Obra D. Tompkins, Jr.
The desire of a young teacher who hailed from Hempstead to be closer to home and family began a legacy of service to Katy students that spans nearly 40 years. O.D. Tompkins had originally intended to study law, but both of his parents were teachers, and his father urged him to teach, apparently seeing what so many have over the years - a passion for helping youngsters and an almost uncanny ability to connect with people.
His career in the classroom started a little earlier than he and planned. In 1975, he was scheduled to do his student teaching and complete his Bachelor of Science from Prairie View A&M University, when he got a call from Beaumont. Would he consider coming to teach industrial arts at Forest Park High School? South Park ISD was willing to combine his student teaching requirement with a paid assignment. But, after two years, an opportunity to teach math and industrial arts and coach basketball at Katy Junior High was too good to pass up.
His year at KJH were immersed in Katy ISD's emerging legacy. Among his professional colleagues were Sue Creech, Jamie Wolman, and Roger Beck. But no one was a greater influence than the math teacher across the hall - Roosevelt Alexander - who eventually became his principal and encouraged him to step into administration. Before moving to West Memorial Junior High as assistant principal in 1987, it took him "hours sitting in the car" to work up the courage to tell his friend and mentor he was leaving.
He served at WMJH until 1994, when he moved to McDonald Junior High as principal. In 1999, he joined Mayde Creek High School, where he pioneered Project Lead the Way, student ID badges that became the district norm, and the credit recovery (KOLA) classes that inspired Raines High School.
In 2009, he became Executive Director for campus administrative support, a position he held until retirement in 2012.
Throughout his career, he was a mentor to teachers and administrators, a model for students, and an inspiration to everyone he met. He was always visible - in hallways, on sidelines, and at performances....and he still is at Obra D. Tompkins High School.