As a reminder of their dedication and decades-worth of service to the school district, the significant contributions they have made and the impacts they have had on countless young minds, their names are etched on four Waxahachie Independent School District campuses: Coleman Junior High, Finley Junior High, Howard Junior High and Wedgeworth Elementary.
These four African American educators – Evelyn Love Coleman, Eddie Finley, Sr., Robbie E. Howard and Emmit B. Wedgeworth – are being celebrated by the district throughout February in recognition of Black History Month.
“We value the contributions all of these educators made in our district,” District Spokesperson Jenny Bridges said in a statement. “They served as everything from teachers to administrators to school board member (Mrs. Coleman) and touched the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of students throughout their respective tenures in our district.”
Evelyn Love Coleman
Coleman, a Waxahachie native, was elected the first black female president of the WISD Board of Trustees in 2007.
Her service to the district spans a little over four decades. She wore several hats for some 31 years: teacher, assistant principal, principal and administrator. After retiring in 2001, she spent another 10 years on the school board, making decisions to benefit each student within the district.
Coleman Junior High opened in 2018.
Eddie Finley, Sr. (1923 – 2002)
Finley, a Waxahachie native and Army veteran, dedicated 35 years to the district – 19 years as a teacher and 16 years as a middle and high school principal.
Waxahachie Junior High was renamed Finley Seventh Grade Center in 2008, and finally Finley Junior High in 2011.
“Mr. Finley will forever be remembered as a man who believed in the education of all children. His commitment and dedication to the educational profession helped to pave the way for excellence for thousands of Waxahachie school children,” the district noted.
Robbie E. Howard (1914 – 2012)
Howard showed promise at an early age while growing up in Waxahachie.
She was a WISD elementary and high school teacher for 18 years from 1956 until her retirement in 1974.
When the district began integrating its staff in 1966, Howard was transferred to Northside Elementary where she was the only African American on campus for four years.
“Regardless of the circumstances she faced, Robbie devoted her life to teaching young children,” the district pointed out. “Her life and work are a testament to what can be accomplished when you place service above self.”
Howard Junior High opened as Howard Eighth Grade Center in 2008 before its current name was installed in 2011.
Emmit B. Wedgeworth (1914 – 1983)
Wedgeworth, an Army veteran, came to the district as the principal of Oak Lawn Elementary in 1956 with years of experience after working at several school districts as a teacher and principal. Over 17 years with the WISD, he also served as an attendance officer before his retirement.
“Mr. Wedgeworth was highly respected in Waxahachie for his contributions as an administrator of the Waxahachie Independent School District,” the district highlighted.
Wedgeworth Elementary opened in 1999.