History of  G. W. Carver Elementary School

front facade of building

The Carver Elementary and High School was built in 1939 and named in honor of famous scientist, humanitarian, and artist, Dr. George Washington Carver.  Dr. Carver was the director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, from 1896 until his death in 1943.

The school was constructed on five acres of land on the corner of South Broad and Fourth Streets in the town of Salem, Virginia, in 1939.   It served the major educational, recreational, and social needs of the African-American youth of  Hollins, Salem, Vinton, and Roanoke County.  A seven-room addition was constructed in 1957, and another addition was built in 1962.   The school had a total enrollment of 483 students, a staff of one principal, one assistant principal, twenty-four teachers, three custodians, two cafeteria workers, and one secretary-bookkeeper.

Three principals served the school:  Mr.  Theron M. Williams from 1939 to 1946, Mr. R. Rush Anderson from 1949 to 1953, and Mr. Chauncey D. Harmon from 1953 to 1966.

The name of the school was changed in 1966 from Carver School to Salem Intermediate School due to the integration of the Roanoke County Schools.  Mr. Edward Barnett served as principal of the intermediate school from 1966 to 1977.

In 1977 the new Salem High School opened.  Andrew Lewis High School was converted to a junior high school.  Students from Salem Intermediate were reassigned to Andrew Lewis.  The Old Academy Street and Broad Street Schools were closed; their student populations were combined to form the G. W. Carver Elementary School.  Dr. David Urquhart served as principal, and Mrs. Ruth Robinson was assistant principal.

In 1983 the City of Salem formed its own school system.  G. W. Carver Elementary School became part of the Salem schools.  It is one of four elementary schools in Salem.  Salem also has one middle school - Andrew Lewis - and one high school - Salem High.  Dr. Joseph Coleman served as principal at G. W. Carver from 1983 to 1989.  In 1989 Diane Washenberger became principal of the school and served until 1999.  Trula Byington became principal in 1999 and served until 2010.  At that time, Dr. Joseph Coleman returned to G.W. carver as principal from 2010 until 2014.  Kristyn Schmidt became principal in 2014 and remains in the position today. 

In June of 1995 a major renovation project began at G. W. Carver.  This project was completed in 1998.  It included removal of several additions, complete renovation of the original building, and a large two-story addition.  The renovated facility is designed to house up to 600 students.