School History

Wolftrap Elementary School opened in 1968. Our first principal was John C. Randall, Jr. Wolftrap was designed by Washington architects Chapman and Miller, and was built by the Hill and Kimmel construction company for $764,500. Our building originally had 23 classrooms and was outfitted with an amenity very few public schools in Fairfax County had at that time—air conditioning.  In January 1970, Wolftrap’s innovative architectural design was selected by a national jury for exhibition at the annual convention of the American Association of School Administrators.

Black and white photograph of Wolftrap Elementary School taken in 1968. The front of the building is pictured and one car, a station wagon, is parked in front of the school.
Wolftrap Elementary School, 1968

When Wolftrap first opened, our school did not have a gymnasium because the Fairfax County School Board lacked sufficient funding for school construction projects. The first addition to our school began construction in 1986 and consisted of additional classrooms and a combined gymnasium and music room. Additional classrooms for the School Age Child Care (SACC) program were built in 1989.

Color photograph of Wolftrap Elementary School taken in 1998 from the same angle as the 1968 photograph. A single car, a blue Ford four-door sedan, is parked in front of the building. The trees are considerably larger, but the building looks relatively the same except for an addition to the structure on the far right of the photograph.
Wolftrap Elementary School, 1998

Our first school-wide renovation began during the summer of 2004 and took two years to complete. It was a major undertaking: every classroom was refurbished, the library doubled in size, new heating, air conditioning, and sprinkler systems were installed, and six general education classrooms, a multipurpose room, a band room, and additional office space were constructed. With the renovation complete, students began the 2006-07 school year in what was essentially a brand-new building. Also that year, four new mobile computer labs and the first SMART Boards debuted, the Gifted and Talented (GT) center expanded to the third through fifth grades, Chinese language classes expanded to the first through third grades, and Wolftrap's first English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher came on staff.

Waverly Elementary School

Did you know that our school once went by a different name? On March 28, 1968, the Fairfax County School Board voted to officially name our building Waverly Elementary School. However, the name did not sit well with members of the community. During construction, our school had been referred to as Wolftrap Elementary, so the community lobbied the School Board to rename the building. On June 27, 1968, the School Board rescinded its earlier decision and formally named our school Wolftrap Elementary. In Fairfax County, the name Wolftrap was first associated with a creek and a plantation, and now is widely recognized as the name of a national park and performance venue, but how did the name come about in the first place? Find out in this video.

Kindergarten

The year Wolftrap opened, 1968, marked an important milestone in the history of Fairfax County Public Schools. It was the first year kindergarten was introduced county-wide. One year prior, a pilot kindergarten program, involving 320 five-year-olds, was tested at Centreville, Edsall Park, Hollin Meadows, Lewinsville, Springfield Estates, Walnut Hill, and Westmore elementary schools. The program proved so successful that half-day kindergarten was fully adopted the following year, enrolling approximately 8,000 new children in the school system.

Candace Leyton Innovation Learning Lab

Black and white portrait of Candace Leyton from Wolftrap’s 1986 to 1987 yearbook.
Candace Leyton, 1986

In 2009, former Wolftrap Elementary student Chris Shumway approached then principal Anita Blain and explained he wanted to make a donation to our school in honor of his third grade math teacher, Candace Leyton. Leyton, who taught at Wolftrap for 24 years, passed away in 2003 after battling cancer. Chris Shumway was quoted in an article in The Connection Newspaper in 2013 as stating, “I didn’t really have any academic goals. I was all about sports. But in that one year, Mrs. Leyton, with her infectious ways of teaching, changed my life and set me on a whole new path. She believed I could be so much more.” Principal Blain suggested dedicating a bench in the courtyard in her honor, but Shumway had something much larger in mind—a building—and the idea for the Candace Leyton Innovation Learning Lab was born.

Photograph of the groundbreaking ceremony. Fairfax County School Board members, then Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale, Chris Shumway, Peter Leyton, then Wolftrap principal Anita Blain, and a Wolftrap student hold gold-painted shovels. Shumway has scooped a shovel-full of earth and is smiling at the camera.
Candace Leyton Innovation Learning Lab Groundbreaking Ceremony

The Candace Leyton Innovation Learning Lab was envisioned as non-traditional classroom environment where students could develop creative thinking skills and "learn by doing." The Shumway Foundation donated $800,000 to fund the construction of the building, and provide the furniture and equipment for the lab. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in May 2012, and construction was completed in eight months.

Color photograph collage showing three images of the Candace Leyton Innovation Learning Lab during construction. The photograph on the left shows the front of the lab as the first cinderblocks are being placed along the foundation. The middle photograph shows an exterior wall next to Wolftrap’s main entrance. Two workmen are visible installing brick over the insulation. The third photograph, on the right, shows the front of the structure with the cinderblock shell nearly complete.

The lab was formally dedicated at a ceremony on February 4, 2013. Peter Leyton, Candace Leyton's husband, assisted with the ribbon cutting and donated funds to provide three years of staff development for teachers. Take a moment to experience the groundbreaking and dedication, and get a glimpse of students working in the lab shortly after it opened through these videos produced by Fairfax County Public Schools’ cable television channel Red Apple 21.