What’s in a name? First Hays CISD leader among names for new high school campus

After receiving more than 700 total name submissions, Hays CISD has whittled down what it could call its 14th elementary and third high school.

The Hays CISD board of trustees will  make the final decision at its Dec. 11 meeting.

Hays CISD’s naming committee recommended calling the district’s 14th elementary campus Uhland Elementary School. The new elementary is situated on High Road near the Uhland area.

The board will also make a decision on two potential recommendations for the district’s third high school, located along FM 967 west of Buda.

Buda High was one recommendation, along with a name that honors William M (Moe) Johnson, who was the district’s first and longest-serving superintendent and who is the namesake for the current administration building.

Hays CISD will not seek a new name for Elementary School  15, which is to be located along Old San Antonio Road just outside Buda. The campus will serve as a replacement for Buda Elementary.

Hays CISD’s naming committee spent several weeks reviewing more than 500 name submissions for the high school and more than 200 name suggestions for the elementary school. The committee narrowed the list and made the final recommendations, according to a Hays CISD press release.

Tim Savoy, Hays CISD public information officer, said that the naming of the campuses is an important part of the process as the schools  will be in place “at least 50 years – at likely much, much longer.”

“The committee was fortunate to have a number of viable and excellent options from which to choose. There are many worthy people who have made an incredible impact on the district, and there is a rich tradition of history in the local communities and cities,” Savoy said. “From the start, this process has been about having to select the best name choices from a list of great name choices. It’s a good problem to have, but it doesn’t necessarily make the final decision any easier.”

Name recommendations will be presented to the board of trustees Nov. 27. By policy, and to give district residents a chance to contemplate the potential names, the board will not vote on final name selections until its Dec. 11 meeting.

Mascots and school colors would be selected later in a process and would  involve the students most likely to attend the new schools.

Several local people who are affiliated with the district or the community were on a short list of potential candidates prior to the committee reaching its final recommendation.

 Trustees make the selection based on recommendations from the naming committee whose members were appointed by the board in August.

Voters approved construction of the campuses as part of the district’s May 2017 bond referendum. Construction is currently underway at both sites.

Who was Moe Johnson?

A young Moe Johnson feeds a printing press. (Hays Free Press file photo)

Born in northeastern Hays County, William Mose “Moe” Johnson attended Buda Schools and graduated from Buda High in 1947, according to his obituary. During his time in the Buda school district, Johnson was a standout baseball and basketball player. Following his service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Johnson, along with lifelong friend Bob Barton, bought the Kyle News in 1953. Today, the Kyle News is the Hays Free Press. After selling his stake of the paper to Barton, Johnson then entered into what became a lifelong career in education. He began as a teacher and coach at Kyle High, and eventually was appointed superintendent of the former Kyle school district in 1960. Seven years later, Johnson was named as the inaugural superintendent of the Hays Consolidated Independent School District in 1967. He served as the district’s superintendent until 1984. Johnson was married for nearly 60 years to his wife, Gene, before she passed away in 2013. Johnson passed away on June 23, 2014.

During its process toward a final recommendation,
Hays CISD’s naming committee compiled a short list
of potential candidates for its two new campuses.
Those names include:

Jim Cullen
A current Hays CISD employee and longtime educator at district middle schools.

Dr. Jesse Porras, Jr.
A former assistant vice principal at Hemphill Elementary who passed away in 2011.

Lamont Ramage
Former mayor of the City of Hays and former Hays County Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace.

Tex Hughson
A Kyle High graduate, Hughson played college baseball for the University of Texas at Austin and went on to play professionally for the Boston Red Sox. Hughson passed away in 1993 in San Marcos.

Onesimo “Tete” Rodriguez
Long-time Buda resident who attended the original Buda High School. He was the first Mexican American student to complete his education at the “all-white” high school. Tete led the Buda High Bulldogs to the 1950-51 regional football championship.

Nolan Kunkel
Longtime principal in the Buda school district. Kunkel is currently named for the auditorium at the Buda Elementary upper campus.

Susie Kana
Serving as nurse at Barton Middle School for 20-plus years, Kana also helped orchestrate Relay for Live in Hays CISD during her battles with cancer. Kana passed away in 2016.

Robert “Cutty” Schneider
One of the original Hays CISD board members from Uhland.

Nancy Cavendish
Longtime Hays High choir director who retired from the position in 2011.


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