School History

Halley Elementary School opened on September 5, 1995, and was dedicated on May 16, 1996. Our school was designed by the architecture firm of Walton, Madden, Cooper, Robinson, and Poness, and was built by the Sabre Construction Company at a cost of $7.6 million.

Color photograph of the main entrance of Halley Elementary School.

What's in a Name?

During the design and construction process, Halley was referred to as the Pohick elementary school site. In March 1995, community members gathered at a meeting to name our school, and the name William Halley was put forward by a parent. Our school was officially named "The William Halley Elementary School" by the Fairfax County School Board on May 11, 1995. Who was William Halley? Find out in this video produced for Fairfax County Public Schools’ cable television channel Red Apple 21.

Our Principals

Halley Elementary School’s first principal was Janet K. Funk. She came to Halley from Riverside Elementary School where she had served as principal for three years. Principal Funk retired at the end of the 2009-10 school year and was succeeded by Jamey Chianetta. Ms. Chianetta was an assistant principal at Halley, and was a teacher at Holmes Middle School. Principal Chianetta departed at the end of the 2017-18 school year, and became the principal of Fort Belvoir Upper Elementary School. In July 2018, Kerry Peerman was appointed the third principal of Halley Elementary School. Ms. Peerman was an assistant principal at Groveton Elementary School for seven years, and was an assistant principal at Woodlawn Elementary School for five years. She began her career in Fairfax County Public Schools in 1993 as a teacher, serving at Gunston Elementary School, Halley Elementary School, and Riverside Elementary School.

Composite image showing a yearbook portrait of Principal Janet Funk, and the head-and-shoulders staff portraits of principals Jamey Chianetta and Kerry Peerman. In her photograph, Funk is seated at a table surrounded by students.
Janet K. Funk (Left, 1995-10), Jamey Chianetta (Center, 2010-18), and Kerry Peerman (2018-Present)

Stories from Halley

Take a look back at some moments in Halley’s history. This video playlist includes stories about our character education program, our partnership with Vulcan Materials, The Whistle Blowers, and The Bully Nots.

Bullying Prevention

Did you know that in 2001 Halley Elementary School won a national contest? The contest called for suggestions on how to encourage students to prevent bullying. Halley was selected from among 120 schools by Michigan author Patricia Polacco, who devised the contest. Ms. Polacco presented the award in person and joined students in painting a mural.

Composite image showing the cover of three Halley Elementary School yearbook covers. Years pictured are 1995 to 1996, 2005 to 2006, and 2009 to 2010.
Another way Halley student artwork has been permanently showcased over the years is on the cover of our yearbooks. Pictured are two student-designed covers from 2006 and 2010, and the cover of our very first yearbook.

A True Fish Tale

The tiger shark that hangs in our library is a real shark. It measures 13 feet, 11 inches in length and was caught by the Chapman family in August 2004. Jack Chapman, then a second grader at Halley, was visiting the Outer Banks of North Carolina on a fishing trip with his father Scott and older brother Josh when they hooked the shark. Four hours later their fishing boat returned to shore and the whole town came out to see their tremendous catch. The shark was sent to a marine taxidermy specialist in Florida and then sat on the Chapman’s couch in their living room for a few months until Jack’s mom, Sharon Chapman, decided she didn’t want it in her home anymore. Mrs. Chapman offered the shark to Principal Funk who jumped at the chance to have it.

Two color photographs of the tiger shark in the library. One is a close-up showing the shark from dorsal fin to snout. Its mouth is open and rows of sharp teeth are visible. The second photograph is wider, showing the shark on the wall above the reading area with book shelves and circular reading tables beneath it.

Principal of the Year

In December, 1998, Principal Janet Funk was named the Fairfax County Public Schools Principal of the Year. One nominating letter stated: “Mrs. Funk amazes all who know her when she addresses every student by name. On any given day, one might see her parading with the kindergarten class wearing a homemade ‘Spring’ bonnet… dancing at a sixth grade dance, reading a book with a child, or playing the flute in the school band.” Principal Funk was also lauded for her work with the community, including organizing monthly “coffees” with parents and surveying them to get their thoughts on school planning.

Color photograph of Principal Janet Funk from our 1996 to 1997 yearbook. She is seated at a table surrounded by students.
Principal Janet Funk with students, 1997