Dr. Kirk Lewis receives the 2015 Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award. From l to r (front row): Lewis with wife Robin; board assistant secretary Nelda Sullivan; board president Mariselle Quijano; board member Fred Roberts; deputy superintendent and incoming superintendent of schools Dr. DeeAnn Powell and executive assistant to the superintendent Debbie Smith. From l to r (back row): Pasadena ISD board member Jack Bailey; board vice president Vickie Morgan; associate superintendent of business and finance John Piscacek; board member Kenny Fernandez and board secretary Marshall Kendrick.
Pasadena ISD superintendent of schools Dr. Kirk Lewis was named 2015 Citizen of the Year at the 75th annual Pasadena Chamber of Commerce gala last night.
The citizen of the year award has been presented annually since 1967 to a community member who exhibits a level of dedication and contribution to the City of Pasadena above and beyond the call of duty. Dr. Lewis was nominated for this prestigious award by a citywide committee including Ben Meador, owner of Meador Staffing.
“During his tenure as superintendent, the school district has experienced steady improvements in academics, graduation rates and in the quality of the facilities,” Meador said. “When I think of Kirk Lewis, I think of a God-fearing man who chases after Jesus in all areas of his life. He is a leader, community citizen; volunteer; wonderful son, husband, father and grandfather; kindred spirit; compassionate man and full of commitment.”
The award was presented to him by Pasadena ISD board president, owner of McDonalds and 2014 Pasadena Citizen of the Year Mariselle Quijano.
“It was truly my pleasure and honor to present Dr. Lewis with this award. He is a wonderful man and business man,” Quijano said. “He is loved and respected by everyone that comes in contact with him and has a faith stronger than many people I know and that shines in his actions. I am proud to have him as a friend and even prouder to serve on the board of trustees alongside him. He is so deserving of the Pasadena Citizen of the Year Award and more for all he does for our community.”
Presentations were also made by Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell, declaring December 3, 2015 Dr. Kirk Lewis day in Pasadena; Beverly Ferguson representing Congressman Brian Babin’s office and Tammie Nielsen representing Commissioner Jack Morman’s office.
As superintendent, Lewis has been a strong proponent of preparing students to graduate ready for post-secondary education and career opportunities in a 21st century workforce.
He has also been instrumental in shifting the culture of the community to embrace career and college readiness.
Evidence of the positive cultural shift was seen as conversations began in 2009 during the district’s strategic planning process. Conversations with community and business leaders revealed a statewide need for a skilled labor workforce. The concept became a reality when voters approved the newly opened Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School.
“Dr. Lewis has been an instrumental part of our chamber having served on the Board of Directors for 10 years,” Pasadena Chamber of Commerce President/CEO, Cristina Womack said. “I couldn’t think of a more genuine, selfless leader to receive this honor.”
On the verge of retirement in 2016, Lewis reflected on the community that has been so supportive of his career.
“When you walk together through life with people like those in this district, you develop a bond that is truly one of life’s greatest blessings. The men and women of this community will be forever in my heart and in my prayers,” Lewis said. “I’m grateful to the parents and community members who have been so supportive of our schools, our new initiatives and of my efforts. Because this community values education, the students will continue to benefit.”