John S. Bradfield's Granddaughter Says YES to New Schools

By Kirk Dooley


Before Friday’s high school football game between Highland Park and Mesquite at Highlander Stadium, I plan on polishing off a hot dog and a drink in my

seat before I go back downstairs to vote.

This early voting option is wonderful. I plan on voting in the big HPISD bond election anyway, and I’ll already be at the game, so I can conveniently cast my ballot while basking under the Friday night lights.

Gage Prichard and Doug Thompson are heading up the HPISD Facilities Committee, made up of 21 community leaders. They researched the district needs for a year before giving the board of trustees their recommendation for the bond proposal. The committee divided into three sub-committees ­– HP High School (chaired by Jenifer Cody), MIS/HPMS (chaired by Jerry Grable) and elementary schools (chaired by Lee Wagner). These groups have done an admirable job of reaching out to the community to explain the school district needs.

In the heat of the campaign, two impressive young moms have bubbled up from the elementary school level and have made a huge difference in the outcome of this bond election. Maryjane Bonfield and Blythe Koch, two members of the Facilities Committee, each have three young children. Maryjane is an attorney and Blythe is a bank analyst. They both went to HPISD schools and met back up at Vanderbilt University. Today, as parents and as young professionals, they knew that the various aspects of the bond needed to be explained clearly and completely to voters in the school district.

They created an impressive power-point presentation and presented it to the Park Cities Republican Women’s Club. That led to other requests and they have now spoken to more than three dozen groups. Working 60-hour weeks and relying on their husbands to handle carpools and rides to soccer games, Maryjane and Blythe have become the “go-to” experts in explaining the bold bond proposal.

For a couple of introvert soccer moms, they come across as talk show hosts who make their living on stage.

“I heard Maryjane and Blythe speak and they were incredible,” said Claire Roberts, a lifelong Park Cities resident and civic leader. “They did a beautiful job explaining the bond.”

If there’s any HPISD royalty, it would be Claire Roberts. Her grandfather was John S. Bradfield. Her mother graduated from Armstrong High School (before Highland Park High School was built 93 years ago). Claire and her children and grandchildren have all gone to Highland Park schools.

“I’ve always admired the foresight my grandfather and his peers had in founding our school district,” she said. “I’m currently in awe of our school board and the myriad of committees who have come together over the past three years to form a plan for the future of our schools. We should support their endeavors to create the best schools – with updated technology – for our children and grandchildren.”

Her Majesty has spoken. Early voting has begun. Based on my scientific poll of counting yard signs in the Park Cities, I’d say the Yes campaign is winning with Chi Omega Christmas coming in second. 

Kirk Dooley is a University Park writer. He can be reached at
Recognize 4858 Views