Percy Priest opened its doors in September 1957 as a K-6 school. The school was dedicated in April 1958 to the memory of U.S. Representative J. Percy Priest, a Tennessee congressman who served for 16 years until his death in 1956.
By the fall of 1982, the declining enrollment at Percy Priest had reached serious levels. At that point, 204 students made up the entire population for grades Kindergarten through sixth. Percy Priest School was under serious consideration for closing because of its low enrollment and dismal prospect for new students. The school lost its Kindergarten program for a year during this period.
Within days of realizing the possibility of closing Percy Priest Elementary, the school’s staff, Principal Dorothy Butler, the PTA Board, parents, and supportive neighbors created an enthusiastic team to increase enrollment.
The most critical factor in reviving the school creation of a before and after school day care. The team sponsored fundraisers to initiate a daycare program run by a parent board. The fundraisers paid for daycare insurance and secured a caregiver to run the program which is today called Tiger Club. Communicating the availability of a daycare program to prospective parents dramatically increased school enrollment. The City of Forest Hills also donated $50,000 to the school to buy new playground equipment.
The school became a K-4 school in 1985.
In 2002, a wing was added due to the phenomenal growth of the school. In 2012 the school completed successful fundraising for and construction of its Library Renovation and Technology Lab which greatly increased the school’s technology and library capacity. Also, 2012 saw the first portables being added to PPE for a fourth grade math classroom and Tiger Club.
The PTO strategic plan which will direct the school from 2015-2018 has outlined facilities improvement as a major focus for the coming years as the school prepares for increased growth.