Lanier Middle School Name
Lanier MS was named by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in 1959 after poet Sidney Lanier. During the 1950s and 1960s, FCPS named many of their middle schools after poets, continuing with Sidney Lanier. When the City of Fairfax acquired the land and building from Fairfax County when it incorporated into a city in 1961, the name did not change (then Sidney Lanier Intermediate School).
The City of Fairfax Schools owns the four school buildings in Fairfax City: Fairfax High School, Lanier Middle School, Providence Elementary School and Daniels Run Elementary School and are responsible for all naming of the buildings.
On July 6, 2020 the City of Fairfax School Board voted to approve the Lanier Public Engagement Plan as presented by City Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Pajardo, due to inquiries from community members to change the name because Lanier was a member of the Confederate Army from 1861-1865. Click here to watch the meeting. In addition to Fairfax City community members, the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam wrote a letter to all the School Boards in Virginia in regards to school names after members of the Confederacy. (letter below)
Timeline for Public Engagement:
July 7 - September 10 - Public comments accepted through email, website and public hearings.
August 3 - Public Hearing #1 (Virtual)
September 3 - Public Hearing #2 (Virtual)
To watch the public hearings, please go to the City of Fairfax website and find public hearings under School Board.
September 11 - Public Comments posted on website (click here for comments)
September 14 - School Board Votes on Renaming of Lanier Middle School
City School Board Meeting, 7:30 Virtual
To watch, please tune into Channel 12 or go to the City of Fairfax website and stream online.
The School Board voted 4-1 to change the name of Lanier MS.
The Board accepted suggestions and comments from September 14-18, 2020. The submissions will be viewed by the Superintendent and the Superintendent Advisory Team who will work to narrow the list of names to be presented to the Board later this fall. The Board will vote on a new name at a meeting to be determined. The new name will go into effect at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
Monday, October 5, 2020 - Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Pajardo updated the School Board with a list of names and an updated timeline at the Regular School Board Meeting. To watch the meeting, click here.
To see a list of names submitted during the public engagement period, please click here.
At the meeting, Dr. Pajardo sent forth six names based on her work with the Fairfax Historical Resources and the Superintendent Advisory Team. Dr. Pajardo also recommended to open public engagement period from October 5 - October 9, 2020. Community members can send comments to LanierComment@FairfaxVa.gov through Friday.
The six names submitted by Dr. Pajardo are:
- Maya Angelou
- Fairfax Woods
- Katherine Johnson
On Monday, November 2, 2020 the City of Fairfax School Board voted 5-0 to change the name to Katherine Johnson Middle School. For more information, please see our press release.