Thursday, July 23, 2009
Dallas ISD approves names for new schools
Among the new school names are Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy and Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School.
The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees approved the names for 12 new schools to be constructed under the $1.35 billion bond program passed by voters last year. Among the 12, the board has approved several to be named for prominent African Americans who have contributed greatly to the Dallas community.
The new schools will be: Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy, in honor of the former school board trustee; Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School, named for the long-time Dallas pastor and public education advocate; Thelma Elizabeth Page Richardson Elementary School named after the long-time Dallas educator; Adelfa Callejo Elementary School, named after the Dallas lawyer/activist; and Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School.
The board also approved the naming of existing facilities after other prominent citizens who have made an impact on the community. The Law Magnet at Townview will be named after Judge Harold "Barefoot" Sanders, who oversaw Dallas ISD desegregation for more than 25 years; Early College at Mountain View College will be named for Trini Garza, the first Hispanic elected to the school board; and the Humanities and Communications Magnet at Lincoln High School will now be known as the Joe Bagby Humanities/Communications Magnet in honor of the communicator/educator who died recently.
Ron Price, District 9 trustee, said the name he chose for his new elementary school, Thelma Elizabeth Page Richardson, is in honor of an unsung hero.
“Before Brown v. The Board of Education, before the City of Dallas had a desegregation court order, before any Black person was ever elected to the school board, before there was a Black administrator in DISD, Thelma Richardson, in 1942 filed a lawsuit for equal pay for Black teachers. Because of her lawsuit, African American teachers, principals, administrators are paid based on their merit, not their race.”
Three of the schools, Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy, Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School, and Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School will be located in district 6, represented by Board Trustee Carla Ranger.
In speaking with Ms. Ranger on the names choices, she said her main concern was for the children when she submitted the names for the schools. For the choice of Kathlyn Gilliam, who was the first African American female to serve on the DISD school board and the first African American president of the board, Ms. Ranger said she wanted to honor and acknowledge Ms. Gilliam’s service to education.
“This honor is long over due,” Ms. Ranger said. “She well deserves this honor and recognition and I believe the students that will attend this school for generations to come will certainly benefit from being in a school that is named for this beautiful woman who is a role model and who has dedicated decades of her life to volunteer service for education.”
For Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School, named for the Dallas minister who served as Tri Ethnic chair during desegregation, and was the first African American to serve on the board of regents for the University of Texas System, Ms. Ranger said Rev. Holmes is loved and admired by so many people in Dallas.
“He has always been a progressive minister. He has worked on community policy and statewide.” She went on to call him a community builder. “He has been one that everybody from various racial and ethnic groups can look to, to bring people together. It was very fitting and appropriate to honor him.”
Although Wilmer Hutchins Elementary School will be the name on the façade of the new learning center located at J.J. Lemon and Langdon Rd., Ms. Ranger said she pushed for a name that "could be no better role model for children seeking the path to success and educational achievement," quoting Dr. John Hope Franklin.
“He was a tremendous treasure, we lost a tremendous treasure. He was a great scholar, one of the preeminent historians of the last 100 years. I was proud to submit his name and support the nomination with great respect and admiration for his life and accomplishments.”
The proposed John Hope Franklin Elementary School, would have been named for the distinguished historian and professor. But after board discussion, the school was named Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School instead; a decision DISD District 9 Trustee Carla Ranger said undermined Dr. Franklin’s legacy.
In a June 25th entry in her online blog, Ms. Ranger wrote that "Trustees Lew Blackburn and Ron Price joined with Jerome Garza and others to undermine the John Hope Franklin Elementary School located in District 6.
“Because of personal agendas, the students of this academic community in District 6 will never know the inspiration of Dr. John Hope Franklin. It was my hope that for the students who would attend the John Hope Franklin Elementary School would have this outstanding model.”
Pegasus News Content partner - Dallas Weekly
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