W.W. Irby Elementary School
13505 NW 140th Street, Alachua, FL 32615
Principal: Mrs. Valdenora Fortner
Grades PreK - 2nd
W.W. Irby Elementary is located in the community of Alachua, Florida. The city of Alachua is in Alachua County in north-central Florida, approximately 15 miles from Gainesville, the home of the University of Florida.
Alachua Elementary had been the K-4 school in the community until there was enough population growth to require a second elementary school. In the Spring of 1992, the School Board of Alachua County purchased property to build a new elementary school in the community of Alachua.
When community members realized that the schools were only 1.2 miles apart, they expressed a concern that their children would be divided. They asked Dr. Hirsch, principal of Alachua Elementary, and Mr. Stechmiller, principal of Mebane Middle School, to address this issue at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. It was determined that a committee of community members would make a presentation at a school board meeting and request that they consider dividing the schools by grade level, creating a PreK to Second site and a Third to Fifth site. This plan would also allow fifth-grade students, who had been at Mebane in middle school, to return to an elementary setting. In October 1991, the School Board of Alachua County voted 5-0 to accept this concept.
W.W. Irby Elementary opened its doors on August 28, 1992 and is named for W.W. Irby, who was an Alachua resident and a dedicated educator who served as principal at Alachua Elementary School for 28 years. Irby now houses approximately 500 Pre-K to 2nd-grade students. For grades 3 to 5, our students move to Alachua Elementary. We consider our sites as one elementary school housed in two locations.
Mr. William Wright Irby was born about 100 yards from the school site. His only time away from the Alachua area was while serving in the Air Force and a period of teaching at Ocoee High School. He began his career in the Alachua area in 1952,
serving continuously as teacher, coach, and principal until his retirement in 1984.