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Burnett Child Development Center to be renamed Leola M. Havard Early Education School after district’s first African American female principal

May 14, 2011
Black San Francisco’s educators and civil rights leaders came out in force to support, then celebrate the renaming of Burnett School for Mrs. Leola Havard. From left are Virginia Marshall, Faye Anderson, Dr. Sodonia Wilson, Jerome Havard, son of Mrs. Havard, and Mrs. Leola Havard. School Board member Kim-Shree Maufas can be seen at the far right. – Photo: Eugene E. White
San Francisco – On April 12, the Board of Education voted unanimously on Resolution No. 113-22A1 to rename the Burnett Child Development Center after the first African American woman school principal in the San Francisco Unified School District, Leola M. Havard, in recognition of her dedication and service to the students and families of the school district.

The school site was previously named after Peter Burnett, the first governor of California. Community members called for a renaming of the school site due to Burnett’s past political stances and support of laws which resulted in the discrimination against Blacks, Asians and Native Americans.

Leola M. Havard began her career with the San Francisco Unified School district as a teacher in 1949. During her career, she taught at Patrick Henry, Geary and McKinley Elementary Schools, served as assistant principal at Marshall Annex and Starr King Elementary Schools and as principal at John Muir Elementary School. Havard retired from the district in 1979 after 30 years of service.

Community members attended the meeting in full force to show their support for the renaming of the school site. Many wore colored ribbons and dressed head to toe in red, Havards’ favorite color.

Gentle Blythe is with the Office of Public Outreach and Communications of the San Francisco Unified School District. She can be reached at


2 thoughts on “Burnett Child Development Center to be renamed Leola M. Havard Early Education School after district’s first African American female principal

  1. Ed Munoz

    Congratulations Mrs. Havard! I'm one of your 4th grade students at McKinley School (1961-1962). I was
    your non-English speaker who had just immigrated from Peru ( my 50th anniversary two months ago). I remember you as a firm, respectful, and very kind teacher. You came to my apartment after school to teach my brother, sister, and me the English language. I was so inspired by your devotion, hard work ethics, and acceptance of all your students (as if we were your own children) that I also became a Fourth Grade teacher. It is my 36th year as a bilingual teacher in Union City, California, and I'm still using some of the techniques I learned from you. Muchas Gracias!
    Eduardo R. Munoz
    4th Grade Bilingual Teacher
    Kitayama Elementary


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