Long before they had a school named in their honor, David and Lynda Olson had a positive impact on education everywhere they went. From a forested town in southern Germany to the City of Allen that only had a single traffic light at the time, the Olsons have dedicated their lives to supporting the educational needs of all children. The Olsons recently celebrated 61 years of marriage, and they continue to remain as sweet and supportive as ever.
David and Lynda first met at Lamesa High School, a tiny town about an hour south of Lubbock. David, a year ahead of his future bride, moved to San Antonio after graduation to begin studying at Trinity University. Lynda headed the same direction the next year after her graduation, settling in at the University of Texas at Austin. After earning their bachelor’s degrees, the couple married over Labor Day Weekend in 1961. It’s been an exciting ride ever since.
David was commissioned in the U.S. Army, eventually stationing the couple in the leafy town of Augsburg, Germany, for three years. David served in the 24th Infantry Division and later in the Chemical Corps, while Lynda became a school teacher for the American children through the Department of Defense’s school system. The couple even welcomed their first child, Kim, while stationed in Germany. David toyed with the idea of a career in the armed services, but at the completion of his tour, the Olsons could not resist the pull back to their home state of Texas.
The pair earned their master’s degrees before taking jobs in Richardson ISD in 1965. David started his career as a chemistry teacher, while Lynda taught fourth grade. After 15 years in Richardson, David was recruited to serve as Principal of Boyd Elementary by Allen ISD Superintendent Dr. John Horn.
“I was ready for the next move, and Dr. Horn asked me to become the principal of Boyd Elementary,” David said. “Allen was small at the time, just a 3A high school, but we knew the growth was coming. It was part of the reason why we decided to move here so that we could help with the transition as the school district grew larger.”
Lynda made the move from Richardson to Allen just a few years after her husband. Lynda recalls experiencing slight apprehension before the move from the larger city of Richardson to the as-yet-undeveloped Allen. She remembers, with a chuckle, that “A phone call between Richardson and Allen was considered long distance at the time!” Any anxiety was soon washed away, however, upon visiting an Allen football game.
“The community filled the stands, and the band and Escadrille filled the field. They knew how to have fun and bring people together.”
While they would hold various positions in Allen ISD over the years, the school district became their home for the rest of their careers. Lynda served as a school counselor at both the elementary and high school level, while David would move into a role in the district’s administration. Long before they even dreamed of having a school named in their honor, the couple looked toward another namesake as inspiration for how to serve their community.
“Alton ‘Papa’ Boyd was still alive when we moved to Allen, and we wished that we could live up to the example that he set,” Lynda said. “Everyone knew who he was because he was at every event cheering on our students. He volunteered in the schools and built cabinets or shelves for the campuses. Papa Boyd was an amazing man.”
With more than 30 combined years dedicated to Allen ISD, the Olsons retired in 1995. They never dreamed they would be school namesakes, but the Board of Trustees at the time had other plans in mind. As construction began on the 15th elementary school in Allen ISD, the Board chose the Olsons as the perfect pair to represent the new school. Lois Lindsey, a Board member who also went on to become a school namesake, had the pleasure of calling the Olsons and sharing the good news.
“We were in shock when Lois called us,” David recalls. “So many people have supported these schools here in Allen, and we were among one of the many individuals in this community who could have received this honor. It has truly been an amazing honor and privilege.”
David explains that becoming a school namesake does not come with a job description or manual. Instead, the Olsons have looked toward other namesakes, like Papa Boyd, to serve as their inspiration on what actions to take. These actions mirror what they’ve done for their entire careers: take care of children in the best way they know how. The couple regularly read stories to classes, teach lessons on the history of Allen, attend special events such as Veterans Day celebrations, and host an annual holiday book reading. The Olsons have also established an endowed scholarship for Allen High School students that went to Olson Elementary.
“We are so proud of all the schools in Allen ISD, and certainly proud of Olson Elementary,” Lynda said. “The school has amazing teachers, great staff, and nice students. I know that I would feel so reassured and blessed to send a child to that school because it is such a wonderful community.”