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NOLA-PS Will Move Forward with Renaming School Facilities, Following Unanimous Vote by OPSB

(New Orleans – June 10, 2021) – After months of public input, hundreds of name considerations, and historical research, the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) unanimously voted and approved NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.'s list of recommendations for the renaming of several public school buildings.

Following public comment, the board voted on this final renaming list: 

(For renaming honoree bios, click here)

Dr. Lewis' recommendations took into consideration three months of public input through email, mail, and virtual public meetings. The District received more than 250 name recommendations that were vetted and considered by both the historical and renaming committees.

"I would be remiss if I didn't thank members of the Historian Review Committee and the facility's renaming committee for their significant unpaid work on this initiative. They were really invaluable," said OPSB Member and Renaming Committee member Olin Parker. "I also had the great pleasure of speaking with students from across our district. Anytime I spoke with them, I mentioned how this was a real opportunity for them to engage publicly and engage in public policy that impacts them, and they took that to heart and suggested many of the names that made it to the final list and influenced some of the final selections, as well. So, thank you to those students for your engagement in this process and for shaping your own school system."

"There are so many people and thank yous to acknowledge and so much to celebrate with all the names and the folks that are being recognized during this historical moment. But, this is just the beginning to our racial equity work, and I just want to make sure we acknowledge that moving forward. We have much work to be done around our curriculum standards, making sure that we provide a true history of our students inclusive of the many leaders that are now being acknowledged on these buildings," said OPSB President Ethan Ashley.

"I am grateful for all the hard work and collaboration that went into this process by the Renaming Committee, our schools, my staff and especially the public, whose opinions helped us choose excellent building names that best reflect our shared values and lift up our city," said Dr. Lewis. "We truly turned a page in history for the better today."

"From this process, I'd like to offer a take away for our community to keep in mind. We have had some very passionate conversations about renaming on all sides of the issue. So, what we'd like for the outcome of this to be is for that same fervor, that same energy, that same emotion around the names on these buildings to continue. I'd like to ask the community to carry on that passion and have that energy in supporting our schools; so, that we can continue to produce positive outcomes for our children who have been educated in this public school system," said Justin McCorkle, NOLA-PS Director of Community Relations.

After the initial list was presented to the public during the May 25 renaming committee public meeting, two more facilities were identified as being named for slave owners. These are Fisk-Howard Elementary School and Bienville Elementary School, both of which have been closed since 2006. These facilities were announced to the public Tuesday, during OPSB's committee meeting.

Additionally, NOLA-PS recommended that OPSB assign numbers to three surplus or vacant facilities until it is determined how the buildings will be used.

Public input during this effort also brought attention to six more facilities that do not violate the School Board policy, but may benefit from renaming. These recommendations will be presented for consideration during the July OPSB Meeting. The administration welcomes public feedback on the proposed list below through the July 29 OPSB board meeting. Feedback can be provided via: and during the July OPSB board meeting.

Nearly a year ago, NOLA-PS outlined a plan to rename school facilities in response to recent public requests and in accordance with policy approved by the OPSB to ensure school facilities do not have names honoring figures from our painful past. The board believes all schools should be welcoming, inclusive, and inspiring places for all students. Our goal is to ensure the names of these physical school facilities and the people that we honor reflect the values of the school district.

As their policy states, the OPSB is fundamentally opposed to retaining names of school facilities named for persons who were slave owners, confederate officials, or segregation supporters.

The OPSB shall have sole authority to name or rename any school facility (i.e., school campuses, individual buildings, athletic fields, stadiums, gymnasiums, libraries, fields, tracks, and multipurpose rooms) private drive, or street it owns. Public input has been a vital part of this process. The full Naming of Facilities policy can be found here.

It's important to note NOLA-PS has the authority to change the outward facing name on any of its buildings. However, it cannot change the program name designated by a Charter Management Organization (CMO). CMOs are autonomous and are governed by their own boards and leadership. Therefore, for example, the OPSB could change a school building's physical name to read Nelson Mandela School. But, if the CMO chooses to keep its program name, the school's official name would be titled as follows: "McDonogh 7 Charter School at the Nelson Mandela building."

The renaming process was guided by a Renaming Committee. In accordance with OPSB policy, this committee consisted of a school board member appointed by the OPSB president; a representative of the NOLA-PS administration; and community members approved by the superintendent.

For more details about the renaming initiative, visit:


About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools is the public school district for Orleans Parish. It includes the district's administration and elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board. NOLA Public Schools currently oversees 76 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.

For more information, visit For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools. 

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