On May 8, 1989, the Board of Trustees of Northside Independent School District named NISD's 32nd elementary school for retiring Trustee William J. Thornton.
According to Superintendent Jack C. Jordan, "Evidence of Thornton's work on behalf of students is overwhelming."
Described by Board President L. Charles Neely, Jr., as "a man of integrity who has served as a Trustee longer than anyone in history, " Thornton accepted with characteristic understatement. "I am so proud," says Bexar County Dean of Trustees' Thornton. "I want to share this moment with everyone who had a part in making the dreams we had in 1968 come true in 1989."
"I want to thank these people who trusted me to do my job as Trustee just as much as I trusted them to do their jobs--as parents, students, business people, and school people."
Since he first learned that the new elementary school on Pembroke was being named for him, Thornton brought his brand of leadership to the students and educators on "his" campus by monitoring construction, sharing stories from NISD history, and urging parental support.
Thornton Elementary School is an 86,000 sq. ft. school, built on a 10 acre campus. It holds 48 classrooms, 2 computer labs, specially-equipped kindergarten rooms, cafetorium, and gymnasium. It was built by Spaw Construction, Inc., at a cost of $4.6 million. William J. Thornton Elementary was dedicated on November 14, 1989.