Retired principal, legendary broadcaster among names being considered for new JCPS school
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A popular principal who recently retired and a legendary veteran broadcaster who passed away last year are among the names Jefferson County Public Schools are considering for a new elementary school being built in Norton Commons.
Stephen Tyra, who spent 27 years in the district as an educator, and Jack Crowner, who spent 60 years in radio and television broadcasting, are two of the three names that will be forwarded to Superintendent Donna Hargens for consideration.
The third name -- Norton Commons Elementary -- is the name of the 595-acre community in northeastern Jefferson County where the school is being built. Norton Commons donated the land the school is being built on to JCPS years ago.
"With teachers, Mr. Tyra expected and demanded their best for students," the nomination letter reads. "Parents were encouraged and welcomed as active participants in the school environment. And students...for them he expected learning to be powerful, inviting, active, inclusive and fun. The new school would be using an incredible educator as their name banner."
Tyra said he was with his mother Ameila Tyra -- another long-time educator and retired JCPS principal -- on Wednesday when he found out his name was being considered, following a meeting the district held to help name the new school.
"It was a huge shock last night, I got a phone call that my name was in consideration for the new school," Tyra told WDRB News on Thursday. "What an honor, what a total honor. Anytime you can have your name associated with such a wonderful place for students to learn, that’s an honor.”
Tyra retired June 30 after being a principal for 20 years at Bowen Elementary School. His wife, Lynn, is a teacher at Jeffersontown Elementary, and their daughter, Ellen, just graduated from Ballard High School.
Crowner was known as the "Voice of Agriculture," according to his nomination letter.
"For many years, throughout the 1950s-60s, Jack Crowner produced a one hour live television show from the WAVE-TV demonstration farm," the letter reads. "Both the television station and the farm was owned by the Norton family, on the ground that we know today as Norton Commons."
Crowner died in 2014.
He had a distinguished 60-year broadcasting career, including induction in the National Farm Broadcaster Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Broadcasting Hall of Fame. In 2005, he was honored with the Ralph Gabbard Distinguished Kentuckian Award
Dave Nakdimen, a retired WAVE-TV reporter who worked with Crowner, said his friend would be "greatly flattered" to have a school named after him.
"I think he’d be honored by it greatly," Nakdimen told WDRB News on Thursday. "In a sense, Jack was an educator as far as farming was concerned. A lot of people depended on what Jack had to say and the information that he gave them."
Hargens will recommend one of the three names to the Jefferson County Board of Education at the July 27 board meeting.
The school, which will cost approximately $15 million to build and have a capacity of 650 students, will open at the start of the 2016-17 year.
Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.
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