“It’s not an ‘I’ thing, it’s a ‘we’ thing.”
On the heels of a special reception on Aug. 22, that’s what Brenda Norwood, former educator, had to say when naming rights to Mansfield ISD facilities were made official.
Norwood said she was caught completely off guard when she got the news that an elementary school was going to be named in her honor.
“Everybody that’s been a part of my life is what’s propelled me to this point,” she said. “This is such a surprise.”
Norwood said she doesn’t use a cell phone or computer much and didn’t know she was being considered for the honor until she made a trip to the bank.
“I went to the bank and a lady there told me she voted for me,” Norwood recalled. “I said for what? She said for naming of a school. That was the first I heard of it.”
When MISD Superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas called her and told her the news, she said “it didn’t seem real.”
“This is such a huge honor and so very humbling,” she said. “My mother left me a beautiful legacy. She always told me to treat people the way you’d want to be treated. That’s what I tried to do throughout my life. Sometimes it wasn’t always returned, but that’s okay.”
Elementary School #24
▪ First African-American employee of MISD with more than 40 years of service.
▪ Part of the first integrated graduation class in 1966.
▪ Commended for her positivity and love for children.
Jerry Knight, Director of Career and Technical Programs at MISD for more than 22 years, said he too was surprised and appreciative upon receiving word the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - (STEM) Academy, would be named in his honor.
“This came completely out of the blue,” he said. “The STEM Academy is a wonderful concept for middle school kids. It’s a blending of academics and hands on; I’m glad to see Mansfield has embraced that and thankful to everyone who pushed to get this program going.”
Knight became emotional when he said he wished his friend and former Superintendent, the late Vernon Newsom and former Mansfield High School principal Jerry Kirby, could have been in attendance.
“Both of these people were a pleasure to work with,” Knight said. “They gave me lots of latitude and support.”
▪ Served MISD for 22 years as director if career and technical education.
▪ Helped to design and staff what is now Ben Barber Innovation Academy.
▪ Acclaimed for his devotion to STEM education.
Dr. Sarah Jandrucko
Dr. Sarah Jandrucko said she became “teary eyed” when she heard the news that MISD’s new Center for Early Literacy was going to be named in her honor.
“I had wanted a Pre-K center for more than 19 years,” she said. “That’s been a vision of mine for a very long time and I think people, including and Dr. V, knew too.”
She said she was humbled and yet excited for children, parents and teachers.
“I’m excited. The opportunities are endless and the experiences priceless,” she said.
She even went as far as to purchase a small quantity of books to use in the future facility. One of the books - “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Dr. Seuss.
Early Literacy Center
▪ Served MISD for 34 years a a teacher, principal and director/asst. superintendent of elementary education.
▪ Made early childhood education a priority.
▪ Applauded for being an advocate for all students.
Martinez said she was touched when she receive the news that intermediate school seven would be named after her. She came to the district from San Antonio and grew in her career with the help of her coworkers and other district namesakes.
“I was just doing my job, she said. “I give credit to God who teaches me how I am to be around people.”
Intermediate School #7
▪ Served MISD for more than 30 years in various positions, from teacher to a principal.
▪ Served at the elementary and intermediate school level.
▪ Recognized for being a great mentor and having a big heart.
Although the late Charlene McKinzey could not physically attend the ceremony, many of her supporters, such as family, former students and church members, came to recognize the legacy she left. It’s a legacy that will now be forever memorialized in the naming of the district’s middle school number seven.
Her husband Kyle said with emotion in his voice that Charlene had a heart twice as big as anyone in the room.
Middle School #7
▪ English Language Arts teacher for 20 years before passing away from pancreatic cancer.
▪ Taught at Worley, Howard and Wester Middle schools.
▪ Remembered for her passion for students and teaching.
“What we have just shared together is why Mansfield ISD and the Mansfield community is truly a great place to live, learn and teach,” said Donald Williams, associate superintendent of communications and marketing.