John F. Kennedy Elementary School has been renamed Gilbert Willie, Sr. Elementary School. Mr. Gilbert Willie dedicated 34 years to TISD and its students as an educator and administrator. In that time, he touched the lives of thousands of students as a role model, teacher, coach, principal, and the first African American assistant superintendent. Mr. Willie graduated from Burnett High School in 1957. He began his tenure with TISD in 1962 as a coach and a teacher. He served as an assistant principal for several years, and in 1979 was named principal. In 1984 he was named assistant superintendent. He retired in 1996 and passed away on Feb. 28, 2013.
“Gilbert Willie, Sr. had a profound impact on a generation of youth in Terrell, especially through athletic programs. Coach Willie was demanding and disciplined, yet always fair and honest. Because of his love of the boys he coached, there are many of us who looked to Coach Willie as a father figure as he was always available to us for advice and guidance,” Terrell High School alumni and Terrell Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame member Michael Burt shared. “I am excited and very pleased to hear that Terrell ISD is renaming the elementary school after Gilbert Willie, Sr. I can't think of a better person to honor in this way.”
The TISD Performing Arts Center has been renamed the Jamie Foxx Performing Arts Center. Mr. Jamie Foxx (born Eric Bishop on December 13, 1967) was born and raised in Terrell, Texas. He graduated from Terrell High School in 1986 and went on to become an award-winning actor, musician, singer, songwriter, producer, and comedian. His extensive, and impressive list of awards includes a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and many more.
The press box at Memorial Stadium has been named the Bill Griffin Press Box. Mr. Bill Griffin has provided play-by-play coverage for Terrell Tiger football games for more than 50 years. Mr. Griffin is a proud graduate of the Terrell High School class of 1964. In addition to being the voice of the Terrell Tigers, Mr. Griffin served as a Terrell ISD School Board Member for 18 years, as well as the President of the Booster Club. He also announced basketball games for 35 years, and baseball games for 36 years.
“Terrell ISD and the Board of Trustees are very proud of these three hometown legends, and feel that they are more than deserving of this great honor. With the renaming of these three TISD facilities, their legacy will live on for many generations to come,” Superintendent Micheal French said.
TISD congratulates these deserving honorees. The District will host rededication ceremonies to honor Gilbert Willie, Sr., Jamie Foxx, and Bill Griffin with the new naming of these three facilities. The District will provide additional information as soon as details are finalized.