School History

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    History of Willie Adele MetcalfeWillie Adele Metcalfe

     

    Metcalfe bears the name of one of the best-loved teachers and principals in Gainesville: Willie Adele Metcalfe. For 55 years, Mrs. Metcalfe was a teacher in Florida, first in Duval, DeSoto and Suwannee Counties, then in Alachua County. She taught kindergarten and elementary grades; was principal of all the county's elementary schools and later was principal of Kirby Smith Elementary. She taught psychology for several summer sessions at the University of Florida. After she retired as Principal-Emeritus from Kirby Smith, she taught for three more years and substituted and tutored until March 1968. She died on Christmas Day, 1968.

    Known as a great storyteller, deep thinker and woman of vision, she was widowed in 1925, but managed, during the Depression years, to educate a daughter and obtain her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Florida. Her devotion to teaching as evidenced by her words. "If they didn't pay me to teach, I would pay them to let me teach." She was present on May 10, 1960, when Metcalfe Elementary School was dedicated in her honor.