Zilker Elementary School, Austin, Texas
Welcome to Zilker! Located in the heart of South Austin, Zilker Elementary is home to a diverse, yet close-knit community of students, parents, and educators. While the meadows and goat pasture that once surrounded the school are long gone, Zilker remains as warm and welcoming today as when it opened more than sixty years ago. When you hear us shout “Zilker is a great place for kids!” it’s not just our motto—it’s our passion!
“Eclectic” best describes our community, whose members reflect a kaleidoscope of backgrounds and enterprises. Imagine the children of attorneys, artists, and auto mechanics chasing each other through a playground nestled among the homes of singers, chefs, and senior citizens. Or picture hundreds of Zilker family members in full costume dancing to the “Monster Mash” on Halloween or sharing a pot luck fiesta for Diez y Seis to the tune of a mariachi band. Our school colors could just as easily be tie-dye as maroon and gold.
Zilker’s mission is to develop children into life-long learners. We boast a cosmopolitan and energetic faculty whose accomplishments include not only master’s degrees and the mastery of multiple languages, but also service in the military and the Peace Corps—there’s even an Antarctic explorer in our midst! The learning environment is creative and cooperative, and the faculty employs a variety of effective teaching strategies. As a result, Zilker has been recognized at the state and national level for academic excellence, including a Blue Ribbon School award from the U.S. Department of Education. Here at Zilker, we measure success not only by test scores but also the sense of pride, respect, and well being that radiates from every classroom. It’s true what they say—Zilker’s exemplary in every way.
Zilker Elementary School is named in honor of
Andrew J. Zilker.
Mr Zilker first arrived in Austin with only a few pennies in his pocket. He somehow managed to give a total of $300,000 to the Austin Public Schools by 1932. He expressed in a letter to the Austin School Board his reason for helping children: “I want the boys and girls of the city of Austin to have the same opportunities as the boys and girls from other cities and to do this you must provide good schools for them.”
Zilker Elementary School first opened its doors in January of 1950. The principal, Mr. Hollis Sanders, met the first students at Becker Elementary School and walked through the meadows and a goat pasture to Zilker. The playground and surrounding hills were covered in wildflowers, including the red and yellow Indian blanket. The children quickly chose this blazing bright bloom to be the school flower.
In January, Zilker celebrated its 60th anniversary. What a milestone! With the great partnership among our students, parents and guardians, faculty and staff members, and administration, many more fantastic years lie ahead!
Interesting Facts from the School in 1950
- Number of students – 270
- Number of teachers – 11
- Number of families – 154
- Zilker was the first elementary school built in Austin after World War II.
- The total cost to build Zilker Elementary was $312,000.
- The library began in 1950 with 600 volumes for 270 students. We currently have 14,000+ items (including books and audio visual) for 500 students.
- Zilker held its first Zamboree on October 27. The net proceeds amounted to $363.99.