J.F. Townley Elementary

John F. Townley Elementary opened in February of 1979 with about 400 students. It was named after the school superintendent at that time, Dr. John Townley. The school should’ve opened in the fall of 1978, but construction delays kept that from happening. Students that were to go to Townley temporarily attended classes at other places around the city including Elliott Elementary School.

The school opened with many interesting features like a fireplace in the library, a small theater for the children, a bridge over a tiny stream within the building, and a bird aviary. Through various renovations and additions, these features have been removed. The first principal was Margaret Young. She was followed by Doug Baum, Marty French, Robyn Wolters, Doug Sevier, and Kim Anderson. The current principal is Shirley Sturges.

John Franklin Townley was born on February 9, 1927 in Paducah, TX. He graduated from Martins Mill High School in Van Zandt County, TX and then entered the US Army.In 1948 he married Polly Gates. They had no children. There is a John and Polly Townley Elementary School in Everman ISD which opened in 2009. Everman also has a street named after Dr. Townley.

Dr. Townley attended Weatherford Junior College after his tour in the army. Then he went to Texas Wesleyan College in Fort Worth. He also earned his master of education degree from that institute. He later earned his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

John Townley worked in several schools districts in Texas. He began teaching high school in Everman, TX. He went on to become the high school principal and eventually superintendent there as well. In 1962 he moved to Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD to be superintendent. Then he became superintendent in Taylor ISD. In June 1970 Dr. Townley became the superintendent of Irving ISD. He remained in Irving for 14 years and then retired from public education in 1985.

Dr. Townley then went on to teach at the University of North Texas for five years. He also enjoyed playing golf and hunting quail.

Dr. Townley passed away on December 31, 2014.


Research by Woody Schober • Irving Daily News, Feb. 9, 1979 • eisdeducationfoundation.orgirvingblog.dallasnews.com This web page was created by the Celebrating Irving Committee of the Irving Heritage Society in partnership with Irving Independent School District. Photos used with the permission of Irving ISD and Irving Archives, Irving Public Library.

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