Michelle Obama Elementary School Will Be First in Northern California Named After the Former First Lady

The Wilson Elementary School in Richmond will be renamed as Michelle Obama Elementary School when it reopens later this year, making it the first school in Northern California to be named after the former first lady, the school's district confirmed.

The decision was made by a unanimous vote on Wednesday among board members of the West Contra Costa Unified School District after considering a proposal from the school's Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for the school to be renamed in honor of Obama, who is known for her support of education and children's health programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

"Naming this school after Michelle Obama is a sign of the school's rebirth," Stephanie Hernandez-Jarvis, the president of the board, said in a statement.

"The parents and students advocated to rename their school after Michelle Obama because they believe the values our former First Lady embodies and the educational, child-centered causes she champions, are representative of what we all aspire to nurture in our school communities.

"[Michelle Obama] is a role model for our children and we strive to serve our students with the same kind of love, advocacy, and courage that she served our country," she added.

The school, which was formerly named after Woodrow Wilson (the 28th president of the country), will be the second school in California to be named after Obama, the school district notes, with the other being in Panorama City in Southern California.

The school is currently being hosted in a temporary campus in El Cerrito while its Richmond location at 42nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue is being developed into a new "state-of-the-art 21st facility," according to the statement, the East Bay Times reports.

"We have the opportunity to have a beautiful new school named after a person who really represents our diversity and values," the school's principal Claudia Velez said. "Our school is diverse, modern and innovative, and the things that the kids will be doing will prepare them for a very strong and successful future in whatever career they choose.

"We wanted to choose someone on a global level," the school's PTA president Maisha Cole said. "With a new school and new learning environment, we want our children to think beyond Richmond, to think beyond California, and remind them that they can make a difference locally and globally."

The school, which has around 430 students from kindergarten to the sixth grade, is slated to reopen in August in time for the 2020-2021 school year, the East Bay Times reports.

Wilson Elementary is the latest in a series of schools and venues that have been named after the former first lady over the years.

In March 2019, Obama's alma mater Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago announced it would be naming its new $4.3 million athletic facility after her.

In 2016, a library in North Long Beach was also named after the former first lady, officially known as the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library.

Some schools have also been named after the former first couple, such as the Barack and Michelle Academy in Atlanta, Georgia and the Barack and Michelle Obama Service Learning Elementary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Michelle Obama City College NYC 2016
First lady Michelle Obama delivers the commencement speech after being presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters at City College on June 3, 2016 in New York City. Getty Images