History of the Odessa Schools, Pasco County, Florida


The Odessa Schools


Teacher: Mattie Lou Mayo. Photo courtesy of Willie Grant.

This page was last revised on Nov. 12, 2019.

School board minutes of Sept. 2, 1907, show that a school was granted for Odessa.

A 1915-16 listing of schools shows the Odessa School with teachers L. A. Penholster and Marvin Roberts and 37 students.

A list of teachers as of Dec. 1921 shows for no. 30, Odessa: Mrs. Rachel Kirkman, principal, Miss Blanche Churchwell, Miss Frances Clark.

In August 1922, Mrs. J. P. Howland was appointed principal and Miss Mattie Lou Mayo and Miss Frances Clark were appointed assistants at Odessa, no. 30.

On Oct. 16, 1922, a newspaper article reported: “Mrs. J. P. Howland, Principal. Miss Mattie Lou Mayo, Intermediate. Miss Frances Clark, Primary. The Odessa public school opened September 18th. The opening exercises were held at the church, where Mr. McFarland conducted devotional services, teaching a very impressive message from the Parable of the Talents. Mrs. Howland gave a short talk outlining the policy of the school for the present term. Eighty-two pupils were enrolled at the beginning of the term and the progress made thus far makes the teachers feel much encouraged. Last Saturday afternoon the pupils of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, chaperoned by their teacher, had a picnic at Calm Lake.”

On Sept. 28, 1923, the Dade City Banner reported, in its Blanton-Jessamine news, “Mrs. F. B. Kirkman and Miss Mattie Lou Mayo have gone to Odessa where they have charge of the public school.”

A picture of the Odessa school built in the early 1920s is here.

An article about Odessa in the New Port Richey Press of Feb. 29, 1924, has: “We have just constructed a well equipped four-room school building with a spacious auditorium, and we take great pleasure in mentioning the fact that our school won the prize at the county fair as one of the best three teacher schools in the county.”

On Aug. 8, 1924, the Dade City Banner reported that Emille Wakefield was an additional appointment for the Odessa school.

A 1927 map shows the Odessa school in the NE ¼ of the SW ¼ of Section 27.

School board minutes indicate that at the meeting of Aug. 6, 1928, Mrs. L. D. Eiland was appointed the teacher.

Newspaper articles show Mrs. Freda Eiland appointed in 1929 and 1931.

On Aug. 16, 1932, Miss Kathleen McGehee was appointed the teacher.

On May 6, 1935, Miss Eleanor Kuhlman was appointed the teacher.

On Sept. 4, 1936, the Dade City Banner reported that Mrs. Era Johnson Dixon was appointed teacher of the Odessa School.

On July 5, 1938, Cecilia Taylor Tyson was appointed the teacher.

On May 15, 1939, Marguerite Branas was appointed the teacher.

On May 5, 1941, Mrs. Katie Clark was appointed the teacher.


On Aug. 7, 1936, the Dade City Banner reported that the school board directed the superintendent to arrange for the building of a negro school in Odessa.

A November 1942 directory shows Ruby Lee Copeland as the principal.


Photo by the District School Board of Pasco County

Odessa Elementary School, a K-5 elementary school, opened at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. The first principal was Teresa Love, who still held that position in 2019. In a 2019 count, the school reported having 1,126 children in prekindergarten through fifth grade. It was built to hold 762 students.

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