News & Politics

Farewell, Woodrow Wilson—It’s Jackson-Reed High School Now

DC's largest high school officially changed its name on March 15.

Photograph via Wikimedia Commons.

DC’s largest high school—formerly known as Woodrow Wilson High School—is officially going by its new name: Jackson-Reed High School. 

The change went into effect on March 15, following years of calls to remove the former U.S. president’s name. Arguing his name represented a racist legacy, community members cited Wilson’s discriminatory policies that displaced Black residents in Northwest Washington, where the high school is located.

Months of debate over a new namesake ensued, and names such as Marion Barry, August Wilson, and “Northwest” were all in the air. In early December, however, DC Council settled on Jackson-Reed, which recognizes two influential figures in the school’s history: Edna B. Jackson, the school’s first Black teacher, and Vincent E. Reed, the school’s first Black principal. 

As for the school’s tiger mascot and green and white colors? Those will remain the same.

“I want to express my excitement at being the first principal of Jackson-Reed High School,” wrote interim principal Gregory Bargeman in an email to students, parents, and staff on Friday. “The more I learn about these two educators, the more honored I am to lead this school under its new name. Edna Jackson and Vincent Reed were pioneers in the history of this school.”

Wilson signage will temporarily remain in places throughout the building as well as online until the transition is fully complete, Bargeman said. According to the school’s student newspaper, much of the costs associated with structural changes—think signage, flooring, and art—are expected to be covered by DCPS through the District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions Working Group (DC FACES) initiative. Muriel Bowser created the initiative in 2020 to review the namesakes of public buildings in DC.