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Beloved Clinton teacher recommended as namesake for new Lincoln elementary
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Beloved Clinton teacher recommended as namesake for new Lincoln elementary

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The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the inequity in many of the country's public schools. Now, educators want the effort currently being done, to continue once the pandemic is over. Source by: Stringr

The city's newest elementary school being built in northeast Lincoln should be named after Ada Robinson, a beloved teacher who spent more than 30 years at Clinton Elementary School, a committee decided Monday.

The committee will formally recommend the name to the Lincoln Board of Education on April 27. The school board officially names new schools, but Lincoln Public Schools policy calls for a committee to make recommendations based on community suggestions.

Ada Robinson

Former Clinton Elementary teacher Ada Robinson.

The committee had narrowed thousands of suggestions down to several finalists, including Robinson, local civil rights leader Leola Bullock, retired principal Ruth Ann Wylie, civil rights leader Lela Shanks, retired North Star principal Nancy Becker and longtime teacher and coordinator Barbara Alice Way.

Robinson was the first choice of committee members, who weighed in using an online survey after landing on the finalists.

The committee decided to submit the name for the elementary school to the school board separately from recommendations for two new high schools, since those decisions may take longer.

See the short list for new Lincoln schools' names

All three schools — the elementary school near 102nd and Holdrege streets, and high schools in southeast and northwest Lincoln — are being built with money from a $290 million bond issue passed by voters last year.

The elementary school and the high school in northwest Lincoln will open in the fall of 2022. The southeast high school will open the following year.

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Robinson, who taught at Clinton for many years and continued to substitute after her retirement, garnered more than 90 nominations from community members. Robinson, who suffers from Alzheimer's, is now living in a long-term care facility.

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The nominations talked about the relationships she built with families and students, her support of the Malone Center and her leadership on equity issues.

Letters from former students and colleagues talked about her devotion to students, whose homes she would visit, whose families she supported and whose names she remembered long after they moved on from elementary school.

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In a letter to the committee, Robert Eddins, a former student, recalled how Robinson accepted him, despite his “ratty clothes, the uncombed hair and worn-out shoes."

Years later when he brought his own son to Clinton, she saw him and remembered him.

“She taught me right where I was, without judgment. She made me feel self-worth, she showed me respect and expected all of us to show her respect in return ... she gave me a sort of self-confidence that could never be undone.”

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or

On Twitter @LJSreist


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Local government reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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