Plans to rename a multi-purpose room at Nelson Elementary School for a longtime principal continue, despite a stand-off between the man’s family and school district officials. Mike Gomez served as the school’s principal for 23 years. He died in 2005 after being mauled by two dogs. The Hacienda La Puente School District school board voted in January to rename the room the school uses as a cafeteria and auditorium after Gomez. In addition to renaming the building the “Mike Gomez Learning Center,” district officials said they intend to install a plaque on the building and revise the school’s marquee to reflect the change. Six people spoke in favor of renaming Nelson School at the March 29 school board meeting, including Barbara Fraracci, district programs specialist. Gomez hired Fraracci as a teacher in 1977. Fraracci would prefer if the school was renamed, because “Mike knew every inch of the school. Not just one area,” she said. However, Fraracci acknowledged that being a realist and one who works for the district, “there are parameters we have to live within.” Gomez’s family “want his memory to live on in the district,” said Carmen Gomez, his widow. The board’s action in January was following district policy, said Nakaoka, which allows for the board to approve buildings on schools to be renamed, such as Patrick Mauch Stadium, in honor of a former principal at Los Altos High School. School sites have not been renamed – the closest the board came to approving a change was when Temple Elementary School became Temple Academy. Because “Temple” remained in the school’s name, the school avoided a “major process” that comes with renaming a school, Nakaoka said. Rudy Chavarria, a school board member, supports renaming Nelson School after Gomez and will ask board members to revisit the issue. “I hope they will reconsider,” Chavarria said. “I feel that it would be a nice thing to do recognize all the years of service and the mentoring he did.” Gary Matsumoto, the district’s chief business officer, said the proposal was meant to show respect for the long-time administrator. The marquee would feature Gomez’s name more prominently “to help people realize he made major contributions to that community,” Matsumoto said. “Both sides want to honor the man,” he added. “We want to be sensitive to the family and we are all trying to do the good thing.” Gomez, former colleagues recalled, had high expectations for his staff and students, said Neil Edwards, a former teacher at Nelson. “If something needed doing, he would do it,” Edwards said. “He physically changed the school. Classrooms had to be sharp, clean and ready for school.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2108 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Friends and family said they appreciated the district’s gesture, but that renaming the school after Gomez would be a more fitting tribute. “The bottom line is we want the school renamed,” said Estella Romero, a former district community liaison. District officials said that renaming a school is a “major process” that includes changing everything related to school scores and funding applications, said Barbara Nakaoka, district superintendent. Former students, parents and colleagues have asked the school board to reconsider their decision. Residents who knew Gomez have collected letters from former students and have read them at board meetings.