Ursula Saldivar Stephens
Ursula Saldivar Stephens' love for children began long before her career in education. As the oldest daughter, in a family of eight siblings, teaching and nurturing others has always come naturally to her.
During her early childhood, Stephens, a native Spanish speaker, recalls the challenges she overcame to learn the English language while attending private school in San Antonio. In third grade, she moved with her father to Mexico for a year, where she adjusted to a new life and culture. Shortly after returning to Texas, the determined Stephens quickly acclimated to speaking English and thrived in her academic studies. It is this drive and ambition she has carried with her throughout her 41-year teaching and administrative career, believing that all students are capable of succeeding, regardless of circumstance.
Stephens' desire to instill a passion for learning in each of her students was evident throughout her 22-year tenure with Katy ISD. While teaching Spanish courses at Cinco Ranch High School, Stephens held weekly "meetings" at a local Mexican restaurant, where her students enjoyed food and communicated with the waitstaff in Spanish. The fruits of her labor have truly paid off, as she is honored that several of her students have gone on to pursue careers in the teaching field, many in Katy ISD.
Stephens received both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education from Our Lady of the Lake University. She also earned a Mid-Management Certification from the University of Houston. In 1966, Stephens began teaching at Pauline Nelson Elementary in San Antonio ISD. Additionally, she also taught for Lubbock and Spring Branch ISDs, before joining Katy ISD.
In 1981, Stephens proudly served as a third grade teacher as part of the opening staff of Williamsburg Settlement Elementary, now known as Diane Winbom Elementary. She went on to serve as the assistant principal of Sundown and Nottingham Country Elementary schools. In 1985, she was promoted to Nottingham's principal and later became the principal of Sundown and McRoberts Elementary. In 2000, Stephens returned to the classroom, teaching Spanish at Cinco Ranch High School. Today, she continues to contribute to the field of public education as Texas A&M University's Supervisor for Alternative Certification Interns.
For her tremendous efforts, Stephens was honored as the Gulf Coast Administrators of Special Education's Region IV Regular Educator of the Year in 1996. Previously, she was named Spring Branch's Terrace Elementary 1981 Teacher of the Year. In addition, Stephens holds a lifetime membership in the Texas Parent Teacher Association. More recently, Stephens was named Who's Who Among American Teachers and Educators for 2007. As the cherished namesake of Ursula Stephens Elementary, Mrs. Stephens' legacy will continue forever. She serves as an inspiration to students, faculty, and parents, reminding each one that "we can accomplish whatever we put our mind to."