School History

Woodley Hills Elementary School was established in September 1952. At that time construction of our building was not yet complete, so classes were held at Woodlawn Elementary School. Woodley Hills officially opened to students during the week of Thanksgiving on Monday, November 24, 1952. Our school originally had just six classrooms and one multi-purpose room which was used for physical education classes, art classes, and musical programs. On opening day, a truckload of desks and books preceded the first school bus load of children who were assigned to Room #4, grades four and five respectively. Other buses followed until all six rooms were filled to capacity. During that school year, in addition to his duties as our first principal, Charles Hughes taught a class of fifth and sixth graders. 

The Baby Boom

Woodley Hills Elementary School opened during the post-World War II period known as the baby boom. As the school-age population of Fairfax County swelled during the 1950s and 1960s, Woodley Hills was enlarged several times to accommodate the influx of children to our community. The first addition of six classrooms was added in 1955, followed by eight more classrooms in 1957. By 1961, Woodley Hills had twenty-four faculty members, including a librarian, secretary, and a special education teacher. During the 1950s, elementary education in Fairfax County consisted of grades one through seven. In 1960, when Fairfax County established its first intermediate schools, our seventh grade class was assigned to the newly opened Walt Whitman Intermediate School. Our first kindergarten classes began in September 1968 when Fairfax County Public Schools added kindergarten as a grade county-wide. 


For the first 76 years of its history, the public school system in Fairfax County was segregated by race. When Woodley Hills Elementary School opened in 1952, only white children from the surrounding community were admitted. At that time, African-American children from our area were educated in a small frame schoolhouse at Gum Springs. In 1953, the children were shifted to the newly opened Drew-Smith Elementary School. All racially segregated public schools in Fairfax County were closed at the end of the 1965-66 school year, marking the beginnings of the ethnically and culturally diverse Woodley Hills school community we know today.

What's in a Name?

Learn about the origin of our school's name in this video produced for Fairfax County Public Schools’ cable television channel Red Apple 21.

Our Principals

1952 – 1956: Charles R. Hughes
1956 – 1963: Virginia H. Austin
1963 – 1968: Donald T. Lacey
1968 – 1976: Kathleen P. Michael
1976 – 1981: George R. C. Fox
1981 – 1985: James D. Walters
1985 – 1992: Joan M. Freck
1992 – 1996: Sandy Berthelesen
1996 – 1998: Nancy Briggs
1998: Kay P. Eckler (Acting)
1998 – 2004: Rima Vesilind
2004 – Present: Sharon Aldredge