Published in the December 3, 2015 edition


NORTH READING — The wait is over.

The School Committee voted unanimously to name the North Reading Middle School main corridor in honor of retired NRMS vice principal Charles E. Jones on Monday, a decision that was two months in the making. The corridor that will be named in honor of Jones extends from the High School’s Main Street corridor, opposite the gymnasium, to the middle school system’s administrative offices. It is actually the entrance to the middle school from the high school and Main Street.

The school board’s decision comes after 13 local residents who expressed their support for renaming the Main Street corridor after Jones at a School Committee meeting earlier this fall. The latest proposal came a year after a citizens’ petition appeared on the 2014 October Town Meeting warrant, which sought to rename North Reading Middle School as the Charles E. Jones Middle School.

While the 13 local residents were very enthusiastic and passionate about renaming Main Street after Jones, the School Committee turned down the request because the corridor has been already named and signs donated by the Class of 2015 have been installed. Committee members also rejected the proposal because Main Street is primarily located in the high school.

Despite the School Committee’s initial opposition to the Main Street proposal, the school board said it supported naming the NRMS corridor after Jones. School Committee member Jerry Venezia reached out to Elm Street resident and renaming proponent Mark Favreau about the request. Venezia said recently Favreau supported the school board’s counter–offer.

As part of the next step of the process, the School Committee will be crafting a warrant article for June Town Meeting, which will ask voters to formally sign off on naming the NRMS corridor after Jones. Voters approved a similar warrant article at Oct. 2014 Town Meeting, which named a new art room after late North Reading High School English teacher Eleanor C. Dell, who donated $600,000 to the school from her estate.

School Committee Vice Chairman Mel Webster inquired if it would be possible to install two different plaques at the middle school entrance and off Main Street to inform the public about Jones’ contributions to middle school students and teachers as well as the North Reading community.

Venezia said he would reach out to Favreau about the request.

“I will see if they are interested in doing something like that,” said Venezia.

School Committee Chairman Janene Imbriano said naming the NRMS corridor after Jones is well deserved.

“It’s awesome,” said Imbriano. “What a wonderful tribute.”

Venezia agreed.

“It’s a nice thing to do,” said Venezia. “He will be joining former administrators and teachers who have been honored throughout the facility.”