For Katy elementary school teachers Andrea Tryon, Angela Sticker, and Lisa Campbell, every day will be “take your child to work day,” thanks to their new positions at Katy ISD’s soon-to-open Ray and Jamie Wolman Elementary School. All three are residents of Firethorne, live a stone’s throw from the school, and have children enrolled at their neighborhood elementary, the first school to open within the 1,400-acre Katy/Fulshear master-planned community.
“When we moved into our new home in Katy in March 2010, I learned there would be a new Katy ISD school built in Firethorne and I thought how great it would be to teach at the neighborhood school,” says Sticker, a fourth-grade math and science teacher whose son, Sean, will be a fourth-grader at Wolman Elementary. The mother of three has taught at her children’s school before and loves getting to say hi to them at lunch and in the hallways, and seeing them before the bell rings and at the end of the day when they come to her classroom. She and Sean look forward to having the same lunch period and recess.
When Sticker interviewed for the position with Wolman Principal Kelly Ricks, she admired Ricks’ clear vision for the school, its students, and teachers. “Kelly Ricks has hired great teachers, and I want Sean to be in these teachers’ classes,” she says.
Second-grade teacher Lisa Campbell also is no newcomer to teaching at her son Connor’s school. “Teaching at his school makes it easier to keep up with what’s going on at the school and allows me to have a personal relationship with his teacher,” she shares. “I enjoy teaching where I live – you can build closer relationships with people.” She is looking forward to the prospect of being able to teach some of her neighbors’ children this year, too. The mother of two rises at 5:30 a.m. and goes for a walk in Firethorne to boost her energy level to be at her best for her family and her students. “I treat my students like they are my own children,” she says. Connor will start first grade in the 2012-2013 school year.
“Since Gaven, age 10, started kindergarten, we’ve been at the same school,” says first-grade teacher Andrea Tryon. “I am so excited that we will be together at Wolman Elementary for his final elementary school year.” Tryon opened a new school five years ago and is familiar with how much time it takes to get a new school up and running. Being at the same school as her son has given her the opportunity to have more time to spend with him, while allowing her to get work done at school. After school, Gaven goes to her classroom and they have a snack together, talk about his day, and do homework.
“I also believe that my son knows and respects how hard teachers work and how much time they have to put into their job,” says Tryon, a teacher for the past 15 years. “Being a good teacher is being a second mom to 22 kiddos that you care about very much, a counselor, a nurse, a secretary, and an educator! It can be very difficult juggling both jobs, but I love what I do and it is worth every minute!”
Wolman Elementary School features 42 classrooms, a library and media center, a science laboratory, two art rooms with a pottery kiln, two music rooms, and a regulation gymnasium. Every third- through fifth-grade classroom will feature a smart board.
School namesakes Arlan “Ray” and Jamie Wolman are pillars of Katy ISD and the Katy community through their selfless community work and a combined 77 years experience in education. Earlier this year, the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce honored Ray with its Citizen of the Year Award. Ray, who recently retired after 40 years with the district, began his career as the only science teacher at Katy’s only high school. In 1980, he became head of the Welch Outdoor Learning Center (OLC), where he impacted thousands of students’ lives each year through an outdoor classroom designed for students to learn in a varied environment. He worked with Boy Scouts to obtain their Eagle Scout Award through projects at the OLC and was involved through 30 years in the coordination of the Katy ISD Folk Life Festival.
His wife Jamie began her career in Katy ISD as a teacher to special needs students. A counselor at the junior high and high school levels before retiring, Jamie has served on the Katy Higher Education Task Force and currently chairs the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. She also volunteers weekly as a Katy ISD KEYS one-on-one mentor to a student.
Firethorne blends the best nature has to offer: 150 acres devoted to parks and recreational amenities, a 12-acre lake with surrounding greenbelt, hike-and-bike trails, parks and playgrounds, tennis courts, a fitness center, a resort-style swimming pool, a competitive swim center, a discovery-rich wildlife observation area, and a natural bird habitat. Served by highly acclaimed schools in Katy ISD and Lamar Consolidated ISD, Firethorne combines the vibrancy of west Houston with the small-town charm of Katy and Fulshear. It is located near the crossroads of I-10 West and FM 1463, 10 and 15 miles west, respectively, of the Texas Medical Center-West Campus and Houston’s Energy Corridor. Visit www.firethorne.info, call 281-693-1010, or visit Firethorne by taking I-10 West and exiting Pin Oak to FM 1463.