalMart Super Center, Market Place Dr.

Diamond Offshore Drilling

Houston Community College

Copyright Katy Magazine 2009. Adapted from Katy Life, Katy Magazine’s Newcomer & Relocation Guide

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