Northside Independent School District has a policy of naming elementary schools after the neighborhoods in which the school is located or in honor of individuals who have made a significant contribution to education.
The Northside ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name this school for Anna Mae 'Mas' Nichols. According to former Superintendent Ed Rawlinson, "One of the greatest tributes we can make to educators who have devoted their lives to children is to name a school in their honor. There are literally thousands and thousands of children whose lives have been positively influenced by Mas Nichols."
Born in Roswell, New Mexico, Anna Mae “Mas” Nichols came to San Antonio in 1925 where she attended Travis Elementary School, Mark Twain Middle School, and Thomas Jefferson High School, going on to the College of Industrial Arts for Women, now Texas Women’s University. She began her career teaching physical education at Alamo Heights High School, and then transferred to Burbank High School after marrying Jack Nichols in 1941 because married women could not teach in Alamo Heights.
Her involvement with the Northside School District began when she and her family moved from San Antonio to Helotes in 1953. Following an absence of some years from the classroom to be a stay-at-home mother and raise her four children, “Mas” (who was so nicknamed by her husband) returned to teaching in 1965 at Helotes Elementary School until her retirement in 1990.
Mas’ professional and civic honors, achievements, and awards cover a wide field. Among her many accolades include the Lamar Award of Excellence for Personal Achievement Medal and the Yellow Rose of Texas Award from the Constance Allen Heritage Guild of Lifetime Learning.
Mas’ interest and involvement in community activities did not wane after her retirement. She served three terms as Councilwoman on the Grey Forest City Council and on the Communication Committee of the City’s Volunteer Fire Department. She was also named Paragon’s Hometown Hero for the city of Grey Forest, Texas in 1999. Active civic organization memberships included the Helotes Historical Society and the Senior Advisory Board for Northside School District, along with a lifetime memberships to the Helotes Optimist Club and Helotes PTA.
She founded the GranPals Mentors at Helotes Elementary School to help students with some of their education problems and to give both GranPals mentors and the students a chance to bond with different age groups.
Anna Mae “Mas” and Charles J. “Jack” Nichols were married 61 years until his death in 2002, and had four children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Mas passed away in 2008 at the age of 89.