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Hampton School Board reaches a consensus to change names of five schools; seeks public input on short list of proposed names

In a special called School Board meeting on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, the Hampton School Board reached a consensus to rename five schools – Booker Elementary, John B. Cary Elementary, Spratley Gifted Center, Tucker-Capps Fundamental Elementary, and John Tyler Elementary.

Based on a report, A History of the Origins of Schools’ Names, from a research committee formed at the request of the board, these five schools rose to the top to rename as early as possible. The school division has set aside $150,000 in the 2021-2022 school operating budget to address school renaming.

Dr. Daniel Bowling, chief operations officer, shared that the cost for renaming an elementary school is approximately $25,000, and $32,000 to $35,000 for renaming a middle school. This includes gym logos, signage, plaques, gym uniforms, planners, painting, spirit wear, band instruments, stationery and forms, cafeteria tables with logos, and rugs and mats. The division is currently in the process of replacing school marquees so this expenditure will be covered from another line item in the budget.

At the board meeting, the board also reached a consensus to consider the following new names for the schools:

Mary T. Christian – the first African American woman to serve on the School Board and
long-serving Virginia State delegate
Mary Jackson – NASA Langley mathematician portrayed in the book Hidden Figures
Katherine Johnson – NASA Langley mathematician portrayed in the book Hidden Figures
Ann Kilgore – Virginia’s first woman mayor who helped lead the city through integration and landmark development projects like the Hampton Coliseum
Albert Patrick, III – former Hampton General District Court judge who was also School Board chair and president of the Virginia State School Boards Association
Mary Peake – educator who started a school for the children of former slaves under the Emancipation Oak during the Civil War (Hampton formerly had a school named for Mary Peake)

The Board will hold a public hearing at Jones Magnet Middle School at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12, to receive public input on the six names that the board is putting forward as the new school names for Booker, Cary, Spratley, Tucker-Capps, and Tyler. Citizens may participate in person (each speaker has a maximum of two minutes) or may submit their comments via email at schoolrenaming@hampton.k12.va.us. The purpose of the public hearing is to receive feedback on the proposed names.