The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees approved Malala Yousafzai as the name for Elementary School 51 during the regular meeting Dec. 17.
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani education advocate who became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner at age 17 after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012 at age 15.
“Fort Bend ISD is proud to name Malala Yousafzai Elementary in honor of a true advocate for education,” FBISD Superintendent Charles Dupre said in a release from the district. “Our FBISD Profile of a Graduate outlines the skills and attributes graduates should possess upon graduation from our schools. Through her compassion for others and servant leadership, Yousafzai is an embodiment of these characteristics, which we are trying to instill in our students. We look forward to hearing of the many successes of the school and its students in the future.”
Yousafzai’s advocacy focuses on education and women’s rights. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 after giving a speech to the United Nations in 2013 urging world leaders to change their policies in favor of equality for women and education.
Yousafzai also aligns with criteria for name selection, including making a significant contribution to society; lending prestige and status to an institution of learning; and attaining prominence locally or nationally in fields of education, science, art, statesmanship, political science, military achievement or a Texas historical achievement, according to meeting documents.
Malala Yousafzai Elementary—part of the 2018 bond program—is scheduled to open in January 2020, and FBISD is in the process of establishing attendance boundaries for the new school, according to the release. Lisa Langston, former principal at Oyster Creek Elementary, will serve as the new school’s principal.
During a Dec. 10 special meeting trustee and board secretary Dave Rosenthal, who serves on the district’s school naming committee, said he met about a month ago with a group of teachers, parents, administrators and community members to discuss names for the school.
The district accepted name suggestions from residents for about one month from late September to late October. The school is under construction in the Aliana community.
“It was named after the young lady in Pakistan who stood up for education and was not treated very well,” Rosenthal said. “She’s gone on to better things, and the community members thought that would be a very inspiring name for that school.”