Willard Model School History
What’s in a name?
You might have seen the lettering on our building that reads “Willard Model School at Lakewood” or you might (if you’re old enough) remember us simply as “Lakewood Elementary School.” We are now Willard Model Elementary School (WMES).
Lakewood was named after the neighborhood in which it is located. The original Willard Junior High School was named after Frances E. Willard (1839-1898) who was a local educator, leader and reformer and was passionate about women’s rights and other social issues.
In 1986, Willard was chosen as the site to receive a grant from the state of Virginia that created a model school that would be “the elementary school of the Twenty-First Century.” We would become a “work-in-progress” using the latest research and new ideas in technology, student and parent programming, enrichment and summer activities and specialty guidance programs to nurture successful students. The vision of then Superintendent Gene Carter and Principal Lillian Brinkley was for a school that worked collaboratively. Everyone, including the administrators, teachers, instructional assistants, custodial, cafeteria and transportation staff would be a team that worked for the benefit of the students. That same spirit is modeled throughout Norfolk Public Schools today.
Please join us as we continue to reflect and model that kind of school spirit at Willard this year! In addition to rigorous instruction, we are promoting students to be safe, respectful and responsible.
The Norfolk mermaid located at Willard Model School is a design featuring the flags of NATO countries from head to fin! It is the original NATO mermaid and in 2000, when it was designed, painted and installed here, there were 19 member countries depicted in some way by a likeness of its flag. Our Mermaid was designed and painted by Norfolk artist Peggy Mackey and was graciously donated by Lakewood Civic League. We have the priviledge of having the very first Mermaid installed in Norfolk.