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Board Approves Naming CTHS the Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School

Board Approves Naming CTHS the Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School
Posted on 01/22/2015
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During the January 20 board meeting, the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees approved naming the Career and Technical High School the Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School. The campus is located at 1348 Genoa-Red Bluff adjacent to Sam Houston Tollway.

Through discussions with local business partners, community members, parents, staff and students the concept of this campus was discussed during the 2009 strategic planning process. Conversations revealed a state-wide need for skilled labor workforce. In response, Pasadena ISD voters approved the construction of the $37.5 million high school in the 2011 bond. The campus opened in August of 2014 and currently serves 1,250 students from all five high schools in Pasadena ISD.

Opening the Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School has alleviated overcrowding of the district’s high schools. In addition, it has increased the capacity and capability of the district to meet critical needs of the community by providing students the opportunity to pursue vocational pathways along with core curriculum and to graduate from high school prepared for college as well as immediate employment.

“Dr. Lewis has worked tirelessly to make the CTHS project a reality,” said long-standing school board member Nelda Sullivan. “He’s really a wonderful, hard-working individual and is truly deserving of this honor.”

Employed by the district in 1986, Lewis has held various administrative positions and for the last nine years has served as Pasadena ISD Superintendent.

“I’ve known Kirk for about 26 years and in that time I’ve seen him do some tremendous things,” said Board Member Marshall Kendrick. “He’s worked his way through this school district. We’ve never had a leader quite like him. He’s a passionate man. He has a love for this district. This is well deserved.”

Much has been accomplished under Lewis’ leadership and direction. His approach to instructional management is to assure students are prepared to contribute to a 21st century workforce, a noteworthy undertaking in a district that serves more than 54,000 students of which 93 percent are minority and 80 percent are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program and where 50 percent of many elementary school students are Limited English Proficient upon enrollment. During his tenure as superintendent, Lewis' sole purpose has been to graduate students ready for post-secondary education and career opportunities.

“I know how hard you work because I’ve had the pleasure of working with your for many years now,” said Board President Mariselle Quijano-Lerma. “Most importantly, you always keep kids at the forefront.”

Newest Board Member Larry Savala said that the first time he heard Lewis speak, he talked about poverty in the community. “I said to my wife, I can serve someone like that; he is passionate in everything about this district. He deserves this. This is your day Kirk. Congratulations.”

The district has experienced steady improvements throughout his leadership journey. Since he took the reins of superintendent in 2006, the academic achievement and graduation rates of Pasadena students have both increased. Furthermore, the district has anticipated and avoided an academic dip with a new state assessment by making instructional changes that resulted in STAAR student achievement equal-to or exceeding state and regional outcomes.  Lewis has aggressively addressed facility needs.  To date, he has led seven bond elections enabling the district to build new facilities and replacement campuses, repair the administrative building, refurbish the district’s athletic stadium, and add an athletic complex and an aquatics facility.  

Through more than $81,651,000 in grants and by allocating additional resources to instruction, Lewis has led innovations that include the 1-to-1 technology initiative and technology-driven teaching tools and instruction, and a rigorous and aligned to college and career standard-driven curriculum, resulting in the College Board naming Pasadena ISD as one of only 14 Texas school districts on the AP District Honor Roll in 2013.

“We are so lucky to have this Christian man in our presence,” Board member Fred Roberts said. "We [board members] got here through votes. He got here through hard work. I can’t wait to see his name out on Beltway 8.”

A product of Pasadena ISD schools and current Education Foundation board member, Terry Brotherton voiced support for the decision to name the school after Lewis.“What a fitting honor to Kirk,” he said. “I urge all Pasadena ISD taxpayers to tour this unbelievable place. I have never been so satisfied at what my tax dollars helped create. Thanks to Kirk, the board and the voters for this magnificent concept. Thanks to the board for naming it after Dr. Lewis.”

Humbled by the honor, Lewis said, “This is a major accomplishment for our district. We are culminating new experiences and opportunities for our kids. I applaud the board for agreeing to the concept.  Lewis continued, “I thank you for the honor. Thank you for creating a campus that will benefit our kids.”

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