Bess Brannen was named for Bess Courtney Brannen, who was born on February 18, 1906. She was the youngest of three children, with parents who saw no difference in the education of their son and two daughters. When the time came for college, all of them went. Bess attended Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas. In 1924 she married Carl Andrew Brannen and they had two sons and a daughter.
Bess and Andrew started teaching in a four-room school in Saron, Texas where Bess taught the first four grades and Andrew was the Principal. In 1936 Andrew became the County Superintendent and Bess taught at Pennington while continuing her education. She received a bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State Teachers College.
They moved to Lake Jackson in 1944, where Bess taught at the first elementary school built there. She also went on to teach at Velasco Junior High and ended her career teaching Texas history and civics at Lake Jackson Junior High. You could not be in Bess Brannen's classroom and not be challenged, nor could you be in the classroom and not be known. Young people could not stay away from her and her peers sought her out in times of both mirth and tragedy. Life was rich and full around her. She had a magical quality about her that is indescribable but was there to all who knew her.
When Brannen Elementary was built, one of her former students - Jesse Hibbitts - had become a member of the school board. He suggested the school be named for a teacher who had meant a great deal to the students of Lake Jackson. Bess Brannen Elementary school was born. It was a wise choice, because the magic of Bess Brannen is still living in this school named for her. Bess Brannen Elementary School has earned and continues to earn many awards from state to national levels - and will continue to do so because it carries that magic and because it has a guardian angel watching over its affairs, making certain that the long tradition of excellence in teaching and caring for students continues.
Information above comes from the article Bess Courtney Brannen in the Brannen Archives.