CDR William C. McCool ES/MS (formerly Guam South ES/MS) History

Opened: 1997

Commander William C. McCool Elementary/Middle School, formerly known as Guam South Elementary/Middle School, is in Sumay, Guam, on the Naval Station Military Base. The opening ceremonies for the new school were held on 29 September 1997. The first administrators were Jim Harrison, principal, and William Hall, assistant principal. Mr. Hall became the principal the following year.

When the school opened there were 825 students enrolled in PreK through eighth grade. Dr. Lillian Gonzalez, the DoDEA Director, visited the school during its first year. The school offered a variety of extracurricular sports including volleyball, basketball, and soccer with separate teams for boys and girls. Later, cross country, softball, and baseball were added as sports. The arts program included several bands, choruses for elementary and middle school, and drama productions. During the 1999-2000 school year, construction was begun on a new gym and library. The following year a new kindergarten wing was constructed. Mr. Hall remained the principal for several years and his assistants included Dr. Jacque Taton-Saunders and Jerry Smith. The school received its first accreditation during the 2000-01 school year.

When the school opened, the school mascots were the Panther for the elementary school and the Stingray for the middle school. Later the mascot became the Seahawk, chosen because it is the name of a naval helicopter and symbolizes Naval Aviation – the mission of the base in Guam. The school colors are blue, red, and silver. The blue represents the Navy, the red the Marines, and the silver NASA. The school motto is “Learning and Growing Together”.

The school was renamed for William Cameron “Willie” McCool. He was a US Navy Commander, NASA astronaut, and Columbia Space Shuttle pilot who was killed February 1, 2003, when Columbia disintegrated during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. According to the 2013-14 yearbook:

Guam South Elementary/Middle School was renamed CDR William C. McCool Elementary/Middle School on August 29, 2003, during a name-change ceremony at the school.

Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo introduced H.R. 672, which became public law April 22, to rename the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) school after McCool, who had close ties to Guam. He attended two public schools at Guam -- Dededo Middle School and John F. Kennedy High School from 1975 to 1977.

“CDR William C. McCool Elementary/Middle School will serve as a symbol of pride and achievement to our island school children,” said governor of Guam, Felix P. Camacho. “The eyes of the world will be on the name change ceremony, serving as a fitting tribute to a man who lived his dreams and who will forever be a part of the lives of the people of Guam.”

Throughout its history McCool Elementary/Middle School has participated in local, district, and worldwide school activities. For the 2000-01 school year, the students began their 1000 Paper Cranes project. The 1000 paper cranes represent the Japanese legend that if a person folds 1000 paper cranes, then the hopes and dreams for that person will be accomplished. Other local activities included cultural dance groups, a “Learn A Bration” which focused on Black History, celebrations of Guam History, local field trips to explore the base and local attractions, Youth Environmental Stewards club, and the Sea Perch Club. Students also participated in Red Ribbon Week, Read Across America, and the Month of the Military Child. Some of the district programs were Math Counts, Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, Spelling and Geography Bees, Academic Challenge Bowl, and the Student 2 Student program. Special academic programs included instruction in Chinese as well as Spanish (at the elementary and middle school level) and French, comprehensive STEM and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities, and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination).

The school enrollment reached approximately 1,100 students for the 2018-19 school year. For the 2023-2024 school year there were 875 students enrolled with over eighty teachers.

Don Christian was the principal for the 2009-10 school year and remained principal until the 2013-14 school year when Geoff Fong became the principal. Ms. Kelley Pulliam became principal for the 2015-16 school year and was replaced by Dr. Willette Horne-Barnes for the 2021-2022 school year. The administrators for the 2022-24 school years were and are principal Dr. Willette Horne-Barnes and assistant principals Mr. Thomas Wingert and Ms. Virginia Espree.


Information from the DoDEA website and school yearbooks

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