TISD names new school
Fine Arts campus named in honor of Jean and Durward Howard, Cornelius Carl Sampson.
The new elementary school and fine arts academy that was approved by voters in May will be named in honor of Temple educators Cornelius Sampson and Durward and Jean Howard. Sampson-Howard is expected to open in fall 2024.
OUR TOWN TEMPLE | JULY 12, 2022
The Temple Independent School District board of trustees has approved naming the district’s newest elementary school Sampson-Howard Elementary School.
The board unanimously approved the name during its meeting on Monday.
The name of the new elementary school will honor the legacies of Temple native, principal and innovator, Cornelius Carl Sampson, and long-time Temple High School teachers, Durward and Jean Howard.
The names were selected from a list of nominees submitted by members of the Temple community.
“After carefully considering the community’s input, the board of trustees is thrilled to approve the name Sampson-Howard Elementary for Temple’s newest school,” said Dan Posey, president of the TISD board of trustees. “It is an absolute privilege to honor these individuals and their legacies.”
“Cornelius Carl Sampson’s contributions to education have had a lasting impact, not only on Temple, but on people across the state of Texas,” Posey said. “It is also very fitting that a school that will serve as a fine arts academy bear the names of Durward and Jean Howard who profoundly enhanced fine arts for the students of Temple ISD and the entire Temple community.”
Cornelius Carl Sampson was a Temple native and graduated as valedictorian of the Temple Negro School in 1915. He would later become principal of Dunbar Junior/Senior High School and also served as an athletic coach, debate coach and math teacher.
Sampson was considered the “Father of the Dunbar Panther Football Team.” In 1938, Sampson was named principal of African American High School in Corpus Christi. He was credited with renovating the school’s infrastructure, creating music and athletic programs, starting a free lunch program and introducing the school’s first vocational training program.
In 1970, Sampson, along with Hector P. Garcia, played a significant role in the landmark court case Cisneros vs. Corpus Christi ISD. That case resulted in the integration of the school system and expanded civil rights to all minorities.
Durward and Jean Howard were teachers at Temple High School. Durward Howard joined THS in January of 1948 as band and orchestra director. During his tenure, the THS band played during halftime for the Dallas Cowboys and participated in the New Year’s Day performance at the Cotton Bowl. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Temple Starlighters jazz band, now known as the Highlighters.
In 1979, Durward Howard was named the first ever director of Fine Arts and Humanities for Temple ISD. Jean Howard was a long-time civics and social studies teacher at Temple High School. In 1971, the Howards cofounded the THS Humanities class and taught together until Durward’s retirement in 1984. The Humanities class combined art, music, literature and drama for THS seniors. Both Howards also participated in numerous local civic organizations that worked to make fine arts available to the Temple community.
“First of all, I would like to commend the board of trustees for the process they adopted in soliciting potential names and their thoughtfulness in their final selection,” said Dr. Bobby Ott, superintendent of schools for Temple.
“Putting these two names together into one school highlights significant contributions at the state and local level,” he said. “The first name, Cornelius Sampson, was a graduate and valedictorian of the Temple Negro School, whose efforts led to equitable education access in Texas for minority children.”
“The second name, Durward and Jean Howard, recognizes their local achievements to Fine Arts and Humanities in Temple, Texas,” Ott said.
“This educator tandem pioneered many of the Fine Arts and Humanities programs that we know as staples in Temple ISD’s longstanding tradition of successful student programs.”
The new school was approved as part of the 2022 Bond proposal and will be built in the district’s southeast quadrant. Sampson-Howard Elementary is expected to open in the fall of 2024.
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