School History

In 1965, the Fairfax County School Board assigned architect Earl Bailey to design plans for a 20-classroom school tentatively called the Mill Creek Park Elementary School. Due to lack of construction funding, the plans for the school never got off the table and the project was put on hold. In June 1968, the architectural design of the Mill Creek Park School, by then referred to as Camelot Elementary School, were considered outmoded because an educational concept calling for "open classrooms" was quickly becoming the preferred teaching methodology in Fairfax County. The School Board assigned architect Anthony Mussolino to redesign Camelot to incorporate open classroom spaces and increase the capacity of the school to 900 students.

Black and white photograph of Camelot Elementary School taken in 1968 during construction of the building. Construction vehicles and supplies can be seen in the foreground. The cinderblock walls are starting to be erected. In the distance, tall trees without any leaves can be seen. Construction workers can be seen in different places around the site, working on the masonry.
Construction of Camelot Elementary School began in the fall of 1968.

On September 26, 1968, the School Board awarded the contract for the construction of our school to Earl K. Rosti, Inc., at a cost of $1,047,969, with a scheduled completion date of July 1969. Camelot Elementary School opened on September 2, 1969. Our first principal was Beatrice Ward. Approximately 574 students walked through the doors of Camelot on opening day.

Black and white photograph of the front exterior of Camelot Elementary School taken in the 1970s. The main entrance doors and flagpole are visible. Two cars are parked in front of the school. There are no bushes or shrubs in front of the building, so this picture may date from the earliest years after Camelot opened.
Camelot Elementary School, 1970s. Our school looks quite different today because Camelot underwent an extensive $7.7 million renovation and addition project from 2001-03.

What's in a Name?

The name Camelot has long been associated with the legendary King Arthur and fantastical stories of knights and dragons. Accordingly, this association inspired our choice of a school mascot and two special gifts to our school.

Photograph of an unknown person wearing the Flames mascot costume. The dragon costume has light blue fabric on the arms, legs, and head, dark blue fabric on the wings, and gold fabric on the belly. The mascot is standing on the sidewalk in front of our school pointing to an illustration of Flames on a sign.
Camelot Elementary School's logo / mascot is a dragon. Its nickname, Flames, was chosen by students.
Two photographs of the knight statue known as Sir Learn-a-Lot. The statue stands about four or five feet tall, and appears to be made of brushed metal. The knight is wearing a full suit of plate armor. It has a helmet on its head, and is holding a broad sword with its blade imbedded downward into the pedestal base that holds up the statue. On the base of the statue is a plaque that tells how the statue was dedicated to the school by Principal Chubb. In the photograph on the left, four young students are posing for the camera in a hallway with the statue between them. On the right is a photograph of the statue taken from a low angle, showing the detail of the workmanship on the armor.
One day, when former Camelot principal David Chubb was shopping, he came across this knight statue in an antique store. He purchased it and donated it to our school, and henceforth it has become known as Sir Learn-a-Lot.
Two photographs of the dragon / sea serpent statute known as Sir Smartacus. The statue has been placed in a flower bed in front of the main entrance. The statue was crafted in such a way as to give the appearance of the creature being partially above ground and partially below ground, undulating its body as it swims. The statue is surrounded by purple flowers with long green leaves. The photograph on the left shows the full statue, and the photograph on the right is a close up picture of the head.
This statue was donated to our school following the completion of our 2001-03 renovation. Its name is Sir Smartacus!

How exactly did our school come to be known by the name Camelot? Find out in this video produced for Fairfax County Public Schools’ cable television channel Red Apple 21.

Pine Ridge Elementary School

From the mid-1970s into the early 1980s, student enrollment began a gradual decline resulting in the closure of several schools in Fairfax County. The closures affected neighborhoods that saw the earliest growth post-World War II. The children in these neighborhoods were graduating high school, and there were fewer families in the area with young children. Enrollment at Camelot Elementary School gradually declined from 637 students in 1975 to 445 students in 1982. In 1982, a study was conducted to determine which of three elementary schools—Camelot, Mantua, or Pine Ridge—should be closed at the completion of the 1982-83 school year. The Fairfax County School Board voted to close Pine Ridge Elementary School, located nearby on Woodburn Road. After it closed, the school was converted into a police station. The subsequent boundary adjustment transferred approximately 200 former Pine Ridge students to Camelot during the 1983-84 school year.

Color photograph of the front exterior of Pine Ridge Elementary School taken around 1980. A school bus and U.S. postal truck are parked in front of the building. There is snow on the ground and the trees in the foreground have lost most of their leaves.
Pine Ridge Elementary School, Circa 1980

Camelot Center

From 1969 to 2012, Camelot Elementary School was home to a special education center for deaf and hard of hearing students. In addition to elementary-aged children with special needs, the center enrolled preschool children in the Camelot Hearing Pod for Preschoolers. Hearing impaired children throughout Fairfax County were bused to the center, which offered specialized small-group classes and "mainstreamed" students into general education classes.

Color photograph of the front exterior of Camelot Elementary School from our 1981 to 1982 yearbook. Several large shrubs and a pair of evergreen trees have been planted in front of the school. A school bus can be seen on the far left, parked in front of the building.
Camelot Elementary School, 1982

By the mid-1990s, Camelot Center served infants as young as 9 months and children up to the sixth grade. An early intervention program for deaf and hard of hearing infants and toddlers, called Bright Beginnings for Babies, was being offered in collaboration with Fairfax-Falls Church Early Intervention Services. Learn more about Bright Beginnings and other aspects of Camelot Center’s history in this video playlist from the Fairfax County Public Schools’ Red Apple 21 television channel archives.

Camelot Center closed in 2012, when the deaf and hard of hearing program was moved to Canterbury Woods Elementary School.

Color photograph of the front exterior of Camelot Elementary School from our 1999 to 2000 yearbook. Two large evergreen trees can be seen on the left and right side of the picture. In the center, the shrubs in front of the school are covered with snow. The sun is shining on the side of the building, casting long shadows.
Camelot Elementary School, 2000

Camelot Center Principals

For many years, Camelot Center operated under the direction of a separate principal from Camelot Elementary. The first known principal of Camelot Center, from pictures in our 1980s-era yearbooks, is Connie Rahill. Carol McBride was principal from the early to mid-1990s, and Donna Grossman was principal from the late 1990s until the center closed in 2012.

Yearbook portraits of Camelot Center principals Connie Rahill, Carol McBride, and Donna Grossman. Rahill's picture comes from our 1984 to 1985 yearbook. She is standing in a classroom with her arms around two students, a boy and a girl. Bookshelves and a television set on a cart are behind them. McBride's picture comes from our 1994 to 1995 yearbook. She is seated at her desk. Grossman's picture comes from our 2006 to 2007 yearbook. She is seated at her desk. A flower pot with vibrant red poinsettias is in the foreground.
Center principals Connie Rahill (left), Carol McBride (center), and Donna Grossman

Camelot Elementary Principals

Camelot Elementary School’s first principal was Beatrice Booton Ward. She served as principal less than a full year due to health complications. Marvis G. Wynn, who succeeded Ward as principal, described what happened in an interview: “The prior principal had a heart attack. They’d had substitutes in there, she’d come back, she had to go out again, and there really wasn’t any leadership.” Marvis Wynn was appointed principal of Camelot during the summer of 1970, and she led Camelot until the summer of 1980. Principal Wynn was succeeded by Joseph N. Rucker. Joe Rucker retired in 1991, and in January 1993, Camelot Elementary School's library was named in his honor by the Fairfax County School Board.

Black and white portraits of principals Beatrice Ward, Marvis Wynn, and Joseph Rucker. Beatrice Ward's picture is a head-and-shoulders portrait from a FCPS directory of school principals printed in 1969. Marvis Wynn's picture comes from our 1976 to 1977 yearbook. She is seated in chair, presumably in her office, and is holding a three ring binder which sits open on her lap. Joseph Rucker's photograph comes from our 1985 to 1986 yearbook. He is standing next to a brick wall with three children in front of him, two boys and a girl.
Principals Beatrice B. Ward (left, 1969-70), Marvis G. Wynn (center, 1970-80), and Joseph N. Rucker (1980-91)

The School Board resolution naming the library praised Joe Rucker for his love of learning, for fostering a sense of "family" at Camelot, and for his deep concern for the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of all children.  In 1991, David E. Chubb became the fourth principal of Camelot. After his retirement in 2003, he donated Sir Learn-A-Lot (the knight statue prominently displayed in our lobby). Principal Chubb was succeed in 2003 by Melaney Mackin, who led our school until 2008.

Yearbook portraits of principals David Chubb and Melaney Mackin. Chubb's photograph comes from our 1994 to 1995 yearbook, and Mackin's photograph comes from our 2006 to 2007 yearbook. In his picture, Chubb is seated at his desk, looking up from paperwork. In her picture, Mackin is seated at a table with three students. They are looking up from their working and smiling for the camera.
Principals David E. Chubb (1991-03) and Melaney Mackin (2003-08)

In 2008, Craig Gfeller was appointed the sixth principal of Camelot Elementary School. Gfeller led Camelot until our current principal, Aileen Flaherty, was appointed in 2012.

Yearbooks

Our library has a copy of almost every yearbook since our school opened. Here is an animated look the covers in our collection.

Animated image showing the covers of 35 Camelot Elementary School yearbooks from 1976 to 2018. Almost every cover is a hand-drawn illustration by a student with the exception of the earliest covers which are printed abstract art illustrations or photographs of the school.
Missing years are 1969-76, 1982-83, 1987-88, 1989-91, 1995-97, 2001-02. Do you have a yearbook from one of these missing years?

The Buddy Bench

Dedicated in May 2016, the Buddy Bench has become an important part of our school culture. Children are taught that if they feel alone or isolated during recess, they are to go and sit on the bench. When other children see one of their peers sitting on the bench, they know to come and talk or play with him or her.

Color photograph of the Buddy Bench. Playground equipment is visible behind the bench.