MALTBY — Ruby Bridges Elementary is the name for Snohomish County’s newest school.
The name of the lifelong civil rights activist was among an esteemed group of finalists for the $80 million school expected to open next fall. It’s on land southeast of the new North Creek High School and west of Highway 9 near Maltby.
The Northshore School Board unanimously approved the name for the school, known as Elementary #21, earlier this week. The board was presented with five names.
Students, staff, families and others in the community were involved in the naming process. More than 700 submissions were received and some 2,900 feedback forms were completed.
The 11 finalists included naming the school after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cecile Hansen, Vi Hilbert, Dorothy Johnson, Katherine Johnson, Audre Lorde, Michelle Obama, Cecilia Payne and Sonia Sotomayor.
The school was approved by voters in the 2018 election as a step toward easing overcrowding in the district’s north end. The elementary school, which will serve about 500 kindergarten through fifth-grade students, is on Maltby Road near Little Bear Creek Road.
Bridges became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement for school integration in the South in 1960. She was 6 when she was escorted to an all-white school by four federal marshals.
She is depicted in the Norman Rockwell painting, “The Problem We All Live With,” walking to school with the marshals, a racial epithet marking the wall behind them. Her memoir, “Through My Eyes,” was released in 1999. The Ruby Bridges Foundation uses educational initiatives to promote tolerance and unity among schoolchildren.
When reached about the final board vote, Bridges said she has great expectations for every student who attends the school.
“I am honored that the Northshore School District community has named an elementary school after me,” she said in a statement released by the district. “It’s been 59 years since I took those first steps that helped put our country on a new, more equitable path in education. My hope is that every child who steps foot in Ruby Bridges Elementary will create their own opportunity to make positive change in our world. And I expect one day, we will sit down together and learn from one another.”
There is an elementary school named Ruby Bridges in Alameda, California.
Cathi Davis is the planning principal for the new elementary in Bothell.
“Ruby Bridges is an iconic figure in our national history who demonstrated remarkable courage as a child faced with adversity,” Davis said in a statement. “I look forward to establishing a learning community where belonging and inclusivity are core values and where each child feels supported to be an agent of change in the world.”
Davis said she’s already thinking of educational opportunities about Ruby Bridges’ journey, for students and others.