School History

Roosevelt Elementary School opened in 1928 under the leadership of C.F. Lumis, Superintendent of Schools and our first principal, Mrs. Ella Williams. Between 1925 and 1928, a group of portable buildings, called the Salem Avenue School, were used to serve this neighborhood. Construction of the current school began in September of 1927 with the dedication on October 5, 1928.

The building has beautiful oak floors and woodwork in the classrooms and terrazzo floors in the halls and stairways. In 2001, the library was converted from two classrooms to one large open area with new shelves, tables, chairs, and carpeting. The following year, a wall in the office was removed to make it a more spacious, working area. During the summer of 2015 Roosevelt School went under major renovations most noticeable being new windows restoring the building to its original look.

Roosevelt School’s front entrance faces Roosevelt Road (formerly Salem Avenue) and looks out on a beautifully landscaped lawn with pine, maple, and oak trees.

Mr. Jered Kotarak is the current principal at Roosevelt. Mr. Kotarak succeeds ten other principals: Mrs. Nola Ratliff 2009-2017, Mrs. Karen Davis 2006 – 2009, Mrs. Nana LoCicero, 1997-2006, Miss Debra Schaeffer, 1994-1997, Miss Belinda Grantham, 1989-1994, Mr. Richard Baas, 1982-1989, Mr. Lyle Jacobsen (our longest serving principal of 20 years 1962-1982), Miss Edith Gray 1944-62, Miss Marie Keating 1932-44, and our first principal Mrs. Ella Williams, 1928-32.

The school was named in honor of Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth president of the United States. The President had died at the age of 60 in 1919.

The school mascot is Ted E. Bear, named in honor of President Roosevelt. The symbol of the teddy bear is proudly displayed throughout the building. The story is told how in 1902, President Roosevelt was out on a hunting trip in Mississippi with friends. After catching nothing the whole day, his friends trapped a bear so the President could shoot it. Being the good sportsman and lover of nature that he was, he ordered the bear to be released back into the woods. Clifford Berryman, a newspaper cartoonist heard about the story and he drew a cartoon illustrating the President with the bear. The cartoon appeared in the Washington Post and the people’s love for their president grew even stronger. Shop owners Rose and Morris Michtom, saw the cartoon and came up with the idea of making a stuffed toy bear for children to play with and hug while falling asleep. The Michtom’s dressed one bear to look like the President and mailed it to the White House asking Roosevelt for permission to call the bear “Teddy”. The president gladly let his name be used and as they say, the rest is history!