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Katy Independent School District

Peter McElwain Elementary

About Peter H. McElwain""

Peter McElwain joined Katy ISD in 1998, assuming responsibility for all facility related matters including planning, design, construction, property acquisition, maintenance, operations and energy management. At that time, the District had a student enrollment of 28,000 and was on the verge of tremendous population growth. 

Mr. McElwain developed a Facilities and Planning Department, as well as the process that enabled the District to keep pace with the growth while ensuring outstanding learning environments for every student.  He hired and worked with a talented and dedicated team to plan, design and construct 25 elementary schools, nine junior highs and six high schools, along with several comprehensive renovations and additions at existing campuses. Mr. McElwain also led the department in opening educational support and administrative support facilities including the performing arts centers on secondary campuses, the Leonard Merrell Center, the L.D. Robinson Pavilion and Billy Morgan Arena, the Gerald D. Young Agricultural Sciences Center, the Robert Shaw S.T.E.A.M Center, the Education Support Complex, Legacy Stadium, the South Transportation Center, the Maintenance and Operations Center, the Mark Hopkins Law Enforcement Center and the Franz Road Support Services Complex.  

He was also the visionary leader in the development of the state-of-the-art elementary school prototype design upon which Elementary #43 is based.  It represents a learning environment that supports the Districts' cornerstone skills for learning (Collaboration, Communication, Creative Thinking, Problem Solving, Information Literacy, and Social Contributions), offering a wide spectrum of flexible learning experiences.  

Katy ISD campus and facility projects created and developed under Mr. McElwain’s leadership regularly received recognition and design related awards from organizations such as the Texas Association of School Administrators and the Texas Association of School Boards.   He was also recipient of the 2016 "People of the Year Award" by Katy Magazine and the 2017 "Citizen of the Year" by the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout his career in public education, Mr. McElwain was an active member of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, Association of School Business Officials International, and American Institute of Architects.  He also served with distinction for six years on the Board of Directors of the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, followed by six years on the Board of the Katy Area YMCA.

His dedication towards young learners through the design of progressive and supportive learning environments extended beyond the realm of architecture. While at Katy, Mr. McElwain mentored two students throughout their seventh- through twelfth-grade careers.

In retirement, Mr. McElwain wanted to support children in another way and has written and illustrated children's books, and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

After a 30-year career of supporting student learning, Mr. McElwain retired from Katy ISD as its District Architect/Planner in 2017. The District at that time had 75,000 students enrolled.

Mr. McElwain was born in Philadelphia and raised in Toronto, but considers himself a Texan with deep Katy roots.  He graduated with a degree in Architecture from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada in 1978.  He and his wife Darlene have one daughter who is a Katy ISD graduate.

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