City of Aurora to recognize late state legislator and educator with honorary street naming

The city of Aurora is naming a portion of East Jewell Avenue between Peoria and Potomac streets to John W. Buckner Avenue to honor the late Aurora educator and state representative’s service to and love for this city and Colorado.

A ceremony for the honorary naming will take place in March, with details to be announced soon.

John Buckner touched the lives of thousands of students while serving as an educator, principal, and champion for public schools, including current members of the Aurora City Council and the Colorado House of Representatives.

During his 33-year career with Cherry Creek Schools, Buckner worked as an assistant principal at Laredo Middle School, Smoky Hill High School and Prairie Middle School, and as principal of Overland High School. He also led the Cherry Creek Schools’ work in equity and inclusive excellence, serving as executive director of student success and multicultural services.

From 2013 to 2015, Buckner served as the Colorado House District 40’s first Black state representative, sponsoring numerous bills addressing public education in areas such as school finance, student opportunity gaps, student testing, English language proficiency, and parental involvement.

While serving his term, Buckner passed away, and his wife, Janet Buckner, was selected to complete the remainder of his term. Janet currently represents Senate District 29 after serving House District 40 until 2020.

“When I found out about the street dedication in John’s honor, I was deeply moved, and thankful,” State Sen. Janet Buckner said. “Thankful for the community that continues to recognize John’s life-long dedication. Thankful for the honoring of important, Black history, which is engrained in Aurora’s history. And I am so thankful for the opportunity to continue John’s legacy serving the great people of Aurora.”

The Aurora City Council unanimously supported a resolution in late 2023 for the honorary naming of this portion of East Jewell Avenue to John W. Buckner Avenue, which runs adjacent to Overland High School and Prairie Middle School.