Our History


  • 1893 – April the district was established as the Valley Junction Independent School District
  • 1894 – March the bond issue approved for $5,000 to build two schools – one in Walnut Hill (52nd and Grand) and one in Valley Junction
  • 1895 – October the first high school opens in Valley Junction at current Phenix Elementary site
  • 1900 – Space needs grew and Longfellow Grade School was built at Third and Elm
  • 1907 – Walnut Hill school is switched to Des Moines School District
  • 1916 – $70,000 bond issue for a new high school was voted down, but a $50,000 bond issue was approved two months later
  • 1917 September the new high school opens at 8th and Hillside
  • 1923 – A junior high building was built just east of the current high school
  • 1938 – The district changed its name to the West Des Moines Independent School District and added two new buildings – a new elementary at the old high school site and a stadium north of the high school
  • 1938 – In the fall the old high school is torn down to build the new elementary school named West Des Moines Elementary
  • 1939 – May 24 the football stadium dedicated and in the fall Longfellow was vacated and sold in 1940. Students were moved to Phenix Elementary.
  • 1951 – Clover Hills Elementary opens at 15th and Vine
  • 1954-57 – The district incorporated several areas, including Walnut Township, Clegg Park, sections of Dallas County and the Pleasant Valley and Plainview districts.
  • 1955 – December the West Des Moines Elementary is renamed Nellie Phenix Elementary School to
    honor a former student, teacher and principal
  • 1956 – A bond issue for $408,000 provided funds to build Fairmeadows and Clegg Park Elementaries
  • 1958 – Clegg Park and Fairmeadows open
  • 1958-59 – The district’s budget passes $1 million for the first time
  • 1960 –  A new junior high is built at 16th and Vine and named Stilwell Junior High in honor of former school board president Elbert H. Stilwell
  • 1962 – 38 acres of farmland purchased at 35th and Ashworth for $116,136 to become Valley High School. Construction was completed in four phases from 1963-70.
  • 1962 The West Des Moines district merged with the Clive school district, adding Clive and Crestview Elementaries. Clive Elementary was the site of the first experimental hot lunch program in Iowa in 1932.
  • 1965 – Valley opens, but houses only a ninth grade class and two sixth grade classes from Fairmeadows
  • 1967 – Sophomores, juniors and seniors move into Valley High School and in October Western Hills Elementary opens
  • 1970 – Clover Hills Elementary renamed Rex Mathes in honor of the school’s first principal
  • 1971 – Valley becomes a four-year high school. The old high school becomes a junior high and is renamed Hillside Junior High
  • 1977 – November Crossroads Park Elementary opens and Indian Hills Junior High opens with students and parents helping move equipment and supplies from Hillside Junior High
  • 1990 – Fall Westridge Elementary opens and same year residents passed a $29.7 million bond issue, which was the largest ever in Iowa, to construct a new school and upgrade existing facilities
  • 1992 – Jordan Creek Elementary opens
  • 1995 – The Learning Resource Center is opened and Walnut Creek Campus, the district’s alternative high school, opens in the previous district office on 5th Street. Walnut Creek is eventually is moved to a renovated church next to the stadium on 8th Street
  • 1997 – In the fall Valley Southwoods Freshman High School opens to ease crowding at Valley High school. The idea of turning the WDMCS into a two high school district was not favored by the community.
  • 2000-11 – Clegg Park Elementary is used as a swing school. Several elementary schools in the district took turns moving staff and students into the building for a year while renovations were made at their building.
  • 2001 – Hillside Junior High had been torn down before the stadium was demolished in 2001. Studies showed it would be more cost effective to reinvest in the area and rebuild as a new elementary to accommodate students from Rex Mathes and Clegg Park, which also needed costly improvements.
  • 2002 – Fall Valley Stadium opens
  • 2004 – August Hillside Elementary opens at the site of the old stadium
  • 2012 – Clegg Park Elementary is renovated and opened as the new Walnut Creek Campus

Historic information from 1893 to 1992 taken from “West Des Moines: From Railroads to Crossroads”


1905 C.W. Lyons
1905-07 W.O. Reed
1908-13 E.J. Pollock
1913-16 George S. Wooten
1916-19 J.S. Hofer
1919-21 S.L. Miller
1921-25 C.B. Hightower
1925 C.I. Bixler
1926-33 W.H. Myers
1933-42 H.W. Fearing
1942-63 Amos C. Lee
Dr. Charles C. Joss
1967 Claude R. Snell
was acting superintendent
Dr. Dale L. Grabinski
Dr. Les Omatani
2004-11 Dr. Tom Narak
Dr. Peter Ansingh
Dr. Lisa Remy