As I often tell teachers, some of our most important leaders, we can’t always ask our students to take off armor at home or even on the way to school. Because their emotional and physical safety may require self-protection. But what we can do, and what we are ethically called to do, is create a space in our schools and classrooms where all students can walk in and for that day or hour take off the crushing weight of their armor, hang it on a rack and open their hearts to truly being seen. We must be guardians of a space that allows students to breathe and be curious and explore the world and be who they are without suffocation. They deserve one place where they can rumble with vulnerability and their hearts can exhale. And what I know from the research is that we should never underestimate the benefit to a child of having a place to belong even one where they can take off that armor. It can and often does change the trajectory of their life. If the culture of our school, organization, place of worship or even family requires armor because of racism, sexism or any manifestation of fear based leadership we can’t expect whole-hearted engagement.

- Brenè Brown Dare to Lead

A letter from the Superintendent

Dear Fayetteville Students, Families, Graduates, Staff Members, Community Members and Friends,

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the change we are in the process of making with the mascots at Ramay and Woodland Junior High Schools.

You may be reading this with excitement. You are ready to move forward with a process that celebrates the diversity of our school district, and our policies of inclusion by making this change.

You may be reading this with trepidation. You love our school district no less, but you have concerns about losing the history and tradition associated with the Cowboy and Indian mascots.

I hope that the content of this website will offer you information to help understand the reasons behind the change, the process by which we will change, and the ways that your voice can be heard as we determine new mascots for Ramay and Woodland Junior High Schools. We have established a Task Force of engaged, dedicated community members, parents, students, graduates, staff members and friends to help us establish the road map and guidelines for this change. I feel very confident in the work of this Task Force. Much of their work will be available here, on this website to keep you informed.

Every decision made by board members, administrators, teachers, support staff, and by me is determined by what is best for the students of Fayetteville Public Schools. As your superintendent, I believe that change to the mascots of Woodland and Ramay Junior Highs is best for our students, and in fact, our community. I believe that the change upholds our tradition of excellence. A tradition exemplified by what happened in May of 1954 when the Fayetteville Board of Education voted unanimously for Fayetteville Public Schools to become the first school district in the South to voluntarily integrate its schools, just days after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Fayetteville Public Schools we work every day to serve all students in an inclusive and safe environment.

I invite you to join me in this process. And, as always, if you have questions, I am here to talk with you.


John L Colbert, Ed.D.


Fayetteville Public Schools