News & Events

Legendary Teacher Thelma Elizabeth Page Richardson Honored


For Immediate Release:  May 31, 2012

Legendary Teacher Thelma Elizabeth Page Richardson Honored

Despite rain, Dallas ISD holds a groundbreaking ceremony for new elementary school

DALLAS –– A special ceremony marked the beginning of construction on the 38-classroom Thelma Elizabeth Page Richardson Elementary School on Thursday, May 31, 2012.  The new school at 7203 Bruton Road is part of Dallas ISD’s $1.35 billion 2008 Bond Program and will accommodate more than 800 students in grade levels Pre-K through fifth grade.

            Deardra Hayes-Whigham, Interim Senior Executive Director-South Central Learning Community, opened the celebration, followed by the presentation of colors and pledge of allegiance led by the JROTC of W.W. Samuell High School, the high school that students of this new elementary school will attend. Board Trustee Bernadette Nutall thanked everyone for their support of the bond program and invited those present to visualize the success of the students who will attend the school.

            The school is named for a longtime Dallas educator and plaintiff in a successful 1942 lawsuit that led to equal pay for white and black teachers. The San Jacinto Elementary School choir sang Where No One Has Gone Before, specially chosen in memory of the teacher, who became a civil rights activist.

            Shirley Ison-Newsome, Interim Division Executive-Schools’ Division, representing Interim Superintendent of Schools Alan King, addressed the importance of quality learning environments for Dallas students. “Our goal is to provide teachers and staff with necessary resources in support of their endeavors to meet the standards Ms. Richardson set for excellence in education.  The academic success of students is Job # 1 for us, and as Pleasant Grove grows, so must our schools.”

            Rita Cloman, president of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Alpha Xi Omega Chapter, joined fellow sorority members for a special tribute to Ms. Richardson, president of that organization in 1945-46. Marian Willard, principal of James Madison High School, shared memories of her years as a student of Ms. Richardson.

         Executive Director of Construction Services Ed Levine presented the project scope and unique features of the school. The 96,250-square-foot facility will be built on 15 acres. Classrooms include a total of eight pre-k and kindergarten classrooms, five first grade classrooms, 20 second through fifth grade classrooms, one multi-grade classroom and four special education classrooms, along with a gym, cafeteria, and multipurpose meeting room/ auditorium.     

            A world languages teacher, Thelma Elizabeth Page Richardson (1911-1996) made history with a groundbreaking lawsuit filed Dec. 23, 1942, with the Negro Teachers' Alliance of Dallas. With assistance from NAACP Chief Counsel Thurgood Marshall, she sought to equalize the salaries of black and white Dallas teachers who had the same qualifications. Her goal was achieved and salaries were made equal over the next three years. Over time, Richardson’s reputation as a civil rights pioneer grew to match her stature as a much-revered teacher at Lincoln High School, Booker T. Washington High School and North Dallas High School.

            On schedule to open in the fall of 2013, the school will serve students from San Jacinto, Nathaniel Hawthorne and John Ireland elementary schools.

            The project team for the environmentally-sustainable school includes Parsons as program manager, BRW Architects as designer, and Satterfield & Pontikes/3i as contractor.

In May 2008, Dallas voters supported a $1.35 billion bond program, paving the way for the district to build eight elementary schools, four middle schools and two high schools, and construct 177 new classrooms on 13 existing campuses. In addition, the bond program will provide roughly $521 million to renovate more than 200 schools, add 19 new science labs at six secondary schools and updates to 16 school kitchens and 22 lunchrooms. Information on the allocation of bond funds can be found at www.dallasisd2008bond.org.

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