The History of

Paul Keyes Elementary School

Paul Keyes Elementary School opened in 1952 as North Elementary School. The school’s name was changed in 1953 to honor Paul Keyes. At first there were only two wings with 24 classrooms. The same architectural design that had been used at Schulze and John Haley Elementary Schools was used to build this school. Another wing and a library were added to the building in 1968. Two additional wings were added in the 1970s. In 1993 the school was enlarged, remodeled, and a new entrance was added to face Britain Rd.  In 1988 Paul Keyes Elementary was recognized by Instructor magazine as an A+ School (one of only five awards given that year).

The first principal of Keyes was Earnest Johnson (1952-60). He was followed by William (Bill) C. Lawson (1960-Feb. 1963), Homer Thompkins (Mar. 1963-May 1963), Joe W. Cassel (1963-1965), Johnny Alford (1965-1966), Kenneth E. Tillman (1966-1968), Dwight C. Beavert (1968-1971), Arthur Wayne Reeves (1971-1977), Robert Nim Voelkle (1977-1997), Dianna Hopper (1997-2003), Chris Morgan (2003-Dec. 2005), Irma Vega Zadeh (Jan. 2006-2012), and Katiuska Herrador (2012-2015), and Rosa Avendano (2015-2016). The current principal is Blanca De La Sierra.

Paul Crawford Keyes came to Irving in 1945 shortly after World War II ended and was a home builder and land developer here. He served on the Chamber of Commerce. In 1948 he also represented Irving on the executive board of the County-wide Citizen’s Association. Mr. Keyes was elected to the Irving ISD School Board. He served as president of the board from 1948 to 1954 during a period of reorganization and expansion in the district. The land for the school was purchased as part of a program which he had envisioned and helped to develop. Mr. Keyes supported the Superintendent Beard in the 1956 teacher strike. When the superintendent lost, Paul moved away and was never heard from again.

Research by Robert Nim Voelkle and Jo Ann Johnson • • Document “History of Paul C. Keyes Elem. School” written around 1977 from the Irving Archives. This web page was created July 2016 by the Celebrating Irving Committee of the Irving Heritage Society in partnership with Irving Independent School District. Photos used with the permission of Irving Archives, Irving Public Library.