Brighton Elementary School is a neighborhood school, serving nearly 700 students in grades K-6. Brighton's lifetime supporters are all stakeholders: students, teachers, staff, administration, parents, division personnel, business partners, and community. Brighton is committed to providing strong leadership in preparing students to live and compete successfully in a global society. The school is built upon establishing high expectations for all students. Over the years, Brighton has undergone many changes.
In the early years of Brighton, it started with two teachers providing instruction in two rooms that were combined on Highland Avenue near Lansing Avenue. In 1907, that building was destroyed by fire just before its replacement neared completion. The newer building, built on the corner of the two avenues, had eight classrooms. The Brighton area was located in Norfolk County and was not annexed by Portsmouth until 1919. At that time, the Brighton School became part of the Portsmouth School System.
By 1943, the Brighton School was reported to be a decrepit building. Temporary solutions were found for classroom space. In 1960, a new location was found for the school. This move involved the closing of portions of Maupin, Parker, and Pearl Streets, and the tearing down of several homes in that area. Between the opening of the 1907 building and the 1961 building, enrollment increased requiring additional space. On September 24, 1961, the building was dedicated for service. The doors opened with about 700 students ranging from Kindergarten to 6th grade. From 1980 to 1993, Kindergarten, 5th and 6th grade students were instructed there.
The next two years, Brighton served only 5th grade students and the students in Portsmouth's alternative program. In 1995, Brighton once again opened its doors to Kindergarten through 5th grade, in alignment with the city's elementary school model. In its last years, the forty-year-old building showed its age but continued to serve approximately 400 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade.
With a groundbreaking ceremony on April 23, 2003, the latest chapter in Brighton's history began. On November 16, 2004, the new Brighton Elementary School building was dedicated to the education of students. From that time, Brighton has been led by many great leaders. The presiding principal is Mrs. Barbara J. Shears-Walker who has served Portsmouth Public Schools for over 25 years. At Brighton, she has displayed excellent leadership service for 5 years. Under her leadership, Brighton has excelled academically and is now "A Fully Accredited Public School" in Virginia.