About Shepherd

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) at Shepherd Elementary includes all students aged 3 to 12. The program focuses on developing internationally-minded learners who inquire about the world and take action in both their local and global communities. At Shepherd Elementary, we provide a student-centered approach to learning through which students' questions guide the learning process. In addition to offering core content areas, our school also offers Spanish, French, Music, Art, Library, and Physical Education. Read more about Shepherd's Comprehensive School Plan.

The Principal

Phyllis Hedlund, Ed.D.

Phyllis Hedlund is the Principal of Shepherd Elementary School. She formerly served as Chief Academic Officer at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School.  During her five-year tenure there, she initiated major shifts in curriculum, instruction and culture.  The campuses achieved academic gains while decreasing the student suspension rate.

Phyllis began her career as a teacher of Language Arts and English to middle school and high school students in public, parochial and independent schools.   After earning a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration, Phyllis was awarded a fellowship to pursue her doctorate in curriculum and instruction.  Her research focused on curriculum integration, the achievement of English Language Learners in charter schools and National Board certification of teachers.

After completing the program, Dr. Hedlund worked as an adjunct assistant professor in the Initial Professional Teacher Education program at the University of Colorado/Denver. She has worked as a consultant for curriculum, instruction, professional development, literacy and has served as an instructional and leadership coach. She also worked as clinical faculty and curriculum developer for Urban Teacher.

School History

Alexander R. Shepherd Elementary School is named for the territorial governor of the District of Columbia in the early 1870’s and it is the product of an active community committed to education. In 1917, the civic association of Shepherd Park petitioned the District government to build an elementary school to educate the neighborhood children as well as attract more families to the area. After more than a decade of requests, the school board responded to petitions from parents of 143 children and agreed to provide a school.

The school in 1928 consisted of two one-room portables parked near Kalmia Road on the farmland that the association had recommended for a building site. It took another four years, but finally the red-bricked Alexander R. Shepherd Elementary School opened in January 1932. The descendants of Governor Shepherd helped dedicate the school and unveiled a photographic portrait of its namesake.

Shepherd continues to be one of the most highly regarded elementary schools in the District system, due to the commitment of its parents, teachers, and administrators.

Some of the traditions at Shepherd include Back-to-School Night in September, Jazz Night and Black History Month Celebrations in February, the Science Fair, the Spelling Bee, the Geography Bee, and the annual Halloween parade.


Our vision is to develop a community of inquisitive and internationally-minded lifelong learners. Our staff works collaboratively to create a loving environment that prepares students to succeed in the 21st century through providing joyful and academically rigorous learning experiences.


Our mission is to develop inquisitive and internationally-minded lifelong learners who feel loved, challenged, and prepared to think globally and act compassionately to create a more peaceful world.

Faculty and Staff

Teachers and Academic Support Staff
Counselors and Wellness Staff

Shepherd Quick Facts

Join Us!

We are happy to welcome new families into the Shepherd community! New and prospective families are encouraged to visit our Enrollment page to learn more about upcoming open houses and related information.