KATY (Covering Katy News)—Bonnie Holland is the Katy Independent School District’s associate superintendent for administration, governance, and legal affairs. As she retires after a 36-year career with the district, she has a confession to make: she’s not good at being idle.
“I have to be busy,” Holland said. “I’m going to do a lot of volunteering.”
Some of her volunteering will be with the Katy ISD Education Foundation. Some of it also will be at the school named in her honor, Bonnie Holland Elementary, 23720 Seven Meadows Parkway.
Some babysitting is also in Holland’s plans. She has two adult grandchildren, both of whom are Cinco Ranch High School graduates. Holland’s granddaughter has taught at Holland Elementary for seven years, but stepped back this year after having her first child, a daughter, Holland’s first great-grandchild.
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Holland’s grandson serves in the U.S. Air Force. He’s stationed in Germany, and he and his wife recently welcomed a son, Holland’s second great-grandchild.
Holland began her education career 53 years ago as a speech pathologist in Waco. She held several positions in north Texas, then in El Paso. She joined Katy ISD in 1983.
She has worked with nine superintendents: Gordon Brown, Linda Woodward, Mike Griffin, Hugh Hayes, Don Stacy, Leonard Merrell, Alton Frailey, Lance Hindt, and the current superintendent, Ken Gregorski. Griffin and Stacy were interim superintendents.
Each superintendent has his or her own way of organizing and doing things, and Holland’s duties evolved over the years. Today, Holland oversees policy, discipline, and governance issues. She developed and oversees updates to the district’s Discipline Management Plan and Student Code of Conduct. Holland said the document first came about following changes to state law in 1995.
Writing policies has been an important part of Holland’s work. She wrote a training and reference guide for campus administrators serving as hearing officers or participants in discipline appeal hearings. She also developed the first Handbook for Campus 504 Coordinators in the district and the surrounding area in the 1980s. She serves as chief hearing officer for district-level discipline appeal hearings. She’s also prepared the district’s instructional calendar.
Holland also helped to create the first internship program in career and technical education, which is called PACE (for Professional Advancement through Career Education).
Developing and sharing these policies and programs takes on even greater importance considering how the district has grown over the years. The student population has increased by 515% from approximately 13,000 students in 1983 to 80,000 students today.
The number of schools has also increased to keep up with enrollment growth. In 1983, the district had only Katy and Taylor high schools. Mayde Creek High School opened in 1984. Today the district has five more high schools (Cinco Ranch, Morton Ranch, Paetow, Seven Lakes, and Tompkins). Another is preparing to open in 2020.
The district had four junior high schools—Katy, Mayde Creek, West Memorial, and Memorial Parkway—and 11 elementary schools at that time.
Her work has caught the attention of people around the district.
“When I think of a wonderful person, I think of Bonnie Holland,” Trustee Bill Lacy said, adding that Holland’s role will be split up when she retires.
“It will take multiple people to fill her shoes,” Lacy said.
One of Holland’s accomplishments will help those who succeed her. She set up a system of notebooks in which the district’s policy records are kept. In this way, staff can easily review the history of a given policy.
“We really didn’t have a system, and at the time we were so small, the system was that you would keep all the policies that were reviewed and revised in a packet in the bottom of a file drawer,” Holland said, adding that the system she set up is still in use today. “I guess it worked. Now, a lot of it is going to be converted to technology. The system will be the same but will be electronic.”
As Holland prepares for the next chapter of her life, the school district’s tag line, “Be the Legacy,” comes to mind. The issue came up in a recent conversation she had with a friend. How does Holland see her legacy?
“I’d like to be remembered as a servant who tried to respond to the needs of the campuses that we were hired to support,” Holland said.