Nearly 200 names are on the list of proposed names for the new Central Unified School District high school under construction at Ashlan and Grantland avenues in northwest Fresno.

The lengthy list was an information item on the agenda of Tuesday night’s board meeting. The board vote could be on May 26.

At the top, with 173 mentions, is Central North High School. That would be in keeping with the district’s other high school campuses with the geographic appellations of Central High East and Central High West.

Compass points have also figured prominently in the names of Clovis Unified’s high schools, with the exception of Buchanan High, which honors the district’s beloved late superintendent Doc Buchanan.

In Memoriam

Central’s list also includes some beloved names of district personnel mourned by many — former Central football coach Justin Garza (87 mentions), former administrator Kelly Porterfield (27 mentions), and former Tilley Elementary principal Karen Davis (14 mentions).

Former U.S. presidents also figure on the list, including Barack Obama (17), Ronald Reagan (8), Abraham Lincoln (1), and William Jefferson Clinton (1).

Nominations Reflect Fresno’s Diversity

And then there are names of people who represent the diversity of the district: From the Sikh community, human rights advocate Jaswant Singh Khalra (16) and Sikhism founder Guru Nanak (1); from the Armenian community, Fresno’s famed author William Saroyan (1), basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian (1), and former county supervisor Deran Koligian (19); and from Mexico, former president Benito Juarez (1), artist Frida Kahlo (1),  and Father Miguel Hidalgo, the father of Mexican independence (1).

Social media celebrities? Yep, there are a couple of those as well: Lovely Peaches (1) and Charli D’Amelio (1).

Fresno’s City Hall also made the list, with Mayor Lee Brand and former Mayor Alan Autry each getting one mention. Autry isn’t the only actor on the list (besides Reagan, that is): former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Kiel, who played the shiny-toothed villain Jaws opposite James Bond, also got one mention apiece.

And, the nation’s 45th commander-in-chief made the list. President Donald Trump got two mentions — one less than Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

3 Responses

  1. Bernard Rieux

    Dolores Huerta High, named for the tireless civil rights icon who is still fighting for local workers to this day.

    Gavin Newsom High, named for the best governor the San Joaquin Valley has ever had and one of the greatest public servants in the state’s history.

    Gary Soto High, named for the renowned Fresno poet whose every verse is better than anything that hack Saroyan ever wrote, and who doesn’t already have a thousand things in the city named for him.

  2. Gene Roza

    keep it local; one of our current elected Congressmen is from the area; someone who represented the Central Valley as both Assemblyman, then State Senator and now U.S. Congressman. Attended the local schools from the family farm on Chateau Fresno; attended San Joaquin Memorial and graduated from Fresno State. The new School with the name of James Manuel Costa would be a good choice and acceptable one.

  3. Gina

    The person who did more for the people of Central Unified school district than anyone was the late Deran Koligian. Name a school after him.


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