Natividad Pagan's daughter, Melisa, watches as school board Chair Anne Bingham signs the copy of a resolution renaming a school in her mother's honor.
CMSD NEWS BUREAU
The Board of Education has voted to rename three schools, the first to have their names changed under a review that the board commissioned a year ago.
The board approved renaming Patrick Henry School for the late U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Tubbs Jones, who also was a Cuyahoga County judge and the county prosecutor, served in Congress from 1998 until her death in 2008.
Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy will now be known as Natividad Pagan International Newcomers Academy. Pagan, who died in 2016, was a community leader and District administrator and principal who led the Newcomers Academy, a school for immigrants and refugees.
Louis Agassiz School will be renamed for Mary Church Terrell, an internationally known lecturer, educator and activist for racial equality and women’s rights from the late 19th century through the mid 20th century. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oberlin College.
Pagan’s daughter, Melisa, flew in from Florida for the meeting. She said having a school named for her mother was a “joy” and a “complete honor.”
“She put all her heart into her work, into the community,” she said.
Councilman Kevin Conwell advocated for the tribute to Tubbs Jones. He smiled broadly after the vote.
“Children have to see success every day,” he said. “They will get a chance to see that, to see pictures of her and aspire to be just like Stephanie Tubbs Jones.”
A work group began meeting last summer to draft criteria for the names placed on schools and determine whether any current names needed to be reconsidered.
A historian researched the origin of the names of every school in the District, as well as proposed new names. The District collected feedback and suggestions for new names at community meetings and online.
The work group designated schools that it said deserved or should possibly receive additional review.