District approves renaming campus after Mr. Clarence W. Bailey


South Ward Elementary will be renamed in honor of the district's first African-American school board member Mr. Clarence W. Bailey

District approves renaming campus after Mr. Clarence W. Bailey

Wed May 26, 2021

South-Ward-exterior Clarence-Bailey 

The Longview ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved renaming South Ward Elementary in honor of the district's first African-American school board member, during a special-called meeting Wednesday, May 26.

South Ward Elementary will now become Clarence W. Bailey Elementary, or "The Bailey School," with a dedication set for later this summer.

Mr. Clarence W. Bailey was elected in 1977, serving Place 6 on the LISD Board of Trustees for 21 years before stepping down in 1998. 

Dr-James-Wilcox-2020-MUGSHOTDr. James Wilcox, LISD Superintendent of Schools, said the board asked him to find a way to honor Mr. Bailey after his passing on Feb. 14th. After forming a committee, Dr. Wilcox said it was determined that renaming the South Ward campus in Mr. Bailey's honor would be the most appropriate action.

"Mr. Bailey left a legacy of service and dedication to students, staff, and families of this district," he said. "Our hope is that — with this dedication — Longview ISD can show some small gesture of appreciation for Mr. Bailey, and his life of service to our community."

One of the oldest campuses established by the school district, South Ward Elementary opened in 1934, with additions built in 1947 and 1954. The campus is located on Mobberly Avenue near Plilar Street, in the heart of historic south Longview.


Clarence W. Bailey was born September 25, 1933 to Arthur Jerome Bailey Sr. and Lorraine Darden Bailey of Longview. A native of Longview, Clarence graduated from Mary C. Womack High School in 1950. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and biology from Wiley College in Marshall, later receiving a Master’s degree in psychology and counseling from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Beginning a career in insurance, Clarence established Bailey’s Insurance Agency in 1967. His career allowed him to qualify several years for the Million-Dollar Round Table, National Quality Award, Texas Leaders Round Table and National Sales Achievement Award. He was also given lifetime status for National Western Life’s President’s Council Award which sent his wife and daughter to worldwide trips in countries and places that included Hawaii, Barbados West Indies, Austria, Switzerland, Morocco, Russia, England and many resorts across the country.

Heavily involved in civic affairs as well as the business world, Clarence worked as a teacher-coach for Longview Independent School District for seven years; playground director for the City of Des Moines, Academic & Tactical Instructor for the U. S. Air Force, and eventually served four terms for the Longview Independent School Board of Trustees, which included tenure as board president. Clarence also served on various committees for the Longview Chamber of Commerce, Longview High School, East Texas Area Boy Scouts of America, the Longview NAACP, Wiley College, and numerous other local boards, organizations, and associations.

Also an ordained minister, Rev. Bailey was an Associate Pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Longview. He enjoyed reading the Bible and had a true passion for helping others, especially financially. He was married to his devoted wife, the late Mavis L. Bailey, for 64 years, and was the proud father of Sherry Bailey Smith (husband Pastor Johnny Smith), two granddaughters Tasha Smith Griffin (husband Aaron Griffin and son Taron), and Sherina Smith Boyd (husband Nicholas Boyd and two children Faith and Noah). 

For more information please contact Longview ISD at 903-381-2200.