Powell Elementary School (PES) is located at 1711 Spring Street, one block off of Emory Road. The Powell community is situated ten miles northwest of the city of Knoxville and shares a long history in the overall growth of Knox County. The Powell community was originally named Powell Station after Mr. Columbus Powell, a farmer who donated land for a train station to be built to serve the railroad which came through in 1860. The word "Station" was dropped in 1949. In 1874, Dr. John Ragsdale donated land for a new school. A two-room schoolhouse was built, one to house grades 1-4, and a "big" room to house grades 5-10. The school became known as Perkins School.

    In 1949, the elementary and high schools were separated, and a high school was constructed on Emory Road. The current PES was built on what was the original site of the first Powell Station School for grades 1-12. The first phase of the elementary school was constructed to house grades 1-8. At that time, the Powell community had a population of 2,553 residents.

    During the 1960s and 1970s, Powell experienced the effects of urban sprawl, due to more Knoxville residents seeking homes outside the city. In 1969, Powell Elementary underwent a major expansion allowing grades 1-6 to move into the new wing, while grades 7-8 remained in the old wing until the completion of Powell Middle School.

    By 1973, all Knox County Schools offered kindergarten classes. This addition, plus the continued expansion of Broadacres Subdivision and the development of many other subdivisions, caused a population explosion, leaving Powell Elementary School overcrowded. The census tract data for 1980 listed the population of children ages 5 to 9 in the Powell area at 1,068.  In 1986, PES underwent its most recent expansion. A kindergarten wing, front office complex, gym, media center, and music room were added.

    In 1995, PES completed a $60,000 playground renovation. In 1997, there were 975 children enrolled at PES. Since that time, there has been a steady growth in the number of classrooms needed in order to meet the Basic Education Program (BEP) standards set by the State of Tennessee. To comply with this law, 12 portable classrooms have been added from 1988 to the present.  In 2008, there were approximately 950 students enrolled.  At the end of 2013, there were approximately 1050 students enrolled.