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School History

In December of 1990, Dr. John R. Griffin, Superintendent of Cumberland County schools, formulated a team of parents, teachers administrators, and businessmen to study the feasibility of implementing a year-round school. After a one year evaluation, several recommendations were made by the team to the Superintendent and to members of the Cumberland County Board of Education. On February 7, 1994, Rachel McClellon was named Principal of Cumberland County’s first year-round school. By March 30, 1994 all certified and non-certified employees were hired. On July 7, 1994, all employees reported to work. On July 18, 1994 students eagerly reported to school.


The schedule reflected 9 weeks in school and 3 weeks out of school. The 3 weeks that the students were out of school was termed an intersession period. The first week was for academic remediation. The second week was for academic enrichment at which time students were exposed to higher-level learning skills and activities. The third week of the intersession period was for vacation.


Dr. Rachel McClellon served as principal until her death in July 2004. During the interim, Dr. Paris Jones and Carolyn Walker, each served several weeks as interim principal. Annette Evans served as principal from September 2004 until June 2010. Principal Janet Kehoe arrived in July 2010 eager to carry on the work and legacy left by Dr. McClellon and Ms. Evans. This legacy holds a strong belief that all children can learn, that instruction should be individualized and tailored to meet the individual student needs as much as possible, and that teachers should utilize a variety of teaching techniques to include hands-on teaching strategies which incorporate technology.


In July 2012, Principal Janet Kehoe and the staff started the 2012-2013 school year by implementing The Leader in Me model, which emphasized a culture of student empowerment and helped unleash each child’s full potential. Based on internationally renowned consultant and author Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Leader in Me produced transformational results such as higher academic achievement, fewer discipline problems, and increased engagement. The Leader in Me equipped students with the self-confidence and skills they needed to thrive in the 21st-century economy.


In 2013, Dr. Shanessa Fenner became the leader of W.T. Brown Elementary School. At that time, the school began following Cumberland County School’s traditional calendar and welcomed students from elementary schools that had been closed the previous school year. The 2019-2020 school year marks Dr. Fenner’s seventh year as the principal of William T. Brown Elementary School. This year we are proud to report that we exceeded growth again last school year and are now number four in Cumberland County in terms of academic growth.

Published by Alison Lemanski on October 8, 2019