McKinney ISD

McKinney ISD’s 2019 graduation ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 31 at Allen Event Center. For more information, including bag policy info, please visit the Graduation Streaming page here: www.mckinneyisd.net/graduation/.
 

Who was…? A Look at MISD School Namesakes (Part 1)

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Thursday, February 28, 2019
This portrait of Iola and Albert Malvern hangs in the foyer of Malvern Elementary School.

This portrait of Iola and Albert Malvern hangs in the foyer of Malvern Elementary School.

McKinney, Texas – Their names have become part of the landscape of our lives, ingrained in the vernacular of McKinney ISD.

Malvern. McGowen. Evans. Johnson. Eddins. Dowell. Faubion. Boyd. Burks. Finch. McClure. Walker. Vega. Bennett. Caldwell. Lawson. Webb. Wilmeth. Minshew. Press. Cockrill. McNeil. Slaughter. Wolford.

They are emblazoned across our schools, and they’ve become so familiar to us that it’s sometimes easy to forget that behind each of those names is a history—a person who devoted himself or herself to educating the children of this community. Many of us don’t really know who they are.

Some of our students have been fortunate enough to meet the men and women that their campuses have been named after. Mildred Bennett was a fixture at Bennett Elementary for years as Iola Malvern has been at Malvern Elementary. The students at McGowen Elementary and Evans Middle School have heard first-hand the inspiring stories of Jesse McGowen and Leonard Evans, who were pivotal figures during desegregation in McKinney ISD.

Most of us haven’t had those opportunities.

So, consider this the first installment of an ongoing series of brief, biographical sketches of the people behind the names that adorn our school campuses—a series that asks the question, “Who was … ?”

For some of our school namesakes, there is a bounty of historical information available. For others, the details have dimmed with the passage of time; regardless, we hope to provide an opportunity to help the MISD community get to know these remarkable figures a little better.

In honor of Black History Month, we thought it fitting to begin with a couple who outlasted segregation and dedicated their lives to educating all of McKinney ISD’s students: Albert A. and Iola Davis Malvern.

Iola Lee Davis Malvern
Iola Lee Davis was born in McKinney, Texas, on January 28, 1927, to Lonnie and Artishia Young Davis.

portrait

She grew up in the era of segregation, attending McKinney’s E.S. Doty School, a hefty, brick building on the east side of town that housed grades 1-12 for the district’s African-American students. She graduated from Doty High School in May 1948 and two years later married Albert A. Malvern.

Iola Malvern continued her education at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. Later, she would go on to earn a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University in early childhood development and counseling.

When she began her career as a sixth grade teacher at Doty, MISD students were still separated along racial lines. But, when McKinney ISD fully integrated in 1965, Iola Malvern was one of the first black teachers to transfer to what had previously been an all-white school, West Ward—now known as Nell Burks Elementary—and taught fourth grade until her retirement in 1983.

She lives in McKinney still and over the years has been a regular visitor and a treasured figure at the school which bears her name.

Albert A. Malvern
Iola Malvern’s husband, Albert, was born in 1923 in the small, east Oklahoma town of Checotah. We don’t have many details about his childhood, but he eventually arrived in Denison, Texas, where he graduated from that city’s segregated high school—Terrell High School.

portrait

After graduation, he studied at Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas where he earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Later, in 1969, he earned a second master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from East Texas State University.

In the fall of 1949, Malvern began his teaching career at Doty High School in McKinney, and as we know, married Iola Davis in 1950. He worked for MISD for 36 years as a math teacher and in 1972 became an assistant principal at McKinney High School.

He was an active member of the community and a deacon in the Drexel Street First Baptist Church.

Albert A. Malvern passed away on Oct. 14, 1985. His belief that education was essential to the successful pursuit of any occupation in life was made evident in the way that he served the students of MISD. By all accounts, he was loved by those who knew him and is remembered as a man who taught others by his example.

Together, the Malverns represent nearly 70 years of service to the students of McKinney. It would be impossible to calculate the impact that they and their legacy have had on the generations of students who have come behind them.

One of them was Jesse McGowen, who went on to become one of the most important—and heroic—figures during the integration of McKinney schools.

One thing is clear, Albert A. and Iola Davis Malvern invested their lives in all of MISD’s students.

And, that’s a life well lived.

Need Help?

If you need additional assistance with the content on this page, please contact MISD Communications Department team member Shane Mauldin by phone at 469-302-4007 or by email here .

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