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Lee Elementary Quietly Becomes Lee Elementary

School board votes to change namesake from Confederate general to lauded local photographer

After months of debate, controversy, and delay, the Austin Independent School District voted Monday night to change the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary to Russell Lee Elementary School, the Austin Monitor reported Wednesday. Compared to the public attention given to the issue—including the suggestion of jokey names during the public input period—reaction to the final approval was low-key to nonexistent.

Austin-based photographer Russell Lee's name will replace that of Confederate general Robert E. Lee as the school's name. Russell Lee was a highly awarded still photographer known his photos' diverse subjects. Vice President Paul Saldaña cast the only vote against the motion, the Monitor reported, expressing his preference for a name that reflected AISD’s diversity. Bettie Man, the first African-American teacher at Lee Elementary, had been considered in the process, the site's Elizabeth Pagano reported, but the board followed its precedent and honored the recommendation of District 5’s Amber Elenz, who represents Lee Elementary.

AISD renames Lee Elementary [Austin Monitor]

Lee Elementary School

3308 Hampton Rd, Austin, TX 78705