From Citizen to Alum: Phelps family legacy continues as son named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

From Citizen to Alum: Phelps family legacy continues as son named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Posted on 05/03/2018
From Citizen to Alum: Phelps family legacy continues as son named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

Distinguished Alumnus_Steve Phelps
By Reesha Brown
Pasadena ISD Communications

Sam Rayburn High School graduate and real estate developer, Steve Phelps has been named the 2018 Pasadena ISD Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

The award annually celebrates standout alumni for their lifelong achievements, contributions to PISD and for bringing honor and pride to the school district.

A ceremony honoring Phelps has been set for 5:30 p.m. on May 17 at the district’s Carmen Orozco Professional Development Complex, 1832 E. Sam Houston Parkway South, Pasadena TX 77503.

Phelps’ Pasadena ties run deep. He attended Mae Smythe Elementary and Southmore Intermediate before graduating from Rayburn High in 1976.

Phelps went on to attend the University of Houston Clear Lake, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration while interning for Commissioner Jim Fonteno, who groomed him for a career in public service.

Inspired by his late father, who built the John Phelps Insurance Agency in Pasadena from the ground up, Phelps decided to take his first swing as a public official after being appointed Harris County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 8 – a position he continued to serve for three consecutive terms. During this time, he earned a doctorate of jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in 1993 and was appointed commissioner for the Port of Houston Authority in 1997. He decided to join the family business while also serving as commissioner until 2013.

Service to the community is the epitome of the Phelps family name.

His father, John, was the first of the Phelps bloodline to set the bar in public service, earning him such accolades as the Paul Harris Rotary Award, the Optimist Citizen of the Year, the Visionary Award of the Economic Alliance Houston-Port Region and the Pasadena Independent School District Distinguished Citizen award recipient.

Perhaps, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Phelps and his brother, Ken, have continued this tradition through various volunteer and philanthropic efforts throughout the Pasadena area. Steve volunteers as an auctioneer for many charitable events helping to raise more than $2.5 million for worthy projects in the community.

While serving as commissioner of the Port of Houston Authority, he worked with a local group to get a maritime education program off the ground in Pasadena ISD and other neighboring school districts, while also helping to kick off an internship program for recent PISD graduates.

Phelps annually sponsors Pasadena ISD’s Education Foundation, while supporting booster clubs, drill teams, athletic program and PTOs throughout the school district. Phelps has also backed various school bond measures, including serving on the original Team of Ten – a committee that was instrumental in supporting Pasadena Memorial High School’s building project.

Phelps has served on the board of directors for many civic organizations and companies in the area, including: the Moody National Bank Board, the Pasadena Economic Development Corp. and Pct2gether, a Harris County Precinct 2 non-profit organization that provides veterans, senior citizens and youth with access to services to help improve their well-being.

Phelps will now share a spot with his father on the Pasadena ISD Distinguished Citizen and Alumni wall outside of the Administration Building and inside the Phelps family business when he is honored mid-May.

“It’s not an award for me,” said Phelps, “but for the family.”

Past recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award are:

2017 – Chris Bezdek, Sam Rayburn High School – Class of 1998

2016 – Wayne Adams, South Houston High School – Class of 1967

2015 – John Eddie Williams, Jr., Pasadena High School – Class of 1972

2014 – Calvin Powitzky, Pasadena High School – Class of 1964

2013 – Dr. John Morgan, Pasadena High School – Class of 1959

2012 – Dr. Frank Young, Pasadena High School – Class of 1958

2011 – Dr. Mike McKinney, Sam Rayburn High School – Class of 1969

2010 – Rick Schriever, Sam Rayburn High School – Class of 1973

2009 – Dr. Byron Tapley, Pasadena High School – Class of 1951

2008 – James R. Smith, South Houston High School – Class of 1960

2007 – Dr. Carlton Horbelt, Pasadena High School –Class of 1973

2006 – Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox, Dobie High School – Class of 1976

2005 – J. Michael Solar, Sam Rayburn High School – Class of 1971

2004 – Dr. Paul Zanowiak, South Houston High School – Class of 1965