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Forney ISD Holds Dedication Ceremony for Don R. Willett Elementary School

Forney ISD opened its doors at the beginning of this school year to Don R. Willett Elementary School, a new campus in the district. Last week, the Honorable Don R. Willett attended the dedication ceremony along with his family, several distinguished guests, and many members of the Forney Family community.  

The brand-new campus will serve up to 900 students from Pre-K to 4th grade with flexible learning spaces and an innovative design. 

Judge Willett was born and raised in Talty in Kaufman County, where he attended public schools in Forney ISD and graduated in 1984. He is his family’s first college graduate, earning his BBA from Baylor University and then three degrees from Duke University, a JD with honors, an MA in political science, and an LLM in judicial studies. Judge Willett has dedicated his life to public service, serving as legal counsel to a Texas Attorney General, a Texas Governor, a U.S. Attorney General, and the President of the United States. He served for 13 years as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas before being appointed as a federal circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 

Willett was preceded on stage by members of the Forney ISD Board of Trustees, a welcome from Willett Principal Laurie Branch, the premiere of the school song by a group of Willett Elementary fourth grade students, and admiring words from his daughter, Geneviève, who, after lamenting her father’s love of dad jokes, introduced “the original Willett Wrangler,” saying. “I’m so happy for all the children who will learn here, at a school named for someone who should inspire all of them—as he does me.” 

Judge Willett, raised by a widowed mom who never finished high school and who waitressed at a local truck stop, shared his inspiring story and his hopes for the future of Willett Elementary by stating, “My deepest wish for the precious students at this school is that seeds are planted here for them to be engaged citizens and lifelong learners, to have an insatiable curiosity and wonder about the world. To dream audacious dreams and be catapulted toward achieving them.”

 The dedication was followed by the ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place directly in front of the school’s entry. The community and Willett Elementary staff members were able to be a part of this significant occasion. 

 For more information about the Forney Independent School District, contact the Forney ISD Marketing and Communications Department at or by phone at 469-762-4100.