LAKEWOOD, WASH—The new middle school has a new name: Dr. Claudia Thomas Middle School. The school board selected the name from a list of four recommendations made by a new middle school naming committee consisting of parents and staff from Iva Alice Mann and Woodbrook middle schools, community members and district staff.
In fall 2020, Mann and Woodbrook middle schools will close and students will attend the new middle school.
Dr. Claudia Thomas was one of the original city council members for the city of Lakewood and the first African American female mayor in the state of Washington. She was a life-long learner and tireless advocate for youth and human services. As mayor, she provided instrumental leadership in the creation of the City of Lakewood Youth Council, Lakewood’s Promise and the Lakewood Human Services Collaboration. She served 42 years in public education as a teacher, vice principal, principal and assistant superintendent until she retired in 1994.
The new middle school naming committee reviewed and considered all input received from stakeholders and developed a final list of recommended names for superintendent review.
The committee made the difficult decision not to move the name Iva Alice Mann, the woman credited with being instrumental in the founding the school district, forward as part of the recommendation of suggested names.
“Iva Alice Mann is an important person in the history of our school district. The committee wrestled with the decision of whether to move the names of the current middle schools forward for board consideration,” Superintendent Doug Kernutt said. “Ultimately, the committee felt that selecting a new name would serve to build a unified school culture as the two middle schools come together.”
The district will work to ensure that the histories of Iva Alice Mann and Woodbrook are commemorated in the new building.
The committee also determined the mascot of the new school to be the titans and the colors to be dark green and black.