About Our School
Wanda Gray is located at 2101 W Farm Road 182 in southwest Springfield. The enrollment is close to 500 students. Wanda Gray has a rich history of academic excellence and has a wonderful staff. The mission statement for our school is: Wanda Gray is a learning environment striving for excellence in academics, character, and leadership. We work hard to develop rigorous lessons to help each student reach their full potential. Character and leadership skills are embedded in the learning with a focus on being kind to self and others as well.
History Of Wanda Gray
Our elementary school is named after long-time southwest Missouri educator Dr. Wanda Gray.
Her name is synonymous with education. She believed in the importance of a good education and understood and believed in her students.
Wanda Gray was born in Butterfield, MO to Walter and Bertha Gray. She has two sisters, who were also teachers. Her hard work ethic came from her upbringing on the family farm.
Dr. Gray graduated from Butterfield High School and went on to attend Missouri State Teachers College (now Missouri State University). She graduated in 1949. While attending college, she began teaching in a little two room schoolhouse in rural Barry County. The school was rustic although it was located in a beautiful spot at the foot of a hill in a large grove of trees. The school had outdoor plumbing and a pot belly stove to keep the school children warm during the cold months of the year.
From 1946 to 1950, Dr. Gray taught at Butterfield and then Cassville until 1954. At this time, she became an elementary principal at Field School in Neosho. In 1960, she became Coordinator of Elementary Instruction in Neosho. In 1956, Dr. Gray received her Master's from the University of Missouri and in 1962, she earned her Doctorate from the University of Arkansas.
Dr. Gray moved back to Springfield in 1967 to become Coordinator of Elementary Instruction for the Springfield Public School District. Next, she was promoted to the position of Director of Elementary Education, later the title changed to Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education. It was during these years that she had the pleasure of working with everyone in the Springfield elementary school system.
Dr. Gray's contributions in education are numerous. She has been vital in establishing new programs within the district including the Parents as Teachers program among other programs. She has served on various Task Forces and Committees in Springfield and served on many state committees and associations. She retired from the Springfield Public Schools in 1985.
After retirement, Dr. Gray worked part-time at Drury College's Education Department teaching Children's Literature and Elementary Curriculum. In 1995, Drury College awarded her the Outstanding Educator of the Year at Drury Evening College.
In 1985, a new elementary school was built on Plainview Road. Dr. Gray was surprised when the name of the new school was unveiled at the ground-breaking ceremony - Wanda Gray Elementary!
Dr. Gray continued to encourage and support the students and teachers here at Wanda Gray Elementary with regular visits and gifts. In our school library, there is a model (which she created) of her much-loved one room school in Butterfield In 2005, the Wanda Gray Park (adjacent to the school) was dedicated.
Dr. Gray passed away on February 3, 2013 in Springfield. She will be missed by many friends, family, and students lives she had touched.