Submitted by Bethel School District

Photo credit: Gabriella Kinner

We are thrilled to announce that our newest school will honor a true American hero who represents the passion, knowledge, and bravery we strive to instill in all Bethel students. The Bethel School Board voted unanimously to christen our eighteenth elementary school Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.

Katherine Johnson was an American mathematician who calculated and analyzed the flight paths of spacecraft during her more than three decades with the U.S. space program. Among many other accomplishments, her groundbreaking work helped send astronauts to the moon as part of 1969’s Apollo 11 mission.

Her life and work were celebrated in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.”

“She was a trailblazer in her own right for so many people,” said Bethel School Board President Marcus Young. “What she was able to accomplish with her God-given ability as well as everything she overcame, affected so many lives on so many different levels. It is our hope that as our students walk the halls of this new school they will be filled with the same drive to be the best at what they do, the same determination to overcome obstacles set before them and the same focus to make this world better, just like Katherine Johnson.”

Johnson passed away earlier this year at the age of 101.

The district’s official naming committee was made up of parents, community members, district administrators, and principals. They considered a number of local and national figures, but in the end, decided that Katherine Johnson best represented the spirit of the new school. They presented the name to the School Board in March. District officials then worked with Johnson’s family to get permission to use her name.

Katherine G. Johnson Elementary is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.

We are posting regular video updates of the construction site at