CLARKSBURG, Md. — A group of residents in Montgomery County, Maryland is sending two suggestions to county school leaders about the name for an elementary school set to open in September.
Currently, the school under construction is generically named "Clarksburg Village Site #2 Elementary School" in Clarksburg.
A naming committee made up of 16 Clarksburg residents voted "Snowden Farm Elementary School" as its top choice and "Michelle Obama Elementary School" as its second choice.
The Snowden family were early settlers in the Clarksburg area and the new school is being built along Snowden Farm Parkway, a road named for the family.
Michelle Obama served as the First Lady of the United States from 2009-2017.
The two suggestions join four other names already under consideration by the Board of Education; Harriet R. Tubman, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ida B. Wells and Clarksburg Village. The naming committee indicated its preference for those names in that order.
The ultimate decision rests with the Board of Education which could choose from one of the six suggested names or even come up with something else.
Montgomery County Board of Education policy on the naming of schools states, “It is preferred that school facilities be named for deceased distinguished persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the community, county, state, or nation.”
The policy also states, “The Board of Education will give strong consideration to names of women and minorities so that these are equitably represented among county school names.”
There are 135 elementary schools in Montgomery County. Eleven schools are named after men and eight are named after women. None of the elementary schools are named after black or minority women.
“The committee strongly felt that (Michelle Obama's) contributions in the field of education specifically related to healthier and better meals for the students was a game changer,” said Sayyad Ali, a member of the naming committee. “We all felt that she will be amazing role model for our kids.”
There is a middle school named for Michelle Obama in Chicago and an elementary school that bears her name in Panorama City, California.
“We are very hopeful that BOE will give both the committee selected names serious consideration. There was no division in the committee in proposing her name and no one came forward in opposing it,” said Ali.
The board will discuss the issue at it’s next meeting on Monday April 29 at 6:45 p.m. County residents can email the board to register their preference at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Montgomery County School names by the numbers:
Of the 206 schools in Montgomery County, 51 were positively identified as being named after a person.
Of those 51:
78% are named after men
- 53% are named after white men
- 22% are named after black men
70% are named after white people
23% are named after black people
- Of those, 25% are named after civil rights leaders
Only 1 is named after an Asian person (Spark M. Matsunaga)
Only 1 school is named after a black woman (Rosa Parks)
None are named after any other race.