Meadowlark leads the popular voting as Bozeman school officials prepare to give a name to elementary school No. 8.

More than 2,400 people voted online for nine suggested names, and the favorite was Meadowlark with 656 votes, or 27 percent.

That was followed by second-place Spanish Peaks and third-place Caroline McGill, both with roughly 17 percent of the total.

Fourteen members of the school naming committee met Monday and agreed to send the top three names to the Bozeman School Board. Trustees will hold a special meeting next Tuesday at noon and could choose a name then, Bozeman Schools Superintendent Rob Watson said.

The new $20 million school is under construction on Durston Road, between Cottonwood and Flanders Mill roads. It is slated to open this fall to ease crowding in Bozeman’s fast-growing elementary schools.

When asked if meadowlarks actually live around Bozeman, teacher Rick Hannula told fellow committee members he has seen the birds while hiking around Bozeman.

“Meadowlarks have a very lilting, pretty call,” Hannula said. “It’s a nice sound.”

Kindergarten teacher Kristy Michael then found a meadowlark’s song on her iPad and played it for the group.

“Wow, that’s happy,” said Kimmelin Hull, a parent whose children will attend the new school.

Bill Stoddard, a Longfellow parent, said he felt partial to the name Caroline McGill. Montana’s first pathologist, she helped found the Museum of the Rockies, MSU College of Nursing and 320 Ranch. He pointed out that only one Bozeman elementary school, Emily Dickinson, is named for a woman, while several are named for men.

TV reporter Beth Saboe, a committee member, said she’d love to have a school named for McGill, though she wondered whether a Museum of the Rockies message urging support for McGill might have influenced the vote.

Voting wasn’t scientific, but was set up so that only one vote could be cast from any computer address, Watson said. Children as well as adults were invited to vote.

The names and vote totals were:

  1. Meadowlark, 656 votes, 27 percent.
  2. Spanish Peaks (Madison Range oldest peaks), 410 votes, 17 percent.
  3. Caroline McGill, 396 votes, 16.5 percent.
  4. Granite Peak (Montana’s tallest mountain), 244 votes, 10 percent.
  5. Aspen (local tree), 219 votes, 9 percent
  6. Jeanette Rankin (first woman elected to Congress), 208 votes, 8.6 percent
  7. Robert Frost (American poet), 127 votes, 5.3 percent.
  8. Mike Mansfield (Montana senator), 83 votes, 3.4 percent.
  9. Ida Davis (Bozeman educator), 63 votes, 2.6 percent.

People are excited the school is getting a name, Michael said.

“I’m tired of calling it No. 8,” Watson said.

Reporter Gail Schontzler can be reached at or 582-2633.

School name votes