The School that is now West Forsyth High School (WFHS) is the direct descendant of three community schools that go back to the old Forsyth County system. Before the early 1950's, the western portion of the county was served by schools in the communities of Lewisville, South Fork and Clemmons. These three schools were actually union schools and had populations ranging from first through twelfth grades. Eventually they would be consolidated into what was then known as Southwest High School. In the early 1960's the Winston-Salem City and Forsyth County school systems merged into the consolidated Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. With this consolidation came the construction of several new high schools; among them was WFHS. In 1964 the student population of Southwest High School moved the 800 yards down the road to the new school and began the modern era at WFHS.
The principal of Southwest High School, Harold E. Simpson, along with many of the faculty and staff, moved with the students into the new facility and continued many of the programs that were already in place. In addition, several new programs were instituted to go along with the new school plant. Team teaching, calculus and boys' home economics were all programs that emerged after the move. With these and other programs that were developed over the next few years, WFHS began to emerge as a school with its own unique place in the community, independent from the schools that preceded it. The community served by WFHS was also changing. The small village of Clemmons was rapidly growing as a bedroom community for the much larger Winston-Salem to its east. South Fork had long since been overtaken by the corporate limits of the city and students who had previously attended WFHS were reassigned to other schools located within the city itself. Lewisville remained a relatively small, rural community; but it also began to show signs of growing as more of the county's population moved west.
Changes in the community were accompanied by changes in the makeup of staff and students at WFHS. During the 1969-1970 school year, approximately one third of the faculty of the consolidated system were transferred to different schools to fully integrate the faculties. The next year saw even greater changes for the system as well as for WFHS. Complete integration of students and a new feeder pattern for the school following 4 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 matriculation pattern brought a new group of students into the WFHS family. This new feeder pattern also reduced the student enrollment from around 1200 to fewer than 900 in grades eleven and twelve. Robert E. Brower was named the new principal to replace Harold Simpson, who became an associate superintendent. Mr. Brower was the first minority principal to head a previously white high school in the local system. In 1973 Moses E. Bridges was named principal, replacing Robert Brower.
Mr. Bridges oversaw changes in the programs at WFHS that involved moving many technical and advanced placement courses to the newly completed Career Center and Administration complex located in Winston-Salem. Also, during this period, many courses were changed from yearly to semester length as an experiment in creative scheduling. New facilities including a track, stadium and tennis courts were added to the WFHS campus. Mr. Bridges retired in 1979 and the school was headed by co-principals Eugene Nail and Samuel Puryear for the remainder of the term.
In March 1979, Jerry W. Peoples was named principal of WFHS and returned to the school after having been an assistant to Harold Simpson in the late 1960's. In the years that have followed, tremendous changes have again occurred. In 1984, the local school system returned to the more conventional 5-3-4-matriculation pattern. The addition of freshman and sophomore classes swelled the student population from 900 to 1600 from June to September of that year. This necessitated the construction or enlargement of several classroom buildings as well as the addition of a new gymnasium. Additions were made to the media center, administration building, industrial arts area, and two science classrooms. Two entirely new classroom buildings were also constructed housing foreign language, biology, social studies, English and several miscellaneous classes.
Because of increased state graduation requirements in the late eighties, students were unable to take many elective classes to enhance their learning. To provide students this opportunity, parents, staff and administration investigated moving to a seven-period day. Beginning in the fall of 1995, the West Forsyth School Improvement Team and the administration led the transition from a six-period day to a seven-period day.
During the nineties, WFHS enrollment has moved upward to over seventeen hundred students. This growth trend and the increased needs of the student population also have been reflected in continued changes in the local community. The townships of Clemmons and Lewisville have incorporated over the decade. New residential development continues to bring new students from many different backgrounds into the ever changing WFHS student population. New technologies accompany the new students to a maturing school environment; departments are continuing to use emerging technology revolving around the computer such as hypermedia, interactive software and the Internet to bring a touch of the twenty-first century to a school with its roots reaching back to a community of schools of many decades ago.
In 1996 while poised for a leap into the twenty-first century, West found itself searching for a new principal following the retirement of Mr. Peoples, principal of seventeen years. With sights set on continued excellence, West Forsyth High School began a quest to blend its past and its present under the guidance of a new principal. Because of commitments to ongoing study, evaluation and improvement, the applicants were questioned about their desire to lead West in those directions. The selection committee recommended that Norma Harbin, longtime assistant principal, be appointed as principal.
Under Ms. Harbin's leadership, West continued to excel in its mission to provide a quality education to all who attend. With the continued influx of students a two-story classroom facility and cafeteria addition were completed in the spring of 1999 and the Technology Education Department was remodeled. WFHS continued to be a North Carolina Exemplary School and a Southern Association Accredited High School. Ms. Harbin retired in December, 1999 with 36 years of service to education.
Mr. Gene Nail served as Interim Principal during the spring of 2000 while a principal-search committee met and interviewed applicants. During his time as principal, Mr. Nail worked for a safe and orderly school seeing that surveillance cameras were ordered to be placed in strategic places on campus. This security system has continued to expand with the growth of the West campus and now includes at least forty-eight security cameras covering the entire campus. He also worked diligently to smooth the transition from one administration to another during the summer of 2000.
Dr. Doug Eury accepted the position as principal of West Forsyth on July 1, 2000. He came with seventeen years of experience as a teacher and a number of years experience as assistant principal and then principal of two other high schools in North Carolina. Dr. Eury served West until June 30, 2001. After this time he left to accept a position at the university level.
July 1, 2001, Mr. Kurt Telford joined the West Forsyth team as principal after serving as the principal of East Forsyth for three years. He calmed us through the terrorist attacks of September 11 and has since steadied our path as we seek to provide all our students the best high school education possible. Mr. Telford and his family quickly became valuable, contributing members of the West Forsyth family and continue to be so at the time of this writing.
As the western areas of Forsyth County continued to grow in population density, the WSFCS Board of Education saw fit to increase the number of schools in the original West Forsyth attendance area. New elementary and middle schools were built following successful passage of educational bond referendums. Also, a new high school was built, opening in 2004, drawing students from the Lewisville/Vienna/Pfafftown areas that previously attended WFHS. Reagan High School received most of the students from Lewisville who previously attended WFHS. Even with the loss of these valued community members, West's enrollment remains above 2000 (2007 school year) students with a staff of approximately 140.Additional bonds approved by the citizens of Forsyth County have enabled updates to the infrastructure at West. High-speed, wide bandwidth internet access is now available to all parts of the campus. Wireless access points have sprouted in many areas and new facilities are currently under construction that include a new, free-standing auditorium and an updated Performing Arts Center for music and dance. Improvements to the soccer facility and softball/baseball complex have been done as well and new tennis courts will be built to replace those taken by the new auditiorium.During the summer of 2009 the intensive $11 million renovation project began that fully updated the original campus facilities. New lighting, bathrooms, electronics, air conditioning/heating and other improvements were made to the 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 buildings. These renovations resulted in an updated and moved band/orchestra facility now occupying the original teaching auditorium. State of the art locker and weightlifting rooms replaced the old boys and girls dressing areas in the old gymnasium and new technologies were added to these facilities as well as the rest of the total campus. These technologies include full sound systems and large screen LCD televisions connected to a master computer and video distribution system at each teaching location. Additionally, message boards were added to most commons areas around the school. These improvements have brought West Forsyth to the top in current technologies and quality of facilities. With these changes, West continues to be the successful and caring school that emerged from the old Forsyth County system in the early 1960's.