Albemarle County’s Mary Carr Greer Elementary School is likely to retain its name following a review by the school system’s name advisory committee.
Albemarle County Public Schools is in the process of reviewing the names of all its schools that are named after individuals to ensure they continue to reflect the school system’s values. At a school board meeting Thursday, the name advisory committee presented its findings on Greer Elementary’s name.
After a series of surveys and community meetings with students, families and others, the committee voted to recommend retaining the Greer name. That recommendation is in keeping with that of the majority of current students who voted to retain the name.
The school board is likely to follow committee advice as part of the next meeting’s consent agenda on July 14. Superintendent Matthew Haas supported the recommendation of the committee.
Last month, surveys taken by the committee showed some 80% of respondents are familiar with the life and career of the school’s namesake. Greer was an early-20th century educator for whom the school was named when it opened in 1974.
Almost 70% were familiar with the school division’s “values of equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness,” which are being used as the measure to determine which schools will retain their names and which will be changed.
The survey also asked respondents to submit name suggestions for the school and Greer received the largest number of recommendations followed by Blue Ridge and Hydraulic Elementary.
The online survey received responses from 138 people including 33 parents with kids in the Albemarle County Public Schools, 34 community members, and 14 students. It also asked those who took the survey which categories were important to consider in naming a school. The school’s values and location topped the list.
Greer, a Black woman, became the third principal of Albemarle Training School in 1931 and oversaw a period of both physical and academic growth and expansion. She had taught domestic science at the school for 15 years prior.
“As the first woman principal of the Albemarle Training School and vigorous member of numerous civic groups supporting equality of education for all children, Mrs. Greer was an undaunted force within the greater Charlottesville communities. Her courage and brilliance are exactly what should inspire our children, and all our citizens, today,” Lorna Werntz, a past president of the Ivy Creek Foundation and a member of the advisory committee, said in the materials presented Thursday.
In the past two years, the school system has reviewed the names of six schools in addition to Greer, choosing to retain the names of Virginia L. Murray Elementary and Broadus Wood Elementary.
Four schools have undergone name changes – Paul H. Cale Elementary became Mountain View Elementary in 2020, Sutherland Middle became Lakeside Middle in 2021, Community Public Charter School became Community Lab School in 2021, and Jack Jouett Middle will become Journey Middle effective July 1.