James Starrett joined the Arlington ISD in the summer of 1956, marking the beginning of what would be a 27-year career with the district.
Starrett grew up in Reilly Springs, a farming community in Hopkins County. Four years after graduating from Pickton High School, Starrett joined the Army Air Force.
After World War II, the veteran headed to East Texas State Teachers College, graduating in May 1949 with a bachelor's degree in business and social studies. He earned a master's there in 1952.
In the fall of 1949, Starrett signed his first contract with the Como Rural High School District in Hopkins County. He taught all Como seventh graders, and the entire school â€“ 200 students in first-through-12th grades â€“ occupied a single building. He also coached the girls basketball team, which played its home games outside on a dirt court.
Starrett married his wife Ada in May 1951 and moved to Dallas, where he began teaching in the Pleasant Grove ISD.
Anxious to become an administrator, Starrett interviewed with AISD Superintendent James Martin in the summer of 1956. He was hired as vice principal at Emma Ousley Junior High â€“ the AISD's first junior high that served only eighth graders for its two years.
In the summer of 1959, Starrett became Director of Special Services, and for 10 years he handled buses, textbooks, audio-visual equipment, athletics, federal aid and the school census.
In the fall of 1969, Starrett moved from the central office to become the principal of Rankin Elementary, which had 875 students in first through sixth grades.
Starrett opened Foster Elementary in 1973 with about 429 students. The school was considered out in the country â€“ Interstate 20 did not exist and one bus served the school. Starrett retired on June 15, 1983.
Starrett Elementary was formally dedicated on November 1, 1987.