Over the course of the school's 129-year history, the school was known under several names including the Model School, the Training School, the Campus School, the Laboratory School, the Campus Laboratory School and finally Malcolm Price Laboratory School.  Despite the many name changes that reflected an evolving conceptualization of the school's purpose and function in the teacher education program, one aspect remained constant--LEADERSHIP.  Without strong and supportive leadership the school would not have transitioned from the "Model School" in Gilchrist Hall to be nationally recognized for excellence in teaching, teacher education, clinical field experiences, curriculum development and research.

The path to establishing the Model School was a rocky road.  While the Model School marks its beginnings from 1883 when Independent School District #5 of Cedar Falls Township provided Iowa State Normal School the students to establish the new Model School, due to lack of resources, equipment and teachers the Model School closed from 1886 through 1892.  Under the able leadership of J.C. Gilchrist and President Homer Seerley, the school reopened in 1892.  By 1928, enrollment had increased from an initial 100 students to an enrollment of 395. 

From the Model School's early beginnings until MPLS was closed in 2012, twenty-two men and women  assumed leadership for the school. They include the following: 
  • J.C. Gilchrist, 1883-1886
  • (Model School closed from 1886-1892)
  • Alice C. King, 1892-1895
  • Etta Supplee, 1895-1896
  • Wilbur H. Bender, 1896-1913
  • George S. Dick, 1913-1914
  • Cliff W. Stone, 1914-1918
  • Eva May Luce, 1918-1940
  • Guy Wagner, 1940-1945
  • Dwight Curtis, 1945-1960
  • Guy Wagner, 1960-1962
  • Ross Nielsen, 1962-1986
  • James Doud, 1986-1987
  • John Tarr, 1987-1988
  • David Else, 1988-1990
  • Roger Kueter, 1990-1991
  • Linda Fernandez, 1991-1997
  • Wendell McConnaha, 1997-2001
  • Nadene Davidson, 2001-2004
  • William Callahan, 2004-2007
  • David Smith, 2007-2009
  • Bridgette Wagoner, 2009-2010
  • Lyn Countryman, 2010-2012

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