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New AISD Elementary School Named After Former Teacher

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The new elementary school being built in north Austin now has a name: Dr. Janis Guerrero Thompson Elementary. The Austin Independent School District Board voted last night to approve the name.

Dr. Guerrero Thompson was a native Austinite who taught high school in AISD and later worked as the district’s Executive Director for Planning and Community Relations.

The public made the nominations for the name of the new school. Another popular suggestion was Jody Conradt Elementary—named after the longtime University of Texas at Austin women’s basketball coach.

The school board did not make a decision last night to change the rule that a person who is dead must have passed away at least 18 months prior to have something named in his or her honor.

Original Story (March 18, 6:49 a.m.):A new elementary schoolin North Austin could get a new name tonight. The Austin school board is scheduled to consider a list of nominations and then choose one.

You don’t have to be dead to have a school named after you, but if you are dead, you must have died at least 18 months ago. And that’s a bit of a sticking point this time. 

One of the nominees is Sergeant Juan Navarro, a Lanier High School graduate who was killed in Afghanistan. But he was killed in July, less than 18 months ago, which makes him ineligible. At a board meeting last week, school district trustees said they might consider changing the rules to create an exception for military personnel.

“They are serving our country and they’re there to protect us," Trustee Cheryl Bradley said. "I see it as an honor and I believe that we should honor them in any way that we possibly can.”

The elementary school is at 102 Rundberg Lane between I-35 and Lamar Boulevard. It is scheduled to open next school year.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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