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After controversy, new Dulles middle school up for a new name

After months of controversy, the Dulles middle school scheduled to open this fall will soon have a new name.

The board was presented with new name suggestions, Brambleton Middle School and Beaverdam Creek Middle School, at its meeting Tuesday night. It has one month to review the names and to hear public comment, though the board anticipates finalizing a new name at its Feb. 23 meeting.

A naming committee initially chose the name John F. Ryan Middle School last spring, with the School Board approved the name a few months later.

But after Loudoun's NAACP President Phillip Thompson and then-School Board member Bill Fox raised questions about Ryan’s role in Virginia’s Jim Crow-era segregation laws, the board voted unanimously to retract the name. Each board member also offered apologies to the community.

John F. Ryan Middle School won out over other options popular in the Dulles community. A group known as “Team Mathias” pushed for the school to be named after Mathias Giordano, a 13-year-old who died of bone cancer in December 2014.

Per the board’s request, the naming committee reconvened in fall 2015. The committee voted to recommend that the school be named Brambleton Middle School, with Beaverdam Creek Middle School as an alternate name.

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