PTA pushes to name Richmond school after Michelle Obama

A conversation with Michelle Obama takes place during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

The head of the PTA and her supporters are hoping to change the name of a new elementary school in Richmond from the 28th president of the United States to the First Lady of the 44th. 

In a September 2019 letter to the West Contra Costa Unified School District school board, Maisha H. Cole asked to rename the Woodrow Wilson Elementary School to the Michelle Obama Elementary School. 

Cole noted that the rebuilding of Wilson Elementary is a "monumental feat" for the school district and she and the PTA hoped when students enter the new campus they will be surrounded by a "positive attitude  about what the future holds for them." 

Cole added that she feels the current name does not reflect "who we are as a community."

Wilson was considered a progressive leader of his time, but he did disappoint many African Americans when he allowed some of his Cabinet members to segregate their departments.

Last month, a Gallup poll showed that Michelle Obama was named the "most admired woman" in the world for the second year in a row. The First Lady is also known for her support of education and children. 

If approved, this would not be the first school named after the former First Lady. Public schools all over the country took her name, although this would be the first in the Bay Area. 

A committee will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday to consider the request and to hear public input at Grant Elementary School, 2400 Downer Ave. Community members interested in submitting feedback and send comments to