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Watts school named after veteran educator


James B. Taylor, the first African American to serve as a high school principal in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), was on hand Friday, when Green Dot Schools named one of its newest middle schools in his honor.

Located at 810 E. 111th Place, Ánimo James B. Taylor Charter Middle School, is not far from the school where Taylor would later in his career become the first to serve as principal—Alain Leroy Locke High in 1967.

Prior to his stint at Locke, Taylor taught at John Adams Middle School and Jefferson and Hamilton high schools. He was vice principal and then principal at John H. Francis Polytechnic High in the San Fernando Valley. After Locke, Taylor went on to be deputy superintendent of LAUSD, the district’s second highest position.

According to Green Dot, Taylor embodied what the charter school organization tries to emulate every day—innovation, collaboration and an unwavering belief in the potential of all students. Throughout his career, Taylor brought an innovative approach to public education. It was an approach that integrated college students and college professors into LAUSD’s classrooms, invited daily community involvement on and off campus, established a tradition of pride, and inspired students.

Ánimo James B. Taylor Charter Middle School, formerly known as Ánimo Charter Middle School 2, kicked off its inaugural year in 2013. It now serves sixth and seventh graders. It will add one more grade level to eventually serve sixth, seventh and eighth grades.