An advisory committee tasked to review the name of Mary Carr Greer Elementary will kick off its work this week with an organizational meeting.
Greer Elementary is the seventh school to have its name reviewed following a 2018 School Board directive to review all schools named after individuals to ensure they reflect equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness.
At the time, 14 schools were named after individuals. So far, four of the seven have emerged from the review with a new name.
Schools Superintendent Matthew Haas said last month that Greer would be the next school up for review.
Mary Carr Greer was a prominent local educator. She was born in 1883 and what would later become the Albemarle Training School, a segregated school for Black students. She eventually joined the school’s faculty and became its principal in 1931.
During her tenure, she initiated a formal four-year high school curriculum and pushed for the merging of the Albemarle Training School with the Charlottesville-Albemarle school system, according to Greer Elementary’s website.
She retired in 1950 and then the Albemarle Training School closed when Jackson P. Burley High School opened.
The elementary school named for her opened in 1974.
The 12-person advisory committee is made up of teachers, parents and committee members who live in the school’s attendance area but don’t have students at Greer. Susie Lee, a guidance counselor at the school, will serve as the committee’s chair.
Karen Waters-Wicks, the ACPS Community Education Coordinator, will serve as the project manager for the review.
“The school division was fortunate to receive requests to serve on advisory committee from many very engaged members of the Charlottesville-Albemarle community,” Waters-Wick said in a prepared statement.
“Several members of the committee live within an easy walking distance of the school,” she said. “They are a diverse and multigenerational group who are invested not only in local history, but also in the well-being of the Greer community, and they are committed to reaching the best outcome possible in this process.”
At Wednesday’s meeting, the advisory committee will review a community survey to solicit suggestions for the school’s name. The committee will review that feedback at one of two public meetings before narrowing down the list to five semifinalists. Another public meeting will be held to hear input on the finalists.
Eventually, the committee will settle on three finalists and then make a recommendation to Haas for either a new name or to keep the current name.
If the current name is among the three finalists, board policy requires the committee to examine if Greer, for whom the school is named, made contributions to the community of state, national or worldwide significance.
The School Board will ultimately make the final decision on the school’s name. If a new name is chosen, it will go into effect July 1, 2023.
To follow along, go to k12albemarle.org/our-division/school-naming-review. Community members with questions or comments can email the advisory committee at SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org.