School History

Glen Forest Elementary School opened in September 1957 with 18 classrooms and approximately 15 teachers. Our first principal was Floyd W. Worley. Glen Forest Elementary School was built to house 540 students in first through seventh grade. Today, Glen Forest has 1,075 students in pre-K through fifth grade and employs more than 150 staff members, including 56 classroom teachers. Glen Forest Elementary School has undergone three major additions since it opened. In 1969, the school’s size essentially doubled. In 1988, six more classrooms were added, and two years later in 1990, the main office was added.

Black and white photograph of Glen Forest Elementary School taken in 1958. A school bus is parked in front of the main entrance.
Glen Forest Elementary School, 1958, courtesy of the Virginia Room, Fairfax County Public Library

 

Integration

When Glen Forest Elementary School opened, Fairfax County’s public schools were segregated by race, and our school only educated white children from the surrounding community. In September 1965, Fairfax County’s public schools desegregated, marking the beginnings of the culturally diverse school community we know today. Unlike the Glen Forest Elementary School of the 1950s, today we have one of the most culturally diverse student bodies in Fairfax County with a student population representing 55 different countries, and 89 percent of our students come from homes where a language other than English is spoken.    

Black and white photograph of a classroom at Glen Forest Elementary School in November 1981. A teacher is leading a class of what look to be second or third graders. The children are very engaged in the lesson and have their hands up in the air waiting to answer.
Glen Forest Classroom, November 1981

 

Our Community Roots

Glen Forest Elementary School is located in Bailey’s Crossroads, which was named for Hachaliah (heck-a-LIE-uh) Bailey who, in 1837, purchased 526 acres at the intersection of Leesburg and Columbia Pike including the land where Glen Forest stands today. Bailey moved to Fairfax County from Westchester County, New York, where he had operated a traveling menagerie of elephants. Hachaliah Bailey’s son, Lewis, created the first canvas circus tents for performances venues. His nephew, George Bailey, exhibited animals during the day and added circus performances at night. Another nephew, James A. Bailey, merged the traveling show with P.T. Barnum’s circus in 1880. Contrary to popular rumors, no elephants are buried here according to a Washington Post article. Today, Bailey’s Crossroads signs along Leesburg Pike feature a circus tent.

Collage of three images from the 19th century. On the left is a color illustration of a circus with train, midway, and tents. The center image is a portrait of Hachaliah Bailey. He is an older gentleman with long hair and a long beard. On the right is a broadside advertising a circus elephant attraction from a 19th century newspaper.
Hachaliah Bailey shown at center.

 

Presidential Forays

In 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower brought Nikita Khrushchev to the newly opened Seven Corners Shopping Center near Glen Forest. In 1998, President Bill Clinton delivered a radio address from one of Glen Forest Elementary School’s modular buildings, advocating for federal funding for school construction.

Color photograph of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev walking side by side. Several men in military uniform stand behind them.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, 1955

 

Academic Excellence

In February 2017, the Virginia General Assembly passed a joint resolution honoring Glen Forest Elementary School for its 60 years of excellence. In recent history, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in student achievement spurred on by our continued focus on providing students with an advanced academic curriculum, our high priority in building technology skills for the future, and our efforts to engage families, build community spirit, and embrace our cultural diversity to create an inclusive learning environment.

Glen Forest commemorative pennant given to students between 1964 and 1970. This particular pennant is faded blue with Glen Forest written in gold lettering. It was given as a gift to the school by former student Sue Ann Hilten who attended Glen Forest in the 1960s.
Commemorative Glen Forest pennant, circa 1964-70, donated by former student Sue Ann Hilton

 

A Special Gift

On November 27, 2017, in partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival Tree Planting Program and All Nippon Airways (ANA), Glen Forest was presented with a gift of five cherry blossom trees in honor of the friendship between the United States and Japan. The tree planting was attended by ANA’s Senior Vice President of the Americas, Hideki Kunugi, an alumni of Glen Forest who attended our school in the 1960s.

Two color photographs of the cherry tree planting ceremony. On the left, a group of five students shovel dirt onto the base of the tree. On the right Principal Choate, Hideki Kunugi, and several Fairfax County School Board members pose with shovels next to the tree.