ABILENE — Earlier this year, the Abilene ISD Board of Trustees began the process of renaming three schools in the district named after Confederate figures: Jackson, Johnston and Lee elementary schools. Thursday night at the board workshop, the district presented the trustees with the top 12 names that the School Renaming Committee came up with at a meeting earlier in the week.
The list of 12 names is as follows:
• Val Brailsford – longtime AISD educator
• Sonny G. Castillo – former custodian at Johnston
• Aline “Andy” Cleveland – long AISD time educator, retired with 51 years of service in 2011
• Odis Dolton – Abilene community leader
• Sgt. Reuben Marcus Fernandez – former AISD student; killed in action
• Raymond B. Hayden – principal at Woodson Elementary for 42 years
• Charles Hundley – former AISD superintendent
• Katherine Johnson – famed mathematician who was one of the first African American women to work at NASA
• Susan Petty – longtime music teacher in the AISD
• Eugene Purcell – longtime AISD teacher / administrator
• Robert and Sammye Stafford – pioneer in providing education to African American families in Abilene; AISD teacher of the year in 1958
• James A. Stovall– former principal at Dyess, Alta Vista, Fair Park, and Crockett, 42 years of service
The next step in the process is a second community survey to prioritize recommended names that will go live on the AISD website and on its social media platforms on Monday, Nov. 9. That survey will be live through the end of Thanksgiving week before the committee meets again on Nov. 30 to consider survey results and finalize recommendation of names to the trustees.
The district will present the committee recommendations to the board at its workshop on Dec. 3, and then the board will then discuss and possibly consider recommended names for the first time at the Dec. 7 board meeting. The board could continue deliberations at the Jan. 7 workshop and Jan. 11 board meeting (if necessary) and Feb. 4 workshop and Feb. 8 board meeting (if necessary).
The board will also discuss the renaming of Reagan Elementary School at a later time. Reagan is closing at the end of the 2020-21 school year.