The beginning of Chief Brodie Memorial School was in January 1960. It was with the assistance of the Guam Public School System and Marianas Association that funds were allocated to complete the first temporary structure in Tamuning, Guam. The purpose of the Marianas Association was to devise a way to assist exceptional children on Guam to become individuals within their own capacities.
The project of building Chief Brodie Memorial School was one of dedication and eventual tragedy. Chief Clifford Brodie of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion U.S. Naval Station, Guam shared along with his men a concern in constructing the school. It was after a period of many hours of labor and nearly completing the project when his men were called to assist in a nearby tragedy. A World Airways DC-5 jet crashed on Mt. Barrigada. Chief Brodie and his men volunteered their services day and night to assist in the salvage operation. After long hours of work without rest, the diligent and dedicated Chief Brodie returned to work on the school project. In the stillness of the following night, Chief Brodie quietly passed away in his sleep due to a heart attack. His commitment to exceptional children was kindled to burn brighter in the lives of these children when his worthy battalion returned to complete the construction of the school.
Chief Brodie Memorial School for exceptional children was dedicated on October 29, 1960, marking a new vision for many children who were “different," who were either kept home or were not able to receive proper services. Six students and one teacher administrator, Mrs. Ruth Paterson, began teaching, learning and growing together. By February, the enrollment doubled. When Mrs. Paterson began holding training classes, funds were appropriated by the Guam Legislature for teachers’ salaries. Marianas Association scholarships and federal grants contributed to the rapid expansion in the program of training and education for the exceptional children of Guam.
On November 1, 1963, Governor Manuel F.L. Guerrero, through an executive order, designated Chief Brodie Memorial School as part of the Guam Public School System. This act paved a way for the construction of the buildings that were dedicated in January 1965. Demands and needs led to the construction of an additional complex which was dedicated in February 1971, during Governor Carlos Camacho’s administration. On August 22, 1994, Chief Brodie Memorial Elementary School opened its door as a regular public school facility.
All of us here at Chief Brodie Memorial Elementary School are proud of our school and our namesake, but many did not want the facility to keep the original name. Although Chief Brodie was a wonderful man and Chief Brodie Memorial School for exceptional children was instrumental in shaping the lives of numerous special needs children, his name has been used in a derogatory manner. At times, people on Guam use the term “Brodie” to ridicule or degrade others. People just took it upon themselves to use it in that way. Others followed and continue to follow without even knowing the history behind it. This was addressed during the first few years the elementary school opened. Students were embarrassed to say they went to the school due to the teasing and comments many received. However, the school personnel did an excellent job of educating the students and their families as to the importance of keeping the school name and being proud of it. We continue to have students who will speak out when the term “Brodie” comes up in a negative light.
The previous and current administration of Chief Brodie Memorial Elementary School since its establishment as an elementary school are as follows:
1995-1997 Mrs. Lorena Chaco, Principal 1997-2000 Ms. Lois Gumataotao, Principal | Ms. Anna Austin, Assistant Principal 2000-2004 Mrs. Glenna F. Woodruff, Principal 2004-2006 Mrs. Katherine M. Reyes, Principal | Mrs. Nancy W. Diaz, Assistant Principal 2006–2007 Mrs. Katherine M. Reyes, Principal | Mrs. Rebecca G. Perez, Assistant Principal 2007-2008 Mrs. Evangeline A. Chang, Principal | Mrs. Krisinda Aguon, Assistant Principal 2008-2009 Mrs. Evangeline A. Chang, Principal | Mrs. Nancy W. Diaz, Assistant Principal 2009-2016 Mrs. Nancy W. Diaz, Principal 2016-Present Ms. Darlene C. Castro, Principal