Great Neck and Salem Middle schools in Virginia Beach have once again received distinction as AVID National Demonstration Schools. This elite designation has been awarded to only 200 of 8,000 AVID schools in the United States and around the world. AVID National Demonstration Schools exhibit a college and career readiness culture through rigor and high expectations for all students throughout the school.
Historical Overview of VBCPS
This archival information about our school division highlights the diverse history of Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
Additional historical information about a school may be found on its school website. Visit the "Our School" section of an individual school's website to read more on the history page. Should you have additional historical information about any one of our schools, please email email@example.com
- Elementary Schools A-K
- Elementary Schools L-P
- Elementary Schools Q-Z
- Middle Schools
- High Schools
- Special Purpose Centers
- Steps Toward Public Education in Princess Anne County
- Superintendents Past and Present
- Closed/Former Schools and Centers
Elementary Schools A-K
Opening Date: 1966
First Principal: Emily Parks
Interesting Facts: First elementary school in Virginia Beach built with a gymnasium.
Alanton Elementary was built to alleviate the overcrowding at John B. Dey Elementary. At that time, Alanton contained grades one through seven with an enrollment of 764 students. After completing seventh grade at Alanton, most of the students went directly to First Colonial High School as eighth-graders. It was built before the neighborhood of Baycliff, which currently surrounds the campus of the school.
Today, Alanton Elementary educates kindergarten through 5th grade. Since it was constructed in 1968, an addition was built to house an extended library-media center, computer lab, art room and 10 classrooms.
Opening Date: 1964
First Principal: John Prine
Interesting Facts: The name of Arrowhead Elementary was derived from the fact that during the excavation for the school, an Indian mound was found, in which many interesting artifacts were buried, including arrowheads.
The land for the site of Arrowhead Elementary was purchased in 1963 with the building opening in time for the 1964-1965 school year. The average student enrollment reached 952 children in grades one through seven. The following school year, 1965-1966, this 32-classroom school was 'bulging at the seams' and the enrollment rose to 1,136 students. In 1966-1967, to relieve the high enrollment, the sixth and seventh grade students were transferred to Kemps Landing Intermediate.
The school is located on a property totaling 22.9 acres. A ground breaking was held for the construction of a new school, June 23, 2003, and the new building opened in November 2004.
Opening Date: 1941
First Principal: Felix Williams
Interesting Facts: From a one room schoolhouse to a more modern facility, Bayside Elementary has been in existence for at least 74 years.
Bayside began as a log cabin school from 1911-1941 (also referred to as the Little Red School House) on the grounds of Haygood United Methodist Church. This school was headed by Reverend Joseph H. Hall, an ordained minister of the Methodist church and a pastor for several years. He was also a scholar, a schoolteacher, a talented carpenter and a politician. A wooden 'spankin' paddle was found in the wall when the old school building was torn down. The paddle showed the initials ”J.J.H” carved in Spencerian script and underlined with a flourish. The original owner of the paddle was Reverend J.J. Hall. In 1911, the school moved to the W.E. Biddle School, a wooden building located on Independence Boulevard near its intersection with Haygood Road. The school was named in honor of the prominent citizen who was instrumental in getting the school built.
The school was later renamed The Bayside School. At that time, the two teachers were Nettie Seymour and Agnes Hatchet.
In November 1941, the present Bayside Elementary opened at a cost of $65,000. The school served as an elementary educational center for the communities of East Ocean View, Little Creek, Diamond Springs, Lake Smith, Robbins Corner, Chesapeake Beach and Ocean Park. The original structure included seven classrooms, an auditorium and a cafeteria. In less than five years, five additional classrooms, at a cost of $100,000, were added to accommodate increased enrollment, and in 1948 one additional classroom was constructed. In 1952, ten classrooms, a library, an office and an expansion to the cafeteria were added.
In 1997, it was determined that renovations were no longer considered a solution for the problems of an aging facility. The building was demolished in 1999 with a ground breaking held August 2, 1999, for the new $8,885,900 school built on the original site.
The new Bayside Elementary opened in December 2000, with Janet Zitt as the first principal of the new facility. The building was dedicated May 18, 2001. It provides for a capacity of 725 students with facilities for art, music and physical education. A computer lab and a media center provide technology and support resources and services. All classrooms have data, telephone and cable lines for technology and access to a closed circuit television system.
Bettie F. Williams Elementary (See Williams Elementary)
Opening Date: 1986
First Principal: Gene Gregory
Interesting Facts: A special dedication program was held Dec. 15, 1986, for the students with the Honorable G. William Whitehurst, Congressman, as the guest speaker. A time capsule filled with memorabilia was buried in the front yard.
Birdneck Elementary was built on a 23.5 acre site secured from the Commonwealth of Virginia by the City of Virginia Beach and leased to the Virginia Beach School Board. Funding for the $7.2 million dollar school was approved by the School Board and City Council in 1981. Construction of the 137,250 square foot building began in March of 1985. The school, which houses 56 regular and 16 special classrooms in its two wings, opened to nearly 1,400 students Sept. 2, 1986. The architectural firm of Dills, Ainscough, and Duff designed the school; Conrad Brothers was the general contractor.
Opening Date: 1968
First Principal: Estell Davis
Interesting Facts: The renovated building is one of the most advanced elementary complexes in Virginia Beach. It was built with the most modern construction materials available for schools today.
Brookwood Elementary was constructed on 13 acres of land and opened in time for the 1967-1968 school year, housing grades one through seven. The school is bordered on the west side by a small canal that flows into the Lynnhaven Inlet and is adjacent to the largest shopping mall in Virginia Beach - Lynnhaven Mall.
A ground breaking was held for the construction of a new school June 5, 2006. The old building was demolished July 6, 2006, with classrooms and offices relocated behind Plaza Elementary in portable buildings for the duration of the project. The new building was dedicated May 7, 2008.
Opening Date: 1984
First Principal: George Chandler
Interesting Facts: Centerville was built on land that was once Brown Farm.
Centerville Elementary was built in 1984 and replaced the old Aragona Elementary. In 1988, student enrollment reached over 1,200 students and Centerville Elementary had 11 portable classrooms to accommodate the overcrowding until Tallwood Elementary was built in 1989.
Christopher Farms Elementary
Opening Date: 1997
First Principal: Don Clement
Interesting Facts: Christopher Farms Elementary contains the Spanish Partial Immersion Program. This program, launched in 2002, was designed to offer students a foreign language experience within the elementary school setting and give them more career options.
The school sits on property which was previously the horse farm known as Pleasant Acres Farm. There is a rumor that the farm was eventually purchased by a man named Christopher and thus the development became Christopher Farms. The school opened under the leadership of Don Clement and Debbie Bennett.
College Park Elementary
Opening Date: 1973
First Principal: Harold Revis
Interesting Facts: College Park Elementary stands on land that was formerly a cluster of dairy farms.
During the first years of operation, College Park Elementary housed grades kindergarten through seventh in an open classroom instructional setting. Following the opening of Brandon Junior High in 1978, seventh grade students were no longer taught at College Park. The open classroom format was disbanded in 1981 for a more traditional instructional arrangement.
The original building was funded through a city bond referendum for $978,000 with an additional $100,000 spent on equipment. The 49,900 square foot building was divided into 31 classrooms, five additional instructional areas and a cafeteria. In 1982, a gymnasium was added to the original building.
A ground breaking was held for the construction of a new school June 3, 2010, and was completed in Fall 2011.
Opening Date: 1905
First Principal: Clinton Woodhouse
Interesting Facts: Cooke Elementary celebrated their 100th Anniversary on November 4, 2006.
Willoughby T. Cooke Elementary had its beginning in the year 1904. In that year a canvass was taken to determine that there were thirty children who were of school age and a school was started in two attic rooms in the Driftwood Cottage located at 11th and 12th Street on the oceanfront. This first school was under the direction of Miss Laura R. Washington with Miss Adele O'Connor as her assistant. Miss Mary Townsend acted as a substitute. The school flourished under the direction of these ladies and proved to the Board of Supervisors that a public school for winter residents at the beach was a necessity.
In 1905, the public school became a reality for Virginia Beach. That year the school was housed in two rooms over the jail and the old Princess Anne Hotel was located within sight. During this time, Judge Keeling and Mr. Spence were among those who took an active interest in the school, and the first unit of the school was built. In March 1906, the town of Virginia Beach received its charter from the Virginia Assembly. Within months, the Town Council voted to fund a public school. In September 1913, students moved into a brand new, two-story brick building known as the Free Public School. The school building was located at 524 15th Street. It cost $14,000 and housed 125 students in grades one through seven.
In 1919, Mr. Willoughby T. Cooke became a member of the School Board and his years of interest and work in local education brought about the naming of the school in his honor. Mr. Cooke was a retired Norfolk businessman who was interested in children and their progress. Under his tenure the school added health education, a free lunch fund, drinking fountains, indoor plumbing and membership in the P.T.A. Because there was no lunchroom in the school building, neighborhood mothers took turns preparing a daily pot of soup and sandwiches that was delivered to the school by 7th grade students in the child’s wagon. An auditorium and small lunchroom were finally added in 1927. Electricity was installed in 1928. During the 1930s and 1940s some students rode an electric rail bus (known as the Green Hornet) to the 17th Street station and walked two blocks to Cooke School.
Additions were made to the building in 1946 and 1954. In 1962, all of the 1912 building was demolished and a new building begun. A new gymnasium was added in 1991. At the end of the 1997-1998 school year the “old” Cooke School was torn down (the gymnasium remained) and Cooke students moved to the old Linkhorn School building for the 1998-1999 school year. In 2000, the “new” Cooke opened at the same 15th Street site. The new building cost almost $9 million to build and houses 580 + students in grades K-5. This building is a state-of-the-art building that supports a curriculum that is fully integrated with technology. Participation in this project was extremely special for Cederquist Rodriguez Ripley Maddux, the Architectural Associates. Mr. John Maddux, Principal-in-Charge, attended Willoughby T. Cooke Elementary in the mid fifties and his mother, Mary Maddux, taught there for a number of years.
Today, Cooke Elementary has a memorial brick wall, made from the original school bricks, dons a picture of Mr. Willoughby T. Cooke, the school's namesake. Additionally, there are brass historical plaques and a time capsule.
Corporate Landing Elementary
Opening Date: 1993
First Principal: Bill Skaggs
Interesting Facts: In 2005, the school was named an NAYRE (The National Association for Year-Round Education) year round school of merit.
Corporate Landing Elementary opened its doors in 1993 with Bill Skaggs as the first principal. Corporate Landing remained a year-round school for seven years (2002-2009). The school services the regular population in addition to the hearing impaired. Corporate Landing has some of the few Special Ed Teachers on staff that specializes in hearing impairment.
Opening Date: 1954
First Principal: Bessie Bell
Interesting Facts: Robin Davenport, a previous principal, was a student at Creeds Elementary during the time his mother was the cafeteria manager.
Creeds Elementary is located in the rural southeastern section of Virginia Beach. The original Creeds building was built in 1848 in a section known as Blossom Hill. The second structure for Creeds Elementary was built in 1908 in Creeds, Virginia, approximately 5 miles south of the present building. The present building was constructed in 1939 at a cost of $80,000 and served as a high school for Princess Anne County until 1954 when it was converted to an elementary school.
As you walk through the hallways at the south end of the building, a history lesson awaits. Photos, dating back to 1940, of graduating classes line the walls. Generations of students have passed through the school, and children enjoy looking back at family members who once walked those corridors. Another interesting educational feature of the school is a map of the state of Virginia, painted on the wall near the media center.
The dedication of the first renovation of the school was held March 15, 1970. An air-conditioned primary wing was added to include four classrooms and a modern library in 1969. In 1999, a $6 million dollar modernization project began that tremendously transformed Creeds Elementary. This renovation added classrooms, art and music rooms, an administrative suite and media center. A public library adjoins the school media center, and a story room, conference room and computer lab are shared with the public library. The gym and all the original classrooms were also renovated.
Aug. 25, 1999, a partnership ceremony was held celebrating the beginning of a key partnership between Creeds Elementary and Pungo-Blackwater Library in the same facility. This renovation which includes a 'library-in-a-school' approach is a unique partnership not only in our region, but in the state as well. Former Principal Robin Davenport was instrumental in getting the project off the ground.
When the school is in session, the public library and the school media center hold separate operations - each with its own entrance and staff. Creeds Elementary students visit the public library during school hours and have full access to the collection. After school, both facilities are managed as one library by Virginia Beach Public Library staff.
Creeds Elementary serves as a model for what schools can become. In 2008, they received the Governor’s School of Excellence Award making them one of 89 schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia to achieve this honor. This is quite an accomplishment considering the fact that there are over 1800 schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Diamond Springs Elementary
Opening Date: 2007
First Principal: Shirann Lewis
Interesting Facts: Diamond Springs, Newtown and Bettie F. Williams elementary schools form the Bayside Tri-Campus.
Diamond Springs Elementary was built to alleviate over crowding at Newtown Road Elementary and Bettie F. Williams Elementary schools. Diamond Springs was built on a section of the former Williams Farm property which the City of Virginia Beach acquired. Kindergarten and first grade students were housed at Newtown and Bettie F. Williams until the completion of the building project.
A public park and a city street (Learning Circle) was built in conjunction with the new Newtown Elementary. The park and the street represent joint ventures with the City of Virginia Beach Departments of Parks and Recreation and Public Works. The cost of the street project was approximately $3 million and the park cost approximately $2 million. The ground breaking was held on June 29, 2006, and the building was dedicated on June 4, 2008.
John B. Dey Elementary
Opening Date: 1956
First Principal: Joseph J. Owens Jr.
Interesting Facts: John B. Dey Elementary School received its name from a former Princess Anne County School Board Chairman who resided less than one mile from the school.
John B. Dey Elementary was built in September 1956. During the first year, however, it housed only grades five through seven to alleviate crowded conditions at Little Creek Elementary. The following year John B. Dey began to function as a complete elementary school including grades one through eight.
The school was contracted to be built in 1955 with a maximum capacity of 850 students the original school had. A self-contained sewer system, hot water (oil) heat, no air-conditioning and consisted of 48,585 square feet. It was designed without a physical education room. It had a 1,000 barrel bus refueling facility. Over 13 acres of land on Great Neck Road were purchased from the James Farm by the Princess Anne County School Board. On this site the school was constructed.
Increased population in the area made it necessary to construct an annex of ten rooms, a storage room and two restrooms in 1960. In 1963, the annex housed some eighth graders to help the crowded conditions in the neighboring secondary school.
With the Virginia Beach population expanding, in September 1972, two mobile classrooms were added to aid congestion. Two kindergarten classes were added 1973. The school gymnasium was completed and opened for the students during the 1978-1979 school year. The much anticipated air-conditioning was installed in the summer of 1986. An addition was added in 1995 that included seven classrooms, a new media center, art room, computer lab and updated office spaces.
The Story of John B. Dey
John B. Dey, who died at the age of 83, on December 10, 1957, was a truck farmer by vocation and lived in one of the most picturesque homes in Princess Anne County. The home was the Broad Bay Manor, which was built in 1640. Mr. Dey lived in the home at the time of his death. The 415 acre estate and the manor house and the life of the master of the manor presented the pleasant picture that can be summed up in phrase, “noblesse oblige.” The landed gentleman lived up to noble obligations.
He had a fine sense of loyalty to the community obligations he assumed and there were many. An example, and perhaps the outstanding one, was his 17-year chairmanship of the Princess Anne County School Board. He became chairman of that important board in 1940 and retired in June 1957, at which time he was honored by its members for his foresight and wisdom in planning for the county schools.
Mr. Dey was a member of the Princess Anne Board of Supervisors, the Norfolk City Council (during a period of residence in that city) and the State House of Delegates. He was a delegate to several state Democratic conventions and to the national Democratic convention in Houston in 1928 that nominated Alfred E. Smith for the presidency. He also served as a longtime director of the Tidewater Automobile Association.
Mr. Dey's unselfish devotion to community causes like the schools stood out most strongly. He was born in Princess Anne County, but was educated in the public schools of Norfolk County.
Opening Date: 1976
First Principal: C.M. Rawls
Fairfield Elementary was built in 1975, to serve the rapidly growing population of the Kempsville Borough. The school opened in 1976 with an enrollment of 900 students. The next year, enrollment increased to 1,230 students, which led to the transfer of all seventh grade students to another school. The school is currently home to about 530 students, in grades K-5.
Physically, Fairfield Elementary consists of one large building where two main hallways intersect at a cross between the lower and upper-grade corridors. The cafeteria also serves as an auditorium. The library media center and computer lab are two of the most frequently visited locations in the school. The entry foyer was refurbished at the beginning of the 1996-1997 academic year, with cheerful white wicker furniture donated by the Parent Teacher Association. The technology needed for Internet access was installed in all classrooms during the summer of 1996.
Opening Date: 1990
First Principal: John S. Kalocay
Interesting Facts: Glenwood was the largest elementary school in the state of Virginia with 1,600 students until New Castle Elementary was built in1999.
Glenwood Elementary opened in 1990 with John Kalocay as the first principal. The school colors (blue and orange) and mascot (the gator) are from the University of Florida. For the 1993-1994 school year, Glenwood had 10 adopt-a-school partners and surpassed their motto, “Together Everyone Achieves More.”
In 2006, the school began the Young Writers’ Celebration, where every student in the school (950-1000 students) published a hard bound book called a Bare Book which was displayed in the gym for the community, school staff and students to view and read.
Glenwood has taken part in recycling efforts for the Lynnhaven NOW project for the 2009-2010 school year. A time capsule is buried in the courtyard holding items that were of importance and trendy during the year the school opened.
Green Run Elementary
Opening Date: 1976
First Principal: Robert Pearsall
When the Green Run community was designed, an elementary school was planned on a 14-acre site at the center of the Green Run community, a unique circular design. The community grew very rapidly before the school could be built; therefore a student body was organized before the building was completed. The school became operational July 1, 1975, when a principal and secretary set up an office in a conference room at nearby Holland Elementary. Students were housed at Brookwood, Plaza, Holland and Windsor Oaks elementary schools until the new building was completed in 1976.
Opening Date: 1964
First Principal: Ruth Cole
Interesting Facts: Hermitage Elementary is the first "green” school to be constructed in Virginia Beach.
The original school opened its doors in November 1964, on 19 acres donated by the federal government. During this time, 970 students in 6th and 7th grade classes attended school in the unfinished building for the remainder of the term. In the fall of 1965, the completed building was opened to serve grades one through seven. In 1967, four special education classes were added.
Ground was broken for a new school June 10, 2003, and renovation was completed March 2004. Hermitage is regarded as a "green" school because the new structure contains many environmentally savvy amenities. The environmentally-sound building includes special filters installed in the heating and cooling system; different air flow requirements creating energy efficiency; building materials containing recyclable elements; higher insulation values to keep the building as warm as possible in the winter and cooler in the summer; a structural design that promotes an abundant flow of sunlight; the use of paints and floor adhesives with minimal odors; sinks and toilets with low water usage; and other components.
According to Tony Arnold, director of Facilities Planning and Construction, the reason why the division decided to rebuild Hermitage as a "green” school was to incorporate the nation's best resources to build an environmentally efficient school. The new $9.7 million structure opened with a capacity for 567 students and a building dedication was held November 15, 2005.
Opening Date: 1967
First Principal: Mrs. Edna "Ellie" Bates
Holland Elementary opened for the 1967-1968 school year, with an average enrollment of 797 children in grades one through seven. In 1973, Holland operated on a 45/15 schedule which was designed to help ease over crowding due to the new development of Green Run. Teachers taught for 45 school days, then had 3 weeks off and rotated all year. During that time, there was only one first grade class that had 35 students. In the following year, there were two first grade classes, which reduced the classroom size to about 18 children. The Accelerated Schools program was piloted at Holland Elementary. It was designed to enhance student performance and was discontinued after only a few years.
Indian Lakes Elementary
Opening Date: 1979
First Principal: Peggy Bryson
In the spring of 1977, the Virginia Beach School Board approved construction of a new school to house the increasing school population in the Kempsville area. The School Board voted unanimously to the name the elementary school, Indian Lakes Elementary, which was located in the Indian Lakes area of the city. The school would house students from the subdivisions of Indian Lakes, Lake Christopher and Brigadoon. During construction, students were bused to Old Donation Elementary for two school years:1977-1978 and 1978-1979. Indian Lakes Elementary officially opened September 4, 1979, and operated with a student population of 1,086 in grades one through six.
Opening Date: 1961
First Principal: Robert Stenzhorn
Interesting Facts: The first school on record in the Kempsville area was the Dickson Free School, built in 1794. In 1835, there was a Kempsville Academy (or Male and Female Seminary) which existed until the Civil War.
Kempsville was once an incorporated town. Prior to that, it was known as Kemps Landing, taking its name from a local storekeeper. The creek, part of the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River, was once a deep water landing, and goods for Mr. Kemp's store, as well as bricks and lumber, were unloaded there. It was also a shipping point for grain and other produce from surrounding areas. It is believed that the first skirmish of the American Revolution in Virginia was fought in Kempsville.
Kempsville became the county seat of Princess Anne County in 1775. The Court House was later used as a Baptist church. In the old part of the village there were two churches, Emmanuel Episcopal, which was once a part of the Old Donation Parish, and Kempsville Baptist church, organized in 1814. Pleasant Hall, built in 1797, is one of the area's most outstanding homes.
Kempsville Elementary was built in 1961. The school was renovated in August 2001, and completed in 2003.
Kempsville Meadows Elementary
Opening Date: 1959
First Principal: Josephine Charles
Kempsville Meadows Elementary was built on 15 acres of land donated by Mr. Albert Bonney. The school was designed by the architects, Pentecost, Wade, and McLellan and erected by Haycox Construction Company. The first principal, Mrs. Josephine Charles, opened the school in 1959 with a student enrollment of 810.
On July 3, 2001 a ground breaking ceremony was held for the construction of a new school. The building was dedicated on Aug. 21, 2002, and the new facility opened in September 2002.
King’s Grant Elementary
Opening Date: 1960
First Principal: Mildred Wilson
Interesting Facts: The original school was built in a record breaking time of 90 days.
King's Grant Elementary was built in 1960 by the Princess Anne County School Board. The school was built to house many of the students who had previously attended Oceana Elementary which was closed due to its proximity to the Oceana Naval Air Station. Mrs. Mildred Wilson was the first principal and served until 1961. The school district was divided and in September 1965, King’s Grant Elementary opened to students from the King’s Grant, Eastern Park and Chesopeian Colony neighborhoods. That same year, five sections of sixth grade students were transported to King’s Grant Elementary to relieve the overcrowded conditions in the Plaza area.
On Dec. 17, 1968, the original building burned; however, the new school was rebuilt and ready to go in 1969. The King's Grant community continued to grow over the years and a new addition was added to the school in 1997.
Opening Date: 1965
First Principal: Willard Pendleton
Interesting Facts: Kingston Elementary has received the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award twice: during the 1989-1990 and 1996-1997 school years.
Kingston Elementary was completed in the summer of 1965. The school was used to house the students of the new Windsor Woods area until the new Windsor Woods Elementary was completed. Approximately 675 students in grades one through seven were housed in the school.
Over the 1965 winter holidays, the Windsor Woods faculty and staff moved into the new Windsor Woods Elementary and the King's Grant students remained at Kingston Elementary for the remainder of the 1965-1966 school year.
In 1973, a kindergarten program was established at Kingston. Also, in 1990 a gymnasium was added followed by an addition in 1996.
Elementary Schools L-P
Opening Date: 1993
First Principal: Shirley Barco
Interesting Facts: Landstown is the only school that is conjoined with a middle school.
Landstown Elementary, "Home of the Dolphins" is one of the largest elementary schools in Virginia Beach. The neighborhoods served by the school are Buckner Farms, Buckner Woods, Cameron Crossing, Dam Neck Cove, Rock Creek, Green Run, Landstown Lakes, Pelican Watch and Salem Village. The school is a two-story building that was built in 1993 equipped with state-of-the-art materials and technology. Through the years, the school's enrollment has continued to steadily rise as a result of the many homes built in the area.
Linkhorn Park Elementary
Opening Date: 1955
First Principal: Willard Pendleton
Linkhorn Park Elementary, located about a 1/4 mile east of the Hilltop section in Virginia Beach opened for the 1955-1956 school year with an enrollment of approximately 600 students. During its first year, Linkhorn Park Elementary served students in grades one through eight. Since then, Linkhorn has grown considerably, reaching a peak in 1961 with an enrollment of 1,150 students. In 1967, an addition was made to the Linkhorn Park library and the PTA helped supply books, materials and equipment.
The ground breaking ceremony was held for the construction of a new school, March 12, 1997, located on First Colonial Road near Virginia Beach General Hospital. The building was dedicated Dec. 7, 1999. Linkhorn Park Elementary is organized as a square floor plan with three clustered classroom wings housing 30 general classrooms, special education classrooms, teacher’s workrooms and various service facilities.
First Principal: Willard Pendleton
Interesting Facts: Louise Luxford Elementary was the last school named after a prominent individual in the local field of education.
In May 1955, real estate developer, John Aragona, started his first housing complex, Aragona Village. As the area was primarily undeveloped, this large housing area created an immediate public educational need. In 1961, 3200 single family dwellings had been completed in Aragona Village, and the existing Aragona Elementary housed 2,500 elementary children attending a split session. In 1961 Princess Anne County purchased half of the 12.7 acres that comprise the site occupied by Louise Luxford Elementary with William Oliver, a local farmer, donating the other half. The construction of this school began to ease the over crowdedness of the Aragona Village area.
The namesake of the school, Louise Luxford, was born and reared in Pungo, Virginia Beach. She was the daughter of the late Dr. Thomas Booker Luxford and Meta Moore Luxford. She graduated from Maury High and received a bachelor's of science from Madison College and a master's in art from the University of Virginia. While attending Madison College, she was initiated into Kappa Delta Pi and shortly after her teaching career began she was initiated into Delta Kappa Gamma. She served as an elementary and secondary teacher, elementary principal, supervisor of elementary schools and director of instructional personnel for the Virginia Beach City School system. She also held a life membership in the Princess Anne Historical Society and was a member of and treasurer of St. John's Baptist Church.
Luxford was a stalwart in education for over 44 years and knew the field of education in Virginia Beach as few leaders will ever know it for she had the advantage of 'growing up' in the area. Education was her life and she served in the capacity of teacher, principal, elementary school supervisor and director of personnel for Princess Anne County Elementary Schools.
In July 2000, construction of a new school, with a total budget of $7,776,659 began and was compleed in 2002.
Opening Date: 1963
First Principal: Stuart O. Chaplain
In 1621, Adam Thoroughgood of King's Lynn, England sailed to America as an indentured servant. He remained in the Cape Henry area and became one of the first permanent residents of the future Princess Anne County. After completing his three-year indenture in 1624, he went back to England where he married Sarah Offley. Thoroughgood returned to America with Sarah and began to acquire land, west of what is now the Lynnhaven River. It was at this time that Thoroughgood named the Lynnhaven River after his homeland, King's Lynn. 'Haven' also became part of its name and meant "a safe place."
The name 'Lynnhaven' was also given to the village, which grew around the area near present day Virginia Beach Blvd. and N. Lynnhaven Rd. It was appropriate to name the village after the Lynnhaven River since it extended to this area. The area has continued to be referred to as the Lynnhaven area. Lynnhaven Elementary received its name from Lynnhaven, the area in which it is located. The school is on a tract on the original Lee Farm, which was reserved by developer John Aragona for the construction of a hospital. Due to the rapid population growth, the site was used for construction of a school rather than a hospital. Haycox Construction Company, following plans by the architects Walter and Britt, built Lynnhaven Elementary in 1963.
A ground breaking ceremony for this renovation of the original school was held June 18, 2002. The new school was dedicated on Nov. 9, 2004.
Opening Date: 1962
First Principal: Ruth J. Bridges
Interesting Facts: When Malibu Elementary opened in 1962, the first-grade wing and the need for buses did not exist because the Kings Forest neighborhood had not been built.
September 1962, Malibu Elementary began its operation at the former Plaza Elementary. The building, now located at 3632 Edinburgh Drive, was first occupied in January 1963 with an enrollment of 316 students. Ruth J. Bridges was the first principal. The student body was known as the "Malibu Surfers" and school colors chosen were red and white. A surfer on a wave was designed as the logo.
In 1973, kindergarten was added. Peak enrollment was in 1974 when the membership rose to 1,050. The gymnasium was built in 1990.
A new school was dedicated on Nov. 21, 2003. In 2005, Malibu Elementary was selected as the top elementary school in the state for reading and awarded the Virginia State Reading Association Exemplary Reading Program Award.
New Castle Elementary
Opening Date: 1999
First Principal: Janet Duff
New Castle Elementary opened in September 1999. Located in the southwestern section of Virginia Beach, the school serves the neighborhoods of Hillcrest Farms, Bellwood Estates, Bellwood Meadows, Newcastle, Adam’s Glen, Highland Parish, Highland Meadows, Highland Acres, Indian River Woods, Morgan’s Walke, River Oaks, Indian River Farm, Dewberry Farm, portions of Glenwood, Salem Lakes and Bentley Gate. New Castle’s Ecology Club participates in Oyster Farming as part of the Bay Restoration Project.
During the 2001-2002 school year, Future Dragons began an outreach program to children aged two through five. This ready-to-learn initiative helps over 100 children prepare for entrance into school at New Castle Elementary.
Newtown Elementary (named changed May 2007)
Opening Date: 1970
First Principal: Dan Lovelace
Newtown Road Elementary opened in 1970 and originally housed grades one through seven. It was built on 12.4 acres in the Northwest section of Virginia Beach.
The school, originally housing students in grades one through seven, presently serves second and third grades. A ground breaking ceremony was held June 29, 2006, to begin construction of a new school and the building was dedicated on June 4, 2008.
Newtown, Diamond Springs and Bettie F. Williams elementary schools form the Bayside Tri-Campus.
North Landing Elementary
Opening Date: 1975
First Principal: Diane Cauthen
The increasing demands for additional housing for naval personnel brought about the construction of 600 Navy family units near Camp Pendleton, named Wadsworth in honor of Admiral Wadsworth from New York State.
At the time Wadsworth Housing was being developed, the Virginia Beach School Board was unable to obtain property near Camp Pendleton. However, the city owned a parcel of land approximately one mile west of the Princess Anne Complex on the south side of North Landing Road behind the Technical and Career Education Center. As such, North Landing Elementary was constructed on this site to accommodate the impact of the students generated by the Navy housing. The cost of the school was $1,265,700 plus $35,000 in architectural fees. It is situated on 15 acres of land.
The delayed construction of the new school necessitated the assignment of the students living in Wadsworth Homes to Princess Anne Elementary. This increased enrollment at Princess Anne Elementary to 1400 students.
In March 1975, the new school was completed and officially became known as North Landing Elementary. All sixth graders attending Princess Anne Elementary were shuttled by buses to the new school. Staffed initially with a secretary and custodian, the principal and specialists commuted between Princess Anne Elementary and the parent school. North Landing Elementary was the 39th elementary school in Virginia Beach and the last school built under the School Board Referendum of Feb. 8, 1972.
Ocean Lakes Elementary
Opening Date: 1989
First Principal: Mike Storm
Interesting Facts: The Fleet Combat Training Center at Dam Neck, Sovran Bank at Oceana, McDonalds at Dam Neck and Pizza Hut on General Booth Blvd. were all Adopt-A-School partners with Ocean Lakes Elementary.
Ocean Lakes Elementary first opened its doors to the community in 1989 under the leadership of principal Mike Storm. The school is located on Upton Road which was a rural, agricultural area up until the late 1980s. The school site was acquired by the School Board in 1987 and construction began in 1988.
Ocean Lakes Elementary is located near the Fleet Combat Training Center at Dam Neck, serving approximately 600 students from K-5. Students come from the Ocean Lakes community. A significant number of students are from Navy families serving at Naval Air Station, Oceana and the Fleet Combat Training Center at Dam Neck.
Opening Date: 1987
First Principal: James Oglesby
Interesting Facts: When the school first opened, the mascot was the Patriots. In 2001, the school community changed the mascot to the Panthers.
Parkway Elementary is located in the Green Run area of Virginia Beach. The school opened in September 1987 with an enrollment of 977 with students in grades K-6. The building cost $3.47 million dollars and it has 67, 567 square feet sitting on 15 acres of land. The outside playground includes a basketball court, softball field, challenge course and an enclosed kindergarten playground area.
Opening Date: 1962
First Principal: Donald S. Proffitt
Construction for Pembroke Elementary begain in the spring of 1962 on a 12-acre site. The cost of the land was $120,000, and the cost of the building was $776,331. At the time it was built, it was the second school in Virginia Beach to be built on the architectural design of Waller and Britt. Upon completion of the building in December 1962, Pembroke housed 1,100 sixth and seventh graders from the Pembroke and Aragona neighborhoods who were attending Aragona Elementary on split shifts.
In 1968 construction of a six room air-conditioned new wing providing four first grade classrooms, a corrective reading room, and a speech therapy room was completed. In 1983, grades six and seven were removed from Pembroke Elementary and the students were rezoned to various elementary, middle and junior high schools in the area.
Construction began on another addition to Pembroke Elementary in July 1987. Funding for special education classrooms and physical education facilities was approved by voters in a 1985 school bond referendum. The architectural firm of CEGG designed the addition; Duke and Associates was the general contractor. The additional classrooms housed students with severe disabilities, pre-school children with developmental delays and SECEP classes for students with autism. This addition to the school doubled its size, and the 97,000 square foot school opened for students on Sept. 6, 1988.
In July 2002, construction began on an $8.5 million project to renovate and modernize Pembroke Elementary. The modernization project added another 40,000 square feet of space to the existing building that included a new library/media center, computer resource center, art room, music room, special programs room and administrative office area. Construction was substantially completed in December 2004 and the "new" building was dedicated May 5, 2005.
Pembroke Meadows Elementary
Opening Date: 1969
First Principal: Elizabeth D. Sparling
Pembroke Meadows Elementary was opened in September 1969 with Mrs. Elizabeth D. Sparling as the principal, and a teaching staff of 21. The school started out with an enrollment of approximately 250 students. The land, consisting of 14.6 acres, was purchased from the Terry Corp. by Virginia Beach City School Board in 1967. The community, originally a rural environment, has changed to an suburban area comprised of single-family dwellings, townhouses, condominiums and apartments.
A ground breaking ceremony was held June 11, 2004 to begin an addition of 28,000 square feet plus renovation of the remaining areas and a dedication was held Oct. 27, 2006.
Point O’ View Elementary
Opening Date: 1968
First Principal: C.M. Rawls
Point O’ View Elementary, located on Parliament Drive in the Kempsville area, was built in 1968 with an enrollment of 850 students. This area was once a sparsely populated farming area which rapidly became a burgeoning suburban community. Street names such as Overholt Drive and Yoder Lane and a small wooden church of simple design serve as fading reminders of the Mennonite farmers who tilled the land on which the school and surrounding houses were built.
Princess Anne Elementary
Opening Date: 1956
First Principal: Leliah Holloman
The school opened in 1956 under the name of Seaboard Elementary. The original structure had 16 classrooms, a library, cafeteria, office complex and a teachers’ lounge. Originally, the school served an all black student body instructed by a black faculty. The faculty was integrated in 1967 and the student body in 1969. In 1969, the boundaries were redrawn and the school name was changed to Princess Anne Elementary.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, growth in Virginia Beach was moving south with the development of Red Wing, Dunwoody, Red Mill Farms, Lago Mar, Hunt Club Forest and Pine Ridge. By 1985, 15 portable classrooms were needed to help provide classrooms for the student population of 1,150 even though Sandbridge Beach had been rezoned to Creeds Elementary for the 1985-1986 school year. The school zone changed again in 1986 sending 400 students to the new Birdneck Elementary on Birdneck Road.
Opening Date: 1981
First Principal: Harold C. Revis
Providence Elementary opened in September 1981 with 882 students. The school was built to help relieve the overcrowding at Fairfield, Kempsville Meadows and Indian Lakes elementary schools. The enrollment has fluctuated over the years starting with 882 and reaching a high of 1,412 during the 1986 school year. Providence lost 1,060 students when Rosemont Forest Elementary opened in January 1987 and Providence Elementary ended that school year with 352 of their original students.
Elementary Schools Q-Z
Red Mill Elementary
Opening Date: 1989
First Principal: Dave Portis
Red Mill Elementary opened in 1989. The school draws students from a mix of suburban, rural and beach front areas. Red Mill has about 700 students from K-5.
Opening Date: 1981
First Principal: Ronald Cowan
Rosemont Elementary opened in September 1981 and served the Green Run area of Virginia Beach.
Rosemont Forest Elementary
Opening Date: 1987
First Principal: John S. Kalocay
Rosemont Forest Elementary, located adjacent to the Bellamy Plantation subdivision on Gray Friar's Chase was built on a 15- acre site acquired by the School Board in 1985. Funding for the $4.9 million school was approved in 1984. The 69,500 square foot building opened to nearly 1,050 students.
The architectural firm of Hargrove Brockwell Associates designed the building and Whitfield/Gee Construction was the general contractor.
Opening Date: 1988
First Principal: Andrew Carrington
Interesting Facts: The official mascot for Salem Elementary is the "Ram," brought to this school by the North Landing Elementary staff. Principal Andrew Carrington actually had a real ram brought to Salem Elementary for pictures one day.
Salem Elementary opened its doors in September 1988 with grades K-6. The entire faculty and staff from North Landing Elementary transferred over to open the brand new school. The enrollment was 1140 students at that time. Salem Elementary was overcrowded when it opened; therefore, the entire sixth grade was housed in the gym until portables were assembled three weeks later.
In January 1992, half of the faculty moved to the new Landstown Elementary, along with half of the students. Salem Elementary currently houses grades K-5.
Seaboard Elementary (See Princess Anne Elementary)
Opening Date: 1952
First Principal: Emma W. Hairston
Interesting Facts: Seatack Elementary was the last all African American school in Virginia Beach City Public Schools to be completely integrated. It was integrated during the 1971-1972 school year.
There were no schools for African American children in the early 1900's. Mount Olive Baptist Church housed two classes for several years. When enrollment exceeded the capacity of the rooms, Mr. Enoch Morgan donated two rooms from a building previously utilized as a general store. Morgan and his brother, Americus, provided transportation for the students during inclement weather. Several years later, the school was moved to a three-room building along South Birdneck Road due to growing enrollment.
The three-room building is now known as the Seatack Community Center, which is one of the oldest continuous settlements in the northeast portion of Virginia Beach. The name Seatack surfaced in 1813 when the British fleet was anchored off what is now Virginia Beach and parties of sailors were sent ashore to rummage for food. The vessels set up a protective bombardment to cover the field. The Seatack area marked the farthest point inland where the great iron cannon balls fell. On one occasion, a messenger ran to tell the American soldiers that the British were attacking by sea. As a result, for many years the area was called Sea Attack. Time has corrupted "sea attack" to the present name of Seatack.
In March 1952, Great Neck, Oceana and Seatack schools were consolidated into the present Seatack Elementary. The property was purchased by funds raised by local African American parents, community leaders, and School Board funds. The new school was built in 1952 at a cost of $360,000.00 and contained a general office, a principal’s office, a library, clinic, auditorium, cafeteria and 12 classrooms. An addition of seven classrooms was completed in 1955 at a cost of $90,000.00. In 1959, an eight room addition was completed. A gymnasium was also constructed in 1968.
In March 2000, Seatack Elementary moved to their new state-of-the-art building. The new school is located on South Birdneck Road near the intersection of General Booth Blvd.
Shelton Park Elementary
Opening Date: 1954
First Principal: Margaret M. Fischer
In 1954, Shelton Park Elementary was built on a 12-acre site donated by the Shelton family at a cost of $475,000. During the first year, Shelton Park Elementary accommodated 721 students in grades one through seven. The main wing had five classrooms equipped for kindergarten and first grade with private bathroom facilities and other standard rooms. The west wing was built in 1961, providing 11 additional classrooms.
An addition and major renovation was completed in January 2001, with a total budget of $7,359,889.
Opening Date: 1991
First Principal: Olivia Dabney
Interesting Facts: A time capsule was created the first year the school opened. It was opened on the schools’ 20th anniversary in 2011.
The property for Strawbridge Elementary was acquired from Ferrell Parway Associates in 1989 for $535,000. The building opened in 1991 with a maximum capacity of 746. The 84,948 square foot building was designed by Walsh Ashe Architects, built by Forterra Corporation.
Opening Date: 1989
First Principal: Ralph Mizelle
The Nathaniel Nicholas House (Tallwood) currently stands at 1676 Kempsville Road in Virginia Beach, Virginia. William Nicholas came to Kempsville in 1643. His grandson, Nathaniel Nicholas, inherited the family plantation south of Kempsville in 1746, on which he had already built the "Tallwood" house in 1740. He added 530 acres to what he had inherited, and it is said he planted one of every tree native to Virginia on his property. The house is clapboard with both ends of brick 14 inches thick. A center hall divides two large rooms downstairs. The flooring and stairway are all original pine.
Tallwood Elementary received its name from this house and opened its doors to students on Sept. 5, 1989. Many if not all of the homes of the students at Tallwood Elementary now stand on land that once was the "Tallwood" Plantation.
Opening Date: 1956
First Principal: Phillip Meekins
Thalia Elementary started serving the parents and children of Princess Anne County and Virginia Beach in September 1956. It was originally constructed as a twenty classroom plant and the building was expanded to thirty one classrooms in 1963.
The school was modernized for a cost of $8,603,717, and was completed in fall 2001.
Opening Date: 1958
Interesting Facts: Thoroughgood Elementary is located near the historic Adam Thoroughgood House(1719), which is considered to be one of the oldest standing houses in the state of Virginia. It is a National Historic Landmark
Thoroughgood Elementary is named for the city's founding colonist, Adam Thoroughgood, an indentured servant who rose to become one of Virginia's earliest burgesses and later, a member of the Governor's Council. In 1635, he was granted 5,360 acres in return for the transportation of himself, his wife and 105 persons. The school and its community are situated on part of this patent, the largest grant in Virginia until 1650. The school opened its doors in the fall of 1958. During its first year, it housed eighth graders living in the northern sector of the then Princess Anne County. The students traveled to school via boat and bus, from points extending east to Oceana and the Atlantic Ocean; they came from as far west as Ocean View, Larrymore Lawns, and Roosevelt Farms, those sections not then having been annexed by the City of Norfolk.
From 1959-1980, the school housed children in grades kindergarten through seven. In 1980, grade seven became a part of the junior high school system. The school was renovated in 1995.
Three Oaks Elementary
Opening Date: 2005
First Principal: Lisa Hannah
Ground breaking for this new school was held on Dec. 12, 2003. The school opened in the fall of September 2005.
Opening Date: 1963
First Principal: Peggy Bryson
The area surrounding Trantwood Elementary can be traced back to when the location was an Algonquin Indian burial ground. Trantwood's present site, a large tract of virgin land, was purchased in 1930 by the Trant family who started a dairy farm on the property. Later, Black Angus beef cattle was added to the farm. It remained a cattle farm until the property was sold in 1960. At this time, land was sold to the Virginia Beach School Board for construction of an elementary school.
As the area continued to develop, Trantwood Elementary was built in 1963 to serve the Great Neck Road area. In 1969, an air-conditioned annex of four classrooms and two activity rooms was added to the school. In 1987 the entire school became air-conditioned. In 1991, a gymnasium was added.
Ground breaking for the renovation and additional wings began May 22, 2002. Renovations were complete and the new building was dedicated April 14, 2005.
White Oaks Elementary
Opening Date: 1978
First Principal: Diane Cauthen
The land on which the school was built was obtained from the Terry Corporation of Virginia, developer of the Timberlake sub-division, July 9,1976. White Oaks opened in the 1978-1979 school year, to accommodate the children of the increasing number of navy personnel moving to the community. It started with an enrollment of 301 and climbed to 969 by the end of the school year.
Opening Date: 1961
First Principal: Louvenia Archer
Interesting Facts: After Bettie F. Williams was appointed Supervisor of Negro Elementary Schools in Princess Anne County. She retired in 1961 due to poor health and in October of that year the Princess Anne County School Board named and dedicated its newest school in her honor.
Bettie F. Williams, opened in September 1961 with 26 classrooms, in Princess Anne County. The school housed pupils in grades one through six and served a large section of the county's population. It was named in honor of Mrs. Bettie Forbes Williams, one of Princess Anne County's most illustrious educators. After only two years of operation, a new wing consisting of eight classrooms and two restrooms was completed. This addition was imperative due to the arrival of seventh grade pupils from an overcrowded Union Kempsville High.
By 1962, Bettie F. Williams was no longer a predominately black school. It changed from housing grades one through seven to housing only sixth and seventh grades. Another reclassification in 1972 transformed Bettie F. Williams back to grades one through seven, but only for a brief time.
Bettie F. Williams, Newtown and Diamond Springs elementary schools form the Bayside Tri-Campus.
Bettie Forbes Williams
Bettie Forbes Williams became the second Supervisor of Negro Elementary Schools in Princess Anne County in1946. She was born in September 1900, in Princess Anne County. Her parents were farmers who grew vegetables, root crops and raised chickens. As a child, she showed the desire to help others, often giving away surplus crops to friends or neighbors in need.
After graduating from Virginia State College in Petersburg, Bettie returned home in 1922 to teach at Cross Roads School. It was a crowded little frame schoolhouse like others in the county.
Three years later she began teaching at Seatack School. By 1934, she was teaching at Union Kempsville School, located on the grounds of Union Baptist Church. In 1938, she began teaching at the new Princess Anne County Training School for black students as a history and English Instructor.
Throughout her career, Bettie F. Williams influenced and molded many lives. She gave students the knowledge and the desire to further their education and better themselves. Many local residents, both black and white, said she was never too busy to offer a hand. One of her fellow co-workers said, upon her passing on April 2, 1962, "How she has helped many! God will take care of her always."
Windsor Oaks Elementary
Opening Date: 1968
First Principal: Charles J. Kelton
Interesting Facts: The Honorable Thomas Downing, United States Congressman, gave the Dedicatory Address, Dec. 7, 1969.
Windsor Oaks Elementary opened July 1, 1968 to serve community children in grades one through seven. These children were housed in five nearby schools to await the completion of the building. Upon building completion in 1968, the school housed children from King's Grant Elementary, destroyed by a fire.
In the 1973-1974 school year, Windsor Oaks Elementary became one of four Virginia Beach schools to incorporate the 45-15 plan for year-round schooling. This pilot program, which enabled the school to adequately handle a larger enrollment, was terminated in two years. Kindergarten classes were initiated in the 1973-1974 school year.
In the 1975-1976 school year, seventh grade was removed from the school and housed in a nearby junior high school.
Windsor Woods Elementary
Opening Date: 1966
First Principal: James Helmer
The original school building opened in 1966. The ground breaking was held for the construction of a new school, April 6, 2006, and the building dedication was held April 10, 2008.
Opening Date: 1957
First Principal: Jefferson Davis
Interesting Facts: The original school was a one-room building located just east of the present location of the building.
The area where Woodstock Elementary is located was once known as Herbert’s Station. Members of the Herbert family, who were Confederate Army officers during the Civil War, controlled ownership of the land until the family of Harry Davis bought part of the property.
The school opened in September 1957, housing grades one through eight in 20 classrooms. Mr. Jefferson Davis was the school's first principal. In 1959, Norfolk annexed a part of Princess Anne County served by Woodstock School. This caused a decrease in student enrollment; however rapid growth in the area created overcrowded conditions in all grades.
Ten new classrooms were added in September 1962. In 1965, the school housed grades one through seven. In September 1966, the school lost grades six and seven to Kemps Landing Intermediate School.
A ground breaking ceremony was held July 2, 2001 to begin construction of a new school and the building was dedicated Nov. 20, 2002.
Opening Date: 1970
First Principal: William D. Gilliam
Interesting Facts: Unlike many traditional single-unit structures, Bayside Middle consists of five distinct and separate units connected by breezeways.
Bayside Middle was completed in 1969 and opened in 1970 originally as Bayside Junior High. The superintendent at the time was Dr. E.E. Brickell. Beginning the 2014-2015 school year, a separate school for Bayside Middle sixth graders, the Bayside Sixth Grade Campus, was established at 4722 Jericho Road. Bayside Middle seventh and eighth graders continue to attend classes at the building located on Newtown Road.
Opening Date: 1978
First Principal: Charles A. Atkinson
Interesting Facts: In the early 1980's, Brandon Middle was the second largest public school in the state, behind only Green Run High.
Brandon Middle opened as Brandon Junior High in August 1978 with Charles A. Atkinson as the first principal. As with Brandon Middle, the opening of other middle schools reduced overcrowding due to a tremendous growth period in the 70's and 80's.
Corporate Landing Middle
Opening Date: 1997
First Principal: Edith Eidson
Interesting Facts: Over 35 percent of Corporate Landing Middle School students have a member serving in the military.
Corporate Landing Middle opened in 1997, serving students in grades six through eight to alleviate overcrowding in the southern section of Virginia Beach. The school also serves as the middle school campus for deaf and hearing impaired students.
Great Neck Middle
Opening Date: 1983
First Principal: Frank Peele
Interesting Facts: The design for the original building was taken from a Norfolk public school – Azalea Gardens Junior High.
The original Great Neck Middle building opened in 1961 and was named after Frank W. Cox, a former superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Great Neck Middle served as Frank W. Cox High from 1961 until 1983 (22 years). The original plans for Great Neck Middle called for the school to be named Northeast Junior High, which reflected the geographic location of the school in relation to the city of Virginia Beach. But due to the immediate need of a high school, the new building was named Frank W. Cox High instead.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Great Neck Middle building, at a cost of $46.5 million was held Oct. 5, 2009. The new Great Neck Middle opened its doors in January 2012.
Opening Date: 1974
First Principal: Lottie Waters
Interesting Facts: Independence Middle is one of three schools with identical floor plans which were completed in 1974.
Independence Middle opened its doors to students in September 1974 as a junior high, serving students in grades six through eight. This was the year that Virginia Beach City Public Schools achieved the long-sought-after goal of removing eighth and ninth grade students from the high schools.
Opening Date: 1969
First Principal: Charles Perkinson
Kempsville Middle opened in September 1969 as a junior high. The school was dedicated April 12, 1970, with Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr. as the speaker. The school originally housed 1,400 eighth and ninth grade students from the Kempsville area of Virginia Beach.
Spigel, Carter, Zinkl, and Herman designed the school and it was constructed by Conrad Brothers, Inc.
Opening Date: 1992
First Principal: George McGovern
Interesting Facts: Landstown is a unique physical structure in that it is the only school that is conjoined with an elementary school. The two schools share one cafeteria that serves both the elementary and middle school students breakfast and lunch.
Construction began on the combined Landstown Middle School/Landstown Elementary School in early 1991 and the school opened in the fall of 1992.
Landstown Middle School, "Home of the Lancers," has a capacity of over 1,500 students. It is a two-story building with each grade level in a separate wing and most exploratory classes in the fourth wing. The school is host of a Spanish-Immersion program where core classes are taught in Spanish.
Opening Date: 1994
First Principal: John Sutherland
Interesting Facts: Larkspur Middle is the largest middle school in Virginia Beach.
Larkspur Middle opened in November 1994 with an enrollment of almost 2,000 students. Currently, over 1,600 students attend Larkspur Middle. The school was carefully designed to be able to fully implement the “school-within-a-school,” middle school philosophy and organization. The school's design permits for each grade level to be self-contained on its own hallway with offices for a school counselor and assistant principal. A separate group of exploratory and physical education teachers in another part of the building compliment the core program at Larskpur.
Opening Date: 1974
First Principal: Bernard E. Morgan III
Lynnhaven Middle, designed for 1,400 students, opened in September 1974, with an enrollment of over 1,700 students. Two-session scheduling was necessary to reduce severe overcrowding in providing for the large enrollment. The 140,000 square foot physical plant sits on a 25-acre site just off Old Donation Parkway in close proximity to Virginia Beach General Hospital. Lynnhaven Middle currently serves approximately 1,200 students in grades six through eight.
Opening Date: 1969
First Principal: J. J. Owens
Interesting Facts: The planetarium is an exciting feature at Plaza Middle. It provides the focal point for the mathematics and science wing of the school. Students can study the expanding universe or investigate the discoveries of forgotten eras as skies of the past, present or future are projected upon a forty foot dome.
Plaza Middle opened in 1969 as a junior high. At the time it was a modern, state of the art edifice.
Plaza Middle is home to an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Academy Program (IB MYP). This program was launched in 2002 and classified as an Advanced Academic Program at the Beach in 2007.
Princess Anne Middle
Opening Date: 1974
First Principal: George B. Shields
Princess Anne Middle opened in September 1974 as a junior high.
Opening Date: 1988
First Principal: Julius C. Wooten
Salem Middle is built on a 34-acre site. Funding for the school began in 1983 by the School Board and City Council and was completed in 1987. Salem Middle opened in September of 1988 as a junior high, housing grades seven through nine. At that time, enrollment reached 1,650 students.
The school was dedicated Dec. 8, 1988. In the fall of 1993, Salem Junior High adopted the middle school concept, housing grades six through eight. Renovations to Salem Middle were completed during the summers of 1999, 2000, 2004, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Virginia Beach Middle
Opening Date: 1952
Virginia Beach Junior High was built in 1951-1952 and was originally named Virginia Beach High. When it first opened, it included grades five through 12 with an enrollment of about 500 students. In 1966, when First Colonial High opened, Virginia Beach High became Virginia Beach Junior High. In 1992, it became Virginia Beach Middle School. Enrollment peaked in the early seventies to approximately 1,250-1,300 students which resulted in two sessions.
Since 1952, several additions have been built. In 1963, an entire wing (100 hall) was built and extensions were added to the 200 hall, 300 hall and the cafeteria. During the 1976-1977 school year, a new gym and two new health rooms were added and the wrestling room, library, administrative areas and food preparation facilities were enlarged. In 1982, renovation of the home economics laboratory was completed.
A ground breaking was held, Feb 7, 2008, to build a new 190,000 square foot building. The building was designed by HBA Architecture & Interior Design and contracted by McKenzie Construction Corporation.
The new Virginia Beach Middle School opened in spring 2010.
Opening Date: 1964
First Principal: Norman W. Morris
Bayside High opened in 1964, housing grades eight through 12. Currently, Bayside houses grades nine through 12. In September 2002, the Health Sciences Academy was implemented at Bayside High.
Opening Date: 1961 (original bldg.); 1983 (present bldg.)
First Principal: Walter Carroll (original bldg.); Lottie Waters (present bldg.)
The original Frank W. Cox High opened in 1961, with an enrollment of 1,673 students in grades 8-12. Frank W. Cox High was named after a former superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools who served as the school division's leader from 1932-1968. The first senior class graduated from Cox High June 11, 1965. In 1968, Cox graduate Bill Bruner, was the first National Merit Scholar from Virginia Beach.
The present Cox High building opened in the fall of 1983 and the original building located at 1848 North Great Neck Rd. presently serves as Great Neck Middle. The present Cox High building is located on 2425 Shorehaven Rd.
First Colonial High
Opening Date: 1966
First Principal: James C. Mounie
Interesting Facts: First Colonial is the first high school in the area to have a Demonstration Library, one of four in the state.
First Colonial High opened in 1966 serving the Lynnhaven and Beach Boroughs. The Legal Studies Academy has been housed at First Colonial High since 2002.
First Colonial’s school mascot is the Patriot. The school seal incorporates the mascot along with a waterline which represents the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean along with the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse which was commissioned by George Washington. There are also three ships, the Discovery, the Susan Constant and the Godspeed, which are representations of the first landing in 1607 of the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
Green Run High
Opening Date: 1979
First Principal: Wylie French
Interesting Facts: Green Run is one of three Virginia Beach schools built on land that can be traced back to the Algonquin Indian settlements.
The school opened in September 1979 as the largest high school in Virginia with 247,000 square feet. The facility was constructed with 75 classrooms and laboratories along with 8 industrial shops. The site for the school was previously used for fox hunting by the Princess Anne Hunt Club and later used as a garden farm for the Norfolk City Jail. The site was owned by a Mennonite farming family until it was sold in the late 1960’s as part of the Green Run planned development.
In 1985, portable classrooms were needed to accommodate the large student body. By 1988, Green Run High had an enrollment of 3,000 students. Salem High opened in 1990 and Green Run’s student population dropped to 1,500.
Opening Date: 1962 (original building); 2014 (present building)
First Principal: Jefferson Davis
Interesting Facts: The knight and school colors – black, white and gold, were taken from the Kellam family’s coat of arms, which the school adopted.
Floyd E. Kellam High opened in 1962, serving the largest geographical area of any school in Virginia Beach. The school is named after Judge Floyd Eaton Kellam, who practiced law in Princess Anne County until 1946. The Governor of Virginia appointed him to take the 18th Judicial Circuit of Virginia and he remained on the bench until his death in 1958. Kellam’s first graduating class of 176 students received their diplomas in June 1965. A new two-story wing was completed in 1967.
In 1994-1995, with the opening of Ocean Lakes High, attendance areas were rezoned, causing an enrollment drop of 450 students with a proportional loss of teachers, counselors and administrators.
Enrollment increased to a student population of 2,300 from 1998 to 2001. With the opening of Landstown High in 2001, Kellam High underwent another rezoning and an enrollment drop of nearly 300 students. Following the opening of additions at Landstown High and Ocean Lakes High during the 2006-2007 school year, a rezoning alleviated overcrowding.
The Virginia Beach School Board approved the acquisition of the Manchester Station property Jan. 5, 2010. This 108-acre property serves as the replacement site for the new Kellam High, located at 2665 West Neck Rd. The new Kellam High School opened in January 2014.
Opening Date: 1966
First Principal: Norman W. Morris
Interesting Facts: Kempsville High has been used as a high school and an elementary school.
Kempsville High was built in 1941. It served the community as a high school until 1954, at which time it became an elementary school. A new school opened in the fall of 1966 with approximately 1,800 eighth and ninth grade students. Tenth grade was added in the fall of 1967, eleventh grade in the fall of 1968, and finally a senior class in the fall of 1969. Today, Kempsville High houses grades nine through 12.
The history of the Kempsville area is depicted by symbols on the school seal and the seal is emblematic of a new history in the making. The Chief, who is the dominant figure on the seal, represents the early settlers, hence the explanation of the "Kempsville High Chiefs." The fact that industry produces reward is symbolized by a plowshare and crops. The tomahawk crossed with the peace pipe shows the acceptance of human differences and the compatibility that comes through the untied effort of all.
Opening Date: 2001
First Principal: John Frossard
Interesting Facts: Landstown High was the first Virginia Beach high school built in the 21st Century.
Landstown High is a state-of-the-art facility designed for 2,000 students. The school is built on a 65-acre campus covering 274,701 square feet. It features two identically designed two-story academic wings which house classrooms, a 1,800-seat gymnasium, media center, cafeteria and a 665-seat auditorium. The facility is also the site of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools' first Technology Academy. Additional amenities include a performing arts complex, a physical education complex and cutting-edge technology systems that include the most complete complement of voice, data and video.
The Technology Academy has been housed at Landstown High since 2001. In December 2005 construction was started on a twenty-classroom addition, which was completed in January 2007 with a dedication ceremony held May 2, 2007.
Ocean Lakes High
Opening Date: 1994
First Principal: Jerry Deviney
Interesting Facts: In 1997, Ocean Lakes hosted the inaugural Virginia High School League Student Leaders Conference.
Ocean Lakes High opened in 1994. The 330,525 square foot building is one of the largest in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In September 1996, Ocean Lakes High became the site for Virginia Beach’s first magnet school with 196 students enrolling in the Mathematics & Science Magnet Program. It is now known as the Mathematics & Science Academy.
In December 2005 construction was started on a twelve-classroom addition and completed in January 2007 with an addition dedication May 30, 2007.
Princess Anne High
Opening Date: 1954
First Principal: J. Warren Littleton
Interesting Facts: Princess Anne High School is the oldest secondary school in Virginia Beach. In June 2013, the school celebrated its 60th graduating class.
Princess Anne High opened in August 1954, with 1,558 students and 62 teachers. It was formed from the consolidation of the three high schools that served Princess Anne County. The student population peaked in the early 1970's to approximately 2,800 students.
As of September 2014, the school serves approximately 1,800 students in grades 9-12, including the West Building, which serves secondary level severely handicapped special education students from the entire city. The school houses an International Baccalaureate Program which opened in 1995.
The school was modernized several times beginning in 1985. The most recent changes occurred during the 1995-1997 period. A fire destroyed about one-third of the building in September 1995, four days before the new school year began. After the fire, the majority of classes were held in Celebration Station, a vacant shopping mall approximately two miles east of the main campus for the entire 1995-1996 school year. Buses "shuttled" students from classes at Celebration Station to portable classrooms at the main campus in the fall of 1995, and then to classes in a new wing which had been under construction prior to the fire. The new wing (the 900 hall), consisting of 26 science classrooms and labs, opened in January 1996. Meanwhile, the entire front of the 2-story building known as the 200 hall was completely rebuilt. The second floor library, where the fire originally started, was rebuilt and expanded over a first floor "multi-purpose" addition. A new wing for art classes/studios was added behind the renovated administrative offices in the front of the building.
The school reopened in January 1997. A dedication was held May 4, 1997.
Opening Date: 1989
First Principal: Wyley French
Interesting Facts: A student/parent committee selected the name SunDevils to represent Salem High in the spring of 1989. A SunDevil is a weather phenomenon much like a Dust Devil, in which unusual weather is caused by a high amount of sunlight.
Salem High opened in September 1989 and is a 258,862 square foot facility. The Salem High seal was designed in 1996 and displays a scalloped circle that depicts the various aspects of the school: the book and pen for academics; the mask, lyre and paintbrushes for the fine arts; and the torch and rings for athletics (also to denote that the seal was designed in an Olympic year). The sun is representative of both the SunDevils and the seven boroughs that comprise Virginia Beach. The lighthouse is a symbol of Virginia Beach, and the clasped hands are characteristic of unity and harmony in the school and within the community.
The Visual and Performing Arts Academy has been housed at Salem High since 2004.
Opening Date: 1992
First Principal: Bernard E.Morgan III
Tallwood High opened its doors in 1992 with a population of 1,748 students. The unique design of the building provides students with lots of large windows, columns, a courtyard area, arched walkways and a general atmosphere of openness. In 2004, the Global Studies and World Languages Academy was implemented at Tallwood High.
The History of the "Tallwood" Plantation
Nathaniel Nicholas House (Tallwood) is currently standing at 1676 Kempsville Road in Virginia Beach. William Nicholas came to Kempsville in 1642. His grandson, Nathaniel Nicholas, inherited the family plantation south of Kempsville in 1746, on which he had already built the "Tallwood" house in 1740.
Special Purpose Centers
Adult Learning Center
The Adult Learning Center is dedicated to providing adults a variety of affordable opportunities for lifelong learning. Adult education provides some unique answers to questions about the future.
The education and skills training acquired offer adults the edge in turning challenges into opportunities for real growth and change. The Adult Learning Center programs can also help with choosing a new path, sharpen existing skills, broaden horizons and set new goals.
Advanced Technology Center
Opening Date: 2002
First Principal: Dr. John W. Frossard
The Advanced Technology Center is the result of a partnership between Tidewater Community College, Virginia Beach City Public Schools and the City of Virginia Beach. The 137,000 square-foot, $22.5 million-dollar facility promises to be one of the most unique educational and training centers as it offers secondary and post-secondary students the highly technical training demanded of today's workforce. The City of Virginia Beach gave $12.5 million and the Commonwealth of Virginia contributed $10 million and also provided the land.
The center is located on the Virginia Beach Campus of Tidewater Community College, adjacent to the new Virginia Beach Higher Education Center operated by Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University, and across the street from Virginia Beach's Landstown High. The three adjoining facilities will create what city officials and the education community is calling an academic village for Virginia Beach.
The Advanced Technology Center will help the public schools and the community college meet projected enrollment figures for training in technology. It will also assist in addressing the demand among Hampton Roads' employers for a well-trained and educated workforce, especially in the area of advanced electronic technology.
Kemps Landing Magnet Opening Date: 1969
In the spring of 1995, an amazing transformation took place on the corner of Kempsville and Princess Anne Road. The joint efforts of city workers, an energetic staff, anxious parents and students worked to turn a vacated building back into a place of learning. Walls were painted, floors were scrubbed, weeds pulled and flowers planted and discarded furnishings from other buildings were cleaned and decorated to turn empty spaces into exciting classrooms. In just a few short weeks, from what was once a debris-laden, deteriorating structure, rose Kemps Landing Magnet School, one of the finest institutions of learning in the state of Virginia. In the six years the program occupied that facility, the staff and students adapted to and overcame the problems created by inadequate science facilities, limited electrical capacity, and a rippled gym floor. But now, those issues are behind them, and like the phoenix, they have risen to begin anew in their second home, 4722 Jericho Road. The dedication of their new building was held on Oct. 25, 2001.
Old Donation Center
Opening Date: 1965
First Principal: Grey Cassell
The building was originally opened in January 1965 as Old Donation Elementary. On March 17, 1998, the Virginia Beach School Board approved a redesigned gifted elementary school plan. This vote paved the way for 400 academically gifted students to attend a single-site gifted elementary school at the Old Donation Center. In addition, this new model included resource teachers to work in each elementary school to provide differentiated instruction to those gifted students who participate in the resource cluster program.
The elementary gifted school increased enrollment to 500 students in the 1999-2000 school year. The gifted school for the arts, which includes the art and dance programs for students in grades 3 through 8, continues to be housed at Old Donation Center.
Opening Date: 2008
First Principal: Dr. Byron N. Williams
The Renaissance Academy’s groundbreaking ceremony was held Oct. 17, 2007. It was dedicated Nov. 6, 2010, as the school division’s alternative education center serving students in grades 6-12. The facility earned Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification for its design/construction.
The facility also houses a museum exhibit for the historic Union Kempsville School. Union Kempsville High closed after the integration of schools in 1969, when its students and staff transferred to other high schools in Virginia Beach. The museum is designed as a replicate of the auditorium in the former school. Curators from Virginia Beach, Colonial Williamsburg, and museums in the state collaborated with Union Kempsville graduates to collect yearbooks, class rings, photographs and other artifacts to display in the museum.
Technical and Career Education Center (formerly Virginia Beach Vocational Technical Education Center)
Opening Date: 1972
The Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center offers high school students the opportunity to combine academic and vocational preparation to achieve personal fulfillment, responsible citizenship, and economic self-sufficiency. While offering 23 occupational programs, the Tech Center prepares students for entry-level jobs and provides them with the ability to advance beyond entry-level positions.
Students are not only prepared for existing careers and occupations, but also for those which will be emerging during the coming decades. In today’s extremely competitive job market, it is more important than ever to have a marketable skill. Students who complete programs at the Tech Center have the option to enter the job market directly or to continue their studies at two-year or four-year colleges, community colleges, apprenticeship programs or professional technical institutions.
This center is a 120,000 square foot facility located on 40 acres of land costing over $2 million dollars.
Steps Toward Public Education in Princess Anne County
February 1847 - A public meeting is held at Princess Anne Courthouse to consider whether the county will respond to the General Assembly option for localities to establish public school systems. William Roberts presides. The decision is made to generate a petition drive among voters to generate support for a public referendum.
Spring 1847 - Following a successful petition effort to get the issue on the ballot, voters approve the creation of a public school system, which will include the acquisition of school sites. Princess Anne County becomes one of only a dozen localities in all of Virginia to establish a public school system prior to the Civil War.
Mid-year 1848 - For the first time, annual Princess Anne County property tax statements include a line for common (public) school support.
December 1848 - The first deeds are recorded for the sale of school sites to school commissioners. The process continues into the 1850's. It is not clear just when schools began operation, but some, if not all, were functioning before the property transactions were recorded.
March 1849 - A newspaper account of a local political meeting refers to delegates from each of the county's 21 school districts.
April 1850 - Citizens presumably unhappy at the tax burden to support public education manage to get the issue placed on a local ballot. Voters uphold the public school concept, as they will three more times up to 1861.
Fall 1870 - Princess Anne public schools remain in operation to some extent throughout the Civil War. When the revised state constitution of 1867-68 takes effect in 1870, requiring all localities to begin public education, the existing Princess Anne County system becomes part of that statewide system. At that point, the Princess Anne structure is broadened to include several schools for African-American children, as required by the new constitution.
1885-1920 - Mr. O. B. Mears came from a family of farmers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He was married to Sarepta Dozier of Princess Anne County. He brought the school system through the time of reconstruction, after the Civil War. Under his superintendency, the move from a one-room school house to multi-room concept occurred as well as the the first graduating high school class and the founding of the PTA. Mears has held the longest superintendency term in the history of Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
Records show that Mears once was the owner of the land where Kemps Landing School (Kempsville Road) was built. In fact, there was a one-room schoolhouse there originally and it was called the "O. B. Mears School." Behind the school property is a small "business park," and there is a street called "Oakmears Crescent."
In 1934, a temporary school site was established on the property of the predominantly black Union Baptist Church (located on South Boulevard, in the vicinity of present-day Mt. Trashmore) until a four-room building was completed in 1938 at the intersection of Cleveland Street and Witchduck Road. In 1949, construction started for additional space for Princess Anne County Training School. The additional space included four new classrooms, a cafeteria and lavatories. According to Princess Anne County records, in 1950, a 15-acre site adjacent to the training was purchased to build a new high school for “Negro children.” The high school addition was completed in 1953. Among the new features were 14 classrooms, auditorium, home economic facilities, and a gymnasium.
Princess Anne County Training School was the first and only high school for “colored children” in Princess Anne County, Virginia, which is now known as the city of Virginia Beach. Under the Princess Anne County Training Association, the county’s African American parents, communities, teachers, churches and community organizations raised money to purchase property to build a high school to provide better educational advantages for African American children in the county.
Princess Anne County Training School later expanded in size and the facility and was renamed Union Kempsville High School in 1962. In 1969, the high school closed after city-wide integration of schools started in Virginia Beach. The last class graduated in 1969.
Superintendents Past and Present
School superintendents that have served Princess Anne County and Virginia Beach are:
- Edgar B. Macon, 1870 - 1880
- A.B. Malbone, 1880 - 1885
- O. B. Mears, 1885 - March 1921
- J.H. Carroll, March 1921 - June 1929
- Robert Johnson, July 1929 - June 1933
- Frank W. Cox*, July 1933 - February 1968
- Edward E. Brickell, March 1968 - June 1987
- James E. Melvin, July 1987 - September 1989
- E. Carlton Bowyer, September 1989 - November 1990
- K. Edwin Brown, Acting - December 1990
- S. John Davis, Interim - January 1991 - June 1991
- Sidney L. Faucette, July 1991 - June 1995
- James L. Pughsley, Interim - June 1995 - February 1996
- Timothy R. Jenney, February 1996 - June 2005
- Sheila S. Magula, June 2005 - June 2006
- James G. Merrill, July 2006 - June 2013
- Sheila S. Magula, June 2013 - June 2014
- Aaron C. Spence, June 2014 - present
In an 1847 referendum, Princess Anne County voters committed themselves to a tax-supported public school system. In 1870, the Virginia Constitution provided that all localities must establish public school systems, presided over by a superintendent. (Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society)
*January 1, 1963 - City of Virginia Beach formed as a result of a merger with Princess Anne County.
Closed/Former Schools and Centers
Opening Date: 1957
The school was established in 1957 and began classes on a half-day basis in Thalia Elementary School. In February 1958, when construction of the present building was completed, the faculty and students in grades one through eight, with their principal, Lee Land, moved into the permanent building. From its beginning a periodic gradual change of elimination of the highest grade has taken place; therefore, since the 1967-68 school term, grade five has been the senior level in the building. The changes of grades were necessary due to the enrollment increases at the various grade levels, especially the lower grades.
The Primary Disabled Reading Program was transferred to the Aragona School in September 1972. Students enrolled in the special program are transported from the complete geographic area of the City of Virginia Beach. Kindergarten was the latest addition to the school curriculum and became an important part of the school in September 1973.
Career Development Center (CDC)
Opening Date: 1979
Career Development Center (CDC) opened in the 1979-1980 school year as a vocational training center. The cost of the original building and land was $1,600,000 with renovation and conversion of the 128,000 square foot former G.E.X. building costing $3,028,980.08. Credit for making the CDC project a reality was a result of Superintendent Dr. E.E. Brickell and his staff, John McCage, staff architect; William Moosha, principal for the school; John Curtin, program development specialist; and Dr. John Sutherland, special assistant for program development.
The Career Development Center (CDC) was renamed in 1996 as the Virginia Beach Central Academy. At this time, the program focused on at-risk students in grades 9-12, offering students diverse academic programs.
Center for Effective Learning (CEL)
Opening Date: 1969
Interesting Facts: In August 2007, the center moved from the original campus to the former campus of Kemps Landing Magnet which is located on the corner of Kempsville and Princess Anne Road.
Center for Effective Learning (CEL) opened in September 1969, with three major goals. The first was to develop individualized programs for students with certain kinds of problems. With highly specialized, concentrated curricula, these students would be able to “catch up,” and return to their neighborhood schools. The second was to provide facilities for diagnosing learning problems and prescribing appropriate programs for pupils throughout the Virginia Beach City Public Schools. The third was to serve as a model in developing and refining programs and teaching techniques. The school opened with an enrollment of 226 students – 44 of these students were five-year olds, invited from the adjacent area to form the initial class of a Non-graded Primary.
The goal of the program was to help "At-Risk" students successfully function in a school setting through academic success and appropriate center social behaviors. CEL focused on three areas: instruction, intervention, and behaviors. In the area of instruction, a strong emphasis was placed on the acceleration of basic skills proficiencies in order to strengthen academic skills. Intervention concentration was on students' social skills and greater involvement in center life and community projects. Counseling focused on responsibility, improvement in attendance, student behavior patterns, and career awareness.
Today, the center no longer exists. In September 2009, CEL and Virginia Beach Central Academy combined services into what is now known as the Renaissance Academy.
Charity Neck School (re-named Pleasant Ridge School)
The building was constructed in the 1880s on Charity Neck Road as a two-room school for white children. It ended its service as a one-room school (Pleasant Ridge School) for blacks located on the east side of Princess Anne Road in Southern Pungo and next to Asbury United Methodist Church. The school closed around 1915 when a larger Charity school was built (1916) for white children. The opening of the larger school consolidated the children who had been attending the one-room schools scattered about the countryside. This larger school closed in the early 40s when Creeds School opened.
One room schools at Tabernacle, Sandbridge, Shipps Corner (now Holland Road) and Beech Grove (now West Neck Road) were consolidated into a two story wooden structure that was placed beside the one room school (Hickory Bridge Elementary) on the Courthouse Elementary site. Several classrooms were on each floor of the building, with the small auditorium upstairs. The building was heated by a central boiler system. On a morning in March 1931, it is thought that the janitor tried to ignite the fire with kerosene, and the boiler exploded, burning the original wooden Courthouse Elementary School to the ground, according to Ms. Lillie Belle Woodhouse (who taught at the school from 1931-1972). Everyone in the area at the time remembers the event vividly, especially Ms. Woodhouse, who lived across the road, and whose father attempted to assist with the fire.
During the period when the original brick school was being constructed, the students attended school in two rooms on the first floor of the old Courthouse building. Also, it is possible, that some classes were held in the Masonic Lodge Building, which was on the Courthouse grounds. According to Ms. Lillie Belle Woodhouse , the new school was completed by Thanksgiving in 1931. The building cost $35,000, and it is noteworthy that a new elementary school in 1960 costed approximately $8 million dollars.
School commenced each day as the children lined up and marched in to the tune of a John Phillips Sousa March, played on a record player, powered by a spring, that was wound up manually. The classroom day began with a prayer, a song that was frequently America the Beautiful, and pledge allegiance to the American flag.
During the early days, the playground was divided into two approximately equal parts, one for the boys and one for the girls. They were not allowed to play together. If boys and girls were caught playing together, they were punished, one method of punishment being the requirement that the offenders sit together in a desk designed for two children. Each play area included an outside restroom facility, which many remember not very fondly as a "five holer".
Spelling Bees were frequently held both within the school and between the schools of Princess Anne County, as were music recognition competitions. Mildred McClanan Hassen won the 1928 county music recognition competition by recognizing the Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss, and winning a pen. Ethel Van Nostrand won first place. A non-sectarian religious class was held once each week, as was music instruction. Bands were organized in Princess Anne County in approximately 1946.
The hot lunch program at Courthouse Elementary, and perhaps Princess Anne County, was started by Mary Gertrude Whitehurst McClanan (mother of The Honorable Delegate Glenn McClanan). This program permitted children to bring $.25 per week to school, and they made hot soup each day on the pot-bellied stove.
Rules against corporal punishment had not been thought of in those days, and spankings were frequent. The favorite punishment was spanking hands with a wooden ruler. Frequently the seventh grade teacher and the principal were the same person, and janitorial services were performed by the least intelligent boy in the class. Originally eighth and ninth grades were taught at Courthouse School. Later, grades 8-11 were taught at Kempsville, Oceana and Creeds High Schools. The system of 12 grades in the public school system began in approximately 1946.
An addition was made to Courthouse Elementary School in 1955-1956. The new classrooms cost $298,000, which included air conditioning for the library and office in the old building.
Hickory Bridge School
A one-room school that was located approximately 500 yards south of the old Courthouse Elementary School was moved to the Courthouse grounds in approximately 1920. The school site cost $1,000, and may have been purchased from Dr. Chilton, who had his medical office in the corner of the school yard. The school contained grades 1-7 and was heated with an old fashioned pot-bellied stove, with the fire being maintained usually by the largest members of the class. It is said that two of the early "fire maintainers" were Herman Glenn McClanan (father of The Honorable Delegate Glenn McClanan) and Herman Bartie.
Kemps Landing Elementary
Opening Date: 1941
Kemps Landing Elementary was built in 1941 and named for the port of Kemps Landing that was once the heart of a thriving colonial settlement on the banks of the Elizabeth River. Sailing ships docked near the place that Princess Anne Road now crosses the Elizabeth River.
The area prospered and the name was changed to Kempsville. It became the county seat of government around 1775 and soon thereafter one of the fist schools was established in a building that had been a jail. Education was continued in the Kempsville area with the Dickson Free School, built in 1794, and the Kempsville Academy, which served the community from the early nineteenth century until the time of the Civil War.
Kemps Landing Elementary was situated on land sold to Princess Anne County by the O.B. Mears family. The long history of this school site bears strong testimony to the concern of our forefathers for education.
In 1953, a one-story section was built next to the original two-story building and it was used to house elementary students. Then, because of rapid growth, it became a junior high school. In 1966, the school became Kempsville Intermediate, to house 6th and 7th graders, but was renamed Kemps Landing School in 1967. In 1983, due to community needs, the school was changed for usage of 7th graders only. From September 1988 to October 2001, Kemps Landing School housed 6th and 7th graders. Since 2001, this building has intermittently housed students from various grade levels while their home school was renovated or newly constructed.
More history about this school is featured in a local blog called "Before There Was a Kemps Landing School".
Little Creek Elementary
Opening Date: 1954
The school was built in 1954 at a cost of $475,000. The school was the result of the merger of Princess Anne County and the resort city of Virginia Beach in 1963. Originally, Little Creek Elementary was part of the Norfolk City Public School system.
Opening Date: 1929
The school was built in 1929 at a cost of $100,000. A ten room addition and cafeteria were added in 1945 at a cost of $120,000. The school served as a high and elementary school until 1954.
Oceana High fell victim to her own geography, being located at the end of the main runway for Oceana Naval Air Station. With the Navy's transition to jet aircraft after World War II, the noise level made teaching (and concentration) difficult. The post war building boom in Virginia Beach (as well as the baby boom) had also dictated the need for more classrooms, so, for the first time, Virginia Beach had its own high school, rather than sending students to Princess Anne County schools.
Old Donation Elementary
Opening Date: 1965
First Principal: Grey Cassell
On January 27, 1965, the Virginia Beach City School Board paid Mr. W.D. Hobbs, Jr. $4,653 for 13.1 acres of truck farm land located in the Bayside Borough of Virginia Beach. Later in 1965, Haycox Construction Company was contracted to construct a twenty-nine classroom, "T" shaped school, designed by Waller and Britt, an architectural firm, for the sum of $450,063. The school opened on September 3, 1965 with Mr. Grey Cassell as the first principal. For the first two years, the 29 classrooms housed grades 1 through 7. The next three years, it had grades 1 through 5, returning to grades 1 through 7. Enrollment was near 865. When Newtown Road Elementary was opened in 1970, the enrollment was reduced to near 550 students. The school housed regular classes and some special classes. In 1980, the school was named Old Donation Center for the Gifted and Talented.
Open Campus High
Opening Date: 1989
First Principal: Lillian Donnally
The school was designed in 1988 – 1989 at the request of the School Board and implemented in October 1989 at Princess Anne High School. In July 1990, the school was moved to the Career Development Center. The school was returned to Princess Anne High School at the request of the School Board in March 1991.
In the Annual Fiscal Plan (Budget) for 1990 – 1991, the School Board recommended that the Princess Anne (then the Thalia) Center for Pregnant Teens be incorporated as a part of the Open Campus High School.
In July 1990 it was recommended that the program be expanded to include a day component and that a day facility be sought for the program. A presentation to the School Board in December 1990 recommended that the hours of the program be expanded and a facility be sought for the program. The School Board voted on recommendations expanding the Open Campus High School in March 1991.
Opening Date: 1961
First Principal: Mable Church
Plaza Elemenetary was built in 1961 as part of the Princess Anne County. Mable Church was appointed as Plaza's first principal from 1961 to1969. The school originally served students in grades one through seven. In 1973, kindergarten was added and grade seven was moved to the junior high school. A non-graded program for primary children was in effect in the late sixties. In 1973, Plaza took part in the first pilot program of year-round schools. By 1975, the school area was rezoned and assumed the present 10-month attendance pattern.
A gymnasium was added to the school in 1990. In addition, renovations were made to the school and a dedication ceremony was held on December 7, 1999. Also, Plaza Elementary was instrumental in initiating the job sharing option for teachers.
Pleasant Ridge School (formerly Charity Neck School)
The building was constructed in the 1880s on Charity Neck Road as a two-room school (Charity Neck School) for white children. It ended its service as a one-room school (Pleasant Ridge School) for blacks. Around 1915, Pleasant Ridge School, burned down. The “big room” of the old Charity Neck School was placed on skids and pulled by horses to replace the burned-out Pleasant Ridge School. The building has been in that location next to Asbury church ever since.
The school served African American children in grades 1-7. Grades 1 through 4 went to school from
7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and fifth through seventh graders attended classes from 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. from September through March, to give the children time to help plant the crops. Two outhouses were available - one for girls and one for boys.
The heat came from a wood stove and the children had to get there early to gather wood for the fire. The first person to school in the morning made the fire in the stove inside the school. Later, the School Board provided a coal stove, and once a week, a pot of beans and cocoa were cooked on the stove. At other times, baskets of fruit were supplied.
The school closed in 1955 and the building was donated to Asbury church. In 1990, discussions began to refurbish the school. Former Councilwoman Barbara Henley served on the committee. Others included Alvin and Sadie Lamb, Doris Davenport (student), Lillian Craft and Nina Williams. They had a fried chicken dinner, initially, to help raise money to restore the school. When funds and the committee's steam started running out, former Sheriff Frank Drew offered to donate materials and the Community Work Force from the jail to help finish the job. The Renovation Project was completed in 1997 by the Sheriff Frank Drew Community work Force in cooperation with Councilwoman Barbara Henley.
The school was rededicated on November 18, 1997. The schoolhouse is located on the east side of Princess Anne Road in southern Pungo and next to Asbury United Methodist Church and represents a historic remembrance of early education in Virginia Beach, formerly Princess Anne County.
Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School
Union Kempsville High was established to give African American students in Princess Anne County a school near their homes. Because the county did not operate educational facilities for black children, many parents paid for tuition and transportation costs to send their children to Booker T. Washington High in Norfolk for a secondary education. In the 1930s, black parents in Princess Anne County united to open their own school.
Along with black business and community leaders, black parents formed an association and began raising money to purchase property for a high school. They eventually bought four acres of land on Witchduck Road. The land and $2,000 were given to the county School Board for the construction of a school. When the School Board made no attempts to establish a high school on the site, parents formed a temporary school at Union Baptist Church in 1934. The school initially served grades eight through eleven, but eventually expanded to include the twelfth grade.
Several years later, the School Board finally approved the high school. A four-room Princess Anne Training School opened in 1938 with the help of federal funds and donations from the black community. The building lacked some of the resources of white schools. However, It had outdoor toilets, no cafeteria or science laboratories and only a dictionary in the library.
Throughout the years, parents, students and the community held talent shows, dinners and other activities to raise money to buy materials, supplies, furniture and other items to support the school’s programs and students. Several additions were incorporated at the school between 1949 and 1962. Despite the lack of structural amenities and educational resources, the students were nonetheless able to learn and thrive because of teachers, support staff and parents who always encouraged them to work hard and succeed.
The name of the school was changed to Union Kempsville High in 1962. In 1969, desegregation led to declining enrollment and the school closed its doors. The school division eventually re-opened the original building as the headquarters of its School Plant. The school’s addition later became the Center for Effective Learning, an alternative school for middle school students.
In 2007, alumni and former teachers celebrated the school’s past by participating in the Last Walk, an event that gave them an opportunity to walk through the school and recall their old school days one more time. A few months later, the building was demolished for the construction of the Renaissance Academy which now houses all the school division’s secondary alternative programs as well as the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High Museum.
The museum’s exhibition, Reflections on a Legacy, beautifully represents the achievements of the students and staff and their beloved school.
Virginia Beach High
Opening Date: 1952
First Principal: James A. Johnson
In 1952, at a cost of $1,000,000, Virginia Beach High was built as a replacement for Oceana High. It was occupied for the first time in September 1952 and closed in 1965.