A Look Back at Charter Oak's History
In 1882, Mr. & Mrs. John Kelly purchased ground in Section 23 of Kickapoo Township and formed the new District 60 school district. With the creation of this new district came Charter Oak School.
The name Charter Oak came from the legend of an old oak tree that stood in the middle of the road a few yards northeast of the schoolhouse. The oak tree had a hollowed out spot in it, which served as a stopping off place for the Pony Express.
The first school was a one-room construction. A pot-bellied stove stood in the center of the room and a well with a hand pump provided the drinking water. One teacher taught all eight grades.
In 1936, because of increased population, one more classroom was added. In addition to the classroom, a full basement was added, a small kitchen, coal room and two indoor bathrooms. Charter Oak was the first county school to have indoor plumbing.
In 1940, the first hot lunch program was sponsored in the State of Illinois. Two cooks were hired in conjunction with the W.P.A. to serve the students.
The 1960s brought many problems for small county schools. Many were forced to close for different reasons. In 1963, Charter Oak School closed and the students of the former Charter Oak School attended Woodrow Wilson School.
In the fall of 1970, Charter Oak School was demolished. Because of the crowded conditions at Woodrow Wilson, a new K-8 Charter Oak School was constructed in Section 14 of Kickapoo Township and opened for the 1979-1980 school year. Dedication of the new building was held on Sunday, October 28, 1979. Mr. Harry Whitaker, Superintendent of Peoria Public Schools, gave the dedication speech. Mr. John Slater served as the schools first principal from 1979-1992.
In the fall of 1986, District 150 adopted the middle school primary school concept. Because of this change, Charter Oak School became a K-4 school adopting the new name Charter Oak Primary School.In 2003, Charter Oak School was selected a Blue Ribbon School because of academic excellence. This award is in conjunction with the Presidents No Child Left Behind Act. Principal Dr. Thom Simpson and teacher Leisa Carlberg were flown to Washington D.C. to receive the prestigious award.In 2012, Charter Oak School was selected a Blue Ribbon School because of academic excellence. This award is in conjunction with the Presidents No Child Left Behind Act. Principal Dr. John Wetterauer and teacher Debbie Lowe were flown to Washington D.C. to receive the prestigious award.
Charter Oak Principals
Mr. John Slater 1979-1992
Mr. David Johnson 1992-1993
Dr. Thom Simpson 1993-2003
Mr. John Wetterauer 2003-2014
Mrs. Elizabeth Zilkowski 2014-2017
Mrs. Kathy Rodriguez 2017-current