The district's 22nd elementary school will officially be named Jessica Carpenter Elementary School following a unanimous board vote. PfISD received a total of 613 name recommendations for Elementary No. 22 and Middle School No. 7, district officials said Oct. 15, with 117 submissions for Jessica Carpenter.
Carpenter served more than 16 of her 20-year teaching career at PfISD, most recently working as a special education resources teacher at Brookhollow Elementary School. Carpenter died Sept. 10 after a four-year battle with Stage 4 esophageal cancer.
Aaron Carpenter—Carpenter's husband—thanked the board and the PfISD community for their kindness and support following Carpenter's death.
“In these weeks since her passing, I have received so many kind and detailed letters from parents and former students and her colleagues related to the impact that Jessica had had on this community," Aaron Carpenter said. "And in these letters, so many of those people remark at the fact that they had voted for Mrs. Carpenter's name to be put in for inclusion here for the survey around naming the school."
Aaron and Jessica Carpenter met in high school and worked together for a community service course, where the two served as teacher's aides, he said. During her career, Carpenter attended high school and college graduations of former students, some of whom were inspired to go into education themselves, Aaron Carpenter said.
Her funeral was marked by an outpouring of support, with dozens of former students, colleagues and parents paying their respects, Aaron Carpenter said. The display of love, respect and admiration made the grief process more bearable for her family and loved ones, Aaron Carpenter said.
While the turnout at her funeral helped display the magnitude of impact she had on her students, Aaron Carpenter said it was also a moment that reaffirmed she had lived up to the dreams, goals and ambitions she had set for herself: to give back to the community, one student at a time.
"She lived to teach," Aaron Carpenter said, adding: "Ever since she was a girl—having been influenced herself by one of her elementary school teachers to pursue the art of education for the betterment of her community—that is all that she had ever wanted to do."