Precinct One Events

Third Recognition for Black History Month of Three Trailblazers

Commissioner Cook reads a tribute to S.C. Marshall, Mary Smith Bailey, and Joe Lee Johnson during Commissioners Court on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.

  • 15 February 2022
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2115

strong social skills especially in getting along with others, and kids growing in a strong desire to learn. Ms. Bailey’s mission was always to provide children with more than just babysitting. She focused on teaching young minds.  Ms. Bailey’s program was a precursor of the nation’s Head Start programs that began in the mid-60’s.Educating hundreds of students through the years and thru the many changes of time, the Mary Bailey Head Start Center in Georgetown bears her name, where she remained active until her passing in 1973. That center continues today to provide outstanding educational opportunities for very young children.

Note: Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child and family development programs that prepare children from birth to five years of age to become successful school students and members of society. Head Start was started in the mid-1960’s and has grown into a multi-faceted partnership involving the federal government and local education, social service and health organizations. Children and families participate in the program on the basis of eligibility criteria.

Joe Lee Johnson

Images on various websites for Round Rock school and historical pages.Joe Lee Johnson is a true son of Round Rock. Mr. Johnson’s father and grandfather were born into slavery, and his early schooling took place at Hopewell School, which served as the only school for African American students in Round Rock from 1921 to 1966. After high school, he served in the United States military serving in Korea. Mr. Johnson, as an American Veteran, attended the former Samuel Huston College (now Huston Tillotson University in Austin) after his discharge.

Following his graduation, Joe Lee Johnson began his 36-year illustrious career with Round Rock ISD. He went back to Hopewell School and became a coach, where in 1951, he led the girls’ track team to the first of four state championships over the next five years. Later, Joe Lee Johnson became the principal of Hopewell, and in 1966, while still principal, he helped lead that school’s integration into Round Rock ISD. Some have cited his positive influence as a great help in making a safe transition happen.

Following desegregation, Mr. Johnson began teaching 6th-grade math at Round Rock Middle School, now C. D. Fulkes Middle School, and he served as a leader of the Young Men’s Club where he instilled community ideals in his students. Even after retiring from teaching in 1986, Mr. Johnson continued to work as a bus driver for the school district.

Joe Lee Johnson’s service to Round Rock ISD was ultimately honored by the naming of a brand-new school, the Joe Lee Johnson Elementary School, in 2015.  This is the first new school that RRISD named after a black educator. Located in the Wells Branch area of RRISD on Sauls Drive, it is a STEAM school.  What is a STEAM school, you ask? Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math in an environment where the engagement of the parents, teachers, and students is emphasized and approaches to teaching and collaborating follow their mission to Value the Heart, Engage the Mind, and Find their voice.

In the face of segregation and extremely limited resources, S.C. Marshall’s, Mary Smith Bailey’s, and Joe Lee Johnson’s service to our community, and indeed to the education of Williamson County’s children of color and the bearing they have had in succeeding generations are immeasurable.

S.C. Marshall, Mary Smith Bailey, Joe Lee Johnson- home-grown education groundbreakers having lasting positive impacts in our communities.

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