The newest elementary school to the Denton school district is being named for retired educator and former school board member Dorothy Adkins.
Following deliberations in executive session that lasted nearly an hour and a half Tuesday, the Denton school board emerged to unanimously name the facility as Dorothy P. Adkins Elementary School.
Adkins, 94, has lived in Denton for 64 years. She said having a school named for her is an honor she’s thrilled about and agrees it’s an honor she didn’t imagine seeing in her lifetime.
“It’s a wonderful honor because education has really been my life work and interest and is an important part of my life,” Adkins said. “Having a school is just the right reward for me as far as I’m concerned.”
The school board seriously considered four to six names before settling on naming the school for Adkins, said Charles Stafford, school board president.
“Various people pointed out strengths. Various people named positive traits, but once Dorothy’s name came up, it was obvious that everyone had strong positives where she was concerned,” Stafford said. “It was really pretty easy. Although there were several highly qualified people, the group just seemed to have a stronger feeling for Mrs. Adkins.”
In making a motion that the school be named for Adkins, board member Rudy Rodriguez talked of Adkins’ push to provide a quality education for Denton schoolchildren and her efforts advocating for the district’s teachers.
“What ... a good fit and an honor to have our new elementary school for Dorothy,” read a prepared copy of Rodriguez’s motion that he e-mailed to the Denton Record-Chronicle Wednesday. “She truly cares about children and for the overall well being of the people no matter who they are and what their social or economic status might be.”
Adkins Elementary is the third elementary school to be built by the Denton school district in the Lantana area and is scheduled to open in August. The 88,000-square-foot facility is being built on a 12-acre site north of FM407 and west of Copper Canyon Road in Lantana’s Fairlin neighborhood.
The school’s namesake in 2001 co-founded the school district’s Grandparents in Public Schools, a program that allows grandparents to mentor and tutor Denton schoolchildren. She taught for the Denton school district from 1968 to 1984, and served as a school board member from 1993 to 1999.
In the 1960s, Adkins was a founding member of the Women’s Christian Interracial Fellowship, a group of concerned mothers who took steps to get to know one another and help ease tensions as the school district integrated. She’s also noted as being a founding member of Denton’s Trinity Presbyterian Church and a past Denton Christian Preschool board president.
Denton resident and former educator Pat Cheek said she has stood before the school board twice requesting that a school be named for Adkins. Cheek said her and Adkins have been friends for more than 50 years and that Adkins has “done so much for education, particularly [in] Denton.” Cheeks said she solicited others to join her in advocating a school be named for Adkins, and she received several hundred letters supporting the idea.
“I think Dorothy Adkins is the most deserving person I know to have a school named after her,” said Cheek, adding that Adkins has instigated the starting of several programs to benefit children.”
In December, Denton issued a call for the public to nominate names for future district facilities.
Superintendent Jamie Wilson said that he estimates that 95 to 100 names were nominated for the district’s consideration as a result. He said the district will retain those nominations in its name bank for use in deciding names for future district facilities.
“As we continue to grow, we’re going to have opportunities to name facilities after very deserving people in our community,” he said. “Our community’s really engaged in our schools and wants to be a part of our schools, and we really appreciate their input and value their willingness to participate in the process.”
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.