THE HISTORY OF ELSIE COLLIER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
The dream of a new elementary school for students who attended the multi-building and portable city Baker Elementary campus began with the establishment of a building program by the Mobile County Board of School Commissioners in 1996. It included a "New Baker II" which opened as Elsie Collier Elementary School in fall, 2001.
Miss Elsie Collier began her teaching career at the old Baker School in 1936 after teaching part of a year at Citronelle. She taught at Baker for 13 years, transferring to Mertz and later to Westlawn. In 1960, Miss Collier opened the new Orchard Elementary School where she remained as principal until her retirement in 1978.
Miss Collier was known for her ability to make children feel good about themselves. Children were routinely seen in the Orchard office signing the "Goody Book" and picking out a favorite flavored sucker. The rocking chair in her office held Miss Collier and many a child with "tender feelings" as she reassured the frightened and nurtured the needy.
Miss Collier was adept at recruiting some of the best educators of the time, and these same educators held an immense loyalty to Miss Collier and Orchard School. These fine teachers were always on the cutting edge of curriculum issues and many advanced to other supervisory and administrative roles following "basic training" with Miss Collier.
Parents, too, played an influential role in the day-to-day operation of the school. Parents were nourished by working collectively to make the school a better place for their children and the children were nourished by their efforts. Many of these parents continued their volunteer efforts throughout their children’s school careers and many of these children are active in schools today because of the example of their parents.
Elsie Collier Elementary School opened in 2001 with a reputation for high academic achievement, an invitation for strong parent and community involvement, an outstanding faculty, and a goal of nurturing children in a happy environment. That reputation continues as our facility is improved, our teachers become better trained in research-based teaching practices, and our test scores rise. Collier remains an outstanding learning environment. Miss Elsie Collier would be proud!