Patricia E. Paetow
Patti graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in special education and earned her master’s from the University of Houston. She taught special education in the Spring Branch and Alief school districts. In 1987, Patti began her career in Katy ISD as an educational diagnostician. She then spent the next three decades working in different capacities within the District. Patti and the love of her life, John, settled in Katy after their wedding in 1984 because this is where they wanted to raise their family. Since their arrival, Patti experienced the explosive growth of Katy and the surrounding areas and subsequently, the school district. But she felt Katy was their home. It was where she worked, where she raised her family and where she spent much of her free time.
In her 27 years with Katy ISD, her positions included assistant principal at Hutsell Elementary School, principal at both Wolfe and Creech Elementary Schools, director of campus administration and support, and area 2 assistant superintendent before retiring as Katy ISD’s assistant superintendent of administrative support. During her tenure at Wolfe Elementary, the school was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. In 2000, Patti opened Betty Sue Creech Elementary as principal. And, she was one of the first principals to establish a literacy library.
A lifelong educator and advocate, Patti understood the importance of a quality education for all students, including those with special needs. She could find something positive in any situation and she led with the approach that you should always do your best, regardless of the situation. Patti had the unique capability to see in others what they could not see in themselves. She was everyone’s biggest cheerleader, even as they fought their own personal battles. She was a servant-leader and mentor to her fellow teachers and principals.
Patti’s dedication and commitment to serving others went far beyond providing opportunities for Katy ISD students and staff to succeed. She was an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at the Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church and provided marriage counseling for young couples alongside her husband John. She also frequently participated in charitable events at the church. From organizing binders for community cancer patients, to regularly giving blood and platelets to help others in the community, Patti always answered the call to help others. When three staff members at Creech were diagnosed with breast cancer, Patti worked with others to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure. She used this, and other charitable activities, as teachable moments with students so they could learn the importance of service to others.
Patti was an active parent with her daughter Michelle. From Girl Scout “cookie mom” and Cinco Ranch High School Drill Team mom, to being an active member of the Cinco Ranch High School booster club, Patti supported her daughter in all of her Katy ISD school and extracurricular activities. When Michelle graduated, Patti stayed involved by adopting the Morton Ranch High School Maverick Bells Drill Team and becoming their team mom.
It’s safe to say that Patti was most proud of her family. But other moments of fierce pride came to mind when talking to John and Michelle about her accomplishments. Once such moment was during rush hour traffic riding to Wolfe Elementary School. Patti and Michelle wrote a celebratory millennium song set to a Lou Bega tune, which she then sang on the morning announcements while wearing a blue sequin and beaded dress and “2000” glasses.
One of her coolest experiences was when one of her Creech students was featured on the Jay Leno Show for knowing every fact about all of the U.S. Presidents, and she was invited to be in the audience. But her pride went deep when you talked to her about her career as a principal. It was probably her favorite of all of the positions she held as an educator. She once said that if she thought she could get away with it, she would put her desk in the hallway to interact with the kids.