During a board meeting on Dec. 12, the FBISD Board of Trustees voted on the names of four future campuses.
Elementary School 48 will be named after Donald Leonetti, a long-time supporter of FBISD schools and athletics. Elementary School 49 will take the name of 19th century soldier James C. Neill and Elementary School 50 will be named after Fort Bend County Commissioner James Patterson. Middle School 15 will be named in honor of Ronald Thornton, an inspirational Willowridge High School band director.
All three elementary campuses will open in fall 2017. Middle school 15 is scheduled to open in fall 2018.
Board policy provides guidelines that govern the naming process, stating that the namesake, living or deceased, should have made a significant contribution to society, and the name should lead prestige and status to an institute of learning. Throughout the month of September, the district asked the FBISD community to submit nominations for the new facilities and then established committees to select the names.
More than 2,200 nominations were submitted through the process. Each committee consisted of teachers, parents, community members, student representatives and district staff. In addition, FBISD Trustee Dave Rosenthal served on all of the committees and read detailed information about each individual’s life and contribution prior to the board action.
“Each naming committee carefully considered the nominations and the discussion was lively and engaging for all participants. After much thought and consideration, we agreed that these individuals are worthy and deserving. Each has made a significant contribution to our community – either directly or indirectly – and leave legacies of service that will continue to inspire students for years to come.”
Elementary, located in Sienna Plantation
Leonetti graduated from Dulles High School in 1988. As founder and owner of Leonetti Graphics, he donated many hours and dollars toward the advancement of local public education. Even after his passing, his company continues to provide shirts, uniforms and signage to numerous schools and athletic teams. In addition, he was instrumental to the founding of and devoted countless hours to the Ridge Point High School Young Life. Leonetti’s generous spirit was carried on through other aspects of the community including service at his church.
Middle School, located in Sienna Plantation
Thornton served as band director and Fine Arts Department Chair at Willowridge High School from 1989 until his passing in December 2009. Under his leadership, the WHS band excelled in numerous competitions and were invited to participate in the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl. Those who nominated Thornton described him as an exemplar of honor, pride, discipline and excellence. These words hung on a banner in his band hall as he taught his students to play with their heart and soul.
James C. Neill
Elementary, located in Harvest Green
Lt. Neill was a 19th century American soldier and politician. Most noted for his role in the Texas Revolution and the early defense of the Alamo, he is credited with discharging the famous cannon that ignited the Texas Revolution. Neil’s namesake provides continuity with other campuses in its area who are named after Texas History heroes, including Travis and Austin high schools, Bowie and Crockett middle schools and Seguin Elementary.
Elementary, located in Grand Vista
Patterson began his education career as a math teacher and coach at Dulles Junior High. He moved to Dulles High School and worked his way through the ranks to become principal in 1984. In 1992, Patterson opened Elkins High School and remained in that position until his retirement from Fort Bend ISD in 1998. Following his career in education, Patterson dedicated his life to serving the community and local government.
He currently serves as the Fort Bend County Commissioner. He is a major supporter of community organizations such as the Arc and the district’s career and technical education program.