The Board of Education has received five proposals to consider renaming Falk Elementary School. Two proposals were submitted for John Robert Lewis. This posting has been updated to include the proposal for William H. Noland, which was inadvertently missed. The members of the ad hoc committee will consider all four names at their upcoming meeting tentatively scheduled for Monday, December 28, following a 30-day period for public comment to be submitted via the MMSD Website (below).

Milele Chikasa Anana

Milele Chikasa AnanaMilele Chikasa Anana, commonly referred to as Mother Milele, served as the editor and publisher of UMOJA Magazine. A monthly magazine that featured the art, accomplishments, and voices of African Americans and the community for three decades. Ms. Milele served as Madison’s first Affirmative Action Officer, paving the way for women and minorities who were excluded from opportunities in employment. She was always striving to cultivate new talent and fought for Black people to be recognized and celebrated. Mother Milele passed away in 2020. The community will remember her as a mentor, advocate, community leader, trailblazer, and “Village Mother” for her lifetime of volunteer efforts, activism, community organizing, extensive mentoring, and willingness to serve those in need. View the full proposal here. 

John Robert Lewis

Carl Robert LewisJohn Robert Lewis was an American statesman and civil rights leader who served 17 terms in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia's 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020. Lewis was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He fulfilled many key roles in the civil rights movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. In 1965, Lewis led the first of three Selma-to- Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In an incident which later became known as Bloody Sunday, state troopers and police attacked the marchers, including John Lewis. John Lewis received many honorary degrees and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. View the full proposal here. 

William H. Noland

William H NolandWilliam H. Noland, along with his wife, Anna, and three children, are considered the first permanent Black family of Madison. They migrated from New York to Kentucky and then to Madison. William Noland not only was a skilled laborer and businessman, like other Blacks who came to Madison, but also applied his skills and knowledge in the areas of barbering, food production, manufacturing, animal husbandry, and the fine arts as a musician and bandmaster. They showed strength, courage and pride as they made a better life for themselves and for others in the community, despite many challenges and obstacles, and laid the groundwork so that later generations of African American leaders could build on their legacy. View the full proposal here.

Dolores Simms Greene

Dolores Simms GreeneDolores Simms Greene graduated from Madison Central High School and UW-Madison in 1951 and began her career in Milwaukee teaching English. She moved to Madison and worked for several state agencies, retiring in 1984 as Assistant to the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Extension. She was responsible for directing civil rights compliance counties (Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action program) for the Extension Services in all 72 counties in Wisconsin. She was active in community volunteer work and seen as a woman of integrity as she pursued African-American and women’s causes addressing principles of equal opportunity and non-discrimination in employment in Madison and throughout Wisconsin. Ms. Simms Greene passed away in 2019 and will always be remembered for her passion for education. View the full proposal here.

Submit your comment on the current proposals

You can submit your comment using the form below or in person at an upcoming board meeting.

Process and timeline

Per School Board Policy (6700), the public has a minimum 30-day window to comment on the recommendation and submit additional proposals. The 30-day window to submit proposals for Falk ended on September 30, 2020.

Download this process flowchart.

School naming process flowchart

Board of Education Role:

  1. Appoint a Citizens Naming Committee. The Citizens Naming Committee shall consist of twelve individuals and a chairperson appointed by the Board President and approved by the BOARD OF EDUCATION. Each Board Member may recommend up to five names to serve on the Committee, and the Board President shall select Committee members from these names. The BOARD OF EDUCATION shall strive to ensure that the Citizens Naming Committee is representative of the District as a whole.
  2. The chairperson will be selected by the President of the BOARD OF EDUCATION.
  3. Establish a date by which the work of the Citizens Naming Committee must be completed.


*Proposal Criteria:

  1. What individuals/groups are proposing the name? What is the proposed name?
  2. Madison Metropolitan School District schools may be named after a prominent national or local figure who is deceased, a locally significant geographical site, a place of local significance, or an idea or concept which represents a broadly respected civic virtue. Into which of these categories does the proposed name fall?
  3. If the proposed name is a prominent local or national figure who is deceased, describe why this person is considered prominent. “Prominent” is defined as “widely and popularly known.”
  4. If the proposed name is a prominent local or national figure who is deceased, what is the significance of the person specifically to the Madison Metropolitan School District that it should choose to name a school for this particular person over others of similar prominence?
  5. If the proposed name is a locally significant geographical site or a place of local significance, what is the significance to the Madison Metropolitan School District? For what reason would the Madison Metropolitan School District choose to name a building for this particular geographical site or place of local significance?
  6. If the proposed name is an idea or concept which is a broadly respected community value, what is the significance of this idea or concept to the Madison Metropolitan School District? For what reason would the Madison Metropolitan School District choose to name a building for this particular idea or concept?

Members of the Citizens’ Naming Committee

Verona Morgan, Erica Lee, Gloria Hawkins, Yvette Craig, Yolanda Shelton Morris (Chair), Gloria Ladson Billings, Vaunce Ashby, Theola Carter, Richard Scott, Cara Jenkins, Sarah B. Hall & Claire Siegrist

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