School History

  • Charles W. Duval, considered a local leader in Gainesville, was born in July of 1876. He owned and operated the Duval Shoe Hospital, a shoe repair shop located parallel to modern day South East 1st Avenue. Gainesville's street naming system changed many names of local streets, but as of July 1, 1950 Mr. Duval ran the Duval Shoe Hospital on the south side of the Phifer State Bank Building.

    Mr. Duval died at his home on February 28, 1933 at the age of 57. His legacy, however, lives on. Duval Early Learning Academy is currently located in the northeast section of Gainesville, Florida. The first one-room structure was built on five acres of land in 1937. Mrs. Lottie I. McPherson served as teacher-principal from 1937 to 1940. The school, then known as Duval Elementary School, consisted of students in first through sixth grades.

    With the increase of enrollment, students in grades five and six, were sent to other schools. The increase continued in 1948 and required students in grade four to go to other schools. The school operated on double sessions until 1953. Mrs. Delia M. Parker and Mrs. T. B. McPherson worked together.

    The community, experiencing continual growth, built a new school plant facility. The site increased twice its size to ten acres of land. A school plant of eight classrooms, a library, a clinic room, and an administrative suite was constructed. The original building also housed a lunchroom. Duval Elementary acquired Mr. C. W. Norton as its principal in the early 1950's. Nine classroom teachers, a music teacher, a lunch room manager and assistant, and a custodian comprised the Duval faculty and staff at that time.

    Mr. L. M. Jackson, in 1956, became Duval's third principal. Six additional acres of land was purchased in 1954. During this time, sixteen classrooms and a cafeteria were added. Again, the student population increased from 285 students to over 700 students. The growth of the neighborhood and school community was attributed to the improvement of the quality of life and housing.

    Past Duval Principals include: Dr. John Rawls, Dr. Robert Van Winkle, Crystal Compton, Joseph Hightower, James Pritchett, Debra Krank, Dewitt Lewis, Dr. Leannetta McNealy, Donna Jones, and Judy Black.

    The current Principal is Dr. Catherine Barnes.