ABILENE — Abilene Independent School District Superintendent Dr. David Young announced to the Purcell Elementary School faculty and staff Tuesday afternoon that current Austin Elementary School Assistant Principal Matilda Jimenez has been named the first principal of the newly named school.

The school has served students and families in Abilene since 1957 as Johnston Elementary School. However, the school was one of four in the district that was named for Confederate figures and will change its name to Purcell this summer. The school is named in honor of Eugene Purcell, who spent four decades as a teacher / coach at Johnston.

Jimenez just completed her 30th year in the AISD and will begin her duties at Purcell immediately. Jeff Brokovich, who has spent the last 2 1/2 years as the principal at Johnston, will move to the One AISD Center as the Human Capital Coordinator in the Office of Human Resources.

“Matilda Jimenez has been a tremendous asset to the Abilene ISD over the last 30 years, and I’m thrilled that she’s going to be returning to the campus where she served for 25 years to be the first principal of Purcell Elementary,” Young said. “She has proven herself ready for this opportunity over the course of a distinguished career in our district.”

Jimenez graduated from Abilene Christian University with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education before earning her Master’s in Education from Lamar University in Beaumont. She began working for the Abilene ISD in 1991 as a classroom teacher at Johnston Elementary where she served until 2016. During those 25 years she served in several different roles, including as Grade Level Leader and Principal Intern (2013-15).

It has been my pleasure to serve the families and community of the AISD for the last 30 years,” Jimenez said. “I am honored to be returning to the campus where I served my first 25 years to become the first principal of Purcell Elementary. I look forward to working together with the amazing staff, families and community to provide the best possible learning environment for all of our students.”

Jimenez moved into campus administration in 2016 when she moved to Lee Elementary School (now Stafford Elementary) where she served as the Instructional Coordinator from 2016-18. She then became the Assistant Principal at Lee, serving from 2018-20, before moving to Austin last summer and serving the 2020-21 school year as the Austin Assistant Principal.

Jimenez was recently named the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) Assistant Principal of the Year for Region 14. She’s also been a three-time Teacher of the Year by the Abilene Education Foundation (2001, 2006 and 2012).