School History

The following biographical and architectural information was first published in a 1962 handbook distributed at the dedication ceremony for Thomas W. Pyle Junior High School (as it was originally known).

Thomas W. Pyle, a native of Harford County, served as Assistant Superintendent of the Montgomery County Board of Education from 1951 to June 1958 when he retired shortly after his 70th birthday.

After six years of teaching outside Maryland, Mr. Pyle came to Montgomery County in 1921 as principal of the Poolesville school. In 1926 he became the principal at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, a position he held until 1949 when he was appointed secondary supervisor.

Mr. Pyle received his B.S. degree from the University of Pennsylvania, his master’s degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and did further graduate study at the Universities of Maryland and Chicago. From 1929 to the year following his retirement, he taught many courses in administration and supervision at the University of Maryland.

An older, local resident says: “Uncle Tom was such a quiet, unassuming man that you had trouble realizing how deep his influence was. He rarely laid down a rule but lead through stimulating people to arrive at their own decisions believing that if the person realized the choices to be made, he would arrive at the right place. It is my feeling that he had a tremendous influence in giving the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area the kind of teaching that has marked this part of the country…”
County educators expressed their love and respect for the Assistant Superintendent at a testimonial dinner held shortly before his retirement. At that time, he and his wife were presented with round trip tickets for a world cruise which after many delays they were able to enjoy in 1960.

Bethesda, MD 

The site for this school was unusual in shape and locating the building, access roads, parking areas, large play areas, and service areas had to be very carefully arranged in order to provide for the best circulation possible of students, school buses, automobiles, and service vehicles; to and from within the site to limit as much as possible any traffic bottlenecks on heavily traveled Wilson Lane.

The Administration areas including the health rooms are centrally located within the building. The corridor and starts are arranged in such a manner as to give the best possible circulation of students to and from the various areas within the building.

The cafeteria, kitchen, gymnasium and related facilities, and the music rooms, all considered noise areas, are grouped together in the plan.

The library, centrally located within the building is also located for public use without requiring the whole building be opened.

Both the cafeteria and gymnasium areas are conveniently located for community use without interfering with the other school areas.

Each of the areas such as mathematics, language labs, home arts, art, science, social studies, English and industrial arts are grouped together along with conference rooms for each of these areas. Storage facilities thru-out the building are entirely adequate.

There is a large English classroom with a small stage for regular classroom or special use such as public speaking, lectures, and small cast productions. This room is located next to one of the school entrances.

The use of color and texture played a vital part in the Architectural design of this building. This is as it should be. Color coordination was achieved between the exterior and interior and this use of color was very carefully planned thru-out, even to the extent of colors and desks and chairs furnished by the School Board.

I believe that this building will create a very pleasant, exciting and functional environment for learning. With a look toward the future, this school building reflects the ambitions, the hopes, the aspirations, and the dreams of a people that are striving to move forward and upward to a way of life that is better, fuller, richer and more rewarding than that which it now knows. Creating an overall atmosphere that will motivate and stimulate rather than curb and thwart the curiosity and fermenting drives of youth is a prime function of the Architect to achieve in his school buildings.

Stanley H. Arthur, Architect