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Naomi Press graduated from Blue Ridge High School and received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education from East Texas State Teacher’s College, now known as East Texas State University. She went on to receive a second master’s degree in personnel and guidance counseling from ETSU.
Before joining McKinney ISD in 1941, she taught in Valdesta ISD, Sister Grove ISD, Mesquite ISD, Alla Hubbard ISD (now Celina), and Lone Star ISD.
Mrs. Press taught math at McKinney Junior High for many years before moving to McKinney High School to serve as a counselor. Former students have said that she was always available, day or night, to help with whatever her students needed. Many School Naming Selection Committee (SNSC) members gave heart-felt testimonies of how she positively impacted their lives.
She sponsored the McKinney High School Future Teachers of America Club and encouraged hundreds of student to pursue careers in teaching. Mrs. Press served for many years as the President of the McKinney ISD Classroom Teacher’s Association, as well as an officer for the Texas State Teacher’s Association (TSTA) and the Collin County Retired Teacher’s Association. She retired from McKinney ISD in the spring of 1973 after 32 years of devotion to students.
When Press Elementary was completed in 2007, many family members and former students of Naomi Press attended the dedication ceremony. The ceremony was led by Jeff Warren, lead pastor at First Baptist Church of McKinney. “Just for a short time, I was privileged to be the pastor to Ms. Naomi Press,” Warren said. “This school is named after an incredible woman.” Before her death on Sept. 20, 2000, Warren said he recalled times where he would visit Press and she would talk about her days as an educator. “She’d talk about her loved for education,” Warren said.
Carolyn Corbin didn’t have Press as a teacher but she first met her when she was in Future Teachers of America at McKinney High School. “She was an educator extraordinaire in my opinion,” Corbin said. It was Press who Corbin credits for getting her out of her shell and helping her to become an internationally renowned author, speaker and socioeconomic futurist. “She took a shy little farm girl and turned her into something,” Corbin said. If Press were alive today, Corbin said she’d be thrilled with the thought of having a school named after her. “There’d be a twinkle in her eye,” Corbin said. “I think what she would be is honored but more than that, she’d be humbled.”
Press’ only son, James W. Press, said he was pleased to see how the school named after his mother turned out. “It’s overwhelming, frankly,” James said. “It’s such a beautiful facility. Our family is truly honored.” For James, he said the dedication ceremony was just a reaffirmation of the kind of woman his mother was. “I guess growing up with Naomi, a bit of the times, I took her for granted because she was there all the time,” James said. “Today, it drives home the fact that I was truly blessed.”
In 1932 Mrs. Press was teaching in a one-room school house. Mrs. Press is in the center of the photograph. In 1986, Mrs. Press wrote about this small school in Sister Grove, TX: PressArticle