In the late 1920's, North Cookeville was in need of a new school because the only school in the area, Freehill School, was in extreme disrepair. Mr. J.P. Jackson , a local resident, approached the school board to ask for a new school. Mr. Jere Whitson was serving as school board chairman at the time and asked for a public meeting of interested citizens of the area. The meeting was a productive one. It was decided that a new school would be built on what is the present site, property donated to the county by Mr. Jere Whitson. The area residents helped by supplying the money and much of the labor for the project, truly making it a community undertaking. The school was a two room frame structure and was named after Mr. Jere Whitson because of his involvement in the process and the fact that he donated land on which the school was built.
The school was enlarged in 1952, added to in 1975 and renovated in 1989. In March, 2007 Jere Whitson suffered a tragic fire. The front of the building, including the entire 4th grade, Title rooms, computer lab, music area, guidance and office complex, 1 kindergarten, a second grade and a preschool room were completely destroyed. Other areas sustained heavy smoke and water damage. Although the fire happened on a weekend, school began the next Monday at TTU's Hooper Eblen Center. The school year ended at Stevens Street Church. We used the church's Sunday School spaces and fellowship hall. The Jere Whitson faculty, staff and students are forever grateful to these two institutions who took us in during the crisis. We spent two years at the STAR Center and moved into the renovated Jere Whitson in August, 2009.