Education briefs for June 23

Contributed Reports
Posted 6/23/22

Education briefs for June 23, 2022.

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Education briefs for June 23


District names new assistant superintendent and two principals

The Katy Independent School District has appointed Rahsan Smith assistant superintendent for elementary leadership and support, and appointed Greg Kraus principal at Memorial Parkway Junior High and Kaye Williams principal at Cinco Ranch High School.

Smith is a former district student. He began his career in August 2001 as a third and sixth-grade teacher in Houston Independent School District (HISD). Four years later he joined Gabriela Mistral Early Childhood Center, in HISD, as a physical education teacher. In June 2008, Smith transitioned to Fondren Middle School and was promoted to student behavior administrator.

Smith returned to Katy in October 2012, when he became assistant principal at Mayde Creek Junior High. Four years later he joined the Seven Lakes High School Spartan family as their Assistant Principal.  He later took on the role as principal at McRoberts Elementary — his last campus-based position in Katy ISD.

“It is my goal to consistently build upon the distinction of excellence which separates Katy ISD from all other school districts,” Smith said. “As an assistant superintendent for elementary leadership and support, I will emulate this mindset within my leadership to propel school leaders, educators and students towards outstanding educational achievement.”

Gregory Kraus is also a former district student. He has spent his entire career in education serving district students and staff. Kraus began his teaching journey in 2006 at Beckendorff Junior High as a seventh and eighth grade teacher and coach. In August 2011, Kraus began his first school leadership role at WoodCreek Junior High as a grade level assistant principal. As the district continued its growth, WoodCreek became the largest junior high in district history. It was then that Kraus was promoted to a student support principal role.

In 2016, Kraus became grade level assistant principal at Morton Ranch High School. Three years later he became the associate principal.

“As an assistant principal at WoodCreek Junior High and Morton Ranch High School these past 11 years, I have seen firsthand what it means to be the instructional leader of a campus,” Mr. Kraus said. “I’ve worked for some amazing leaders who have provided me the experiences needed to successfully support and guide teachers to shared instructional beliefs, while establishing an instructional focus that supports student achievement.”

Williams joins Katy ISD from Lamar Consolidated Independent School District. She began her educational career in 1993 as a health/fitness teacher and head tennis coach in Port Arthur Independent School District, before moving to Spring Branch Independent School District in 1997. While in Spring Branch, she held administrative and leadership roles that included principal, assistant principal and associate principal between 2004-17.

Most recently, Williams served as the principal at Lamar Consolidated High School in Lamar CISD.

"I am thrilled to become the principal of Cinco Ranch High School because it is a school that is rich in tradition and success,” Williams said. “I am excited to lead in the community that my husband and I have called home for several years.”

Smith has a bachelor’s degree in health education and master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University.

Kraus has a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.

Williams has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in kinesiology from Lamar University, as well as a doctorate in clinical psychology from Southern California University.

Morton Ranch High School student chosen for 2022 Bank of America Student Leaders program

Maria Junaid of Morton Ranch High School has been chosen for the 2022 Bank of America Student Leaders program. The program is an eight-week summer internship providing students with first-hand experience in serving their communities.

These students have started their paid internship experience of workforce skills, leadership, and civic engagement with local nonprofits, including Avenue CDC and Houston Area Urban League. As part of the program, they will earn $17 per hour and receive a Chromebook. This year, students will have the option to voluntarily participate in in-person activities as part of the internship.

“Bank of America remains committed to supporting young adults by connecting them to jobs, community engagement opportunities and leadership development,” Hong Ogle, Bank of America Houston president, said. “We recognize young adults are the future of Houston, which is why programs like Student Leaders are one way we can provide paid opportunities for students to gain job experience while developing a diverse pipeline of talent as they enter the local workforce.”

Junaid is a varsity track and field athlete and involved in Health Occupation Students of America, SNHS, ASA and student council. She volunteers at her church and was recently named a QuestBridge College Prep scholar and is a National African American Scholar.

Junaid is one of five students selected. The others are Hank Davis, Stratford High School; Victoria Gong, Memorial High School; Sydney Mathew, Shadow Creek High School, and Jesutofunmi Oluwaleke, Alief Taylor High School.

Katy-area students receive scholarships from Phenomenal Pearls of Educational and Charitable Foundation

Three students from Katy Independent School District high schools have received $1,500 scholarships from the Phenomenal Pearls Educational and Charitable Foundation. Those students are:

  • Andrea Espinosa, of Paetow High School, who will attend the University of Houston and major in biochemistry.
  • Lauren Forney, of Taylor High School, who will attend Spelman College and major in biology.
  • Brooklynn Nash, of Tompkins High School, who will attend Prairie View A&M University and major in chemical engineering.

The foundation, founded in 2015, began providing scholarships in 2018. That year, the foundation disbursed $10,000 in scholarship money. This year, the foundation disbursed over $50,000 to Greater Houston area students.

The foundation’s mission is to intellectually and financially empower individuals and the community to achieve more by mobilizing the power and resources of volunteers and donors.

Two Katy-area students graduate from Oregon State University

Two Katy-area students graduated June 11 from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.

Bridget Barnes earned her bachelor’s degree in French. Matthew Kaufman earned his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in Natural Resources.

Katy ISD, Bank of America, Oregon State University