Jeanne Marie Coleman was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The youngest of four children, she credits her parents, Benton and Faye Henry, for instilling the morals she continues to live by to this day: tell the truth, work hard and always be fair to others. Though they were not college graduates themselves, her parents also emphasized the importance of higher education, asking their children where they would attend college, rather than if.
After learning about speech pathology in high school, Jeanne enrolled at Purdue University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Audiology and Speech Science. After cheering on the Boilermakers in a bowl game in Houston her senior year of college, she fell in love with the warmth of the weather and the people of southeast Texas. When the opportunity arose to work in the area, she quickly headed south. Jeanne spent 13 years working at two Houston-area school districts and continued her education, earning a master’s in communication disorders from the University of Houston.
Jeanne joined Katy ISD in 1998 as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) at Nottingham Country Elementary, where she provided speech therapy services, assessments, conducted Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meetings, and collaborated with other teachers.
It did not take long for her talents to shine, and she was promoted to an instructional officer the following year. Her role soon expanded to include the provision of speech therapy services for secondary students at the Opportunity Awareness Center and Behavior Transition Program. She also coordinated districtwide speech therapy, Adapted Physical Education and related services for occupational therapy, physical therapy, music and art therapy, and assistive technology.
Jeanne worked tirelessly to establish eligibility guidelines for the District, oversee assessment teams and create service program guidelines, all while maintaining numerous federal, state and local policies. She was entrusted with more and more responsibility during her time in this role. She supervised roughly 120 direct hires and contract speech-language pathologists, the District’s Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities/Preschool Development Assessment Team (PPCD/PDAT) and Communication Acquisition Programs for Preschoolers (CAPP). She also took on the instructional services for the visually impaired population throughout Katy ISD.
She credits her parents and older brother, Don, with encouraging her to pursue her passions, and giving her the confidence she needed to believe in herself. She emulated this same support to those around her throughout her career. She strived to make sure students, their families and staff were empowered through opportunities to follow their unique path and achieve their full potential.
Jeanne retired in 2016 after 32 years of dedication and service to students and parents. Through the programs she created and coordinated, and the people she influenced during her tenure, Jeanne has left an indelible mark on the District’s special education program, and the excellence for which it is known.