Temple ISD Campus Selected as Site for Historical Marker

TEMPLE, Texas — Temple Independent School District’s newest elementary school opens this fall, and it has been selected as the site for a historical marker honoring the accomplishments of one, and possibly both, of the school’s namesakes.

Sampson-Howard Elementary School will open in the fall as the first brand new facility in Temple ISD in more than 25 years. The school will open as a Fine Arts Academy and is named in honor of Cornelius Carl Sampson and Durward and Jean Howard. Central Texas historian Patricia Benoit approached the district with the idea of applying for state historical markers to honor Sampson and the Howards and she has also done much of the legwork in submitting them for recognition.

“One of the most important things that education does for a student and community is keeping alive significant contributions of the past,” Dr. Bobby Ott, superintendent of Temple school, said. “We stand on the shoulders of those that came before us, and Temple ISD is better for their contributions.”

The Texas Historical Commission has already approved the application for a marker honoring Sampson through the organization’s Undertold Markers program that promotes diversity within the Official Texas Historical Marker Program. Cornelius Carl Sampson was a Temple native and graduated as valedictorian of the Temple Negro School in 1915. He later became principal of Dunbar Junior/Senior High School and also served as an athletic coach, debate coach, and math teacher. He would later serve as principal of an African American High School in Corpus Christi and played a significant role in integrating the school system and expanding civil rights to all minorities.

“Professor Sampson lived his life by the motto ‘Deeds, not words,’ and he was an inspiration to so many children as an educator, coach, and principal at Dubar School,” said Linell Davis, Temple ISD trustee – District 2. “Patricia’s efforts to help preserve his memory truly exemplify how we can honor those who came before us as we create new paths for the future.”

An application for a Texas Historical Marker in honor of Durward and Jean Howard, who were instrumental leaders in fine arts and humanities programming in Temple ISD, was recently submitted to the State Historical Commission, as well. The application is currently moving through the review process and notification of acceptance will occur later this year.

“Naming campuses and facilities is something that the board considers very thoughtfully, and we want our building’s namesakes to represent our community and serve as role models for the children who enter them,” said Dan Posey, Temple ISD trustee – District 3, and president of the TISD board of trustees. “We are so proud to have the new campus bear the name Sampson-Howard, and these historical markers will help further preserve the legacies of these extraordinary educators.”

The construction of Sampson-Howard Elementary was approved by voters as part of Bond 2022. The campus is being built in the southeast quadrant of the district and is on schedule to open in the fall of 2024.