About the School

Mission Statement

"JEWEL WIETZEL CENTER: At the Jewel Wietzel Center, we strive to offer the best education possible to the multi-handicapped child in a caring, structured environment.  We work to improve the quality of life for each of our students and their families by providing specialized services and acting as a liaison and advocate with community agencies.  Our ultimate goal is to enhance each child's maximum potential.  We strive to have each student function as independently as possible to be a productive and contributing member of our community."

Jewel Carroll Wietzel 

About The School

Jewel C. Wietzel School History

     Following the measles epidemic of 1965, federal monies were allocated to establish programs for the deaf, blind and multihandicapped children in the public schools. The program allotted $74,000 per child annually in federal funds, besides state special education funding.

    The first specialized program started at Mission Elementary School (now Gilbert Elementary) in 1971 - 72. This program included students from outlying school districts, such as East Central, Somerset, South Side, Natalia, and La Vernia. The curriculum consisted of basic reading and writing skills, along with vocational activities and functional living skills.

    In 1972 the program was relocated to Scheh Elementary. There it consisted of three classrooms and three teachers, with two assistants. These students were of elementary and secondary age. The curriculum consisted of vocational activities and basic academics. Because the program was so successful, it was moved to the Mission Road Developmental Center. There it included three classes consisting of one teacher and two assistants. Parent training classes were provided, as well as classes for teachers and teacher assistants.

    In 1972, Mr. Cole (a parent of a deaf/blind student) and Mr. Charles Boggess were selected as members of the State Advisory Committee on Special Education. Mr. Cole was chairman of the committee. Together, they traveled around Texas viewing special programs. Mr. Boggess became a supporter of a special campus and program. This program consisted of four teachers and two teacher assistants, and in 1977 the Center for Deaf/Blind and Multihandicapped Children was developed.  The center was completed April 12, 1977. Local funds, contributions from citizens and the Norma Friedrich Ward Trust were used to construct this building.  In 1990 - 91, the name was changed to the Harlandale Center for Multihandicapped Children. The center had an enrollment of 34 students during the 1993 - 94 school year.

    In the fall of 2000, the faculty and students moved to a newly constructed facility located at 9131 Yett, Bldg #4, between Kingsborough Middle and Schulze Elementary Schools. At a board meeting on October 16, 2000, the new school was named the Jewel C. Wietzel Center, in honor of the Harlandale Independent School District's first Special Education Director. The following is a brief history of Mrs. Wietzel.


    Jewel Wietzel was born May 30, 1907, in Bigfoot, Texas. She graduated from Somerset High School, and then earned a bachelor's degree from the University of San Antonio (renamed Trinity University) and a master's degree from Trinity University.

    She had a career in education that spanned approximately 48 years - 34 of those years were with the Harlandale Independent School District. She joined Harlandale in 1944 and retired in 1978.  Mrs. Wietzel began her education career in a one-room school house. She taught at both primary and junior high school levels. She served as an elementary school principal and as assistant superintendent for special education in Harlandale. Dillard McCollum, Harlandale's superintendent for 20 years, appointed Mrs. Wietzel as the district's first special education director.  She earned awards for her contributions to education in Texas.  Mrs. Wietzel was well known among colleagues for her attention to children, especially children with special needs.  She had a unique way of motivating and challenging those around her.

    She and Armond A. Wietzel were married for 53 years. They were active in Highland Terrace Methodist Church and Highland Park Lions and Lionesses. They have a son, Armond Wietzel Jr., who lives in Austin, Texas.  Mrs. Wietzel lived her entire life in San Antonio, Texas. She passed away November 26, 1996.

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