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Campus History

Garden Elementary Gators LogoIn 1944, during WWII, Gardens Elementary School opened its doors to 443 students. Walter Matthys was chosen as the first principal and the school’s secre­tary was his wife, Myril Matthys. The school had 10 classrooms with 14 teachers, including one bilingual teacher and one music teacher. At the time, the areas close to the Houston ship channel saw an increase in population as the need to produce materials for the war effort increased. To house the newcomers, the Pasadena Gardens subdivision, a government housing project, was built. The residents of the community sent their children to Kruse Elementary School, which caused overcrowding in the school.  For a time, Pasadena Gardens students attended Kruse Elementary on a half-day schedule.  

In addition to being the principal of Gardens, Matthys was also an ordained Methodist minister and used his training to guide his staff, pupils, and PTA.  He remained at Gardens as principal until 1953. By 1949, the enrollment of Gardens had more than doubled and 1,100 students were enrolled. As the school faced overcrowding, four portable buildings were moved in to accommodate the influx of students. At the beginning of the 1962-1963 school year, enrollment had de­clined somewhat and the portable buildings were used for special education classes. By 1976, Gardens had taught Early Childhood Education classes for 10 years, along with morning and afternoon kindergarten classes. Gardens had an enrollment of 700 students in 1976, along with 16 regular classroom teachers, 15 special education teachers, eight teachers' aides, two music teachers, one PE teacher, one full-time librarian, one full-time nurse, two bilingual teachers, one speech therapist, one reading teacher, one LLD teacher and two secretaries.


In 2013, Gardens moved to a new campus on 1107 Harris Avenue in Pasadena. The new campus was constructed after the passage of a 2011 school bond. A few months after the new campus opened, the old campus was demolished in 2014. Prior to the PTA’s dissolution in 2016, the organization had won numerous awards at the district and regional levels. In 2017, a bridge was added over the bayou by Harris County Flood Control in an effort to help walkers get to school safely. A year later in 2018, a new KaBoom playground was constructed on the campus with the help of over 200 volunteers. In 2019, an asphalt track was added. In 2020, Harris County added a sidewalk to merge the campus with the nearby neighborhood. The school currently has 99 faculty and staff members and serves 562 students in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, as well as students in PPCD and ABLE programs.


List of Principals

  • Walter Matthys 1944-1953
  • Paul Cauthen 1953-1956
  • Bill Smith 1956-1961
  • EJ Ritchey 1961-1966
  • Louis Koenig 1966-1985
  • Celia Fleischman 1985- 2014
  • Lindsey Lesniewski 2014- 2021
  • Linda Flores 2021- present