Feedback on Proposal to Change the Name of Mosby Woods Elementary School

Community Input on Name Change

Disclaimer:  The comments below published here do not necessarily reflect the views of Fairfax County residents. Because these comments went to a general email address, FCPS has no way of determining if the respondents reside in Fairfax County.

Emailed Comments

As a community member, and parent of students at Mosby, I am disappointed that some of the previous suggestions have been removed from the running.

I truly felt that Mosaic was an excellent representation of our school and diversity.  It would have been my first choice as a parent and community member.

I think while it is honorable to name schools after individuals, some of the names proposed are so long that they might be unwieldy for our younger students. 

I am happy to see additions of females who made great strides in education.  With that, my vote would be for Patsy Mink for her achievements as well as the fact that we have a high number of Asian American students at our school.


I would like to vote for renaming of Mosby Woods ES, one of my schools. My vote is for: Patsy Mink


Thank you for your email to the Mosby Woods about the upcoming community meeting and the opportunity to provide feedback. I appreciate the efforts of all involved in making this important change. 

You mentioned this at the top of your letter:

After reviewing the feedback, and hearing concerns about potential names, it is clear the community would benefit from additional options to consider.

At the upcoming meeting, please provide more specific information about the feedback and concerns you have received that led you to essentially repeat earlier steps already taken. 

I voiced my choice for a name after a person myself during the last round from the choices given. However, talking to parents with children in the school, as well as those who work in the school, it seemed there was a preference for a non-personal name, such as Mosaic. Is that name now off the table? If so, why?


If the Board or FCPS is set on naming the school after a particular person, then please let us know that at the outset so feedback can be focused and time is used efficiently. However we proceed, the goal is to move away from a name associated with the Confederacy so I hope we can keep moving forward and not circle back and repeat steps. 


Thank you all for your consideration,


Hello! I am delighted to see the school renamed, however I wish we could choose something to do with the location. But if are only offered a choice of the below 4 names my vote is for Patsy Mink!


I vote for Mae Jemison


My daughter graduated from Mosby Woods in 2009 and my son will be graduating this year.  I hope the name Mosby Woods can stay barring any special reasons.  Unfortunately I do not find any of the suggested names more attractive than Mosby Woods and certainly do not want to lose all the good memories associated with the name Mosby Woods. 


I have strong reservation about naming our school after a person, in particular when it is difficult to identify the nexus between the person and our school or more generally the Fairfax county or even Virginia.  Five Oaks would be on the top of my list followed by Mosaic.  Thank you for your consideration.


Hello. we would like to vote for new name: Five Oaks Elementary.


Sylvia Mendez!!!!


I support renaming and particularly like the options of Mae Jemison or Rebecca Lee Crumpler as it honors achievements in STEM fields along with groundbreaking African American women.  I slightly prefer Mae Jemison as it is easier to envision cheering for the “MJ Mustangs” or “Mae’s Mustangs”.


Thanks for putting this together. While all names are good suggestions and well presented, I think Patsy Mink would be a good name for the school. 

She is devoted to the education which align with the staff and teachers at FCPS and Mosby Woods. Currently, there’s no school name in FCPS presenting Asian American community, however, there’s fairly good amount of students are Asian Americans in FCPS.


Huge thank you!  I am so happy that we are teaching our kids to celebrate diversity in exchange for Mosby Woods!!!  All of these are great to consider. We are behind you! 


I encourage you to name the school after someone who is deceased.  No matter how great or noble a living person's accomplishments are, it is always possible they will do something disgraceful in the remainder of their life.  Although it seems very unlikely in the cases below, I think it is a good rule to follow.


I have two kids who attend Mosby Woods and fully support renaming the school. All of the names seem fine to me, though it would be nice if we picked a name that had some connection to Virginia (and northern Virginia, if possible). Many of the names lack any connection to the state. 

All that being said: the reason I’m writing is that it is ABUNDANTLY clear that the School Board already believes that it knows what’s best regarding how the new name will be chosen and is annoyed/disappointed that the community isn’t echoing its own thinking. That was obvious when it blew off the students’ and community members’ feedback in the first meeting and instead gave additional time and produced additional names for comment after the majority of the public supported Mosaic or Five Oaks. 

The Board compounded this message by sending an email with a condescending request for the community to “think deeper” about the name. Come on, guys. We support you in renaming the school. Just because many people wanted Five Oaks or Mosaic doesn’t make them shallow or mean they didn’t think deeply about it. They just want something that ties the school to community in which its placed. That’s not a priority for the Board. Fine. The Board is going to pick whatever names it’s members personally prefer. Cool.  But then stop soliciting feedback and spare us the condescending emails.


If all the options are still up for consideration (not just recent additions), I would prefer Five Oaks Elementary.


As a former FCPS teacher, parent of 1 MWES grad and 2 current MWES students, I am beyond grateful for the amazing staff and admin at MW. Dr Aste is an outstanding advocate for all her students and appears to appreciate and love the diversity of her school. I have accidentally encountered her addressing a student who “used the f word” with grave sternness and kindness. I’ve watched a million times her positive rapport in high fives, and genuine interest in the kids.  She speaks highly of her staff and listens to parents at PTA meetings.  She loves the community and has been part of it for a long time. I hope she gets to heavily weigh in on the name. That said, the school mascot is the “Mustang” so I feel strongly that “Mae Jemison Mustangs” is kinda perfect.  A rose by any other name is just as sweet, sweeter without the racist confederate claim on the name, but Dr. Aste has led and nurtured that rose for decades. She should have the final say.


Thank you for the work to rename Mosby Woods Elementary School.  I am a current parent.  My daughter attended 4th-6th grades there and my son is currently in 4th grade.  I support the renaming of the school.  I'm not highly opinionated about which option is chosen, but I do not think Mosaic is a good fit as that name is so associated with the Gallows area community.  I liked Katharine Johnson, Mae Jemison, and Barbara Rose Johns as options. I do like that Barbara Rose Johns has a connection to Virginia specifically and her activism as a young student.  I also liked the Ruth Badar Ginsburg option other writers have put forward.  I do think having a name that represents perseverance, equality, and diversity in our community is important. 


As a Mosby Woods parent, I'd like to provide feedback on the name and suggest the name Five Oaks Elementary.  

I grew up in Fairfax County and attended Cardinal Forest Elementary until I transferred to Keene Mill Elementary to attend the AAP Center school.  My younger daughter currently attends Marshall Road Elementary.  The common theme here is that Fairfax County Elementary schools are named for places in the local community, not for people.  I see no reason to change this perfectly valid precedent and to make the "future" Mosby Woods Elementary an outlier in the region.

We are clearly changing the name to disassociate the current name from Confederate history; that's great.  Let's accomplish that goal while still maintaining the tie of the school to the neighborhood in which it sits.  Elementary schools are meant to be hyper-local places that express a tie to the surrounding neighborhood, not a place to make linkage to people, regardless of how noble, who are unrelated to the local community and its history.


I would like to reiterate the email below regarding the Mosby Woods rename. I understand from the recent emails being sent out, that we are back to renaming the school to a person again. I do not think that is the best choice given the feedback I heard during the initial rounds of discussions. Please consider the names provided below as options as well.


My daughter is a student at Mosby Woods Elementary School.  I have recently reviewed some of the proposed names and I was wondering why we are not trying to stay away from naming the school after a particular person?  We should have some options to consider that do not involve an individual's name.


I was a student at Mosby Woods Elementary School in my final 6th grade year in the late 1980s. I have wonderful memories of that pivotal school year. I had an amazing African American teacher and a diverse classroom of kids from many different cultures and ethnicities. 

At the time I was an immigrant who had recently moved to the US. I felt welcome, included, and supported by the entire school community. I continue to be close friends with many former students even 30 plus years later. 

Although I am in full support of changing school names to no longer glorify past confederate figures, it saddens me to completely change the name of a place I hold so dear. 

Simply dropping Mosby and leaving Woods as the name would enable us to keep and continue to build positive memories of our school and do away with the negative associations of the name Mosby. How about WOODS ELEMENTARY?!


I think that Five Oaks would be a lovely name for Mosby Woods to change into. I like its reference to nature and how the Five Oaks can represent different ideals that our students and children could strive for - five oaks for five pillars of good character - for e.g. respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, trustworthiness, which all come down to good citizenship. And within each, there are many lessons to learn and that pushes us to become better, more thoughtful, and empathetic human beings. I like the more "abstract" name choice for what we can make it represent! 

Amongst the people who have been considered, I would go with a living legend, Mae Jemison because she embodies the "reach for the stars" type of aspirational character that is great for our kids. She was also not only an amazing scientist, engineer but also a lover of the arts, having opened a dance studio! She also has great experience as a volunteer, as someone who stands up for inclusion in the sciences and against oppression. 

As a daughter of two black girls attending Mosby Woods, as we push for more of our children to go into STEAM :), especially our girls, as we want our kids to aim high and be brave, I think she is an excellent person to represent the school. 


I do agree with human beings being human - controversies in people past and present are ALWAYS possible.




Given our latest name choices, if I were participating in the vote, I would go with Mae Jamison, in part out of process of elimination. An astronaut is an impressive career, and being the first African American woman in space is an achievement that kids can be excited about and the community can rally around. 

While Rebecca Crumpler’s achievements are also incredible, the combination of two things makes me hesitate: 

1- Her name is a bit difficult for me personally to pronounce. For the kids I know with speech impediments, Rebecca Crumpler is incredibly difficult to pronounce. For the kids I know who like to be silly, her name is very easy to make fun of. (My 9-year-old has been running around yelling “CRUMPLER!” while crumpling a piece of paper and laughing.)(He likes the name Crumpler best, FWIW) 

2- Because she is the only person in the list who is not still alive, out of principle I might overlook the name pronunciation issue if her connection to the area were a stronger one (four years in Richmond at the Freedmen’s Bureau, very cool; but the entire rest of her life in New England). Granted, overcoming the odds of a Black Virginian woman to become a practicing physician during Reconstruction may well have been impossible. Regardless, Dr. Crumpler’s connection to our community is tenuous at best. So, combined with those two factors, I’d say Rebecca Crumpler is not the best choice for renaming MWES. 

Sylvia Mendez: very cool. I love her connection to integrating schools and was intrigued to learn more about her. Because I was born and raised in California I especially feel connected to her. But... most in the MWES community are not from California. 

Patsy Mink: also very cool. I love the Title IX connection. There’s a DC connection of course with her time in Congress. So maybe that one can get the kids excited especially if they learn more about Title IX. 

Anyway there’s my feedback on those specific names.


I am a parent of 2 Mosby Woods students.  I believe the school should be renamed Five Oaks Elementary School.  I do not believe it should be named after a person.


I like Five Oaks Elementary the best for the following reasons. I prefer that it is  not the name of a person. I like that the name “Five Oaks” has a connection to the street and neighborhood of the school.   I’d also note that many of our high schools are simply named by their location, and there’s no doubt they are a point of pride and spirit in our neighborhoods. 

As to oak trees, they are “pillars” of the forest. They grow slowly and steadily so that their wood is solid, their branches are strong, and their roots are deep. They also endure  for a long time, often for hundreds of years. They stand out among other trees, often because they  can withstand storms other trees are not strong enough to weather. 

There are also parallels to the role our school can play in the community like the oak tree plays in the woods. An oak tree is  a home/shelter to animals. It is often used as a landmark or a meeting place. It’s branches offer children a place to challenge themselves to climb to new heights, as well as a place to play and have fun. The acorns dropped by an oak tree feed the animals living nearby and sprout into new growth when given the right environment in which to thrive. The leaves that grow shade and protect the animals that live within its branches. They also give back to the earth when they fall to the ground and add nutrients back to the soil.  In much of the same ways the oak  tree contributes, we want our school to help it’s students/families and our students to give back to our community. 

The number five carries significance in that there are five elements/qualities in the FCPS portrait of a graduate. It is another way to anchor our school to shared values and ideals— ones that have already been established and agreed upon. 


I just finished attending the online meeting about renaming Mosby Woods. After our breakout sessions, I thought there was going to be some larger discussion after people answered questions on the given Padlet site. I hope that it's clear that there seemed to be an overwhelming response to those questions that the new name should NOT be named after a person. I hope our community will be given more opportunities than the four names of people given to us.


My husband and I attended the MWES re-naming meeting today.  I admit I joined late, but was a little confused.  The Agenda for the FCPS School Board meeting on Feb 8 says the names under consideration are " Katherine Johnson, Five Oaks, Mary McBride, Barbara Rose Johns, and Mosaic."  There is no mention below of the names that were presented tonight.  Tonight it sounded like the only names under consideration are Mae Jemison, Sylvia Mendez, Patsy Mink and Rebecca Lee Crumpler.  Noting the below, I expect Board Docs to be the definitive info so there is a disconnect.  In any case, for feedback - we do not support naming schools for individuals, as a general principle.  If I HAD to select, I would vote for Sylvia Mendez. 


1- I still wish someone in the FCPS administration had published the emailed feedback on the website as they said they were going to do. I was so interested to see what community members were saying, but every time I checked the website, there was nothing new. There's still nothing new, except one comment about Jemison / Crumpler that was published a week or so ago. I know people have been sending in comments. Where are they?

2- I still wish there could have been a way to really engage with the "person vs. concept" naming, AKA reparations. This meeting seemed to go down the same road of "why are we naming this after a person?" and made it feel confusing, not productive. But addressing reparations directly, with the specifics of the history, is the only thing that makes sense to me and the only way I could see moving forward and actually thinking about the new name options. Maybe that's naive! But I felt a lack of trust from the "official decision makers." Here is some feedback from parents- (first one is me, asking for thoughts. Others are the responses, separated with "...")

I was pretty surprised when it abruptly ended at 7:45!  Any other thoughts?...

I feel like such a Debbie Downer around this issue. I wasn't surprised at all that he cut it off. I think he knew if he kept it going he would have to deal with the issue of why a person over a term or over Mosaic. 

I was hoping for an explanation of what exactly the feedback was from the last meeting but I guess we didn't get that. I feel like this meeting was less productive than the last. Mr. James nailed it.

It was a mixed bag meeting. Maybe because my own feelings were mixed up in it. I felt going in, in many ways- the School Board was going to pick the name they wanted and this meeting was to say they got community buy in. This is my personal opinion. So I went in probably a little jaded. That said- the facilitator of my group really tried and seemed very excited- he was a teacher (of something actually relevant if I heard correctly) at Justice High and must have been engaged when they went through the process!  So they selected a good facilitator for us!  

I honestly got the sense it wasn't supposed to end at 7:45- our facilitator said we were to go back into the main room and the facilitators were going to report to the whole. But then the Assistant Superintendent just got on and said "Thank you, good night". I wonder if some of the comments on the padlet weren't what they wanted. They wanted feedback on the names and the padlet still had a lot of comments on why does it have to be a name? So rather than have a long drawn out discussion- I wonder if they chose to end the meeting and just use our written feedback rather than get into it verbally?  

I guess at this point we are waiting till Thursday's Board meeting to learn our new name. ...

I thought it was a bit awkward that they didn't address any of the questions that came up during the breakout groups and on the padlet especially in regards to why they didn't have a non-person name. In my breakout group the moderator did not speak much except to say the comments were noted. By not addressing any of the questions, they lost the opportunity to really engage the community. I'm not sure this accomplished anything different than if we had just emailed in our comments. 

Will be interested to see what happens at the board meeting! 

Honestly, I was a little frustrated because I attended the first renaming meeting only to discover that it wasn’t enough and they needed a new one. Last night I didn’t even stay through the meeting when they were going into the groups . I was thinking “we did this already”.  Perhaps you can summarize what happened last night. I just felt like my time wasn’t valued the first time around. feels like they already know what they want to name it and are just going through the legal motions to validate themselves.


I am a current staff member at Mosby Woods Elementary School.  In last evening’s town hall discussion, I shared that the majority of students, parents, staff, and community members agree that renaming the school as “Mosaic Elementary School” pays tribute to the school’s historically strong fine and performing arts programs, while building upon our message of unity through our unique and diverse student population.  Our community has voiced a disinterest in naming the building after the current slate of people.  Although honorable and deserving of praise, these people do not represent our school’s well-established vision.  The problems naming the school “Mosaic” may cause, are minimal, compared to the legacy our school deserves.  Listen to your community.  Read my statement below, and vote to rename Mosby Woods, “Mosaic Elementary School.” 

My name is David James, and I have been a general music teacher and choral director at Mosby Woods for the last 8 years.  I am here to advocate for the school to be renamed, “Mosaic Elementary School.”

One of the most unique affiliations the school has ever had, was with the Kennedy Center, in Washington D.C.  For years, Mosby Woods was a CETA, or “Changing Education through the Arts” school, in which staff were trained annually in how to incorporate arts integration and 21st century skills through new and engaging approaches to education.  Because of this strong association, Mosby has had strong programs in music, and in the fine arts for more than a decade.  We have the largest elementary school chorus in the county averaging up to 300 students.  We also have the largest band and strings programs in the county, with some grade levels having up to 95% involvement in either of these electives.  The artwork that decorates our hallways and cafeteria also showcase the strong arts programs Mosby Woods has.

CETA was not just about music and art though, staff members in all disciplines were trained annually in approaches to best reach students through active engagement and community collaboration.  Although we are no longer a CETA school, Mosby Woods recently made a natural progression towards becoming a leading school on Project-Based Learning, utilizing such skillsets.

If our modern and inventive approaches to teaching are the heart of our school, then the soul of our school is our diversity.  With up to 40 different countries represented, the diversity of our students is unmistakable.  However, we not only reach success in the achievement gaps, year after year, we thrive on and CELEBRATE our student’s unique stories.  We not only exhibit great variety in race, religion, orientation, and language, we also bring together a large Title 1 population, with students that choose to attend Mosby Woods for its equally strong AAP program.  Our students walk through our doors with such diverse needs, but our amazing counselors, ESOL teachers, reading and math specialists, and classroom teachers work tirelessly to value each and every individual.

No matter what the needs of our community are, one thing is certain, amongst all of our students, staff, and administration; we are a family.  The excitement, the wonder, the inquisition that takes place within our walls every day shows that Mosby Woods is not just a building, but a HOME, for everyone who participates.

The reformers, the advocates, the activists and the trailblazers you have proposed as being honored through our school name deserve much praise and gratitude.  In such a divisive world, I am humbled to be part of a process that seeks not to hide history, but recognize great shortcomings, and work hard to make amends.  Our older students learn about the injustices of racial tension within our building.  Many more of our families don’t need to be taught it, they experience it EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I will never be able to understand what some of our community members live through, nor will I pretend to try to understand.  For that reason, I implore you to listen NOT to me, but of our community members and families whose voice you claim to represent.

It is MY personal belief that the people for whom you have considered deserve to be honored, but I also believe that our school community DESERVES to be heard.  If your only goal is to put a band-aid over the historical ties of John S. Mosby, then you should select one of those great people.  HOWEVER, if your goal is to listen to what many in the community have already shared for months, and if your goal is to find a name that best represents the work that goes on every day and every year in our school, then I believe naming our school “Mosaic” makes perfect sense.

You don’t need me to tell you how “Mosaic” represents a community where the sum of it’s diverse, often shattered or ignored parts, is far greater than the individual pieces that encompass it.  This name hearkens back to the success we achieve every year bringing such a diverse community together, and pays tribute to the arts programs that build a strong educational and collaborative foundation for our students.  LISTEN to your community.  I invite you to attend our classes, grow with our students, walk our halls, and you will quickly recognize that our biggest strength is being a guiding and inclusive light, even amongst a world filled with those who only look out for themselves.  Isn’t that ultimately the message we want our students and families to see? 

If you find that the majority of our community advocates for one of those people, then I encourage you to select that name.  However, the fact that the option list continues to change and GROW shows a lost sense of direction, and lost sense of vision for our school name.  In a world where our own understanding of districting and localization is at our fingertips, there would be minimal initial confusion in naming our school “Mosaic.”  We use laptops and smart devices to navigate our world, and associate names with locations.  For this reason, the message that “Mosaic Elementary School” can bring to our school community far outweighs some initial but otherwise minimal name confusion.  Do the right thing.  Represent the success of our students, and our own school vision.  Rename our school, “Mosaic Elementary School.”


I have two children at Mosby Woods.  I vote for the name Five Oaks as I feel that is the easiest way forward.  Thank you for your consideration.


From the new choices proposed, Jemison or Crumpler would get my vote, and I’d lean toward Jemison. For a school whose motto is Learn, Give, Thrive, what about Bessie Blount Griffin as another option?  Born in Virginia, she was educated there through 6th grade (the most education available for her there at the time), and, when her family moved to NJ, she continued to be self educated, eventually earning her GED and then nursing degree.  She worked and volunteered as a nurse and physical therapist for many patients, including wounded and amputee veterans returning home from WWII.  She became an inventor of medical devices primarily designed to provide such patients with more independence and autonomy, receiving at least one patent that I know of and inspiring several others.  When the US wasn’t interested in her automatic feeding device, she gave it free of charge to the French government to use (and they did).  Later in her career, she became a forensic scientist in both NJ and back in VA, where she ended up as a chief document examiner, and in her 60s she was invited to train at Scotland Yard.  In addition to law enforcement, she worked with museums and historians, interpreting and verifying authenticity of historical documents such as Native American treaties and pre-Civil War slave documents, among other things.  She died at 95, with one accomplishment unfinished - she wanted to erect a museum where her old VA schoolhouse had stood to highlight the accomplishments of those who had attended.  Her accomplishments speak for themselves regardless of her race, but, yes, she was also a black woman.


I wanted to share my feelings regarding the renaming of Mosby Woods Elementary School, where my daughter attends second grade. First, I very much support the renaming. Secondly, I wanted to voice my support for Katherine Johnson as the best choice for the new name.  I recognize there is some opposition to naming schools after people however, a) there are other elementary schools named after people in FCPS and b) I think it is worth giving our children schools named after strong people of intellect and character who can inspire them to lead good lives. As the mother of a child of color, I can think of few better examples of this than Katherine Johnson, a person who she is familiar with and respects. I don't think we should shy away from naming our buildings and communities after worthwhile individuals, just because in the past, people have made poor choices when choosing those names. Katherine Johnson is not a controversial or political figure, rather she is someone who can serve as an inspiration to all our students.

My kid goes to Mosby.  Please, please, PLEASE do not rename the school after a person.  LOTS of people have made great contributions to society, in many fields.  But all people - and history - are nuanced and complicated, and opinions and perceptions change over time.  MWES is a marvelous hodge podge of backgrounds and cultures in its own right.  Why pick one individual, knowing that such a choice will inherently only be able to highlight one particular population or area of admirable achievement?  Particularly in this year that has already been so challenging in so many ways, please consider picking something neutral, such as another location (like Five Oaks Elementary), or a trait or concept with a universally positive connotation that the candidates highlighted - and other historical or future icons with different backgrounds - might share (Prosperity?  Tenacity?  Mettle?  Resilience?  Courage?  Fortitude?  Unity?). 

Thank you for taking the time to change the name of Mosby Woods. I have two comments:  1. While Mosaic is a great name as for what it represents, I think it would be confusing with the Mosaic District that is 5 miles away. Many people in the area would associate the name Mosaic with the shopping/eating area and think the school is in that vicinity. I suggest another name that has the same idea but doesn’t have an “area” that while nearby isn’t near the school.  2. Five Oaks is a sound, safe name… but it’s initials would be FOES.

I am a 6th grade teacher at Mosby Woods Elementary and I have worked at the school since 2005.  I grew up going to FCPS schools and have lived in the area my entire adult life.  As a long-time member of the Mosby Woods community, I would like to suggest a name for the school that is not on the current list:  Ruth Bader Ginsburg Elementary.  At the initial meeting a few weeks ago, that name had strong support, and I believe it would be an amazing way to honor such a fabulous American hero and the values she stood for: inclusion, perseverance, and hard work.  There are no better three words to encompass the spirit of the school!

I and my family strongly disagree with the renaming of Mosby Woods Elementary School. We don't see the reason why we have to rename our school. It is fine as Mosby Woods Elementary School. However, if my opinion does not count and the Board has already decided with the rename, I hope the name Five Oaks will be chosen.

We have a kindergartener currently.  He has a picture of Katherine Johnson on his wall — I was so excited  to see that that may be the name of the school — it has our vote!!

I wholeheartedly support the name change suggestion of Katherine Johnson.

My suggestion is Martha Washington Elementary School. There are many tributes to George Washington throughout our area, but few to Martha Washington who also impacted generations of Americans. While keeping the same initials as the current MWES, we could also keep the same mascot, and honor a woman who has done much for our country.

I have a 6th grader at MW. I liked the idea of naming the school after Mary McBride. If not, my second selection would be mosaic. I appreciate the work the Superintendent and School Board are putting into renaming Mosby Woods Elementary School.  I support that effort.  Generally I am neutral or support the names, with the exceptions below: Mary McBride - I don't know who this is and a brief google search turned up many people with this name.  Perhaps such a common name without an obvious association is not a good choice. Mosaic - I do not think this is a good name.  "Mosaic" is closely associated with the multi-use development at the corner of Gallows and Lee Highway.  This school is too far away to carry the association.  Even if the students who live there are currently sent to this school (are they?) I think the odds that they might be at a different school in the future is high, and that makes it odd to use "their" name on our school.

Thank you for sharing the suggested name changes. I wanted to provide feedback and share my thoughts. I do NOT think we should name schools after people anymore. All humans have flaws- they aren't always visible or known right away. Mother Theresa has flaws that have come to light as have Ghandi and others! No one is perfect- why name a building after people?! Therefore I vote for Mosaic. It is truly representative of our school of 26 plus languages. Our school is so welcoming and diverse. I want a name that represents our school, not a random name that has no connection to the school. Mosaic is beautiful- just like the school.

I'm fully supportive of renaming Mosby Woods Elementary, but I am vehemently against naming the school after another person. Any person! As well meaning as I'm sure you're trying to be, naming the school after a person is foolish, near sighted, and tone-deaf. Nobody is non-controversial, nobody has a clean enough history to have a school named after them.  What is that person's demonstrated actions/beliefs towards Asian Americans? Blacks/African-Americans?  Native Americans?  Immigrants?  Jews?  Muslims?  LGBTQ?  Pro-Choice?  Pro-Life?  etc... The number of legitimate questions are endless!  Acceptable Names: 1.  Five Oaks  2. Mosaic. Please do not name it after a person.  Let's not make the same mistake twice.

I am a parent of two children that will return to Mosby Woods Elementary next year. I am in favor of the renaming of the school. However, I urge the board to please consider renaming the school to Mosaic or Five Oaks. I am not in favor of naming things after people. As we have seen time and time again, humans are not perfect and there will always be some part of their past that someone will strongly disagree/disapprove of.  Please consider lessons learned and not go through this process again down the road because a sizable group of people find something negative about a person's life. It doesn't matter if the person is male of female, a political figure, humanitarian, scientist, living or deceased...I cannot support renaming to another person. Both Mosaic and Five Oaks are excellent names and I support any one of them. Mosaic has a wonderful meaning and truly defines the school and what we have come to love about the community. Five Oaks represents the neighborhood we live in as well as the location of the school, and makes sense to me as well. Thank you for taking the time to read my comments.

Mary McBride is a fitting name for Mosby Woods but I wonder why the Superintendent omitted the name of these local people from his list. There are many African-American Fairfax residents who were leaders in desegregating Fairfax schools and opposing Massive Resistance. Lawrence Edward and Lillian S. Blackwell were the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging W.T. Woodson’s rejection of the applications of 19 black students to attend white schools. Annie E. Harper was the plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case that outlawed the poll tax. Frank G. Buechley and H. Alvin Kuhn were minsters of local churchs who organized opposition to Massive Resistance. Thea De Fabio was a taxi driver who refused to sign the pupil placement application required by then Superintendent W.T.Woodson as part of his participation in Massive Resistance.  She filled-in the blank after the question of seeking her sons’ race as “human.” Nellie Henderson was the principal of the James E. Lee Negro Elementary School in the West Falls Church area. Please add these names to the list for consideration for Mosby Woods.

Student called to suggest names:   Ruth Bader Ginsburg, L. Douglas Wilder, and Mosaic ES

I would like to submit a suggestion for the new name of Mosby Woods Elementary: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Elementary School. Justice Ginsburg embodied the belief in the rights and possibilities of all people, which is a lesson that would resonate for generations in the form of an elementary school. Possible mascot: The Dissenters

Please consider renaming Mosby Woods Elementary School to MAPLE WOODS Elementary School. My son "graduated" from Mosby Woods 2 years ago. Mosby Woods has great school spirit. But, names should be neutral and stand the test of time. MAPLE WOODS elementary school is easy to say, easy to write, easy to understand, and easy for kids to spell! It also would provide an opportunity for the school community to commemorate the name change by planting a maple tree on the property.... perhaps a place where kids could have their picture taken by parents at the beginning or end of the school year -- a focal point of sorts. Maple Woods Elementary School also allows the community to keep its acronym -- "MWES" -- which makes it easy for people to remember which school this is (when the name changes). Get rid of the confederate connection, but keep as much continuity as possible. Maple Woods Elementary School sounds like the kind of place a child could thrive and grow into a solid student --- like a solid maple tree!

I’d like to propose the name Ruth Bader Ginsburg Elementary School as an option to consider when changing the name of Mosby Woods elementary. Given Justice Ginsburg’s recent passing and her dedication to giving voice to minorities I think it would be a fitting name for a diverse and modern school. An option for the mascot could even be the dissenters. What a great civics lesson for all the students! I have two children At Mosby Woods now and think this would be a fitting name.

As a parent who had 5 kids attend Mosby Woods Elementary School, I can attest to what a wonderful elementary school it is.  The diversity of the student population is outstanding and the principal, Dr. Aste is exceptional. I am very happy that FCPS is working to rename the elementary school.  To that end, I am suggesting that the school be renamed Henrietta Lacks Elementary School. (Lacks Elementary School).  In my opinion, I believe it is important to showcase the diversity of the school in its name. Below is information from the website regarding Ms. Lacks.  Henrietta Lacks — (1920-1951) Roanoke; The progenitor of the HeLa cell line, one of the most notable cell research discoveries ever made. Her cells lead to many important breakthroughs in biomedical research, including the polio vaccine. Today, the HeLa cell line has been recognized as a globally significant contribution to medicine and research.

I am a high school student who currently goes to Oakton High School. I went to Mosby Woods for 6 years and I do not appreciate a sudden change in the name of the school. "John S. Mosby spent forty years in service to the United States after the Civil War. He personally disapproved of slavery. He became a close friend and confidant to President Grant. He served as Consul to Hong Kong and assistant attorney in the Justice Department. He dedicated much of these years exposing corruption. He was ultimately ostracized by the south for his pro-Union stance, his opposition to the Lost Cause, and his friendship with president Grant. His post-war activities show him to be an honorable American." Because of this, I respect the name of Mosby Woods Elementary School. It shows that the person is more important than the group they associate with. It should now be changed after the decades of achievements that this school represents. 


My son attended Mosby Woods Elementary school for several years as an AAP student.  I frequently helped in the library and with PTA events.  Mosby Woods Elementary School has incredible school spirit and participation.  I suggest renaming it to something NEUTRAL – that will never go out of style and something that kids from Kindergarten to 6th grade can understand. I suggest renaming Mosby Woods Elementary to MAPLE WOODS Elementary School.  It’s easy to say.  It’s easy to understand.  Kids can spell it.   It would allow for a “renaming ceremony” where the school community plants a maple tree somewhere on the property – a maple tree that can be somewhat of a gathering point for school spirit displays.  The acronym would still be the same (MWES).  Minimize the disruption while shedding the connection to confederate history.   Maple Woods Elementary sounds like a good place for kids to be!


Why don’t we focus on teaching our children & getting them back in the classroom amongst their peers instead of these meaningless proposals. The school is made up of the students and faculty and judged by its performance in teaching our children not by a name. Who cares if the school is called Mosby Woods. You can try to wipe away all of the history that someone might be sensitive to and then what? Stop with the meaningless virtue signaling and teach our children. My suggestions for the new name: Woke Elementary  Snowflake Elementary 

Please consider Five Oaks Elementary School.

My son currently attends Mosby Woods Elementary School, so I would like to comment on the renaming ideas that have been put forth.  The best idea that I have heard is to name the school after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as a way to honor a trailblazer who made a significant impact on our lives. However, I also think that since many elementary schools are named after either the neighborhood they are in or the street they are on, Five Oaks Elementary School should also be considered.

Five Oaks Elementary

I would like to respectfully submit for consideration that when Mosby Woods Elementary is renames, it is called Manahoac Elementary, in honor of the stolen Manahoac land on which it sits.

I just wanted to write to let you know that I am against renaming Mosby Woods Elementary. I think it’s important that we do not glorify racism, but that does not mean removing everyone in history that fought for the confederacy, especially when he was a part of unifying the country with Grant after the war and wasn’t specifically for slavery. Erasing history teaches us nothing.

I think a wonderful new name could be Mosaic Elementary School. It would be very representative of who we are- a very diverse school!

As the parent of a 5th grader who has been at Mosby Woods since kindergarten, I strongly support changing the name. We are long overdue to remove honorifics for those who fought to separate and destroy our nation. 

Alexander Hamilton elementary... everybody loves the musical.

I don't need to spend hours discussing the name change. And I don't require a reply. My only feedback/suggestion would be – with the sheer number of places I'm sure "Mosby Woods" exists (signage, letterhead, email signatures, etc) – why not just save time and money and make a minimal change? Something like Mossy Woods, and be done with it.

I'm writing in regards to the proposed name change of Mosby Woods Elementary. I understand and support the current movement to remove Confederate monuments, memorials, and public buildings named for Confederate leaders. However, I would note that the case of John Mosby is not as clear-cut as many of the others, and I would urge people to read up on this person before jumping to a conclusion. John Mosby was against slavery and secession. Although he personally opposed the Confederacy's positions, he joined the war out of a sense of patriotism and loyalty to the state of Virginia. He explained it like this: "A soldier fights for his country, right or wrong. He is not responsible for the political merits of the cause he fights in. The South was my country." After the war, however, he switched parties and was so vocal about reconciliation and unity that his fellow Confederates called him a turncoat and attempted to assassinate him. He was pardoned by none other than President Ulysses Grant, and the two men became close friends for the rest of their lives. He was very vocal against the "Lost Cause" narrative, demanding a truthful account of history. Mosby served honorably as a foreign diplomat in Asia on behalf of the federal government, and had a long career as a lawyer. I can understand the viewpoint that having fought for the Confederacy is disqualifying, especially in this time, but there is quite a bit of nuance here worth considering. At the end of the day, do we define each other only by our worst decisions, our worst associations? Or do we hope people will consider the totality of our lives and weigh the good as much as the bad? If Ulysses Grant himself could recognize that Mosby wasn't your average Confederate leader and offer him redemption, perhaps we should do the same. We should certainly not honor him because he was a Confederate leader. From what I've read of him, it strikes me that even John Mosby himself probably wouldn't want to be honored solely for his time as a Confederate soldier. But perhaps he's worth honoring for everything that came after. 

John S. Mosby spent forty years in service to the United States after the Civil War.  He personally disapproved of slavery.  He became a close friend and confidant to President Grant.  He served as Consul to Hong Kong and assistant attorney in the Justice Department.  He dedicated much of these years exposing corruption.  He was ultimately ostracized by the south for his pro-Union stance, his opposition to the Lost Cause, and his friendship with president Grant.  His post-war activities show him to be an honorable American.  As such, I do not support removing his name from the school.  The bar is high to have your name placed on a school.  It should not be lowered so much as to erase the decades of accomplishments after the war.

We should rename the school after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There are few people who have done as much as she did for the cause of justice and equal rights. There is no more fitting change than to replace the name of a man who fought for the Confederacy with the name of a woman who spent her entire career fighting for the kind of America that we aspire to be.


I respectfully submit three suggestions for the renaming of Mosby Woods Elementary, all of which fit these criteria:

  • Local Fairfax County connection
  • History of courageous activism and leadership in pursuit of educational opportunity
  • Changemakers and trailblazers who overcame adversity and can serve as positive role models for MVES and FCPS students

John D. Read

  • Read and his daughter Betsy were residents of the Fairfax County part of Falls Church.  He and Betsy started the first school for Black children in Northern Virginia, a school in Falls Church that was open to both free and enslaved Black children
  • When Falls Church and the eastern part of Fairfax County were controlled by Union forces, Read served in the Union Home Guard
  • He was known as a staunch abolitionist and outspoken opponent of white supremacy
  • Said one newspaper account: “He was much interested in the improvement and elevation of the colored people, which marked him for the hatred of the misguided wretches who rob and murder in the interest of slavery.”
  • Read was kidnapped and executed by members of Mosby’s Raiders in Fairfax County on October 17, 1864 (there is poetic justice in renaming a school named after Mosby for the victim of murder by his band of raiders)
  • I’ve collected primary and secondary source information on John D. Read here:

Dr. Edwin B. Henderson

  • Founder of the first rural chapter of the NAACP (formerly the Colored Citizens Protective League of Falls Church) in Fairfax County
  • Twice served as the president of the Virginia chapter of the NAACP in the 1950’s during the tumultuous fight to desegregate public schools
  • Published over 2000 letters in the Washington Post, Washington Star, and Baltimore Sun in favor of civil rights and equal educational opportunity
  • Had a long and distinguished career in Washington, DC public schools as a physical education teacher and later Director of the Department of Physical Education for DC’s segregated Black schools, becoming a national pioneer for physical education for Black students and opportunities for Black athletes
  • Known as the “Father of Black Basketball”, he is credited for bringing the sport of basketball to cities on the East Coast and was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013
  • Husband of Mary Ellen Henderson, longtime school principal in Falls Church City after which Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School is named
  • I’ve collected source material on E.B. Henderson here:

Dorothy Shoemaker McDiarmid (1906-1994)

  • McDiarmid was a teacher who served in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing parts of Fairfax County, for more than 25 years
  • She first ran for the House of Delegates in opposition to Governor Stanley’s policy of Massive Resistance to school desegregation, hoping to keep schools option
  • She was a champion of public schools.  A former chairwoman of the Fairfax County PTA, her accomplishments included adding kindergarten to Virginia public school programs and fairer distribution of state school funds based on population
  • McDiarmid was instrumental in the creation of George Mason University and the community college system
  • McDiarmid is one of the most influential women ever to serve in the House of Delegates – the first woman appointed to the Committee on Rules, ranking member of the Education Committee, and the first woman to preside over the House Committee on Appropriations
  • McDiarmid obituary in the Washington Post


I fully support the name change away from Mosby Woods. Given the incredibly rich diversity of our students at the school, the change can only enhance a sense of inclusion.

I heartily endorse the proposal to rename Mosby Woods Elementary School. Col. Mosby is an important historical person, but fought to preserve slavery.  His name does not belong on an Elementary School.  Such naming dishonorably honors a Confederate icon of our country’s racist legacy. I lived in Mosby Woods from 1963-1967 and attended Mosby Woods ES first and second grade.  My elder siblings were members of the 1963-1964 first, second, and fourth-grade classes.  We no longer live in Fairfax, but I am delighted that the Board is considering a name change.  The naming was wrong then, and is still wrong today. Please change the name of Mosby Woods Elementary School.

I support the Mosby Woods renaming because we don’t need to have painful reminders of Confederate soldiers here since it was a malicious naming of the school. I think it’s great the school board is voting to rename it. I believe we should rename the school either after L Douglas Wilder or Ruth Bader Ginsburg for their service to our country.

I am writing on the topic of new name ideas for the school Mosby Woods Elementary School. I go to Mosby Woods. I am in 3rd grade. I think the name should be changed. We need to rename it because Mosby was a Confederate guy who believed in slavery. We definitely didn’t need slavery because people are people. The owners should have worked the plantations themselves. Now we know slavery was a bad idea and we shouldn’t have something marked for someone who thought it was good. The school could be named after a place near it. It could be named after a famous African American. It might sound kind of silly but it could be named for a plant! Like Fairfax Oak Elementary School. Our motto is “Learn Give Thrive” I don’t think it quite matches up with John Mosby’s character.

I have a son (3rd grade) at Mosby Woods ES and my daughter will enter school there next year. I was thrilled to hear that Mr. Frisch and Ms. Keys-Gamarra had brought forth our school for renaming. It is past time that a school as vibrant, diverse and inclusive as Mosby Woods was rid of a name representing someone who abhorred the idea of freedom for all and took great efforts to inflict maximum pain, damage and death on those in this area. The history of schools and other public landmarks being named for Confederate leaders is well documented as a tactic of intimidation and White Supremacy. The fact that Mosby was a close friend/associate of JEB Stuart is another reason why MWES should follow Justice High School's lead and rename. If you ride the W&OD trail in Vienna, you will see a historical marker along the side of the trail. ( Unlike most it is set back and up higher than most. When you get close to read it, it is not hard to guess that this was done deliberately to keep young children from being able to read it independently. It tells the story of Rev. John Read, an outspoken abolitionist and Union supporter who also ran a school for the local Black population and served those who had been enslaved and made their way to the area. He was captured by Mosby and his Raiders and taken to the woods near that spot and shot in the head at close range. How can we look our children in the eye, telling them that FCPS is committed to  the idea that "Our diversity is a strength that creates resilient, open, and innovative global citizens." and yet send them to a school named after someone who told a Rev. Read to "confine his activities to church business or face dire consequences." I have no doubt that there will be loud voices claiming that you are "erasing history" by changing the school. They are lying. No one will forget what happened during the Civil War and its aftermath, and schools do not have to be given a name glorifying brutality and racism. Show all the children at MWES that you do care for them as individuals and lead by example by changing the name.

Recommend Chadwick Boseman Elementary School. He embodied strength and perserverance during one of the most difficult and challenging times of his life and did it with pride and humility. All qualities Fairfax County Public Schools instill in our children.   

We do not memorialize every bit of our heritage - only those aspects we wish to reflect our values. Those aspects we want our children to learn about and emulate. Those which we want others to meditate upon as reflective of our shared community values. Though some would claim that we never want to “erase” our national history, we name schools not to reflect our history, but to reflect our values. Given that the cause Col. John S. Mosby took up arms for no longer reflects the values we want our children to share, I ask the Board to consider renaming Mosby Woods Elementary School in a manner that reflects our desired current and future values as a community of empathy, of diversity, of civic participation, and of patriotism.

I wanted to write and express my opposition to the proposed name change of Mosby Woods elementary school. I have lived across the road from the school for 21 years, have a daughter that attended K-6 at the school plus have many friends in the Mosby Woods neighborhood. Not once during this time period at the school, around the school or in any of the nearby neighborhoods have I heard one person ever utter displeasure at the name of the school.  Quite the opposite, only pride for the school. I would politely ask that the school board stop wasting time and money trying to solve a problem that doesn't even exist.

As a community member and parent of a student who attended MWES, I am writing to oppose the proposal to rename the school. We are all products of our times. We progress and learn as a human race. This kind of revisionist approach is not the right way for us to learn from our history to inform the future. Sweeping our past under the carpet by erasing a few names and statutes fools no one but ourselves and our children. We will be judged by history one day, too. Don’t forget that whenever we indulge in a moment of self-righteousness and in the “woke” culture. Besides, Mosby the person was unknown to us, but Mosby the school is what many students identify with. Don’t take that away from them.