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El Paso ISD celebrates the opening of Dr. Josefina Villamil Tinajero PK-8

(TINAJERO PK-8 – Aug. 19, 2022) – El Paso ISD celebrated the opening of the new Dr. Josefina Villamil Tinajero PK-8 at a ceremony that joined the Henderson Middle and Clardy Elementary communities with the school’s namesake and her family.

The new $39.1 million Tinajero PK-8, a consolidation of Clardy and Henderson, opened this school year with 1,200 students at the site of the former Henderson Middle. The new campus features modern learning spaces and includes a new gymnasium, library, fine arts section and student drop-off zones. Renovations to some of the original Henderson include an HVAC upgrade to refrigerated air, new electrical systems and aesthetic upgrades. It is one of five new Bond 2016 campuses that opened this school year.

“Today we are celebrating the birth of a new school, a new era,” said eighth grader Anthony Marquez, who co-emceed the event. “This school is meant to be here 100 years and you have kids from pre-k through 8th grade here.”

Marquez likes the learning spaces outside the classrooms, the safety of doors locking when they close and the new aesthetic as a whole.

“The old Henderson had was nostalgic but this new school has a welcoming feel,” he said. “I think it’s good that they combined these two schools. It saves a lot of money and gives us opportunities for a better education.”

Principal Daniel Montoya touted the technology in the state-of-the-art classrooms and the improved opportunities for collaboration and interaction among teachers and students. He already sees Tinajero Foxes pride building among students at the consolidated school.

“The new campus brings a lot of pride to our teachers and it translates to our students,” Montoya said. “When our parents come in, they always praise how nice our new school is inside and they’re proud to bring their kids here. And you can see that same pride when our students walk to class or transition to other areas of the building.”

The campus is named after the former Dean of the College of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso Dr. Josefina Vilamil Tinajero. The prominent educator considered to be a national leader in the promotion of bilingual education spent her elementary and middle school years as a Henderson Hornet and Clardy Fox. Speaking just a few feet from the front of the campus that graces her name, she thanked her community and El Paso ISD for the honor.

“I dreamed of going to college and graduating from college. I dreamed of being a teacher but never in my wildest dreams did I dream I would be attending a ribbon cutting and dedication event that would merge these two schools and bear the Villamil Tinajero name,” she said. “Thank you very much. This is an amazing honor. Thank you for celebrating what I see as my mission, my vision, my passion and that is to improve educational opportunities for children especially English learners.” 

Her remarks also focused on the power of bilingualism and biculturalism, ready to roll up her sleeves and share her expertise with the Tinajero Foxes.

“I stand ready to help you to expand and enhance the program that already exists in the El Paso Independent School District.”

See photos from the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

See video from ribbon-cutting ceremony.