Mary Carr Greer Elementary School will become the third school in Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) to retain its name after undergoing the school division’s name review process. The Albemarle County School Board voted to retain the name at its meeting last evening after having received the recommendation to do so from Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas.
The advisory committee solicited community input on the school’s name through two surveys and two public meetings, as well as through an engagement campaign at Greer that gave students the chance to voice their opinions throughout the process. The committee held its second public meeting on June 6, during which it discussed survey results and the research it had done on Mary Carr Greer. The committee received letters, emails, and phone calls, along with input from members of the Ivy Creek Foundation and a former student of Mary Carr Greer. All were in favor of retaining the school’s name, and throughout the process, no one spoke against retaining the school’s current name.
In its research, the committee found a 1948 Albemarle Training School (ATS) yearbook that was dedicated to Greer, its “beloved principal,” stating that she had “kept before them the ATS motto, Character, Courage and Perseverance.” Members of the Ivy Creek Foundation described the numerous civic groups to which Greer belonged that supported equality of education for all children.
Susie Lee, the chair of the advisory committee and a guidance counselor at the school, said of the committee’s research: “Every contact that we had about Mrs. Greer throughout the public comment and research process showed us not only the undivided loyalty that she inspires in those who live in this community, but also the courageous approach she had to providing an equitable education to all students in this community, regardless of factors like race, gender, or socioeconomic status. What we know about Mrs. Greer is that she was the kind of person our school educators hope our students will exemplify.”
The committee sent out two surveys to the Greer community prior to their final public meeting. The first survey of the two had 366 respondents, 305 of whom suggested retaining the name Mary Carr Greer. The second survey asked participants to choose from among four possible school names, including Mary Carr Greer, Blue Ridge, Hydraulic, and Gecko. That survey received 759 responses, 394 of which were from students. Almost 92% of the respondents said that their top choice for the school name was Mary Carr Greer Elementary.
Both surveys and other information related to the Greer name review process can be found on the Greer Elementary School Naming Review web page.
As a result of all of the information it gathered, the committee found that Mary Carr Greer’s contributions align with the school division’s values of equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness, as well as with the school’s guiding principles, which state that Greer is “fully committed to creating an equality of opportunity for every one of our children through an educational program focused on the individual student.”
The volunteer advisory committee included the school principal, Steve Saunders; Ms. Lee and three other Greer staff members; three parents; and three people who live in the school community, but do not have students attending Greer.
In total, 14 schools in ACPS were named after individuals when, in October of 2018, the school board directed that all 14 have their name evaluated by community advisory committees. The purpose of these name reviews is to ensure that all schools in ACPS have names that align with the school division’s values of equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness.
The six previous school name reviews also were conducted by volunteer community advisory committees, and in each instance, the superintendent supported the committee’s recommendation. To date, including last night’s decision, the school board has changed the name of four schools and retained the name of three. Summaries of all school name reviews are maintained on the school division’s School Names Under Review web page.
Community members with questions or suggestions about the name review process may consult the school division’s School Naming Review website or email the school division at SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org.
CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Deputy Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer