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Sam Houston Elementary School opened on its current site in 1952 with eighteen classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria, and library. Built as a replacement for Westside Elementary School, located on the site of the current municipal building, Sam Houston contained state-of-the-art classrooms, complete with sinks, built-in cabinets and closets, and student restrooms in the primary grades. Under its first principal, William Anderson, the school provided three sections of grades one through six. In 1958, Willis Howard became Sam Houston's second principal.

In 1973, Sam Houston achieved several milestones. With the completion of two new wings for vocal and instrumental music, an expanded library media center, and three second grade classrooms, Sam Houston became Maryville's largest elementary school. Adah M. Cooper become the first woman principal in the system, June Hurst became the first full-time guidance counselor, and two kindergarten classes were located within the building. With continued population growth, in 1976 Sam Houston added four kindergarten classrooms, two sixth-grade classrooms, and an expanded cafeteria. During this period Sam Houston was named Exemplary School by the state of Tennessee.
In the next decade Sam Houston saw several major changes. In 1985 all sixth grades were shifted to what was to become Maryville Middle School, and Janice P. Click became Sam Houston's fourth principal. Under Mrs. Click, Sam Houston achieved accreditation by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and added full-time physical education, art, and music specialists in 1988. In 1990 six additional classrooms were constructed to accommodate five first grades and one transition class. In 1999 Linda Irwin became Sam Houston's fifth principal. The following year Maryville Intermediate School was opened, and Sam Houston became a Pre-K-4 school. During the 2001-2002 school year, the school celebrated its 50th anniversary with a year long celebration and an in-depth study of our five decades as an elementary school. 
In 2004, Mr. Scott Blevins became Sam Houston's sixth principal.  Mr. Blevins oversaw several changes to Sam Houston including the school becoming K-3, the iReach initiative, and the installation of a disc golf course.  
In 2012, the 4th grade was moved to the intermediate schools and Sam Houston became a Pre-K through 3 school and remains that way today.  

In June 2017, Mrs. Heather Hilton became Sam Houston's 7th principal.  During this time Sam Houston was consistently recognized as a Reward School by the Tennessee State Department of Education.

In June 2020, Dr. Casey Cutter was name Sam Houston's 8th principal. Sam Houston earned special accolades in fall 2021 - being named as a Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education. This program recognizes exemplary public and non-public schools each year and is among the highest honors in the field.

In May 2022, Mrs. Molly Rice was named Sam Houston's 9th principal. Mrs. Rice  quickly set to work with SHE PTO and Maryville City Schools Foundation in 2022 to make some incredible physical improvements to the campus - namely refreshing the Reading Garden, installing a Friendship Swing in honor of a former employee, and building a walking track on our playground. In 2023, Sam Houston hosted a 70th Anniversary Homecoming to honor teachers, staff, and students from over the years.

Currently the school serves approximately 500 students with more than 95 faculty, staff, and teaching assistants.