PISD names career center for Kirk Lewis
During its Jan. 20 meeting, the Pasadena Independent School District board of trustees approved naming the new Career and Technical High School the Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School.
Voters approved construction of the $37.5 million campus, located at 1348 Genoa-Red Bluff adjacent to Beltway 8, in a 2011 bond election. The campus opened in August of 2014 and currently serves 1,250 students from all five PISD high schools.
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 longtime school board member Nelda Sullivan. “He’s really a wonderful, hardworking 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 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 – 93 percent of whom are minority and 80 percent of whom are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program, and where 50 percent of many elementary school students have limited English proficiency upon enrollment.
“I know how hard you work because I’ve had the pleasure of working with you for many years now,” said board President Mariselle Quijano-Lerma. “Most importantly, you always keep kids at the forefront.”
During his tenure as superintendent, Lewis’ sole purpose has been to graduate students ready for post-secondary education and career opportunities.
Newest board member Larry Savala says 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 since Lewis assumed superintendent responsibilities in 2006. The academic achievement and graduation rates of PISD 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, add an athletic complex and an aquatics facility.
Through nearly $82 million 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 PISD one of only 14 Texas school districts on the AP District Honor Roll in 2013 for simultaneously increasing the number of students taking and passing advanced-placement exams.
“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.”
Lewis was humbled by the honor.
“This is a major accomplishment for our district,” Lewis said. “We are culminating new experiences and opportunities for our kids. I applaud the board for agreeing to the concept. I thank you for the honor. Thank you for creating a campus that will benefit our kids.”
Work on the long-awaited project to reconstruct South Shaver Street from the Gulf Freeway to State Highway 3/Old Galveston Road is nearing completion.
The endeavor, a joint venture between the Texas Department of Transportation, the City of Houston and the Harris County Flood Control District, includes widening the area thoroughfare from a four-lane undivided roadway with open ditches to a six-lane divided roadway with raised median, curb and gutter drainage, sidewalks, street lighting and improved underground utilities.
The project also includes widening 1/2 mile of Berry Bayou and building a 13.2-acre detention basin north of South Shaver Street.
The estimated cost of construction is $13.5 million – 80 percent of which will be funded by the Federal Highway Administration and 20 percent of which will be funded by the City of Houston.
In the works for roughly four decades, actual construction on the project finally began in June 2013.
Due to a citywide concrete shortage, concrete placement on the north half of Shaver Road has been delayed but is expected to be completed by the end of January 2015. The section of North Broadway north of Shaver Road will remain closed until this segment of concrete paving is complete. Once concrete paving on the north side of Shaver is completed, contractors will switch traffic on the road and begin paving the section south of the center line from 5202 South Shaver to the project’s endpoint at Interstate 45.
Work on Wald Road, which runs adjacent to South Shaver and was closed to accommodate the installation of storm sewer and water lines, as well as pavement replacement, was completed at the end of December 2014.
Overall, storm sewer and sanitary line installation is 75 percent complete, with water line installation rated at 90 percent complete.
Almeda Genoa Road is still scheduled for closure in early 2015 to accommodate the completion of storm sewer/sanitary and water line installation. Additionally, in response to several complaints about potholes in the work zone along South Shaver, the city’s Public Works and Engineering Department has worked with TxDOT and the contractor, who will maintain a supply of blacktop material on site to fill potholes as needed.
Overall completion of the South Shaver Road Reconstruction Project is currently targeted for late spring 2015.
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