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.
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