Tyler ISD board votes to rename high schools Tyler High, Tyler Legacy

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Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 12:03 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Tyler Independent School District board voted and has chosen Tyler Legacy High School as the new name for the Robert E. Lee. campus. The John Tyler campus will be renamed Tyler High School.

Both high schools’ mascots and school colors will remain the same, according to a press release from Tyler ISD.

“It was our goal to address this issue before summer ended, and I’m glad we were able to before the school year began,” Board President Wade Washmon said in a press release. “Now, it’s time to turn our focus back toward successful student outcomes and finding a way to win this year, even during some of the most trying times we’ve seen in education.”

In the press release, principals Claude Lane and Dr. Dan Crawford said they are excited about what the future holds for both campuses.

“Today we are starting a new chapter in Tyler ISD,” Lane said in the press release. “Our past success makes us who we are today and will greatly influence our future success. Tyler High School will accept the call to honor the legacy of this name. We share in the pride of our city’s name and thank the Board and Tyler community for providing us a fresh start with a new name and a world-class facility.”

“This has been a special, momentous opportunity for our diverse group of Red Raider students, parents, and staff to choose a name that represents our community as a whole and our goals as an educational entity in Tyler ISD,” Dr. Dan Crawford said. “The name Tyler Legacy High School is both a proud representation of the love we have for our city and a symbol of our vision to foster an environment where our students embrace the importance of ‘The Legacy of a Life-Long Learner,‘”

The Board voted 6-1 in favor of the name change with Patricia Nation casting the lone “no’ vote.

The Board then voted 6-1 to rename John Tyler to Tyler High School. Nation voted no on this measure as well.

The decisions were made less than an hour into the meeting.

More than 2,200 names were submitted by the public, but a maximum of three names for each school was allowed to be considered by the board on Thursday.

Guidelines were laid out to govern the selection and ensure the suggested names met the criteria before being presented to the board.

The criteria included the following:

  • A school facility may be named after patriotic beliefs, values, desired qualities, or aspired outcomes for district students or the community.
  • A facility may be named after any local, state, or national geographic area, landmark, or physical attribute.

Jennifer Hines, Tyler ISD’s executive director of communications, directed the focus groups that were established for each high school campus. Those groups narrowed the lists, according to approved local policy.

Two suggestions were made for the school formerly known as Robert E. Lee. Those names are Tyler Legacy High School and Tyler Liberty High School.

Three name suggestions for the school formerly known as John Tyler, were Tyler Heritage High School, Tyler High School, and Tyler United High School.

Superintendent Dr. Marty L. Crawford presented the names to the school board, which is responsible for choosing the name for each school.

“We appreciate the community’s input and the work of our focus groups during this process,” Washmon said in the press release. “In the end, I believe the board chose names that allow us to honor the successes and good memories that former students have had at both campuses, and also clearly indicate that we’re proud of the city of Tyler and want the name of our town displayed on our two flagship campuses.”

According to the press release, the next step involves informing the Texas Education Agency of the new names. Tyler ISD plans to call both schools by their new names starting this school year. That will include graduation transcripts, diplomas, and ceremonies. Name changes to the physical buildings will be completed according to budget, design, demolition, and construction schedules.

In regard to using materials with the old names on them, Dr, Marty Crawford said that will be more of a transitional phase and that it could take some time.

“First, we’re appreciative of the Board’s acceptance of the process that included community suggestions as considered by our campus focus groups,” Dr. Marty Crawford said in the press release. “However, ultimately, we’re relieved their action today will allow us to move the transition forward, and most importantly, return our work toward the reopening of our schools, where we haven’t seen students in nearly six months.”

Previous stories: Public submits 2,190 names suggestions for Tyler high schools

Historic Moment: Tyler ISD board votes 7-0 to change names of John Tyler, Robert E. Lee high schools

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