When Jeanette Hayes retired from Katy ISD in 1990, she left a career that spanned 38 years of growth for herself, her students and the school districts she served. But in Katy ISD, the district she served for 25 years, her legacy is an elementary music program.
In 1948, Jeanette Hayes graduated from Timpon High School in San Augustine, TX and enrolled at Stephen F. Austin University where she received a bachelor of music degree in 1952. She taught elementary school in New Mexico for one year before transferring to Navasota ISD where she taught for two years.
Then in 1955, Hayes was hired by Superintendent James E. Taylor as the first elementary music teacher in the Katy school district. She was assigned to Katy Elementary to set up the District's elementary music program. At that time, there were approximately 500 students in the District and Katy Elementary occupied the building that is known today as the Katy High School west campus.
While teaching at Katy Elementary, Hayes resumed her own education and enrolled at the University of Houston where she received a Master's of Education degree in 1957. However, she didn't stop there, throughout her teaching career, she continued to upgrade her skills by attending numerous workshops and enrolling in classes at universities. In 1965, Katy Elementary moved to its present site on Sixth Street and Hayes was there to open the new school.
By 1978, Katy was experiencing a building boom and subdivisions were springing up all over the District. It seemed schools couldn't be built fast enough, and that year, Hutsell was one of three new elementary schools. Hayes was asked to set up the music program there. She remained at the school until she retired in 1990.
Although she never married, her students were her children and her life revolved around them. She often staged as many as four musical productions a year in an effort to involve and stimulate her students love for music. Hayes finished the 1989-1990 school year by sending in her letter of resignation to Superintendent Hugh Hayes. She wrote, "I have enjoyed the 25 years spent teaching elementary music in the Katy district and have especially appreciated the support of the board, the administration, my fellow teachers and the community. Working in the Katy schools has been a rewarding experience as well as a privilege and a pleasure."
Jeanette Hayes died on May 11, 1994. On September 25, 1995, the Board of Trustees voted to name Elementary #15, Jeanette Hayes Elementary School.