School History

Remembering Our Past

Langley High School opened its doors to students for the first time on Thursday, September 2, 1965. Our school’s first principal was Elam K. Hertzler.

Black and white photograph of the architectural concept rendering of Langley High School.
Pictured above is the architectural concept rendering of Langley High School. Langley was built at a cost of $2.8 million by general contractor Hill & Kimmel, Inc. Image courtesy of the Virginia Room, Fairfax County Public Library.
The recently completed $2.8 million Langley High School in McLean, provides the right kind of learning environment for 2,000 students. Located on a tree-surrounded rolling site, the school takes advantage of the sloping terrain and a compact shape to reduce both construction and site work costs to a minimum. The slope from front to back allowed entrance levels at the second floor giving opportunity for an aesthetically pleasing break from traditional entrances. ~ Virginia Record, May 1966

Construction of Langley High School began in September 1964 and was completed after the start of school the following year. Pictured below are the Langley High School site prior to the start of construction and the building as it neared completion.

Black and white photograph of a rolling, hilly landscape with sparsely scattered trees and shrubs.
Photograph courtesy of the Virginia Room, FCPL.
Black and white photograph of Langley High School. Construction of the building is nearing completion.
Photograph courtesy of the Virginia Room, FCPL.

Langley High School opened at a time when enrollment in Fairfax County Public Schools was rapidly increasing, and the school system was in its final year of the racial desegregation process. Langley opened as an integrated school and was the first public school in the county built with central air conditioning.

Black and white photographic portrait of Elam Hertzler.
Pictured above is Langley High School’s first principal, Elam K. Hertzler, in 1969. Principal Hertzler began his career in FCPS as a math teacher at McLean High School in 1957. After Hertzler’s resignation in 1971, Clinton DeBusk served briefly as acting principal until the appointment of Principal Thomas J. Cabelus, Jr.

What’s in a Name?

Did you know that during the planning process, Langley was referred to as Potomac View High School? When it came time to choose a name for Langley, one popular suggestion was William Maffitt High School, in honor of an important figure in Fairfax County history. It was Maffitt’s home, Salona, where President James Madison sought shelter during the burning of Washington by the British in the War of 1812. The School Board later settled on the name Langley, in keeping with the school’s geographic location. Learn about the origin of the name Langley in this video produced for Fairfax County Public Schools’ cable television channel Red Apple 21.