El Paso, Texas is my hometown. My parents were Clark and Clarice Knight, and they came from Oklahoma to El Paso in the 1930’s. My father was employed by the El Paso Electric Company, helped build the large electrical conduit carriers across the southwest from Los Angeles to the east, managed the Cold Storage Plant at Ft. Bliss during World War II, established his own refrigeration repair company, and then became the manager of refrigeration installations working for the Piggly Wiggly food store chain. My mother was an accomplished artist and pianist and was a secondary public school music teacher. She had many of her musical arrangements for Cambiata voices published. My parents provided me with a happy childhood giving me every possible lesson in piano, art, dance, and other things as they could afford them.
I am a product of a Texas public school education. Attending Rusk Elementary and Stephen F. Austin Junior and Senior High School in El Paso, Texas where I was born, I graduated at age sixteen having skipped a couple of grades along the way. I attended Texas Woman’s University, UTEP, and Texas Tech University. I believe that I received a very fine academic education in Texas’ public schools. I graduated at age 20 from Texas Tech with a Bachelor of Arts degree. I have majors in English and political science. At Texas Tech I was selected for membership in Sigma Tau Delta, the honorary English fraternity, and Pi Sigma Alpha, the honorary Political Science fraternity. I also have thirty hours of education courses that were required in order to obtain a teaching certificate. I hold a Texas Permanent Provisional Teaching Certificate.
I taught in El Paso and Houston teaching 12th, 11th, and 10th grade English, American history, civics, economics and sociology. I was a substitute teacher in the 1980’s in Katy ISD taking a half year assignment as the GT teacher at Mayde Creek Junior High. I also substituted one year in Cypress Fairbanks ISD, mostly at Langham Creek High School, while I was on the school board just so I could see what teachers were having to do from an up close and personal perspective. They liked me at that school because on my “off” period, instead of sitting in the Teachers’ Lounge, I offered to shelve books in the library.
I belonged to the required (at the time) teachers’ organizations including the NEA, the TSTA, TCTA, the El Paso Teacher’s Association and the Houston Teacher’s Association. I would not join those groups at this point in time as they have, in my opinion, changed from professional teachers’ organizations to labor unions. I would also tell everyone that in the 1960’s and 1970’s if one wanted to keep her job teaching school, she joined the NEA, TSTA, TCTA and the EPTA or the HTA! No questions asked.
I was Chairman of the English Department at Irvin High School in El Paso the second year I taught. At that time, Irvin was the largest high school in Texas, and the department had seventeen English teachers. I have sponsored many student organizations including the National Honor Society, the Student Council, the Senior Class, the Modern Dance Club and various other special interest organizations. I also spent time writing curriculum guides and/or teaching during some summers.
I stopped teaching in 1973 to raise our two sons. During that time I became an active volunteer and served in the following ways:
- organized and started the first PTA at Kate Bell Elementary in southwest Houston
- organized and started the first parent organization at Memorial Parkway Junior High and served as the first president
- served as president and treasurer of the Glenshire Community Association
- wrote the neighborhood column in the Advertiser Advocate for the Glenshire community for seven years
- wrote the neighborhood column in the Katy Timesfor Nottingham Country for four years
- served on the Board of the Katy National Little League
- helped organize and served as Vice president the first year of the Katy Parents of Gifted and Talented Students group
- helped organize the Nottingham Country Garden Club
- served on the board of the Nottingham Country PTA
- served as a volunteer in the Nottingham Country school library for two and half years every Wednesday afternoon for three hours
- served for two and a half years as a Nottingham Country Community Improvement Association board member and was the Secretary of that organization
- served as a Republican Party Precinct Chairman
- served as a Republican Party Delegate to several Senatorial Conventions
- served as a sponsor for the MYF junior high group at Asbury Methodist in El Paso, Texas
- organized a petition drive for Single Member Districts for KISD in 1988 obtaining 5,000 signatures
- joined three Taylor High School teachers in writing Taylor’s first application for National Exemplary School Status in November 1990
- served as Taylor High School’s first representative to the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council
- served on the board of the Taylor Athletic Booster Club
- served as Team Mother on various Little League Baseball teams
- served on the KISD Parent Committee for Gifted and Talented Students
- youngest person in Texas (at the time) to be selected for membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, an honorary teacher’s organization
- and recently have been accepted into membership of the Daughters of the American Revolution
I mention these activities so that anyone can see that I have paid my volunteer dues and care about children, my neighbors and my neighborhood, my profession, and my country. Since I write about education subjects, I want my readers to know that I “did my time” learning about schools and students.
Like other school board members, once elected, I also engaged in all the activities that come with that office. I do believe that without volunteerism BEFORE being elected, one cannot appreciate what REAL volunteers actually do. Volunteering AFTER one is elected is mostly just for show! One may notice that I never served (and would not when asked) as the president of a PTA even though I helped to organize them. The idea to have PTA’s comes from leftists at the school administration level. I do not believe in the PTA as it is too closely aligned with the NEA (National Education Association–a labor union), and at the state level the PTA lobbies for gun control which, in my opinion, violates the Constitution. The national and state PTA’s take a major portion of the annual dues to fund their agenda. That money is what parents contribute thinking that it will go to help their child’s school. It does not.)
I was elected twice to the Katy ISD school board in 1991 and 1994.
I defeated incumbent David Frishman in a run-off, and as the incumbent, I defeated Jerry Kroll outright. As one might imagine, I was NOT an insider candidate.
I resigned from my board position a year early because I thought my resignation would bring attention to the direction the board was taking. I was wrong to think that such would happen, but at the time I resigned, there was not much else I could do. I think I have been proved to be right in the assertions I made at the time.
My husband is Gary McGarr who has been successful in engineering sales. Gary was employee number 14 at Atheros Communications, a California startup that became the first provider of wireless technology (802.11). The company successfully went public in 2004 and has recently been acquired by Qualcomm. Gary was a Braeburn Little League umpire and a Katy National Little League coach and umpire for many years, before, during and after our sons played in those leagues. When our sons were at Taylor, Gary and I were active in the Taylor Athletic Booster Club, and Gary served as president of that organization. He has also served on the Engineering Alumni Board at Rice University where he received Bachelors and Masters degrees in electrical engineering.
Our two sons were good students, graduating in the top 5% at Taylor High School where they were both members of the National Honor Society, selected to be Taylor’s representatives to the American Legion Boys’ State in Austin, were either a class president or student council president, were named VFW Outstanding Katy ISD Student, All Taylor Boy, or Mr. THS, and both played football, baseball and basketball where they also excelled. They both attended Rice University and graduated with electrical engineering degrees. One of them played baseball as a pitcher at Rice University for three years as well. One of them also has an MBA from Rice. They are now successfully employed, married to very successful women, and have children.