Huntsville’s transformation from a sleepy mill town into “Rocket City” and an international force in the high-tech world has been mirrored in the growth of Huntsville City Schools, an ambitious evolution that continues to this day.
Huntsville City Schools has not only greatly expanded its number of schools and students served in the 140-year history of publicly supported education in the city, but it has excelled. It was the first system in Alabama to have each of its elementary schools receive accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. However, that sort of recognition was nothing new. As far back as 1912, Huntsville High School had become one of the first schools in the South to receive such accreditation.
Education has been a priority for Huntsville, even among the early settlers, who built the first school in 1807. In 1875, the city government began managing and supporting public schools, establishing a school committee. Beginning in 1907, a five-person school board was appointed by the City Council; the board was elected by the public beginning in 1972.
In the early days of the city, schools met in rented buildings or privates until the first school was constructed in 1882, with 133 students then enrolled in Huntsville’s public schools. A four-year high school followed in 1908, and two others opened in 1927.