RCSD renames school in memory of longtime educator Dr. Iris Banister

Community discusses naming School 33 after Iris Banister

Community discusses naming School 33 after Iris Banister

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester City School District will rename one of its schools in memory of Dr. Iris Banister, a longtime teacher and administrator in the district.

Banister, who spent 32 years with the district, died at the age of 77 last March. The Rochester Board of Education voted to rename the John James Audubon School No. 33 on Webster Avenue after her. The name will official change in July 2025.

The school’s current namesake was a naturalist and artist who owned slaves. The district has renamed a number of schools in recent years to recognize local achievements of women and people of color.

News10NBC spoke with Iris Banister’s son, Simeon Banister, at a forum earlier in June to allow the public to give feedback on the renaming of the school, which is the largest K-6 school in Monroe County.

“There’s been a lot of local support and it’s a neighborhood we grew up in, a lot of neighbors who have expressed support,” he said. “And the other thing that’s really exciting is how many folks who have recalled the impact that she had on their lives.”

Banister served as an elementary teacher, reading specialist, guidance counselor, transition facilitator, and house administrator at the district. She graduated from Jarvis Christian College in Texas and was recruited to teach in Rochester. She holds master’s degrees from SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Brockport and has doctorate degrees from the Master’s International School of Divinity in Indiana and the University of Rochester.