The new school now under construction in the Potomac Shores community in Dumfries will be named the Covington-Harper Elementary School.
The name honors Betty Covington, a longtime teacher, principal, and School Board Member for Prince William County Schools, and John Harper Jr., pioneering community leader, county employee, and School Board Member.
Each received glowing tributes from community members who spoke to support naming the school for one or the other. However, both camps quickly embraced the School Board’s decision to combine the names to honor both of them for outstanding service to the students and residents of Prince William County.
Covington served the Division for more than 50 years, including 19 as principal at Kilby Elementary and 14 on the School Board. Harper broke barriers in 1996 as the first African-American elected in Prince William County by winning a seat on the Prince William County School Board. He was also the first black director of a Prince William County department. Both Covington and Harper are beloved for service in and beyond their Potomac District, especially for always putting the needs of children first.
Harper and Covington are longtime friends and colleagues. They came to the School Board podium together to celebrate the joining of their names for the new school. It will assure that their combined contributions will remain a visible part of Prince William County’s educational history.
The Covington-Harper Elementary School will open for the 2017–18 school year.