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Pasadena ISD reflects on the legacy of veteran educator, Mr. Frank Braden Jr.

Pasadena ISD reflects on the legacy of veteran educator, Mr. Frank Braden Jr.
Posted on 10/16/2020
Pasadena ISD reflects on the legacy of veteran educator, Mr. Frank Braden Jr.

Story & Contributions by
Pasadena ISD Communications and district administration, respectively

Frank Braden Jr. built a legacy of success that will forever be etched into the fabric of Pasadena ISD.

For more than 40 years, Braden touched the lives of many in the community as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal, principal, director, assistant superintendent and board member.

He started his career in Pasadena ISD as a teacher and a counselor at San Jacinto Intermediate in 1959. In 1964, he served as assistant principal at Beverly Hills Intermediate and then Pasadena High School from 1969 to 1972. He completed the spring semester of 1972 as the principal of Thompson Intermediate School.

"From the time Mr. Braden started working in Pasadena ISD as a young teacher to his time as a beloved principal and eventually outstanding Board Member and volunteer, he made a significant impact on students, staff and community members here in our district,” said Dr. DeeAnn Powell, superintendent of schools.

Braden joined the Longhorn community in 1979 as principal of J. Frank Dobie High School. He is one of only five principals to lead the school in its 52-year history.

“I was a student when Mr. Braden was the principal at Dobie,” said Marsha Jones, executive director of curriculum and instruction. “He was the quintessential principal and leader of our school and I truly admired and looked up to him. He was friendly, approachable and made every student feel special.”

Braden served multiple administrative leadership positions at Pasadena ISD. From 1974 to 1978, he assumed the role of director of transportation. He concluded his tenure at Pasadena ISD as assistant superintendent of secondary schools, from 1988-1990, and area assistant superintendent, from 1990-1992.

Braden retired in 1992, but he returned to the district to serve a semester as interim principal at Sam Rayburn High School. He later served on the Pasadena ISD School Board for 10 years, twice as president of the board. Braden was always supported by his loving wife, Pat, who served as a math teacher at Jackson and Park View Intermediate.   

In 2010, the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees decided to name one of its facilities that houses the Summit and other support staff as the Frank Braden Center for Educational Support in his honor.

“In my eyes, Frank Braden was a gentle giant. His integrity was beyond reproach. In any of his involvements as a teacher, administrator or a board member, he quietly and thoughtfully considered all decisions and did what he felt was best for all involved,” said Vickie Morgan, Pasadena ISD board president.

Braden’s daughters, Jean Cain and Lisa Davis, continue to carry the Braden educator’s torch. Cain and Davis both serve the district as principals at Tegeler Career Center and Golden Acres Elementary, respectively.

After building a decades-long legacy in the school district, Frank Braden, Pasadena ISD’s longtime staunch supporter and educator, passed away at the age of 86 on September 14.

As Pasadena ISD mourns the loss of one of its veteran educators, district leaders took a moment to reflect on his life and the impact he made on students, staff and administrators over the years. Please read their reflections below:

Vickie Morgan, PISD School Board President

Frank had no personal agendas. You always knew that he was a fair man, who wanted what was best for all. Whenever he spoke, you listened, because you knew there was very sage advice in his words.  He provided guidance and stability, in the years he served on the board.  I was blessed by the leadership he provided and the example he set.

Dr. DeeAnn Powell, Pasadena ISD Superintendent

I always admired his passion for the district and the students we serve, but he will also be remembered for being a loving husband, devoted father and man of great faith. What a legacy he leaves behind as a champion for children and educators!

Dr. Rhonda Parmer, Associate Superintendent, Campus Development

Small in stature, but a mountain of a man in faith and joy that illuminated every time I spoke with him, Mr. Braden inspired me to do more and smile while doing it. Thank you, Mr. Braden.

Dr. Darla Massey-Jones, Associate Superintendent, Accountability and Compliance

Mr. Braden had a warm smile and a calm, gentle, caring spirit that shined every day in his interactions with others. He was a pillar of virtue and kindness. Through his work in the school district, community, and church, he was always devoted to serving others. He has left a strong legacy.

Jodie Kennemer, General Counsel

As I read through the comments left by my peers, I'm left wishing I had the honor of knowing Mr. Braden. As a member of the Pasadena ISD family, it is easy to see the legacy Mr. Braden provided the District through his more than 40 years of dedication, service, and support, even though I did not have the pleasure of knowing him. The profound impact Mr. Braden had on my colleagues is apparent through their comments and genuinely suggests that Mr. Braden was the true epitome of everything that makes Pasadena ISD amazing.

San Jacinto Intermediate Principal, Diane Phelan

Mr. Braden always had a smile on his face and a kind word of encouragement for anyone he was around. He and his wife are a model of service to God and to their community. Mr. Braden and his wife showed me his very first classroom at the old San Jacinto building in 2013. They both shared fond memories of their first years teaching. It was obvious of his love of students, Pasadena ISD and service to others as he shared his stories of his life in education. Mr. Braden was always a delight to be around.

Schneider Middle School Principal, Kristin Still

I have known the Braden family for most of my life. Jean Cain was my Sam Rayburn High School Algebra teacher and gave me my first job in PISD. Each member of the Braden family is always kind, warm, with strong Christian faith and belief. They have positively influenced the lives of so many in Pasadena. Mr. Braden will be deeply missed. Mr. Braden leaves behind a lasting legacy in our community. Thank you for your influence to so many.

Meador Elementary School Principal, Beverly Bolton

I never saw Mr. Braden without him greeting me with his kind, sweet smile.

Morales Elementary School Principal, Lisa Haws

I had the pleasure of working with both Mr. and Mrs. Braden at Golden Acres when they were volunteering as HOSTS mentors. What a lovely couple! Mr. Braden was always happy and animated; he loved working with the HOSTS kids. It's staggering to think of the number of students whose lives he has positively impacted in PISD. What a great role model he is for all of us who work in this district!

Mae Smythe Elementary School Principal, Denise Moody

Mr. Frank Braden will be truly missed. He was such a fine gentleman that I had the pleasure of working with on occasion while he filled in as Principal next door at S.R.H.S.

Teague Elementary School Principal, Valorie Morris

A caring and dedicated man who always went out of his way to greet you with a firm handshake and hello. He truly had a heart for PISD.

Robert Stock, Director of Transportation

When I first arrived in the district during the 1999-2000 school year, Mr. Braden was serving as Interim Principal at Sam Rayburn High School. From that time and in getting to know him over the years, I was honored to have gotten to know a man of such high integrity and of humble but strong presence. It was a pleasure to see him every year as a volunteer at Rayburn during the Texas Invitational. What a great man!