Namesake Helps Open New Denton ISD School - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Namesake Helps Open New Denton ISD School



    Just in time for back-to-school, the Denton ISD is opening the doors at its 22nd elementary school, Dorothy Adkins Elementary. (Published Monday, Aug. 25, 2014)

    Students in Lantana started class Monday at their brand new school, Dorothy P. Adkins Elementary, on the corner of Copper Canyon Road and Farm-to-Market Road 407.

    Families were greeted warmly by staff members, Denton County Sheriff Will Travis, and DISD Board of Trustees Vice President Barbara Burns as they took in the new school, but the guest of honor for the day would show up at students' classrooms throughout the morning.

    Dorothy Adkins, herself, toured the school shortly after the first bell, visiting every single classroom to meet with students inside.

    "More than just touching," Adkins said with a laugh as classroom after classroom of children made the connection of who she was.

    Adkins has been involved in education most of her life, getting her start teaching in 1939.

    Though she worked in a few districts during 20 years of teaching, Denton became her home where she'd eventually join the board of trustees from 1993-1999.

    Perhaps Adkins biggest mark, though, is as a civil rights leader in the area.

    In the 1970s, she was a founder of a group in the district dedicated to integrating Denton schools and making the challenging process as smooth as possible so all students could get an education.

    One district leader on hand at the school described Adkins as "ahead of her time."

    "Her commitment in her life to service is something we're basing our priorities as a school upon," said Adkins Principal Emily McClarty.

    "She certainly is somebody that I look up to. She has done a lot for this district, has done a lot for the Denton community as well," said Burns.

    The now-retired educator said she'd had a chance to visit the school twice, but Monday was the first time she'd seen it with the students there.

    "It's overwhelming, exciting. I am so honored," Adkins said. "You know, I love those kids. That's why I've been an educator all those years, because I love those kids."

    The new building is all state-of-the-art, built with the future of the district in mind, said school leaders.

    Construction foreman on the project, Garry Ryan with Balfour Beatty, said the structure is geothermal, uses special wells and features to control water drainage, employs a lot of natural light to cut energy costs and is filled with a lot of natural elements like wood and stone.

    Ryan said his crews were working right up to the wire to finish the project but were glad to see it open on time.

    Construction workers also stayed on hand Monday in case any unforeseen problems came up.

    According to the district, 292 students attended class at Adkins Monday morning.

    Overall, the district saw a lot of growth on campuses for Day 1, with more than 550 students more than they served on Day 1 in August 2013.

    Adkins Elementary joins two others in the growing Lantana area of the district, Blanton Elementart and E.P. Rayzor Elementary, which both are also named for great women in Denton education history.