John Lewis ES – Brookhaven's New Elementary School

The new school going up in Brookhaven to be named John Lewis Elementary.
Video & Transcript
  Work Session discussion on John Lewis Elementary
  Business Meeting discussion on John Lewis Elementary

In March, the DeKalb Board of Education approved the Cross Keys Redistricting Plan which includes opening the former International Student Center (ISC) building on North Druid Hills (East of Briarcliff – 2383 N Druid Hills Rd, Atlanta, Georgia 30329-3126) to help alleviate overcrowding in the Cross Keys Cluster.
In accordance with half the district Regulations FDC-R and in violation of half the others, in May a renaming committee, consisting of 3 Hispanic parents and 7 administrators, met twice to decide what name to recommend to the board for the ISC building for the next few years it is open to temporarily house roughly 400 Montclair elementary students.

Naming Committee
1. Marshall Orson (Committee Chair) (Board Representative) 6. Melanie Pearch (Principal, Woodward ES)
2. Rebecca Jackson (Interim Region I Superintendent) 7. Cammie Neill (Principal, Briar Vista ES)
3. Sherry Johnson (Region I Coordinator) 8. Adelfa Lopez Salome (Parent)
4. Sandra Nunez (Director of EL Studies) 9. Didia Altamirano (Parent)
5. David Schaefer (Latin American Association) 10. Maria del Carmen Sanchez (Parent)

As reported by Trey Benton at the Brookhaven Post, “[In May] the DeKalb BOE announced agreements with the City of Brookhaven and the Georgia State Properties Commission to acquire 11.2 acres at Skyland Park for a new elementary school.”

John Lewis (D)
U.S. House of Representatives

In direct conflict with just about every policy and regulation DeKalb Schools has on the books for naming schools, Marshall Orson asked the Board of Education to name the ISC building after his long time friend, John Lewis, South DeKalb’s 5th Congressional District’s Congressman.
The naming committee also requested that the name “John Lewis” Elementary School transfer to the new Skyland building in Brookhaven once construction has been completed.
Renaming the ISC building and the new Skyland Center in Brookhaven was placed on the agenda Friday before the Monday board meeting. I would also like to note for the record that Skyland Center is in Tom Price’s 6th Congressional District and not in John Lewis’ 5th Congressional District.
John Lewis is a civil rights leader leader and sitting U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district. He most recently led Democrats in a surprise sit-in of the U.S. House in June in an attempt to force votes on gun control legislation.

Brookhaven Needs to Acknowledge John Lewis
July 14, 2016 – “Do you believe Brookhaven would chose to name their new elementary school after John Lewis?” – No. Brookhaven needs to come into this century and acknowledge John Lewis, says Vickie Turner, School Board Member from District 5.

14 responses to “John Lewis ES – Brookhaven's New Elementary School

  1. Dekalb Inside Out

    This is retaliation for Brookhaven abating the school district’s taxes at the new Emory / Hawk’s training and sports medicine center on Executive Park Drive.

  2. Sitting Politicians shouldn’t be eligible. Isn’t government support of a political candidate illegal? He has a public election every 2 years.

  3. I applaud Dekalb County for naming this school for John Lewis – a decent man who has served this country, Georgia, and Atlanta consistently, honestly and with the highest integrity.
    He is a real Mensch.
    Excellent choice!
    Well deserved, Mr. Lewis!

  4. Speaking of things getting added to the agenda at the last minute. This agenda item was just added this evening to tomorrow’s agenda: NamingRenaming of the former Clifton Elementary School to the Barak H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology.

  5. There is good reason not to name it after a current sitting Congressman. The history of this person is incomplete. I am not insinuating anything but why not name it after a deceased politician if this is necessay. Their history and all their deeds are known. Thats why we, as a matter of tradition, name these bldgs postumously. Sure wish the DCSD would act on behalf of all the county.

  6. Not to mention its not even his district? Is it the heat or have these folks gone completely crackers? Just glad i wont be driving by that school everyday. Why don’t we just go ahead cut thru the BS and call Fernbank, DH middle and high, Orson Hills.

  7. This topic seems to come up frequently in New York. The New York Daily News wrote “Elected officials cannot receive extra compensation or any gift of more than nominal value. Placing someone’s name in a prominent place, whether it’s an actual building or a tract of land, has monetary value. That’s why many ballfields around the country are known by corporate names, like FedEx or Petco. Citibank will reportedly pay $20 million per year to call the new Mets stadium Citi Field.”

  8. Mary Lindsey Lewis, DeKalb Strong board member

    sent via email
    To: DeKalb School Board Members
    Cc: Superintendent Email
    Congressman Lewis is a national treasure. It is embarrassing to watch and hear the racial undertones that are being spoken from members of this board. Shame on you Stan Jester! Shame on you Jim McMahon! The children of this county deserve better! They are better! It’s a tragedy that we have adults on this board who are not!
    Mary Lindsey Lewis.

  9. Paula Caldarella

    I’ll add my two cents here:
    1. I am in total support of the naming of the new school for Rep. John Lewis. I applaud Rep. Lewis for what he stands for as a Civil Rights leader. We need more calm and knowledgeable voices such as his in these days.
    2. Is it appropriate to make sure Board of Education policy was followed in this endeavor? Yes. With all the trouble with SACS this district has gone through, it is more than necessary to make sure all published policies are followed.
    3. Is it racist to make sure these Board of Education policies are followed? No, or course not.
    4. Oh, and Ms. Lewis, you failed to mention Joyce Morley in your “racial overtones” rant. Accusing some of “racism” because you don’t agree with their viewpoint is beyond vile.

  10. Burroughston Broch

    Lewis is a documented racist. During the 2006 election cycle Lewis, Shirley Franklin and Andrew Young produced a racist radio advertisement promoting John Evan’s candidacy for Fulton County Commission Chair.
    Here is the NY Times’ reaction at the time:
    And here is the advertisement:
    Judge for yourself if you never knew this or have forgotten. Now, why would DeKalb citizens want to knowingly name a school after such a documented racist?

  11. From the NY Times, Election Ad Aggravates a Racial Divide in Atlanta
    In the advertisement, Atlanta’s three most prominent black leaders, Mayor Shirley Franklin, Representative John Lewis and Andrew Young, the politician and civil rights leader, evoked the police dogs and water hoses of the civil rights movement to urge voters not to support a Republican candidate for the Fulton County Commission.
    Mr. Lewis has also offered an apology and defense of the advertisement, as has John Eaves, a Democrat and the newly elected Fulton County Commission chairman, whose campaign it supported.
    Some viewed the advertisement as a violation of Atlanta’s central ethos: that of racial harmony. Although Georgia was no stranger to racial violence, they pointed out that hoses and police dogs were not used to quell Atlanta’s civil rights demonstrations.
    Glenn Delk, a lawyer who is white, used the words of Dr. King in an op-ed article published by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, supporting an independent Buckhead: “When the day comes that the city of Buckhead opens its doors, I will gladly tell Franklin, Lewis and Young, and all others who’ve used race to obtain and keep political power for 30 years — in the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King — ‘Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I’m free at last.’ ”

  12. I agree with Paula Caldarella. I was shocked that Stan was ridiculed for wanting to follow policy. I was shocked at the level of invective from Dr. Moreley, and the BOE Chair did nothing to stop it. See for yourself using the link below to the BOE business meeting.
    Video & Transcript of discussion on John Lewis

  13. As a parent and an educator, I am concerned about helping all children process the devastating tragedies that have happened this summer. I want them to look at the world events without hate. I don’t want them to judge any person based on skin color. I do not want them to look at every problem in racial terms. We must demonstrate that for our children.
    SACS is coming. I need more information and training concerning the SACS visit.
    I am worried that there may not be enough teachers and counselors hired by the time school opens. I am concerned that we are losing our experienced educators both inside and outside of the classroom. It seems that so many people are leaving our system. Are we going to have an honest conversation about that? It is my belief that people do not voice their concerns. They just leave. I am even concerned about speaking out in this venue.
    When new people enter the field of education, I am always grateful. At the same time, we need experienced and well trained teachers and principals to support and guide these new people. Will our public and harsh sounding words cause educators to go other school districts?
    Many of us were in DeKalb before, when our BOE would not work in a professional way with each other. Your wife was one of the people who tried.
    Can’t we learn to “keep our eyes on the prize.”? The prize should be our children and doing the best of them.
    I pray that we can stop the conversation about the name outside of the school. I pray we can focus on what happens inside of the school.


    As usual, Dekalb inappropriately and unethically handled the naming of this school. The people of the neighborhood should have a say in the naming of their schools.