The History of Brennen School
Devereaux Road School was constructed in 1949 in the suburbs of Columbia, just past Heathwood Park and Beltline Boulevard. The roads were not paved at the time, and Devereaux Road ended by the school. The building contained twelve classrooms and a new cafetorium. Shortly after its opening, the school was renamed Brennen Elementary School in honor of Miss Francenia Brennen, a former high school teacher and assistant principal in the Columbia schools. The growth of the area surrounding the school was tremendous and, in 1951, twelve additional classrooms and a new cafetorium were added to the school. The existing cafetorium was renovated to house the library.
Miss Carol Mundy was the first principal of the school, serving in the position until 1964. At the peak of family growth in the community, the school had an enrollment of 750. Mr. Robert Beckham followed Miss Mundy as principal and remained for eight years. During his tenure at Brennen the school participated in the district's integration process. Mrs. Mary Beach assumed the principalship in 1972, remaining in that position for nine years. During that time the enrollment stabilized, and two of our current programs had their beginnings in the school, the Hearing-Impaired Program and the Academically Advanced Program. In 1981, Mr. Richard Moore was appointed principal at Brennen, serving for 15 years. During those years, the attendance lines were redrawn and the enrollment increased, and there were numerous renovations and additions to the facility. Drama instruction was added to the curriculum in 1995.
Many changes have occurred at Brennen in recent years. Sharon Bodie was appointed principal in 1996. Richland One passed a major bond referendum in the fall of 1996, with the help and support of the Brennen PTO, to provide funding for building new schools, renovations at all other elementary schools, and technology upgrades. Additions to Brennen included an attractive, covered entrance, a media center, physical education facility, a science lab, a computer lab, a kindergarten wing, an enlarged parking lot, and a bus drop-off area. Major renovations and the construction of the new facilities were completed in 1999. The old media center was renovated to house a new office suite; the former office areas were renovated to provide a guidance suite, health room, conference room, and space for two small offices for itinerant teachers; and a new music room was created in the former PE Room. Hallways were enclosed, heating and air conditioning units were replaced, the cafeteria was renovated and enlarged, and the school received a general face-lift throughout the original areas of the building. Spanish instruction was added to the curriculum, beginning in 1998. The Education Accountability Act of 1998 brought a new state test, Palmetto Challenge Achievement Test (PACT), academic plans for students scoring below basic on PACT, and new state standards for student learning in all subject areas.
For eight years, Dr. Marian Crum-Mack served as principal of Brennen Elementary. At the present time, Mark Shea is the principal at Brennen and under his leadership Brennen continues to have a reputation for excellence in the Columbia area. Many of today's community leaders were students at Brennen in earlier years. Brennen has received many awards for excellence in academic and non-academic areas . The PTO, School Improvement Council, and a large majority of the parents continue to be active in supporting the school in many ways.