TCSS Superintendent to recommend renaming WPES gym after former administrator

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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BY: Olivia Johnson

On Monday, the Troup County School Board heard a proposal from West Point Elementary to rename the school’s gym after Zelma Brock, a well-known educator and staple in the West Point community.

WPES Principal Keneitha Cook spoke in favor of the gym renaming.

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“Brock was a former assistant principal at WPES and a longtime educator for 42 years,” Cook said. “She impacted the lives of students and staff alike. Her contributions to the community, school and district deserve to be recognized and honored.”

Last fall, there was a proposal made to rename WPES after Brock. After much consideration from the community, the board voted not to rename the school for several reasons. While most opinions were positive and appreciative of Brock’s work and legacy, many wanted to keep the name of the school in remembrance of the last standing link to the former West Point School System. The board also did not not want to set a precedent for future renamings as TCSS has moved away from naming buildings after people.

“With the decision not to rename the school after her, the board made a promise to the city of West Point to do something to remember and honor Mrs. Zelma Brock,” Cook said. “When considering her contributions to the community and school, we, on behalf of West Point Elementary School, would like to propose renaming the school gymnasium in honor of Mrs. Zelma Brock.”

At the guidance of Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate, WPES surveyed PTO board members, parents and staff.

The end results of the survey showed support for the gym renaming. According to the survey, 76% of WPES staff members support renaming the gym after Brock, while 24% aren’t. A majority, 81.3%, of WPES parents are behind the change, while 18.8% were against. 

In her presentation of the proposal, Cook included some of the responses received in favor of the name change. 

One comment read, “Mrs. Brock was an amazing woman. I think this is a great idea to keep her memory alive, as she was such a big influence in so many children’s lives.”  

Another comment said, “I worked as a teacher with Mrs. Brock for almost 20 years. She was a huge part of WPE. I think this is a fantastic idea and a great tribute to everything she did for our school.”                                                                                                                 

Brock retired from education in 2017 with a total of 44 years working for the TCSS. After retiring, Brock continued working and became employed with The Active Life Center in West Point, where she served as Active Life Specialist and Site Manager until October 2021. 

Shumate said he will make the recommendation to rename WPES’s gym after Brock at Thursday’s board meeting.