Fort Benning showcases new McBride Elementary School

Phyllis Parker, the principal of McBride Elementary School, leads a tour of the new facility July 19. The tour included school teachers, administrators and special guest Thomas Brady, the director of the Department of Defense Education Activity. (Photos by Danielle Davis)

Phyllis Parker, the principal of McBride Elementary School, leads a tour of the new facility July 19. The tour included school teachers, administrators and special guest Thomas Brady, the director of the Department of Defense Education Activity. (Photos by Danielle Davis)

By Danielle Davis, Bayonet & Saber /

New year. New standards. New school.

Thomas Brady, the Department of Defense Education Activity director, traveled to Fort Benning July 19 for a tour of McBride Elementary School, Benning’s newest education facility, which will welcome its first class of students Aug. 4.

“This is like a homecoming for me. I’m surrounded by memories. I lived on Fort Benning for five years and to see the growth since then is wonderful,” said Brady.

The new McBride Elementary School will feature a mural of its namesake, Capt. Morris R. McBride. The mural is the first of its kind in a Fort Benning school. (Photos by Danielle Davis)

The new McBride Elementary School will feature a mural of its namesake, Capt. Morris R. McBride. The mural is the first of its kind in a Fort Benning school.

Brady explained that the design of the school goes along with the 21st century learning that is being implemented at DoDEA schools.

“Collaboration for teachers, project problem-solving for children through collaboration and the building supports that,” he said.

“Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions that a parent can make. So they need to come here and see this staff, the teachers and see the children getting involved with 21st century learning. It will open their eyes,” Brady added.

Other school officials including Dr. Christy Huddleston, the superintendent of the DoDEA Americas Southeast District, Dr. Lisa Coleman, the Georgia/Alabama District community superintendent of the DoDEA Americas Southeast District, and Phyllis Parker, the principal of McBride Elementary School, joined Brady for the tour.

“This is a 21st century school and the purpose of it is to promote collaboration with our students. After talking with people in business and industry, we found that the key skill they’re looking for is the ability to work together to problem solve,” said Coleman.

The school’s open area format will help foster that. While the other schools’ physical appearance may be different, they’ll also be working hard to promote collaborative learning, she added.

“I love it. It’s going to provide a great atmosphere for the teachers to implement 21st century learning,” said Michelle Allen, the principal of Wilson Elementary School.

“I’m very excited to be coming here. Just looking around I can see that not only is this school going to inspire the students, but the teachers as well. I already feel inspired,” said Amy Dilmar, the new assistant principal at McBride Elementary School.

The new McBride Elementary School's music room is adorned with a keyboard on the walls to inspire creativity. (Photos by Danielle Davis)

The new McBride Elementary School’s music room is adorned with a keyboard on the walls to inspire creativity.

Dilmar explained that the new school features a windmill, sundial and solar panels.

“I’ve been to a lot of schools and this one is truly one of a kind,” said Arnold Taganas, a mechanical engineer who worked on the school.

It’s all been very exciting, added Parker.

“In a way we’ve been preparing for this a long time. Our teachers have grown accustom to collaborating and the way the building is set up they will have their own planning, collaboration space,” Parker said.

Parker also said that each grade level would belong to a different neighborhood at the school. The neighborhoods will help foster collaboration between the students.

The school isn’t just going to do a lot for the students though. It’s going to help the community as well, Parker said.

“When I look at our black box theater, we can do so many things here. We can offer plays and different programs,” Parker added.

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