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.
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. Fairfax County’s schools desegregated slowly, from 1960 to 1966, ushering in 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.