History of Wahl-Coates

  • Within the Greenville City Schools and East Carolina University there has been a joint effort to provide the best educational opportunities for the children of the Greenville City Schools since the early 1900’s.  The April 21, 1913, minutes of the Board of Trustees of the Greenville Graded Schools recorded the meeting with former Governor Thomas Jordan Jarvis, Chairman of the Executive Committee of East Carolina Training School, for the purpose of initiating a program to provide more school buildings for the town of Greenville. As a result of this meeting, the trustees of both institutions entered into an agreement for building the Model School to be located on the northwest part of the Training School (East Carolina University) campus.

    The Model School, originally a four-room building, opened in the fall of 1914.It was to be used by the Training School and children of Greenville Graded Schools. This was considered an ideal place for college students to apply the theories and ideals of education as learned in the Training School. The “critic teachers” of this school were members of both the Greenville Graded Schools and the East Carolina Training School faculties. Since the Model School was a part of the Greenville Graded Schools, it was under the supervision of the Superintendent of Greenville Schools, H.B. Smith.

    On January 29, 1927, Dr. Robert Wright, President of East Carolina Teacher’s Training School, spoke at the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Greenville Graded Schools. He stated that it was his plan and the plan of the Training School to build another “practice” school, that he appreciated all that Greenville Schools were doing for the practice teaching situation, and the Training School was very eager to help whenever possible. He indicated that the Legislature would be asked to appropriate money for a new practice school building and that if East Carolina secured the appropriation, the building would be placed on a site that would serve the interests of the children of Greenville as well as the interests of the Training School.

    September 10, 1928, the “New Model School” or the “Training School” opened with 257 students and the following staff:

    Cleo Rainwater                             Principal and Grade 5

    Dora Coates                                              Grade 1

    Ruth Faison                                              Grade 1

    Lucy Nulton                                              Grade 2

    Christine Johnson                                      Grade 2

    Eunice McGee                                          Grade 3

    Elizabeth Savage                                       Grade 3

    Alma Brown                                              Grade 4

    Eugenia Thomas                                        Music

    This school was located at the northeast end of the campus of East Carolina Teacher’s Training School. It continued to increase in student enrollment and staff over the next 44 years.  During the 1953-54 school year East Carolina College named the building the Wahl-Coates Laboratory School in honor of its principal, Miss Frances Wahl, and Miss Dora Coates, a former primary teacher in the school and an East Carolina faculty member.  

    As the University continued to increase in student enrollment and programs, a need for a “new” Wahl-Coates facility became evident. In the latter part of the 1960’s planning was initiated for a new Wahl-Coates.  Recommendations regarding the relocation of Wahl-Coates were developed jointly by the Board of Education of the Greenville City Schools and East Carolina University in 1967.The following excerpt is the introductory paragraph of this agreement:

                " A new and relocated Wahl-Coates Elementary School should be build with available University funds; supplementary fund should be provided by Greenville City Schools for special furnishings and equipment.  The building should be situated on land deeded to the University but made available by way of Greenville City Schools funds.  Such a school should be designed and operated in such a manner as to reflect a true experimental demonstration situation while maintaining the necessary primary of a fundamental educational program for children.  The school would be operated as an integral part of Greenville City Schools in cooperation and joint responsibility with the School of Education of East Carolina University."

    The new Wahl-Coates School was built on 17.3 acres of land in the east part of Greenville and was opened on January 3, 1972, with approximately 500 students in grades kindergarten through six.  In August 1980-81, the grade-level structure changed to grades four through six and then changed again in August 1990-91 to a Kindergarten through fifth grade configuration as a result of a system wide re-alignment to reflect an elementary school concept. This format has been in place since then, and continues to be utilized on order to meet the needs of our approximate 480 students.

    School Administrators

    Miss Cleo Rainwater    1928-1936

    Miss Frances Wahl    1936-1961

    Mr. Rexford E. Piner    1961-1965

    Mr. Charles Ross    1965-1970

    Dr. Rexford E. Piner    1970-1982

    Mr. Paul Rasberry    1982-1985

    Mrs. Leslie McCarley    1985-1986

    Mrs. Leslie McCarley/Mrs. Judith Budacz    1986-1987

    Mrs. Judith Budacz    1987-1999

    Mrs. Barbara Wing    1999-2006

    Mr. Will Sanderson    2006– 2011

    Dr. Chena Cayton    July 1, 2011-Oct. 18, 2015

    Mr. Marty Baker     October 19, 2015 - June 30, 2020

    Mrs. Tracy Davenport  July 1, 2020-Present