Dr. James E. Williams
When Dr. James E. Williams set up his dental practice in Katy in 1961, no one knew that this gentle young man would be the calming influence needed to guide the Katy school district through prosperity, turmoil, and unprecedented growth.
Dr. Williams was a Katy ISD Trustee from 1967 - 1985 and 1988 -1994. He witnessed the district's metamorphosis in the 1970s from a small-town, rural farming community to a rapidly growing suburban district. He was a trustee during the recession of the 1980s when property values plummeted, construction stopped, and homes were repossessed. He was a trustee during the early 1990s when the building boom resumed. Through these storms, Dr. Williams was the rudder the community called upon to safely steer the district toward the 21st century.
The youngest of three children, James E. Williams was born in West Columbia in 1930. When he was 3 years old, the family moved to Tomball. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at Southwestern University. "Dad was determined that all three of his children receive a college education," he reminisces. While in college, he was drafted into the Army.
After his two-year tour of duty during the Korean War, he resumed his college education at Southwestern University, where he met Patsy Ginn. In 1955, he was accepted into the University of Texas Dental School in Houston and the following year he and Patsy were married. While in dental school, the couple's first daughter, Laura, was born. After graduating, he opened a practice in Bay City. In 1961, the Williams family moved to Katy, and for several years, Dr. Williams was the only dentist in the area. One year later, his son Clay was born, followed by a second son, Brad. Daughter Leslie came along several years later.
Being the only dentist in a small town, Dr. Williams became a sounding board for the community. His patients volunteered their opinions relating to the school district, and when an opening came up on the school board, they asked him to run. With four children in Katy schools, Dr. Williams felt he had a vested interest in the district. During his first term, Katy ISD grew rapidly as subdivisions dotted the Katy prairie. The student population quadrupled and 15 schools were built, plus five support buildings. "I focused on curriculum. Many of our students were going on to college, and I knew we had to increase the curriculum offerings."
In the spring of 2000, the Board of Trustees named its 18th elementary school in his honor. James E. Williams Elementary opened on August 9, 2000.