Gandy name may be eliminated by Hanover School Board
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 3/16/2023, 6 p.m.
The Hanover School Board is moving to eliminate the name of John M. Gandy, the only Black person for whom a county school is named.
The board on Tuesday approved a seven-member renaming committee to come up with recommendations for naming a new elementary school now under construction, despite criticism of the effort from opponents who packed the meeting room.
That building would replace the two current Ashland-based schools, Gandy Elementary and Henry Clay Elementary.
Ever since planning began for it, the new school has been referred to in board and administration documents as the new John M. Gandy Elementary. The son of freed slaves, Dr. Gandy served as the third president of what is now Virginia State University.
The biggest previous change was in 2020 when a board majority braved criticism and renamed a high school and middle school that previously honored slavery-defending Confederate leaders. The only other Hanover schools currently named for people are Patrick Henry High School and Washington-Henry Elementary School.
Dr. Gandy has graced a now 72-year-old building since it opened in the era of segregation in 1950 to serve Black students.