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Appleton Area School Board continues discussion of renaming school

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 9:27 PM CST
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Appleton, Wis. (WBAY) - The Appleton Area School Board is postponing a vote on whether to re-name Lincoln Elementary School after former educator and long time principal Ron Dunlap.

Dunlap passed away in 2019 and would be the first African American administrator in the district and possibly the state to have a school named in his honor.

Many in the community say it’s something they support, which is part of a video the district put together.

During a board meeting Monday night, the video was presented to the public.

“His ability to make each person feel valued and important is something I long to achieve. He had a remarkable way of making everyone around him better,” said Nikki Sanderfoot, a former student of Ron Dunlap.

Other past students were also featured, plus former Mayor Tim Hanna, and the city’s former diversity coordinator, Karen Nelson.

They highlighted a variety of roles, that Dunlap served in the community even outside of the classroom.

Nelson said, “I can say he paved the way for the Dignity and Respect Campaign, living with dignity and respect,, and teaching others to do the same years before I arrived here.”

However, the vote by the school board was postponed due to district policy that doesn’t allow the renaming of schools, and only the naming of new buildings.

That policy is now being reviewed, and could change.

The district has also been gathering feedback, which has been overwhelmingly positive, with a few exceptions.

“Some did oppose the name change, in citing a variety of reasons. The most common was that the name change was more of a political reason,” said Kay Eggert, President of the Appleton Area School Board.

Any action by the school board would have to come after a meeting of the policy review committee.

That’s scheduled for March 9th.

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