Location of School
History of Wanda Gray Elementary School
elementary school is named after longtime, Southwest Missouri
educator, Dr. Wanda Gray.
name is synonymous with education. She believed in the importance
of a good education and understood
and believed in her students.
Gray was born in Butterfield, MO to Walter and Bertha Gray.
She has two sisters, who were also teachers. Her hard work
ethic came from her upbringing on the family farm.
Gray graduated from Butterfield High School and went on to
attend Missouri State Teachers College (now Missouri State
University). She graduated in 1949. While attending college,
she began teaching in a little two room schoolhouse in rural
Barry County. The school was rustic although it was located
in a beautiful spot at the foot of a hill in a large grove
of trees. The school had outdoor plumbing and a pot belly
stove to keep the school children warm during the cold months
of the year.
1946 to 1950, Dr. Gray taught at Butterfield and then Cassville
until 1954. At this time, she became an elementary principal
at Field School in Neosho. In 1960, she became Coordinator
of Elementary Instruction in Neosho. In 1956, Dr. Gray received
her Masters from the University of Missouri and in 1962,
she earned her Doctorate from the University of Arkansas.
Gray moved back to Springfield in 1967 to become Coordinator
of Elementary Instruction for the Springfield Public School
District. Next, she was promoted to the position of Director
of Elementary Education, later the title changed to Assistant
Superintendent of Elementary Education. It was during these
years that she had the pleasure of working with "everyone"
in the Springfield Elementary school system.
Gray's contributions in education are numerous. She has been
vital in establishing new programs within the district including
the Parents as Teachers program among other programs. She
has served on various Task Forces and Committees in Springfield
and served on many state committees and associations. She
retired from the Springfield Public Schools in 1985.
retirement, Dr. Gray worked part-time at Drury College's
Education Department teaching Children's Literature and Elementary
Curriculum. In 1995, Drury College awarded her the Outstanding
Educator of the Year at Drury Evening College.
1985, a new elementary school was built on Plainview Road.
Dr. Gray was surprised when the name of the new school was
unveiled at the ground-breaking ceremony - Wanda Gray Elementary!
Gray has continued to encourage and support the students
and teachers here at Wanda Gray Elementary with regular visits
and gifts. In our school library, there is a model (which
she created) of her much-loved one room school in Butterfield
In 2005, the Wanda Gray Park (adjacent to the school) was
dedicated. Dr. Gray currently lives in Springfield with her
sister Wilma, also a retired Springfield teacher.
Map to School
Directions from the South:
Hwy 160 (Campbell Street),
Turn left (west) on Farm Road 182 (Also called Plainview Road).
School will be on the right (north) side of street.
from the North:
Hwy 160 (Campbell Street)
Turn right (west) on Farm Road 182 (Also called Plainview
School will be on the right (north) side of street