Mission and History
In 1967, a group of Wilson, North Carolina, parents assembled and discussed the prospect of opening a new independent school in Wilson. Their ideas, however, did not immediately materialize and it was not until June of 1969 that Greenfield Academy became a reality. Once again, a group of parents, which included Atwood and Sammy Skinner, Fuller and Mary Patience Dibrell, Dave Connor, and Rom Watson, got together and plans were finalized for Greenfield to open. Forty students, representing twenty–nine families, were enrolled for the fall of 1969 and Greenfield Academy, under the leadership of Headmaster John D. Hughes, opened its doors on September 3rd for the first time in the newly renovated McDustrell’s equestrian school. Mr. B. Atwood Skinner, Jr. assumed the role of President of the Board of Trustees. Among those early faculty members were Mrs. Calvin Jones, Mrs. Haywood Edmundson, Mr. Steven Yelverton, Mrs. E.C. Winstead, Mr. Warren Whitehurst, Mrs. Al Morris, Mrs. Thomas Wood, Mrs. Kirk Kimbro, Mrs. William Godwin, Mrs. B.L. Sen, Mrs. Paul Berry, Mrs. James Calhoun, and Mrs. John Hughes. Greenfield Academy was founded as a K–8 school and in 1970; the first eighth–grade graduates were Fuller Dibrell, Nancy Hughes, and Thomas Whitaker.
Within the next two years Greenfield Academy became a K–12 school, and in June of 1972 the school hired its second Headmaster, Dr. George H. Bell. During the early years of Dr. Bell’s eleven year tenure as Headmaster, Greenfield Academy changed its name to Greenfield School. In 1973 the first class of seniors to graduate was Bucky Boykin, Alice Flowers, Betsy Torrans, Tav Gauss, Neal Howard, Sarah Gray Lamm, Bill Moore, Brooks Skinner, and Paxton Peters. A new library was built in 1973 and a gymnasium was constructed in 1974. In May 1975, Greenfield became a fully accredited K–12 school by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Greenfield’s lower school was the first elementary school in Wilson County to be fully accredited. As the next eight years passed, enrollment climbed to 300 students, tennis courts and a soccer field was added, and the school gained local and state acclaim as a sound academic institution and a soccer power!
Dr. Bell resigned in January 1983, and Jeffrey Thompson, former Headmaster of the Rossman School in St. Louis, Missouri, became Greenfield’s third Headmaster in July 1983. During the next four years, a preschool program was added. In January 1987, Mr. Thompson resigned and Mrs. Janet Beaman, teacher at Greenfield School for fifteen years and Assistant Headmaster for nine years, was appointed as Greenfield’s fourth Headmaster. Greenfield School opened in the fall of 1987 with an expanded preschool program that included a program designed for two–year–olds. Greenfield School now offers a continuation of education spanning sixteen years in the life of a child.
During the 1995–1996 school year the most successful capital campaign in the history of Greenfield School was held. Through the generosity of the family and friends of Greenfield, major campus renovations were completed and the Skinner Technology Center, named for Mr. B. Atwood Skinner, Jr., was constructed. The Skinner Technology Center houses state of the art equipment, four science laboratories, and three computer laboratories.
In April 2005, the inaugural class was inducted into The Order of the Roundtable as part of Greenfield School’s 35th Anniversary celebration. This is a recognition of those who have been instrumental in founding the school and continuation of its excellence. Members include past parents, past faculty and administrators as well as long-time supporters. Subsequent classes were inducted in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017.
The 2010-11 school year marked several major milestones in the history of the school. Janet Beaman, after twenty-four years as Headmaster and thirty-nine total years of service to Greenfield, retired at the end of the school year. After a nationwide search, Dr. Vince Janney, formerly of The Peck School in Morristown, NJ, was named headmaster beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, a position he held until 2015. In addition, Greenfield School acquired an additional 41 acres adjacent to the existing property for future expansion. The board of trustees also announced a new capital campaign that will position the school well for the future. Construction began on a new entrance, egress, and parking lot for the school in June of 2011and was completed the following year.
Also, in 2012, a new cafeteria was built and new student parking lot were constructed on the newly acquired land.
Janet Beaman returned as interim head of school for the 2015-2016 school year. The following year, long-time Greenfield faculty member, alumna, and past parent, Beth Peters was named head of school.
In 2017 a 1/8-mile walking track was built to encourage healthy living.
The following year a successful campaign raised funds for the Laura Leslie Tennis Complex, six state-of-the-art tennis courts. Mrs. Crudup was honored in recognition of her 39 years of teaching at Greenfield and her devotion to the school.
A baseball field is under construction adjacent to the tennis court.