Trustees in the El Paso Independent School District picked the names of one a beloved middle-school coach, a legendary UTEP basketball icon, a bilingual education advocate, a respected veteran and philanthropist and an Irvin High School coach who just last year died while protecting his student athletes during a tragic bus accident for five of the eight schools that will be consolidated through the EPISD Bond 2016.
“The names our schools have had for years have served us well, but we are excited about this new era in EPISD,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “We feel the names selected by the Board will help celebrate the students that will attend these modern schools for years to come.”
During Tuesday night’s meeting, board members approved the new names of the five campus consolidations expected to be completed within the next four years.
The consolidated campuses with new names are:
• Bradley/Fannin consolidation: Dr. Joseph Torres Elementary School.
• Dowell/Schuster/Crosby consolidation: Coach Archie Duran Elementary School.
• Henderson/Clardy consolidation: Dr. Josefina Tinajero PK-8 School.
• Lincoln/Bond/Roberts consolidation: Coach Don Haskins PK-8 School.
• Ross/Hughey consolidation: Coach Wally Hartley PK-8 School.
School names were chosen after an extensive community-based process that included students, teachers and community members. The public was asked to submit name suggestions for each campus, and a committee reviewed each name in order to provide trustees with recommendations.
The story behind the names is as varied and diverse as the students in EPISD. They include:
Dr. Joseph Torres was selected as the new name for the Bradley/Fannin consolidated school because of his contributions to the country as a World War II veteran and humanitarian in El Paso. Born in 1923, Dr. Torres attended El Paso High and the Texas College of Mines (now UTEP). He was a navigator and bombardier during the war and retired as a colonel with the U.S. Army.
A dentist by profession, he founded the El Paso chapter of the American G.I. Forum and provided free dental care to low-income students in the community.
Arcadio “Archie” Duran Elementary School will be named after the Irvin High School track and basketball coach who in 2017 died tragically in a bus accident when he and his students were returning to El Paso from a track meet in Lubbock. Duran was a beloved educator who is credited with giving hundreds of students access to competitive sports.
He was an Irvin High alum and grew up in the Northeast, where the new school is located.
Dr. Josefina Tinajero PK-8 School, the consolidated Henderson and Clardy campus, is named after a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso and a renowned advocate for bilingual education. A graduate of Jefferson High School, Dr. Tinajero grew up in the Clardy Fox neighborhood.
Her advocacy for bilingual education helped establish programs nationwide and improved access to education for children whose first language is not English.
Coach Don Haskins PK-8 School bears the name of the storied head basketball coach of the UTEP Miners. The school is the consolidation of Lincoln/Roberts/Bond. In 1966, when UTEP was known as Texas Western College, he and his players won the NCAA National Men’s Basketball Championship (the only Texas school ever to have done it to date) and made history by starting five African-American players for the first time ever in the tournament. He coached 38 seasons at UTEP and had only five losing seasons in his career.
Coach Haskins was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame twice: once as a coach and a second time as a member of the 1966 Miners.
Coach Wally Hartley PK-8 School is the consolidation of Ross/Hughey. It honors an educator at Ross Middle that coached football and track for 28 years. He is cited as one of the most influential people among former Ross students and found great success both on the field and in the classroom.
Coach Hartley was inducted into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame – the only Ross coach to have that honor.
Board members selected names using District policy, which states that facilities should have names of geographic areas or individuals and concepts that celebrate the history of the District, El Paso, Texas or the United States.
The school-naming process for the other school consolidations that form part of Bond 2016 is already underway; those schools include MacArthur/Bonham, Morehead/Johnson and Terrace Hills/Collins.