Las Vegas Sun

September 17, 2014

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Five schools whose namesakes you should know

We all know the personalities behind certain namesake schools.

Barbara and Hank Greenspun Middle School. Elaine Wynn and Sandy Miller elementary schools.

But there are many other campuses with noteworthy but lesser-known namesakes.

A school naming committee, made up of seven members representing educators, parents and community members, is charged with nominating names for new schools. The committee makes its recommendation based on such things as honoring a prominent citizen or memorializing an educator who died serving the district. Current employees, school board members and elected leaders cannot be nominated. High schools are not named for individuals but historical, regional and cultural characteristics. The seven-member school board makes the final decision on the school name.

Here are a few examples of schools named after people whose stories you probably don't know, but should:

• Batterman Elementary School, 10135 W. Quail Ave., Las Vegas.

Kathy L. Batterman was the first certified flight nurse in the U.S. and one of the first crew members of the “Flight for Life” air ambulance program in Las Vegas. The critical care nurse died in a “Flight for Life” helicopter crash April 4, 1999, during a snowstorm in Indian Springs. During her nearly 20-year career, Batterman flew more than 3,000 rescue flights, saving thousands of lives.

• Ruby Duncan Elementary School, 250 W. Rome Blvd., North Las Vegas.

Ruby Duncan is a civil rights activist who championed the needs of poor women and children in Las Vegas. Orphaned before her fourth birthday, Duncan supported herself by picking cotton in Louisiana. She attended school part-time until ninth grade, when circumstances forced her to drop out and work 80 hours a week as a waitress. Since moving to Las Vegas in 1952, Duncan has established an anti-poverty program, medical clinic, library, day care center and job-training program in West Las Vegas.

• Edmundo “Eddie” Escobedo Sr. Middle School, 9501 Echelon Point Drive, Las Vegas.

Edmundo “Eddie” Escobedo Sr. immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico with few possessions but with lofty ambitions and a steady work ethic. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he opened the only Spanish movie theater in town, El Rancho, and raised a family. Over 20 years, Escobedo published “El Mundo,” a Spanish-language weekly newspaper, and served as chairman of KDOX, a Spanish-language radio station. He served in leadership of several Hispanic organizations and sponsored a number of college scholarships for Hispanic students.

• Jack and Terry Mannion Middle School, 155 E. Paradise Hills Drive, Henderson.

Jack and Terry Mannion moved from Utah to Las Vegas in 1961, where together they served the Clark County School District for a combined 62 years. Jack was a coach, teacher, assistant principal and summer school principal in the School District for 32 years. Terry was a teacher, counselor, dean, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent in the School District for 32 years. The Mannions developed new academic and athletic programs in Southern Nevada to help children reach their full potential.

• Judi Steele Elementary School, 6995 W. Eldorado Lane, Las Vegas

Judi Steele has dedicated her life to making a difference for children, regardless of their background. During her 34-year career in the School District, Steele spearheaded a gifted-student program and created the first special-needs program. She also was instrumental in creating the Public Education Foundation and raising millions of dollars to support public schoolchildren in Southern Nevada. She is currently the president of the Public Education Foundation and serves on the boards of several community organizations.

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