The two name options were Carol North and Bryson Hills. The board may approve the school's final name at its Jan. 13 meeting.
The process to present a nomination to the board started with community name submissions in early December. A volunteer committee considered the 199 submissions and weighed them before presenting their recommendations to the board Dec. 16. The committee included only residents of the Elementary School No. 29 attendance zone.
Committee co-chair David James Martin said the committee’s decision to first nominate Carol North was unanimous because of the care and work she had put into the district in her 22 years as a kindergarten teacher. Martin said there were also nominations from parents whose students did not have North as a teacher and said North put students ahead of herself.
Committee co-chair Kasey Muse said Carol North had been nominated for several prior schools, and North was known as a champion of foundational literacy and education.
“We just kind of fell in love with who this woman was,” Muse said. “We don’t know her, but the testimonials we read from previous nominations as well as nominations for this school were so intriguing that we just kept asking for more information.”
Muse said North also worked a second job at Kohl’s and began a program to donate books and toys to children. Muse said she will be a parent at the new school and that the committee discussed what impact the school name will have historically and what impact the name will have on its students.
Carol North Elementary School would meet the “deceased, significant individual” and “person who has made a significant contribution to education in the district” criteria in the district's school naming policy.
The second nomination, Bryson Hills Elementary School, was the committee’s runner-up option. This meets the “historical or geographical site or community” and “local, state, or national historical event or place” policy criteria.
The new school is under construction in the Bryson subdivision in north Leander, but the Bryson name is also in reference to the Bryson family, who built a homestead and had several family members who were significant to local history.
As stated in district policy, school-naming categories include a historical or geographical site or community; a deceased, significant individual; a local, state or national historical event or place; a significant state or national figure; or a person who has made a significant contribution to education in the district. Board members approved a school-naming charter Nov. 18.
“It was important to us to bring this community lens and look at the policy and make it about a celebration of a person who could connect to the community and the culture of that school,” said district spokesperson Corey Ryan, who also was the committee sponsor, at the meeting.
During citizen comments, people, including a former student, commented in support of naming the school after North. Additionally, other people requested the board to consider naming the school after former LISD board member Don Hisle.
Charles Rouse, a former Leander High School principal and namesake of Rouse High School, said Hisle spent 23 years supporting the education of LISD students.
“He was a staunch advocate for the students and teachers, always supporting what was best for their welfare,” Rouse said. “I can assure you that there is a significance in having a school named after you while you’re still alive. You’re able to enjoy the tremendous honor of participating in the legacy bestowed upon you.”
The school is under construction at 1840 Pleasant Hill Road, Leander. Attendance zones for the new school were approved in February and offer crowding relief to Larkspur and Plain elementary schools.