Supporters describe her as a mother, churchgoer, sorority sister and teacher, and a new elementary school may soon bear her name in Manatee County.
Of the 240 people who submitted a name for the new school in Parrish, more than 115 advocated for some version of the name "Barbara A. Harvey Elementary." All but one school board member agreed during a workshop on Tuesday afternoon.
A final vote will take place at the board's regular meeting on June 26. The second choice on Tuesday was Parrish Elementary, followed by Bob Bartz Elementary, inspired by the man who played a pivotal role in the Manatee Chamber of Commerce before he died last year.
Gina Messenger, the board's vice chair, voted instead for Parrish Elementary. As an area resident and a self-described villager, she understands her neighbors' concerns, mainly that Parrish is becoming a forgotten community.
She does, however, share a passion for Harvey, whose service to the district started in 1961.
"I think Barbara Harvey is magnetic; I can't think of a better word," Messenger said. "Any time I've seen her, there's a glow. If you watch a video of her you get a tingly feeling."
Harvey served area schools for more than five decades as a teacher, principal and district administrator. She spent more than 15 years as a member of the school board.
She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., an organization focused on servant leadership. A public speaker at Tuesday's meeting said she envisioned the opening of Barbara Harvey Elementary, complete with a salmon pink and apple green ribbon, a nod to her sorority.
Her membership in the sorority — an organization with the mission of "service to all mankind" — is no surprise, board member John Colon said.
"I sat as chair of the United Negro College Fund for over a decade and Barbara was on it even before I was, and served for decades diligently to get scholarships for minority youth throughout Manatee and Sarasota," he said.
Four community members supported naming the school after Harvey during Tuesday's meeting. Most were residents of Copperstone, a community that sits directly next to the school's construction site.
Copperstone resident Jacqueline Lewis credited Harvey for her part in creating Educational Consultants Consortium Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on at-risk students.
"The school that is outside my gate, where I could just reach out and touch it, I would love to see that school named Barbara A. Harvey Elementary," Lewis said.