Northlake resident Erik Hernadez and his fourth-grade son, Edric, paraded into Johnie Daniel Elementary in Northwest ISD.

The family recently moved to the Pecan Square development after selling their house in Keller.

“This is why we chose to live here because there’d be multiple schools here in the community, and it’d be easy for him to meet new friends,” he said. “You just have that sense of security that we live near the school.”

Daniel Elementary is one of five newly constructed schools that opened Aug. 16 in Northwest ISD, a booming school district that starts in far north Fort Worth and extends into Denton and Wise counties. Enrollment isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon, and plans for more schools are already underway.

The new schools that opened are:

Seven Hills Elementary and Hatfield Elementary replaced two older campuses of the same names. Seven Hills stayed on the same property, while Hatfield moved to a new neighborhood called the Trails of Elizabeth Creek in Fort Worth.

Hatfield Elementary was the smallest elementary school in the district, with a capacity of 450 students. Now, the standard capacity for an elementary school at Northwest ISD is 850. 

Hatfield was one of the only schools not located in or near a neighborhood. It was situated  between Texas Highway 114 and FM 156. The location was not ideal for an elementary school because it was not walkable, said Tim Mcclure, assistant superintendent for facilities. 

The former Hatfield campus will be renovated into an administration building.

Most of Daniel Elementary students were previously at Lance Thompson Elementary in Argyle, about 2 miles away. Northwest ISD previously added portable classrooms at Thompson Elementary to deal with its growing enrollment. 

Northlake resident Michel Comulada lives in the Pecan Square development. His daughter, Scarlett, was previously at Thompson Elementary. 

“It’s exciting news, especially now that she’s going to be inside the building instead of outside like she was in the other school. Her mom feels safer,” Comulada said. 

The district’s growth has been explosive. In 2003, 6,177 students attended Northwest ISD. Two decades later, 29,150 students are enrolled, a 372% jump.

Enrollment for the 2023-24 school year is projected to surpass 30,000 students. 

To keep up with the growth, Northwest ISD voters approved a $2 billion bond to build new schools.

Kelly Azbell, a kindergarten teacher at Daniel Elementary, has watched the area grow  throughout her life. She graduated from Northwest ISD and taught in the district for 12 years.

Despite the growing population, Azbell loves the small town feeling that remains.

“This whole community is so involved, and it’s a step away from everything. I love that it’s in the country, and everybody is just so friendly and welcoming,” she said. 

Home construction around the school is expected to wrap up in 2024, Northwest ISD Superintendent Mark Foust said. He will not be surprised if the construction brings in another 100 to 200 students to Daniel Elementary.

Almost 400 students started school at Daniel Elementary on the first day of school. Total enrollment is expected to reach 550 by the end of the year, Principal Jessica McDonald said. 

The school is expected to be at its 850-student capacity in two to three years, 

Northwest ISD spokesperson Anthony Tosie said, and the district could add two more elementary schools in Pecan Square because of the neighborhood’s growth.

Marcela Sanchez is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Marcela Sanchez is a 2023 summer reporting fellow. She’s a North Texas native pursuing a master's in journalism, media and globalization from Aarhus University in Denmark and Charles University in the...