Lee Elementary School in Amarillo, which was first opened in 1951, will soon get a complete name change following the school district board’s unanimous vote.

This week, Amarillo Independent School District trustees voted unanimously to approve the final renaming of Lee Elementary School to Park Hills Elementary. The name change follows another unanimous vote in late May in which trustees launched a process to consider possible name alternatives for the school.

The vote marks the second time in two years that Lee Elementary School’s name has been altered by the school board. In 2018, trustees voted 4-3 to remove “Robert E.” from the facade of the building, with trustees John Betancourt, James Allen, and John Ben Blanchard voting against the item. None of the three trustees who voted against the 2018 name alteration were on the board for the renaming this year.

Several community officials and groups praised the renaming decision.

“Our district took a positive step forward in making sure we create a learning environment that builds up every child,” the Amarillo Education Association said in a Facebook post following the vote.

However, not all community members supported the name change; in May, Amarillo resident Mike Moore spoke at the board meeting, asking trustees to vote down a possible name change.

“[Lee] was an honorable man, a servant, not a traitor,” Moore said. ” . . . I would urge you to consider maintaining the name of Lee Elementary.”

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.