The Appleton Area School District’s Board of Education is seeking input from our students, staff, families, alumni, and community members on the proposed renaming of Lincoln Elementary to the Ronald C. Dunlap Elementary School – Home of the Lincoln Lions, according to a press release from the district issued Thursday.
“This renaming is in honor of Mr. Dunlap, a pioneering figure in our community and our state. This is not an effort to eliminate a former president’s name from our school building. We are proud of the history of Lincoln Elementary and will keep it intact. The Lincoln name will remain in the title with the phrase, ‘Home of the Lincoln Lions,’ and the Lions will remain as the school mascot,” the press release said.
The Dunlap Memorial Steering Committee, a team made up of community members, City of Appleton staff, and Appleton Area School District staff was formed to discuss how best to honor Ron Dunlap’s legacy after his death in 2019.
“Ron helped to pave the way for diversity and inclusion efforts, not only in the school environment but in our community and state as well,” the release said.
For thirty-six years, Ron’s professional life was devoted to education. For sixteen of those years, he served as the Principal of Lincoln Elementary School. During his sixteen years, he exemplified our District’s motto of “Every Student, Every Day.” The profound impact Ron had on his students carried with them long after they left Lincoln Elementary, and his commitment to showing “Dignity and Respect” to all was evident in everything he did.
Following his time as principal at Lincoln, Ron served as the District’s first Coordinator of Minority Services. Ron was active in countless community activities, including board of director positions with Appleton Public Library, Wisconsin Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (WASCD), Goodwill Industries, the YMCA, and Wisconsin PTA. Other community involvement and accolades include the Unity in Diversity Award, Outstanding Community Leadership Award by the Rotary Club of Appleton, the first recipient of the Diversity Award given at the City and AASD MLK event, Life Membership in the PTA, Heritage Award for Promoting Leadership, and Diversity in the Fox Valley Community, Needy Children’s Committee of the Community Foundation, State Superintendent of Schools Task Force, Appleton Noon Lions Club, City of Appleton Police and Fire Commission, Wisconsin Public Radio Board of Directors, and Diversity Advisory Committee at Fox Valley Technical College.
Ron continued his community advocacy through his involvement in African Heritage, Inc. He also served on an advisory committee that worked with the City of Appleton’s diversity coordinator when it was first created as a position within the police department.
He was listed on Madison365’s Black Power list of the state’s most influential Black leaders in 2016.
“The Dunlap Memorial Steering Committee strongly believes that renaming Lincoln Elementary School to the Ronald C. Dunlap Elementary School, Home of the Lincoln Lions, will not only honor a great person, respected educational and community leader, volunteer, mentor, and role model, but also carry his message of dignity and respect through generations of future students, families, staff, and community members,” the release said.
According to the release, the AASD Board of Education would like to hear from students, staff, families, alumni, and community members. Anyone with opinions on the matter can use this form by 4 p.m. Friday, February 19 to ensure that Board of Education members have ample time to read and review your input.
The request to rename Lincoln Elementary to the Ronald C. Dunlap Elementary School – Home of the Lincoln Lions will be considered and voted on at the Board of Education Meeting on Monday, February 22.