Meet the Nominees For New Elementary School Name
Nick Poulakidas, Ann Jones Carlson and Officer John Bohach all left an imprint in the community, and one their names will be on the building when it opens in the fall of 2019.
The Washoe County School District has decided to name a new elementary school being built on South Meadows after Nick Poulakidas, who was a World War 2 veteran and went on to a lengthy career in education. The name was picked during a meeting that took place Tuesday evening.
The new elementary school in South Meadows needed a name, and few people would argue against the three finalists that were in line for that honor. Nick Poulakidas, Ann Jones Carlson and Officer John Bohach all left an imprint in the community, and one their names will be on the building when it opens in the fall of 2019.
Lynn LeGoy is Poulakidas' daughter. She says the long-time principal deserves to have a school named in his honor. Poulakidas was awarded the Purple Heart after landing in Normandy during World War II. He graduated from the University of Nevada in 1950, and spent his 30-year career in education. In 1957, he became the first principal of the newly-opened Lincoln Park Elementary School in Sparks. LeGoy says she still hears stories from the people he worked with and taught.
"Through this process, because of community outreach, I've had people contacting me and many of these people have said 'He changed my life'," LeGoy said.
Poulakidas died of a heart attack in 1981 while attending a PTA Convention dance in Ely. He was 55 years-old. Since then, groups have attempted to change Lincoln Park Elementary School to Nick Poulakidas Elementary School but policy at the time did not allow it. A plaque and picture of Poulakidas still sits in a glass case in the entrance of the school. LeGoy says it is nice that her father's name is still in the discussion for another school, 36 years after his death.
"I think it's a real testament to his legacy and the impact that he had on people," LeGoy said. "Not just his teachers and parents but students. His legacy is a ripple-effect that can be felt throughout the community."
Officer John Bohach died in the line of duty in August, 2001. Larry Peck shot and killed the Reno Police Officer after he barricaded himself in his house. Bohach left behind a family, including his daughter Lindsey Bohach Sadler.
"He's been gone for 16 years but for my family and many of the people involved at the police department, it's still very fresh in our minds," Bohach Sadler, "He did pay the ultimate sacrifice for our community."
Bohach Sadler says her father was a big Teddy Bear who may have been intimidating to some but would do anything for others. Bohach joined RPD in 1988, specializing in cases of sexual assault and child abuse.
"Because he spent so much time helping children in our community, I feel it would be really wonderful to have his name on a school, a safe place for children," Bohach Sadler said.
80-year-old Ann Jones Carlson has spent her life in education. She graduated from the University of Nevada in 1959 with a degree in business. Not long after graduation, she realized her true calling was in the classroom.
"After graduation, I was working in the office and I thought 'Whoa. No, my love is really with kids and teaching'," Jones Carlson said.
Carlson taught at Roger Corbett Elementary School for 34 years. The philanthropist retired in 1994 and continues to help others in education. She helps at-risk students get into college and established a scholarship for student teaching. She was a trustee for the UNR Foundation and has donated money to several building projects on campus. She says she is overwhelmed and honored to be a finalist for the naming of the new school.
"That wasn't even a thought," Jones Carlson said. "That isn't why I went to teaching. That isn't why I did the many things since I left the classroom."
Michael Landsberry was a popular choice for the new school but the naming committee thinks it is more appropriate for a middle school to be named after him. Landsberry was killed when he tried to stop a student shooting at Sparks Middle School in 2013.