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Distinguished Citizen

  • As the president and owner of Rosewood Funeral Home, Jess Fields Sr. has dedicated his life to guiding families through grief and providing comfort to those in need. A third generation funeral director, Jess’ kind heart and passion for helping others through difficult times has touched the lives of countless people. He has served as chairman of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, where he developed positive relationships and brought new businesses to Pasadena. As one of the founding donors for the Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament, Jess was instrumental in helping the tournament get off the ground. Over the years, he has maintained his commitment to the students and teachers of Pasadena ISD through his continued financial support, volunteer efforts during the tournament and on the PISD Education Foundation Advisory Board. His dedication and years of continued support for the school district and the Pasadena community is a true inspiration for all.

  • As the founding CEO of the Pasadena Health Center, John Sweitzer has dedicated years of service to provide access to affordable health care for families in underprivileged communities. John aligned with Pasadena ISD after joining the district’s School Health Advisory Council in 2014 where he recognized a need for instruction on various health topics. A teacher, leader, paramedic and philanthropist, John has been instrumental in providing students with the knowledge and tools that could one day save a life. He donated CPR mannequins to every high school and helped organize the first mass CPR training for freshmen at Pasadena High — an effort that he continues to support each year. John is involved in multiple health organizations that aim to improve the quality of life for all. Through the years, John has worked directly with school nurses to provide medical and dental services for children in need. He has organized and participated in health fairs where he provides backpacks, school supplies and health screenings for district families.

  • Dr. Iraj JabbaryAs a longtime supporter of Pasadena ISD and owner of ABC Dental in Pasadena, Dr. Iraj Jabbary is in the business of spreading smiles. His humanitarian spirit has helped countless families receive complimentary access to dental care, supplies and wellness resources. Since 2007, thousands of Pasadena ISD students have benefited from his “Smiles on Wheels” project, where he provided bicycles to students in need.  

    ABC Dental continuously goes above and beyond to give back as an invaluable sponsor for Pasadena ISD Education Foundation fundraisers. He continues to give at the platinum level for the Shining Stars Gala and is a Major Sponsor of the McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament. He and his staff volunteer at numerous health fairs, speaking engagements and foundation events each year. Dr. Jabbary and his team are deeply committed to the welfare of families in our community, endlessly paving the way for those in need – one smile at a time. 

  • Marie FlickingerMarie Flickinger is an advocate for the citizens of Pasadena. Through the South Belt-Ellington Leader newspaper, she brings visibility to the achievements of Pasadena ISD students. As the district was creating the Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School, Marie helped bridge connections between the district and San Jacinto College. She has garnered support from the college and championed efforts to create partnerships like the Early College High School at Pasadena High School. Through her leadership, the South Belt- Ellington Chamber hosts an annual banquet to honor Dobie High School’s top graduates. Marie has played a vital role in serving the community through information and partnerships. 

  • Nelly QuijanoAs a philanthropist and owner/operator of 27 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the greater Houston area, Nelly Quijano has built a network that reaches beyond the Golden Arches to the Pasadena community. The road to success has been paved with challenges but with the help of her late husband and business partner Dominic, success grew from adversity. They moved to Houston from New York to open their first McDonald’s franchise on Wayside and Harrisburg. The couple has been credited with creating the famous breakfast burrito. Convinced that an education yields unlimited opportunities, she strives to provide students in Pasadena ISD with the resources to be successful.

    Nelly’s commitment to the education of Pasadena ISD students is mirrored through her extensive work on the annual McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament. Since 2005, McDonald’s Texas Invitational has donated over $1 million to the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation to help district students achieve excellence. McDonald’s donates more than $25,000 annually to the Texas Invitational.

  • Melvin CowartA diligent supporter of the Pasadena community and the school district, Melvin (Mel) Cowart’s generosity has impacted the lives of countless students both locally and internationally. His humble heart and servant spirit has brought him recognition both as an established businessman in the community and as a philanthropic supporter of education. In 2003, Mel and his late wife Mary set the groundwork for the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation by becoming founding donors.  In 2006, the Mel and Mary Cowart Sports Pavilion was built in his honor in at the Salvation Army in Pasadena. 

  • Linda LukazewskiLinda Lukazewski’s roots run deep in Pasadena, and her support for the Pasadena ISD family can hardly be measured. A long-time volunteer in the district’s HOSTS program and a valued member of the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation, she has served as a reading mentor, a reviewer on scholarship and grant application committees and a tireless volunteer with the Texas Invitational. As the CEO of Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union, she has maintained an affiliation with 10 education foundations around the area. Her generous gifts of time and resources have enhanced the quality of life in our community and instruction in our district.

    Linda Lukazewski is President and CEO of Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union, President of Pasadena ISD Education Foundation in 2008, member of McDonald’s Texas Invitational Steering Committee and volunteer with Pasadena ISD HOSTS Program.

  • Dana PhilibertDana Philibert has been a central figure in local business, education and community service activities throughout her professional career. After graduation from Texas A&M, she immersed herself in civic projects, fund-raising missions and politics. She served eight years on the Pasadena City Council and became a fixture in the McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament Steering Committee. Her agency was named Pasadena Business of the year in 2006. She has applied her leadership skills to the Rotary Club and to her synagogue. She remains a tireless force in our community.

    Dana Philibert is the owner, Philibert Allstate Insurance Agency, president of Pasadena ISD Education Foundation in 2009, chairman of Pasadena Chamber of Commerce in 2011, Councilwoman for City of Pasadena from 2001-09 and Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary of Pasadena.

  • Bill BarmoreA community leader and benefactor, Bill Barmore had made support for education a major part of his life’s mission. A 1973 graduate of Pasadena High School, Barmore has been a fixture in Rotary Club activities and has served as a board member at First United Methodist Church Pasadena. He is a prolific sponsor of Pasadena ISD Career Day events. His generous donations of time and financial resources have provided enhanced educational opportunities for students. Barmore’s involvement in the education goals of Pasadena ISD places him at the pinnacle of those most deeply committed to the welfare and growth of our community.

    Bill Barmore served as Vice-President of Barmore Insurance Agency, President of Rotary Club of America in 1995, Rotarian of the Year, 1999, 2005 Board Member and Pasadena ISD Education Foundation.

  • Terry BrothertonGiving back to the community he proudly calls home is second nature to Terry Brotherton, a 1969 graduate of South Houston High School. As the president of Second Century, he has helped bring over $6 million in sales tax revenue to the city for economic development projects. He is a tireless supporter of Pasadena ISD schools, especially in his efforts as fund-raiser for teacher grants through the Education Foundation and the McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament.

    Terry Brotherton served as President, City of Pasadena Second City Corp., President, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Advisory Director, Texas Citizen Bank, President, Pasadena ISD Education Foundation, 2006, President, Rotary Club of Pasadena, 2002-03, and Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Club of Pasadena.

  • Carroll SmithCarroll Smith serves as a true advocate for Pasadena ISD students in the Automotive Youth Education Systems program at the L.P. Card Career and Technical Center. As owner and president of Monument Chevrolet, he consistently employs high school students in the program as interns and continues this support throughout their college education. Smith and his employees invest their time in Pasadena ISD classrooms by holding quarterly business and education meetings and school-related awards ceremonies, Carroll Smith models integrity and paves the way for young people who are passionate about the automotive industry.

    Carroll Smith is president of Monument Chevrolet, partner with Pasadena ISD Automotive Internship Program, board member of National Automobile Dealers Association and director of Texas Automobile Dealers Association.

  • Herman WilliamsName a cause that benefits education and provides a brighter future for Pasadena students and you will likely find Herman Williams’ name associated with it. He is one of the founders of the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation and served as its first president. He is a longtime member of the Pasadena Rotary Club, which honors students every month as Junior Rotarians. Williams serves on the steering committee for the Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament, an event that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for the Education Foundation.

    Herman Williams is a graduate of South Houston High School in 1964, was Pasadena ISD Education Foundation President from 1999-2004, is Steerling Committee Member for the Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament, is chairman for Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and designated Citizen of the Year by Pasadena Chamber of Commerce in 2005.

  • Charles DavisWhether it was devoting his time in the HOSTS Reading Program, teaching piano to Kruse Elementary students or volunteering to assist Sam Rayburn High School choir students, Charles Davis is quick to lend his heart and a helping hand to others. Davis has been an active volunteer in the Pasadena schools for many years and has touched many students’ lives. Through his involvement as associated minister of Watters Road Church of Christ, the Neighborhood Center and Pasadena South Rotary Club, he gives back to the community in a variety of ways.

    Davis is the associate minister of Watters Road Church of Christ, received HOSTS Champions for Children Award, 2005-06, volunteered for Kruse Elementary and Sam Rayburn High School, serves as board member for Neighborhood Centers and awarded Pasadena South Rotary Club Rotarian of the, 2003-04.

  • Emory GaddWorking quietly behind the scenes for the good of his community is a mission that is close to the heart of Emory Gadd. He supports numerous community efforts and school activities and routinely lends his efforts to campus activities across the Pasadena ISD. He is actively involved in civic projects with the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce and with San Jacinto College. Gadd also served as co-chairman for the facilities planning committee during the district’s 2004 bond issue. He served on a similar committee during the successful 2000 bond campaign.

    Graduate of South Houston High School in 1965, associate pastor of Sagemont Church, South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1993, board member for Pasadena ISD Education Foundation, South Belt Chamber member and part of the Campus Improvement Team for Dobie High School, Emory Gadd is an essential part of Pasadena ISD.

  • Rosalie KuntzRosalie Kuntz sees it as a lifelong commitment to help the children of Pasadena succeed and the community prosper. Kuntz has been actively involved in many community endeavors that enrich the lives of local youngsters. A successful businesswoman, she shares her experiences with students at Career Day events every year. She also demonstrated her commitment to children by serving as a mentor to students having difficulty in reading. She is the first woman to be elected president of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.

    Co-owner Kuntz Insurance Agency, served as HOSTS Mentor and Career Day Speaker, serves on Pasadena ISD Advisory Committee and awarded Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, Rosalie Kuntz has made an impact on Pasadena ISD.

  • Dr. Paul CovellDr. Paul Covell leads by example, devoting much of his time and resources to promote the well-being of our community’s young people through his long-standing involvement in Boy Scouts, youth baseball, hunting safety courses and school activities. Dr. Covell is an ardent supporter of Pasadena ISD choir and athletic activities. He encourages student participation and parent involvement in these valuable programs. He supports the district’s health occupation course in personal and visible ways. His belief in the young people of our community is evident. He is a role model to all children in the areas of citizenship, compassion and commitment.

    Family dentist practitioner, Rotary Club member, Boy Scouts of America member, Pasadena Pee Wee League member, Sam Rayburn Booster Club member and a member of Rotary International Polio Plus Inoculation Program are all of the major organizations that Dr. Covell takes part in.

  • Russell and Judy LamontagneSchool volunteers, room parents captains, Pasadena Peddlers HOSTS Mentors and Golden Acres Elementary ‘Make Room for Children’ Bond Committee, for Russell and Judy Lamontagne volunteer involvement in Pasadena schools has been a natural part of their lives. The couple’s participation in the education of children in the Pasadena ISD spans decades. Their involvement has touched the lives of thousands. Together, they have worked ticket booths, served food for after-school programs, sponsored field trips and faithfully attended hundreds of concerts and shows in support of our students. Their compassion for the children of Pasadena serves as an inspiration four our entire community.

  • Eddie DansbyEddie Dansby’s involvement in Pasadena schools extends beyond the 30 years in which his firm has been involved in the design of more than 100 district building projects. He made history come alive by sponsoring field trips to the San Jacinto Monument. He is consistently involved in students’ lives through Interact, vocational and career day programs. His backing of the Pasadena Live Stock Show & Rodeo has provided thousands of dollars in scholarships for Pasadena area high school students. His generous heart is evident in his strong support of the Pasadena ISD and the children in this community.

    Partner at Dansby & Miller and A.I.A. Architects, PTA member at L.F. Smith Elementary and Queens Intermediate, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Education Committee member, founding member of Pasadena Chamber Education Foundation and director of Pasadena Livestock Show & Rodeo, Eddie Dansby is a big part of the Pasadena community.

  • Retired Lt. Comm. Gilbert AguilarA growing number of Pasadena ISD students come from Central and South American countries with little ability to speak English. These young people are at an education disadvantage until they learn enough English to be successful in school. Assisting with tutorials before and after school, Gilbert Aguilar works with students in ESL classes and extended-day programs, providing homework assistance and tutorials. He also teaches survival English skills to students and parents who are new to this country through his work in the schools, his church and the local library.

    Retired Lt. Commander of the United States Coast Guard, volunteer for Beverly Hills intermediate and Dobie High, Dobie Site-Based Management Team, Literacy volunteer for St. Luke’s Catholic Church and Parker Williams Public Library, Gilbert Aguilar is recognized member of the Pasadena community.

  • Denise Finck ConverseSometimes a career choice blends perfectly with the heart. As an active member of the Education Subcommittee of the East Harris County Manufacturer’s Association, Denise Finck Converse is deeply involved in Lyondell-Citgo’s partnership programs with Richey Elementary and other Pasadena ISD campuses. She tirelessly gathers donations of materials and human resources that assist students and teachers in the educational process. Her involvement with children extends to her work with Children’s Assessment Center, United Way, The Bridge, HOSTS, Junior Achievement and other community organizations. In all she does, she demonstrated a true heart for children.

    Manager of Community Relations for Lyondell-Citgo Refining Company, ambassador for the Advisory Committee, The Bridge, Junior Achievement, Pasadena ISD HOSTS volunteer, a member of the Board of Directors and Communities in Schools, Denise Finck Converse plays a major role in the community.

  • John PhelpsSome leaders are highly visible. Some stand more comfortably in the shadows. The constant presence of these individuals who prefer the background provides a source of immeasurable support and infinite encouragement. John Phelps influences educational achievement and academic improvement through his unwavering support of the children in the community and within the Pasadena school district. Always looking for opportunities to help, he sees a need in our schools and does whatever is necessary, through personal contributions or by rallying community support, to answer the challenge.

    Former teacher, Channelview and Pasadena board member, San Jacinto College Foundation member, awarded Pasadena Citizen of the Year and Optimist Citizen of the Year, John Phelps has impacted the Pasadena community.

  • Kathleen MorrisThrough years of touching lives as a teacher in Pasadena ISD (1955-67) and San Jacinto College, Kathleen Morris always puts children first in her heart. Working tirelessly through several bond campaigns, she helped insure that students would have quality schools in which to study and learn for years to come. Her heart and her actions reveal a consistent and strong passion for all children, as demonstrated through her church work, as a HOSTS mentor and her work with the Girl Scouts, the Salvation Army, the March of Dimes, the Red Cross and the Lions Crippled Children’s Camp. Kathleen Morris is a champion for children.

    Morris earned her B.B.A. at Sam Houston State University in 1939, served in the Army Women’s Corps from 1944-45, earned a M.B.A. from the University of Houston in 1953 and received the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Humanitarian Award in 1992.

  • Faye SchimekFaye Schimek urges young people who are struggling to find their place in the world to get involved with the lives of others by arranging opportunities for them to work physically and mentally challenged youth and adults, the poor, the elderly and in after-school programs for children. She has organized “Make a Difference” days for latch-key children and student seminars on drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, suicide and crime. She encourages business and parent involvement to bring community and schools together. She truly believes on helping young people to make a difference.

    Schimek volunteered at the Mayor’s Telephone Assistance Program for the Elderly from 1978-80, was a founder of Senior/Teens Exchange Program at Dobie High School in 1988 and was nominated for President Bush’s Point of Light Award in 1990.

  • Kathryn WhitfillKathryn Whitfill has touched the lives of children and young people directly and indirectly through her work as a parent volunteer with the PTA in Pasadena, in Texas, and throughout the nation. Her love for children, her energy, drive, depth of commitment and organizational skills focused the PTA on relevant educational issues and parental involvement in education that moved the organization beyond bake sales and fund-raising. Through her service to community, she embodies the love, concern, fierce determination, hard work and constancy of purpose that is so desperately needed from our parents and staff.

    Whitfill served as PTA president at Mae Smythe Elementary from 1969-70, PTA Council president for Pasadena ISD from 1969-71, Texas PTA president from 1986-88 and National Congress of Parents and Teachers president from 1993-95.