Opal Lee among proposed names for Crowley ISD’s new elementary school

dfwnewsa | February 23, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Opal Lee among proposed names for Crowley ISD’s new elementary school

Crowley ISD’s 16th elementary school is scheduled to open in fall 2024. (Courtesy photo | Crowley ISD)
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Crowley ISD’s next elementary school will have to wait a bit longer for a name.

The school board decided Feb. 22 to table an item to name the district’s 16th elementary school. Trustees wanted more time to consider and discuss names at their meeting scheduled for March 7.

The vote was 5-1. Trustee Kelicia Stevenson was the sole dissenter, and board member Gary Grassia was absent.

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The school is scheduled to open for the start of the 2024-25 school year and is funded through a more than $1 billion bond voters approved in 2023. Crews are constructing the campus inside the 565-acre Karis subdivision in the city of Crowley between Interstate 35W and Chisholm Trail Parkway.

District spokesperson Anthony Kirchner told trustees a committee of residents, students and staff reviewed 64 proposals for school names. The committee winnowed the list down to five for trustees to consider:

Vivian J. Lincoln Elementary School

Opal Lee Elementary or Opal Lee Montessori Academy

Crowley Montessori Academy

Karis Elementary School

Gary Grassia Elementary School

Stevenson singled out the suggestions for the school to be named after Lee, the Fort Worth icon who is known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth.” Crowley ISD would be the first to name a school after Lee, a former educator, the trustee said.

“I’m just excited to see some names that have made a great impact not just in the city, not only in Crowley, Fort Worth — but nationwide. That gave me a lot of hope,” Stevenson said.

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However, Stevenson motioned for the school to be named after Lincoln, a longtime educator in Crowley ISD who was the district’s first Black woman principal, and her husband. The school’s name would have been Vivian and Charles Lincoln Elementary School.

Crowley ISD will have another opportunity soon to name a school after Lee, Stevenson said. 

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Trustees did not vote on the motion.

Trustee Mia Hall expressed concern about naming a school after Lincoln when the city of Fort Worth recently named a library after her. Hall emphasized she had no apprehensions about naming a school after the former educator, who died in May 2022. In fact, she said, Lincoln more than deserves the honor.

“It’s something to consider,” Hall said.

Hall is running for Tarrant County commissioner.

Trustee Daryl Davis was concerned about the school board stepping on the toes of parents who already organized a Parent-Teacher Organization and named their nonprofit “Crowley Montessori Academy.” 

The new campus will have a Montessori program, according to the district.

Superintendent Michael McFarland advised the board that they may pick a school name, which will be sent to the Texas Education Agency, that does not depend on any programming. He suggested filing a name that includes “elementary school” to have flexibility. 

Administrators emphasized to the school board that it had the final say on the school’s name.

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Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at jacob.sanchez@fortworthreport.org or @_jacob_sanchez. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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