FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fayetteville Board of Education voted unanimously on May 26 to name the new middle school the John L Colbert Middle School in honor of the school’s superintendent.

According to a news release, the new school is located on Rupple Road and will open in August 2023.

“The school board members agreed that naming this new school in honor of Dr. Colbert is absolutely appropriate,” said Nika Waitsman, president of the Fayetteville Board of Education. “It is a fitting tribute to his unprecedented career of service to Fayetteville Public Schools that spans 44 years and has blazed so many new trails.”

“I am deeply grateful to the school board for this honor,” said Dr. Colbert.  “Fayetteville Public Schools has been my life since I started as a classroom teacher in 1975. I have had the privilege of working with extraordinary educators throughout my career here in Fayetteville, and some of them have had schools named after them. To think that now my name will also live on in association with one of our schools is very humbling.” 

The release says Colbert has served as a special education teacher, as principal at Jefferson and Holcomb Elementary Schools, as assistant superintendent for elementary education, as associate superintendent for support services, and as superintendent.

The release says he is the first African American to serve Fayetteville Public Schools as principal, assistant superintendent, associate superintendent, and superintendent.