The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees unanimously approved naming two upcoming district schools after leaders in local education during its March 29 meeting.

Elementary School No. 53 will be named for Sonal S. Bhuchar, a former FBISD trustee and longtime associate of the Fort Bend Education Foundation.

A district biography of Bhuchar describes her as a trailblazer in Fort Bend County. Bhuchar—a physical therapist—served on the board of many nonprofit and local organizations, including Child Advocates of Fort Bend, the Literacy Council of Fort Bend, AccessHealth, Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation and the Texas Medical Association Alliance, among others.

While on the board, Bhuchar led several district initiatives, including the Student Leadership Program, the Legislative Advocacy Program, the Fort Bend Education Foundation’s Annual International Festival, WATCH—a lifestyle education program—and scholarship opportunities. Bhuchar died of cancer complications at the age of 58 on April 20, 2019.

Several current board members spoke about how Bhuchar encouraged them to serve the community. Trustee Jim Rice sat on the school board alongside Bhuchar for two years.

“The first year she was my mentor, and I came to know her very well,” Rice said. “She was a lady who worked very hard in our community to help build bridges of understanding between our very diverse community.”

Trustee Grayle James ran for the Bhuchar’s school board seat when she decided to not seek re-election in 2012.

“While I did not sit on the school board with Sonal, I did try to sit in the seat and fill the shoes that she left here,” James said. “She supported me as I learned my role on the school board. I'm so grateful and proud that we'll be able to name an elementary school for her.”

Furthermore, Almeta Crawford will be the namesake of the district’s 12th high school.

Crawford was an educator of 49 years—30 of which she taught at Dulles High School, where she was honored as Teacher of the Year prior to her retirement, according to a district biography of Crawford.

The biography describes Crawford, an English teacher, as a legendary educator whose influence on the district is far reaching.

“She was a servant leader who remained purposefully in the classroom, dedicated to providing our learners the best education possible,” the biography said. “She was a mentor and inspired many students to become educators, many of which returned to Fort Bend ISD.”

More than 300 names were recommended for both schools and a naming committee met this past week to review each nomination, said trustee Dave Rosenthal, who served as the board representative on the committee.

Almeta Crawford High School will open in the fall of 2022 in the Hightower and Ridge Point area. Sonal S. Bhuchar Elementary School will open the next year in January 2023 in the Riverstone community.