New schools in Brentwood and Thompson’s Station will soon have names.
Committees of city, school and county officials have compiled lists of names based on public submissions.
All that’s left is a final vote from Williamson County school board members, who discussed the final names Thursday.
Thompson’s Station schools
A new elementary and middle school campus on Clayton Arnold Road is slated to open in the 2018-19 school year.
Among the four final names — Thompson’s Station, Constitution, West Harpeth and Clayton — Thompson’s Station seems to have the most support from the public and the district’s administration.
“It should be a name that the constituents really put forth,” said school board member Dan Cash.
“I’ve heard back from well over 100. And it’s pretty much Thompson’s Station School — elementary and middle,” Cash said. “The reasons they brought forth, they said it will finally give the Thompson’s Station area some kind of identity.”
School board member Rick Wimberly agreed.
“The schools ought to be named by the community,” he said.
District administration prefers naming the schools after the town, said Williamson County Director of Schools Mike Looney.
“We have schools named after almost every community here,” Looney said.
Clayton Elementary School and Clayton Middle School were also a popular option among board members.
J. Clayton Arnold was a Williamson County resident who was the first to donate $1 million to the University of Tennessee for education.
“I like the idea of naming a school after a person who’s done something exemplary,” said school board member Candy Emerson. “A name needs to encompass more than an identity and a location.”
New Brentwood elementary
A new Brentwood elementary school also had four final name candidates: Eastwood Elementary, Pleasant Hill Elementary, Split Log Road Elementary and Jordan Elementary.
At Thursday’s meeting, board members talked about Split Log Road and Jordan the most.
The Split Log Road name has geographic and historical significance: The school will be built on Split Log Road, and there used to be a log cabin across the street used as a school.
The district administration prefers naming the school Split Log Road Elementary, said Looney.
The name Jordan Elementary School is inspired by George Jordan, an African-American born a slave in Williamson County in the 1840s.
He later became the first and only Williamson County resident to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor — the highest honor in the armed forces — for his service in the Indian Wars.
Brentwood High junior Meridith McMillan started a petition earlier this month in support of the name. As of Thursday, 106 adults and 37 students have signed the petition.
No school in Williamson County is named after an African-American, McMillan said.
“It’s important to recognize heroes not only in our own country, but in our hometown,” McMillan said.
The suggestion drew mixed reactions from board members, who commended Jordan’s accomplishments, but also expressed reservations.
“I was coming in support of Jordan only because of all the emails I’ve gotten about it,” said school board member Angela Durham.
Board member K.C. Haugh said he admired McMillan’s initiative and Jordan’s accomplishments, but had concerns.
“One of the concerns I had was he was honored back then and it was due to the Apache Wars,” Haugh said.
“History is untidy and messy … but that brings up another potential concern,” Haugh said.
Looney said the district could consider honoring Jordan regardless of the Brentwood school’s name.
School board policy discourages naming schools after people.
The middle school, which will eventually be built on the same campus, will be named later.
Williamson County school board members will vote on the final names Monday.
Reach Melanie Balakit at email@example.com.
Final candidates for new school names
New Brentwood elementary school
- Pleasant Hill
- Split Log Road
New Thompson’s Station elementary and middle school
- Thompson’s Station
- West Harpeth
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