History of The Oakwood School

In early 1996, forty-two founding families committed resources to create a non-sectarian, independent, school in Pitt County. On April 2, 1996, the first Board of Trustees was elected and The Oakwood School officially came into existence. Dr. Barbara Packer was hired to serve as the first Head of School. Oakwood opened its doors on a site generously leased to the School by the Ironwood Golf and Country Club on September 5, 1996, with an enrollment of forty-two students.

In 1998, the Landis family donated twenty-five acres of land at the School’s current MacGregor Downs Road location to serve as Oakwood’s permanent home. The first phase of an anticipated four-phase building plan was completed on June 1, 2001, and under the leadership of Stuart McCathie, Oakwood’s second Head of School, grades K-8 moved to the MacGregor Downs campus that fall. During the next five years the School’s enrollment, campus, and programs expanded, culminating in October of 2004 with the completion of a multipurpose building that contained offices, a library, art studio, science lab, music room and the Monk Family gymnasium/performing arts stage. Oakwood launched its Upper School with its first ninth grade in the fall of 2005. In April of 2006, the Upper School building was completed, located across from the Lower and Middle School buildings, beyond the new baseball and softball fields. Raymond Bailey assumed the headship of the school in the summer of 2005, and Rob Peterson became the school’s fourth Head in July 2008.

In the fall of 2013, the school embarked on another ambitious construction project to create greatly needed classroom and social spaces for both the Upper School and the multipurpose building, now named Agnes Q. Monk Hall. The Upper School gained an outdoor pavilion, a student commons, a science lab, five classrooms, and seven faculty offices. Monk Hall gained a band room, strings room, Lower School music room, and a large theater storage space to enhance the arts program. A weight room, Spanish room, Lower School science room, and much bigger extended day room were also added. A new space was created for the technology director and assistant. Finally, a designated meeting space was created for our parent volunteers. In addition to these indoor facilities, a tennis center was constructed, additional parking space was created, the Reita Watson Bear Patch playspace was built, the Middle School playground was enhanced with new equipment, and over two hundred trees and bushes were added to the existing 41-acre campus. Dan Quesnel became the school’s fifth Head in July 2018. In 2020, the school opened an Upper School Innovation Lab, which was followed in 2022 by a Lower/Middle School Innovation Lab. In 2024, Oakwood built an addition to the Lower School containing more classrooms, a teacher work room, and a Lower School Coordinator’s office and an addition to Monk Hall containing a more welcoming and secure main entrance for visitors.

The mission of the school was developed upon its inception and still remains the guiding compass of the school today: We seek to instill in our students the strength of character, the creativity, and the wisdom to make a difference in the world. Through the continued efforts of Oakwood’s unparalleled faculty, staff, and student body, as well as its dedicated parents, and the Greenville community, The Oakwood School continues to pursue its vision of becoming the premier independent school in eastern North Carolina.