School History

Silverbrook Elementary School opened on September 6, 1988. The land on which our school rests has been inhabited by human beings for centuries. Archaeological findings in nearby South Run District Park reveal artifacts that date back some 5,000 years. The inhabitants at the time of European contact were probably members of the Taux (Dogue) tribe, an Algonquin-speaking group of American Indians.

Aerial photographs of the Silverbrook Elementary School site taken in 2009 and 1960.
The Silverbrook Elementary School site in 2009 and 1960. Courtesy of the Fairfax County Park Authority.

Silverbrook Elementary School was built to replace the aging Lorton Elementary School. Lorton had been built in 1934 under the school consolidation plans of Superintendent W. T. Woodson. Because of the age of Lorton’s facility, its location adjacent to I-95, and its small grounds area, the Fairfax County School Board decided that instead of refurbishing the existing facility a new school would be built. Because of anticipated growth as well as traffic and demographic patterns, the Silverbrook site was proposed and accepted.

Photograph of the old Lorton Elementary School taken during the 1980s.
The old Lorton Elementary School closed in 1988 with the opening of Silverbrook. The building now houses transportation offices for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

On December 5, 1986, ground was broken on eleven acres of land surrounded by parkland in the Crosspointe subdivision. Take a moment to explore some photographs taken during the construction of Silverbrook Elementary School.

I remember visiting over the summer watching the final prep for the opening of a new school. Most of the staff was new to the area. We were all excited to open a new school and meet everyone.
~ Suzanne Frederick, Instructional Assistant, 1988-2018

A New School Opens

When Silverbrook opened, it had the capacity for 850 students. The school included a large carpeted gymnasium, a fully equipped cafeteria, and an expansive automated library. The building officially opened its doors on August 16, 1988, to a staff of 16 classroom teachers, two special education teachers, six specialists, seven itinerant teachers, seven instructional aides, 12 support staff members, three School-Age Child Care staff members, and S. Yvonne McCall, principal.

Yearbook photograph of Principal S. Yvonne McCall taken during the 1988 to 1989 school year.
Principal S. Yvonne McCall (1988-1995) taken during the 1988-89 school year. In 1993, Principal McCall was the recipient of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Distinguished Principals Award for Virginia.
I remember the building being brand new with a comfortable, “home” atmosphere. The staff members were caring with a warm attitude. My favorite memory is playing what sixth grade teacher Mr. Curtis labeled “Battle Ball” in P.E. class.
~ Corrie M. Frederick, Class of 1989
Photograph of a t-shirt given to sixth grade students in 1989. It is a white shirt with artwork in the center showing the Seahawk mascot and the signatures of all the sixth grade students.
Class of 1989 Commemorative T-Shirt
I was part of the first sixth grade class. The school was brand new. The principal made sure we took care of things in the school. All of the teachers were fun to be around and they handled all the kids professionally with care.
~ Nikita Mack-Robinson, Class of 1989

Silverbrook’s Mission

The original mission statement for Silverbrook read: To implement a strong and well-balanced instructional program for all students. To create a well-disciplined, warm, and nurturing environment. To recognize and value the diverse needs of all students. To utilize community support in fostering high expectations for all students. To “Make It Happen” for Our Community, Our School, Our Staff… and most importantly, Our Students.

Photographs of the cover of Silverbrook’s first yearbook and of a printing of Silverbrook’s school song. The lyrics read: We are Silverbrook and we’re number one. We are proud of the things that we’ve done. We’re proud of our school, for we know the rules, and we have what it takes to be great. With our colors mauve and blue, we’ll be true and soar high like the seahawks do. We will succeed and have it all, Silverbrook we’ll be true to you.
The cover of Silverbrook’s first yearbook and the original lyrics to our school song.

The 1990s Bring Changes

During the 1990s, steady student population growth in southern Fairfax County led to overcrowding at Silverbrook Elementary School.

I remember during my time there that we started implementing trailers. Strings was moved to a trailer. Art was moved to a trailer. Even some P.E. classes were moved to a trailer. My sixth grade year was completely in a trailer. Due to the loss of field space, I also remember having to do the mile run for our Presidential Fitness testing on the blacktop where we ran back and forth between a set of cones.
~ Aaron Woo, Class of 1994
Photograph of Silverbrook students gathered around a person wearing the Seahawk mascot costume.
The seahawk has been Silverbrook’s mascot since the founding of our school.

In 1995, Robert Holderbaum was appointed the second principal of our school. Bob Holderbaum had previously served as the principal of Greenbriar West and Newington Forest elementary schools before coming to “The Brook.”

Photograph of Principal Holderbaum seated on the set of Silverbrook’s morning television news show.
Principal Robert F. Holderbaum (1995-2008)

The Lellinger Reading Garden

Photograph of a painting of the Lellinger Reading Garden.
The Lellinger Reading Garden by Ban Tran

The Lellinger Reading Garden at Silverbrook was created in honor of librarian Linda K. Lellinger. Ms. Lellinger was born in Illinois and moved to northern Virginia in 1963. She worked for many years as a librarian at Bush Hill and Lorton elementary schools before joining the staff of Silverbrook. She passed away in February 1996, and the garden was created as lasting memorial in her honor to inspire future generations of readers.

Yearbook photograph of librarian Linda Lellinger sitting at her desk.
Linda Lellinger, Silverbrook Librarian

In the News

In the spring of 2001, Silverbrook third grade teacher Edward Heffernan was named the Fairfax County Public Schools Teacher of the Year and was a recipient of The Washington Post’s Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. Take a moment to watch a video about Mr. Heffernan that was produced for the FCPS Red Apple 21 television series Insight, as well as some additional news stories featuring Silverbrook. The other topics covered include a Snapshot profile of our school in 2005, the Read Aloud Program, the implementation of full-day kindergarten, and donations to Haiti.

The Mod

Student enrollment at Silverbrook continued to rise in the first decade of the 21st century, reaching a peak of 1,253 students in April 2007. In January 2003, the School Board authorized the construction of classroom modular buildings at Silverbrook. The modular classrooms replaced eight classroom trailers, and came equipped with interior hallways and bathrooms.

I started kindergarten at Silverbrook in 2000. There were a lot of renovations while I was at Silverbrook. We got a new playground, the rock wall was installed in the gym, and the Mod was built! My fourth and sixth grade classrooms were both in the Mod. I remember we had our sixth grade carnival along the covered path that connected the Mod to the school. Silverbrook is very special to me. The incredible staff made me love school and love learning. There are so many people from Silverbrook who made me feel special and valuable; one of the most important gifts anybody can give a child.”
~ Patrick Hulse, Class of 2007
Photograph of a painting depicting the main entrance of Silverbrook Elementary School. The painting hangs in the main office.

In August 2006, the Connection Newspaper reported that a new four-room modular classroom had been installed at Silverbrook Elementary. “To help accommodate the school's 1,205 students, the school now has 22 outdoor classrooms, housed in a 10-room modular, two four-room quads, two single-room trailers and what Principal Robert Holderbaum calls a "duplex." New faces will abound at the school this year, as a total of 14 new teachers have been added to the staff. "We've expanded our English for Speakers of Other Languages program to help meet the growing need in our area for this service," Holderbaum said.”

Photograph of the cover of Silverbrook’s 2006 to 2007 yearbook. The student artist drew pictures of several teachers and the principal.
Patrick Hulse designed the cover of our 2006-07 yearbook. Principal Holderbaum, Mrs. Finney the librarian, our seahawk mascot, and several staff members are pictured, namely Mrs. Frederick, Mrs. Froehlich, Mrs. Hulse, and Mr. Owens.

New Leadership

Principal Holderbaum retired in 2008, and was succeeded by our current principal Melaney Mackin. Relief to the overcrowding at Silverbrook finally came in the fall of 2009 with the opening of Laurel Hill Elementary School.

Photograph of Principal Melaney Mackin.
Principal Melaney Mackin (2008 - Present)

The Spirit Rock

In October 2011, the Vulcan Materials Company in Lorton donated the large granite rock that rests in our school’s front garden. The “spirit rock” weighs 14,000 pounds, and was personally chosen by Principal Mackin when she went on a tour of the company's quarry. Every year, the rock is freshly painted with a new design by students.

Photograph of the large boulder that was installed in front of Silverbrook to serve as the school's spirit rock.

What’s in a Name?

Have you ever wondered how Silverbrook Elementary School got its name? Find out in this video produced for the Fairfax County Public Schools cable television channel Red Apple 21.