Community Feedback Requested: Proposed Renaming

Community Feedback Requested: Proposed Renaming
Posted on 02/15/2021
We are seeking input from our students, staff, families, alumni and community members on the proposed renaming of Lincoln Elementary to the Ronald C. Dunlap Elementary School – Home of the Lincoln Lions.

This renaming is in honor of Ron, not an effort to eliminate a current school name. The Lincoln name will remain as the school slogan.

Last February, a team made up of community members, City of Appleton staff, and Appleton Area School District staff was formed by administrators to discuss how best to honor Ron Dunlap’s legacy. Throughout this planning process, community members along with former students, families, and staff have shared many examples of how Ron has positively impacted this community and the lives of everyone who knew him. He did this through sharing kindness and wisdom, a calming yet strong presence, and deeply held values. Ron listened intently and always found the good in people. He appreciated multiple perspectives, even on tough issues and gave so much of his time and energy to help others by volunteering on multiple boards and being involved in several organizations and nonprofits. 

Ron helped to pave the way for diversity and inclusion efforts, not only in the school environment, but in our community and state as well. It is for these reasons and others outlined below that the planning team strongly believes that renaming Lincoln Elementary School to the Ronald C. Dunlap Elementary School, Home of the Lincoln Lions, will not only honor a great person, respected educational and community leader, volunteer, mentor, and role model, but also carry his message of dignity and respect through generations of future students, families, staff, and community members.

Board of Education Policy 940 allows for the naming of Appleton Area School District facilities by a majority vote of the entire Board of Education. Furthermore, Policy 940 states that a District facility may be named for an individual person, and that person “should be of exemplary moral character, have made an outstanding contribution to education, humanity or the District’s community, have displayed outstanding leadership, or be a person of historical significance.” Without question, Ronald C. Dunlap exceeds the criteria for this honor.

For thirty-six years, Ron’s professional life was devoted to education. For sixteen of those years he served as the Principal of Lincoln Elementary School. During his sixteen years, he exemplified our District’s motto of “Every Student, Every Day.” The profound impact Ron had on his students carried with them long after they left Lincoln Elementary, and his commitment to showing “Dignity and Respect” to all was evident in everything he did. 

Following his time as principal at Lincoln, Ron served as the District’s first Coordinator of Minority Services. Ron was active in countless community activities, including board of director positions with Appleton Public Library, Wisconsin ASCD, Goodwill Industries, the YMCA, and Wisconsin PTA. Other community involvement and accolades include the Unity in Diversity Award, Outstanding Community Leadership Award by the Rotary Club of Appleton, first recipient of the Diversity Award given at the City and AASD MLK event, Life Membership in the PTA, Heritage Award for Promoting Leadership and Diversity in the Fox Valley Community, Needy Children’s Committee of the Community Foundation, State Superintendent of Schools Task Force, Appleton Noon Lions Club, City of Appleton Police and Fire Commission, Wisconsin Public Radio Board of Directors, and Diversity Advisory Committee at Fox Valley Technical College.

Ron continued his community advocacy through his involvement in African Heritage, Inc. He also served on an advisory committee that worked with the City of Appleton's diversity coordinator when it was first created as a position within the police department.

Lincoln Elementary School staff and PTO have already given input, but we want to hear from our students, staff, families, alumni and community members.

Please submit this form by 4 p.m. on Friday, February 19 to ensure that Board of Education members have ample time to read and review your input.

The request to rename Lincoln Elementary to the Ronald C. Dunlap Elementary School - Home of the Lincoln Lions will be considered and voted on at the Board of Education Meeting on Monday, February 22. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Greg Hartjes, Chief Financial Officer, Appleton Area School District at

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