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Name:    Wheeler, Betty McNeal
Profession:  Educator
Category:  African-American Experience, Education
Description:    Betty M. Wheeler was the principal of Metro High School from 1972 to 1997. An innovative educator, she was hand-picked by the Danforth Foundation to head "Project Metro," an alternative school for students with specialized interests. She previously had headed the St. Louis Public Schools’ work-study program at Ralston Purina.

Known to all her students simply as Betty, Wheeler continued to lead Metro High as it remade itself, in 1980, to become part of the St Louis Magnet School system. It became a college preparatory school and its classes were gradually centralized at its new location in the former Temple Israel House.

In October 1996, Metro High School moved into a brand new $6.5 million facility at 4015 McPherson Avenue near Saint Louis University. This new Metro High School had amenities unknown to previous generations of Metroites, such as a gymnasium, auditorium, and pastel colored lockers. The colors were chosen by Wheeler herself. The school also changed its name offically to Metro Academic and Classical High School to reflect its changing mission as a school for primarily gifted/talented students. Wheeler retired from the St Louis Public Schools after approximately 30 years of service in 1998. Her father was the first African-American state senator in Missouri, and she was married for many years to Harlem Globetrotter "Boom Boom" Wheeler.

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