Guy Sconzo, who served as superintendent for 15 years from 2001-16, died April 21 from cancer. Throughout his career, Sconzo served as an educator in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas, according to the district. After his retirement, Sconzo continued advocating for education and served as executive director of the Fast Growth School Coalition, an education advocacy group.
HISD board of trustees voted unanimously Dec. 8 to name Quest Early College High School after the long-time educator.
"I don't want to cry, but I just want to say I'm happy to be a part of this moment," Trustee Nancy Morrison said. "I think it's perfect. It suits him."
Prior to the Dec. 8 vote, trustees toiled over which building they wanted to use to honor Sconzo's memory. Most trustees agreed that a building should be named after the leader, but not which building would be the right fit.
Trustee Keith Lapeze said although Sconzo did not launch the Quest program, he helped the once-magnet school become the high school it is today. Quest Early College High School allows students to earn associate degrees and college credit while taking high school courses at no additional cost to the students, according to the board agenda.
"He didn't start Quest, but Quest would not be here without Guy Sconzo—and that is a fact," Lapeze said. "He single-handedly kept that school alive. So it is very much appropriate to have his name on a school in that building forever."
For many years, Quest Early College shuffled among multiple buildings in the area and most recently settled on a space in Humble High School. In August, Quest Early College moved to its own space in the district's old Career and Technical Education Center, or CATE Center, for the first time.
The center is undergoing a $8.98 million renovation that will expand the school's capacity from 400 students to 600 students and add flexible learning spaces. Construction began Oct. 30, and the renovations are set to be substantially completed by July 2021, district officials previously said.
Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen said she believes the renovated campus will be the perfect fit for Sconzo's name.
"What great timing, with the ability to build Quest a campus that those students deserve, ... with Dr. Sconzo's name for all of us to remember the huge impact he had [and] the Humble ISD family that he created," she said. "He truly was the heart of the school district. So to have him right in the heart of the district, right in the heart of the city of Humble, that campus really is the right set of circumstances."
Other agenda items:
- Trustees unanimously selected PBK Architects as the architecture firm to design the North Belt Elementary replacement project. At the last board meeting Nov. 10, trustees voted to construct the new $38 million campus with remaining funds from the 2018 bond referendum.
- Trustees also selected PBK to design the upcoming Instructional Support Center, which was flooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The $1.8 million project will be mostly funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to the board agenda.
- Targeted improvement plans were unanimously approved for Whispering Pines and Jack Field elementary schools, both of which were rated as "improvement required" in the Texas Education Agency's 2019 accountability ratings. The STAAR exam was canceled in spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic; therefore, the campuses maintain their rating, which requires the district to work with the state, according to the board agenda.