The first meeting of the Mary Carr Greer Community Advisory Committee will be held virtually on Tuesday, April 26, at 3 p.m. A total of 12 school and community members have been selected to serve on the committee, which will review the name of the school consistent with a school board directive and the Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) facility naming policy. This organizational meeting will be closed to the public.
Greer Elementary School is the seventh school in the division to have its name reviewed following the Albemarle County School Board’s 2018 decision to have Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Matthew Haas, evaluate all schools named for individuals. Of the division’s 25 schools, 14 are named for individuals.
At its organizational meeting, the committee will review and approve a community survey that will be sent to families in the school’s attendance zone to solicit suggestions for the name of their school. The committee also will decide on the dates of two public meetings. The first of those meetings will ask the community to offer their views on all of the names that are proposed in the community survey. The committee will narrow the list of names to five semi-finalists, and a second public meeting will seek comment on those names. The public is encouraged to join those meetings to share any information they have that would help inform the process.
Members of the community and the committee can recommend either a new name be chosen for the school or the retention of its current name. If the advisory committee selects the current school name as one of its three finalists, the policy requires the committee to examine if Mary Carr Greer, for whom the school is named, made contributions to the community of state, national or world-wide significance. It also requires committee members to determine if her personal and professional conduct exemplified the school board’s values of equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness.
Members of the advisory committee were chosen from among those who expressed interest in serving on the committee. Two committee members are the school’s principal, Steve Saunders, and Susie Lee, a guidance counselor at the school who will serve as the committee’s chair. The ACPS Community Education Coordinator, Karen Waters-Wicks, will serve as the project manager of the name review process.
Three committee members are from the Greer faculty: Charles Craig, Timmy Walker, and Mayrim Maldonado-Pagan. Maldonado-Pagan is also a Greer parent. Three other committee members are parents: Desmond Glenn, Amanda Sampson, and Cindy Klapmust, who also serves as chair of the school’s PTA. Three additional committee members live in the school community, but do not have students attending Greer: Ted Coates, Rita Hassall, and Dede Smith. Coates currently serves on the board of the Ivy Creek Foundation, which is a community-driven historical preservation organization. Smith, a former executive director of the Ivy Creek Foundation, is also a local historian and the former vice mayor of the City of Charlottesville.
Of the name review committee, Waters-Wicks said: “The school division was fortunate to receive requests to serve on advisory committee from many very engaged members of the Charlottesville-Albemarle community. Several members of the committee live within an easy walking distance of the school. 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.”
Updates regarding the Greer Elementary School Naming Review are accessible on the school division’s School Naming Review website, along with current information on all school naming reviews. Community members with questions or suggestions about the Greer naming review can email the advisory committee at SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org.
Born in 1883, Mary Carr Greer was a prominent local educator. She attended the Union Ridge Grade School, a primary school that would later become the Albemarle Training School. Greer taught school locally for several years before attending Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in Petersburg, Virginia, now known as Virginia State University. She then joined the faculty at Albemarle Training School and, in 1931, became its third principal.
The committee’s recommendation on a school name will be provided to the superintendent, who, in turn, will make a recommendation to the school board. The board will make the final decision on the school’s name. If that decision is to change the name of the school, the new name would become effective next July 1.
CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Legislative and Public Affairs Officer