November 16, 2004
The Chandler Unified School District wants junior high students in the south East Valley to remember retired educators Willie and Coy Payne for decades to come.
On Wednesday night the district’s governing board will vote on a resolution that would name the district’s newest campus the Willie and Coy Payne Junior High School.
The school is scheduled to open in August 2005 near Higley and Riggs roads.
The Paynes, both 75, said they learned about the proposal last month.
"I was elated to the highest degree because I didn’t expect that," Coy Payne said. "Neither of us did."
The Paynes both moved to Chandler from different parts of Texas in the 1940s and met in the small agricultural community around Chandler High School as teenagers.
"The way it looked when we came has disappeared with time," Coy Payne said. "Back then everything was surrounded by farms."
Coy Payne taught in the Chandler district from 1958 to 1989 and then served as Chandler’s first black mayor from 1990 to 1994.
His wife taught in Chandler for 19 years after working 17 years at an accounting office.
The Paynes said their six children cheered when they learned about the district’s proposal.
"They think that dad and mom deserve it," Coy Payne said.
The title honor will not be the first for the Paynes. Already, the Valley of the Sun United Way’s highest annual award for volunteerism is named the Coy C. Payne Lifetime Achievement Award.
Honoring the Paynes
What: Chandler Unified School District governing board will consider resolution during a regular meeting. When: 7 p.m. Wednesday Where: 1525 W. Frye Road Information: (480) 812-7650