Charlotte DeHart was a member of the Handley High School Class of 1925. She was recognized as an excellent student, an accomplished musician and a female athlete. She received her bachelor’s degree from Madison State Teacher’s College in 1929.
Miss DeHart taught elementary classes at Handley for 17 years before becoming a visiting teacher / truant officer. She was the first full time Principal of Virginia Avenue Elementary School and held the position for 21 years until her retirement in 1970.
Miss DeHart was known as a strict disciplinarian and a demanding Principal. She was also known for her endless efforts to assist students who did not have adequate food, clothing, shelter or healthcare. She obtained the assistance of public and private agencies and often used her own money to buy shoes and medicine for students.
“Miss Dee” loved animals and often said that children and animals go together. She once stated: “All animals with good manners could come to school but they had to stay by the child’s desk.”
She had a life long commitment to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). She was a member of the board of directors for 25 years and served two terms as President. She was one of the main leaders in the efforts to reorganize the local society and build a new animal shelter in the mid-1950’s.
Miss DeHart was a talented organist and pianist. She played at Christ Episcopal Church and accompanied many Handley High School student musical groups. She played the piano for the annual Christmas concert at Handley where students from elementary to high school grades participated.
When the original Virginia Avenue School was razed in 1995, the Winchester School Board named the new facility in her honor: the Virginia Avenue Charlotte DeHart Elementary School.
Miss Charlotte DeHart is remembered as an educator, humanitarian, animal welfare activist, and community organizer.