The doors of Billy Reagan K-8 Educational Center opened for students in August, but on Wednesday, the school community got a chance to celebrate the new school with its official dedication.
More than 200 people, including neighbors, parents, faculty, and HISD officials, attended the ceremony at the campus off Anderson Road to recognize the new campus and honor the school’s namesake, former HISD superintendent Billy Reagan. During his opening remarks, Superintendent Terry Grier said Reagan made significant contributions to education in the city of Houston and across the country.
Those accomplishments included implementing the district’s first International Baccalaureate program and creating the magnet school system that became a national model in education.
“Today I stand in front of you realizing a dream that has come full circle,” said Reagan, reflecting on his start in education nearly 55 years ago.
“In my life I have been honored to touch the lives of many young people,” he said. “That’s one of the great rewards that we have as being an educator.”
Reagan told attendees that education is the answer to many problems, and while state-of-the-art facilities will better equip students to be successful, teacher engagement and instruction are also key.
“The great challenge is what’s going to happen inside these buildings,” he said. “The most important thing in education is what happens behind closed doors.”
Dedication attendee Todd Emmirton graduated from HISD, attending elementary, middle school, and high school in the district. Emmirton, 42, said he hopes the new campus will provide a fresh start for students and teachers.
“I hope the students feel safer and have a better self-esteem about themselves,” he said. “With the right tools and environment, teachers can help make changes in students.”
In addition to state-of-the-art security, the campus includes 21st century learning technologies with classroom smart boards, modern computer labs, and interactive science labs for students.
Reagan was built thanks to funding from the district’s 2007 bond program. The school has more than 900 students, including 600 elementary school students. The campus was also designed to relieve overcrowding in the district’s southwest schools, particularly Dowling Middle School.
Other dedication attendees included former HISD superintendent and former United States Secretary of Education Rod Paige; State Rep. Alma A. Allen and Chief School Officer Sidney (Chip) Zullinger.