Westmoreland Elementary and its predecessors have been an integral part of this small, upper Sumner County community for over 100 years.
The first schools in the community were called "subscription schools." These schools were operated by a professor or teacher, who charged the students a fee for instruction and met his classes in his home, the nearest church or other available place. Old Brushy, now known as Pleasant Grove, was one such school, having been founded circa 1865. Its teacher was James A. Nimmo, who had only recently returned from the Civil War as a Captain in the Confederate Army. The school term varied but was usually about six months in length. Because of the rural lifestyles of most of the students, the education they received was often determined by their family's needs at home.
Toward the latter part of the 19th century an increased emphasis was placed on the education of the community's children. As a result, "one-room schoolhouses" dotted the landscape every few miles. One of these was located about two miles west of present-day Westmoreland. This school, known as Hawkins Schoolhouse, served the children of Coatestown, the predecessor of our modern-day Westmoreland. Hawkins Schoolhouse was built of logs and inside the children sat on log seats supported by legs inserted into holes on the underside.
Later, sometime around the mid to late 1890's, a school was built in Westmoreland itself. This building sat behind the present-day Methodist church. The building, painted white, was a long, low wooden structure. Among the teachers who taught here were Tom Kirby, Morgan Hodges, and Ms. Mallies Summers. It was as a result of a suggestion by Ms. Summers that the name "Westmoreland" was chosen for the community. This school soon became overcrowded and the need for a larger building was recognized.
Squire W. Brown donated a portion of land at the top of the hill at the corner of present-day Bledsoe and Locust Streets as the site for a new school. When construction had been completed, the community had an impressive educational facility for its time. Standing two stories tall, the large frame building was topped by a bell tower. Extending from the rear of the main structure was a rectangular-shaped, single-story ell which functioned as an auditorium/cafeteria/classroom. This building was constructed between 1910 and 1915. It remained a "two teacher elementary school" until sometime later when it became a two-year high school. Duke Moss, Davis Durham, and Professor Henry Brachier among others taught here.
Increasing enrollment again presented a dilemma to the community. It was decided that a new school would be constructed in 1928. The town of Westmoreland contributed $10,000 in bonds to build the first unit of the new high school, which included an auditorium and two wings extending out to the gym. The new school was built immediately behind the old frame school. This school served grades 1-12 until 1955, having become a four-year high school when it opened in 1929. The first graduating class consisted of 23 students. The school was the source of much community pride and the scene of much activity. During the 1930's and early 1940's, the school's agriculture department sponsored the East Sumner Fair. During its time, this fair was the largest in Sumner County. It ended with the beginning of World War II.
In December of 1955, a fire of mysterious origin started late one night near the cafeteria and quickly spread throughout the building. By the next morning, the only portion of the building left standing was the Agricultural Annex, which was separate from the main building.
The town was devastated at its loss, but once again the community pulled together for its children. For the next year and a half, classes were held at various sites in the town, including the churches. At the same time construction proceeded on two new consolidated county schools for the community: a new elementary school and a separate high school.
On January 1, 1959, the new Westmoreland Elementary School opened its doors for the first time. Dedication ceremonies were held on February 1.
Mr. Charles Wright served as the school's first principal. The following academic year, Mr. Wright was named the principal of Westmoreland High School. While principal of the high school, Mr. Wright married a local girl and joined Trammell Masonic Lodge #436, where he remained a member till his death. Later in his career, Mr. Wright progressed through the district ranks to finally become the Assistant Director of Instruction for Sumner County Schools.
Mr. Mayo Leath was named principal in the fall of 1959 and served until his retirement in 1972. Mr. Leath was born in Macon County and married to Ms. Leta Dortch McClard of the Siloam Community. Ms. Dortch worked in the cafeteria and retired from the Sumner County Board of Education. Mr. Leath was a member of Eulia General Baptist Church in Westmoreland, Macon County and Past Master of Trammel Masonic Lodge #436. Mr. Leath passed away in 1997 at the age of 89.
Mr. Jimmy Lee Brown became principal at Mr. Leath's retirement in 1973. Mr. Brown was a native of the Westmoreland community. He served as the school’s principal from 1973 to 2000, the longest term served by a principal. Mr. Brown was married to Ms. Dixie Maynard Brown who retired from Westmoreland High School.
Ms. Sherry Mulholland was appointed principal in 2000. Due to illness, Ms. Milholland left the school before the completion of the 2002-2003 school year. The remainder of her year was completed by Ms. Glee Moore, Instructional Coordinator and Mr. Danny Sullivan.
Ms. Linda Cash became principal in 2003 and remained until 2008. At that time, Ms. Cash was named the principal of the new Station Camp Elementary School.
Dr. David E. Stafford was named the principal of Westmoreland Elementary at the close of the 2007-2008 School Year. He was given the honor of breaking ground on the new building project for Westmoreland Elementary. After serving one year in the old elementary building, the new school was completed and ready to open in August 2009. A dedication service was held in school cafeteria. Dr. Stafford was a 1996 graduate of Westmoreland High School, a member of Siloam Missionary Baptist Church in Westmoreland, and a member of Trammel Masonic Lodge #436.
Westmoreland Elementary has continued to grow throughout the years.
In 1964-1965 two new classrooms were added to the school.
In 1974, three new classrooms and a library were added to meet the needs of our school's growing enrollment.
In 1997, a new addition was added in front of the cafeteria. Six new classrooms and two bathrooms were included in this new construction.
In 2005, due to overcrowding, the fifth grade classes were moved to the old Middle School building. Today we have a student body numbering over 500 students in grades pre-K-5.
In 2008 construction began on a new elementary school for our town, located between the Middle and High schools on Hawkins Drive. It was opened in 2009.
Our faculty and staff continue to work diligently to meet the needs of our students. We strive to faithfully serve our community and its values.