History of Our School

  • Helen Lemme Elementary School is located at 3100 East Washington Street and has approximately 350 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

    Helen Lemme School was constructed in 1969 as an open-space building with folding doors between the rooms. The school was named for Helen Lemme, an African-American woman who was prominent in Iowa City and who housed and fed many African-American students attending the University of Iowa. When the building opened in 1970, approximately 230 students were in attendance. In the fall of 1970, Helen Lemme's sons, Lawrence and Paul and their families and several friends of Helen Lemme attended the dedication ceremony. At that time a memorial fund for Helen Lemme was established to purchase books for the Lemme School library. 

    Lemme has had eight principals: Walter Schnelle {1970-1975}, Ralph Delozier {1975-1987}, Pam Ehly{1987-1991}, Michael Kelley (1991-2003), John Bacon (2004-2010), Joelle McConnaha (2010-2012), Carrie Martinez (2012 - 2014) and currently, Eliza Proctor.

    For twenty-seven years Lemme School had temporaries for music and art, and for a while the temporaries were used for kindergarten and a second grade classroom. In 1997 at the end of the school year Helen Lemme School underwent extensive renovation. Art and music classrooms, the main office, principal's office and teacher workroom were added to the front of the building. A computer lab was built where the teacher workroom was located and the library was enlarged. At the beginning of the 1998 school year there was a dedication for the new addition. 

    During the summer of 2011, Lemme School replaced all of the folding walls and built permanent walls. This new construction has reduced noise between classrooms and made our classrooms look bright and airy. Lemme also received new lighting in the halls and classrooms. Our current enrollment has filled our school to capacity with K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6th and our ELL (English Language Learners) program added in 2013-2014.