Birmingham City Schools

The History of the Birmingham City Schools

A bus pulls up at Jones Valley Elementary School (Source: Julianna Hunter)

1873                           Board of School Trustees established

1874                           Free School Established (renamed The Powell School 1883)

1883                           John H. Phillips, superintendent (First Birmingham Schools superintendent, considered the architect of the first school system)

1884                           Board of School of Trustees becomes Board of Education (members appointed)

1884                           Enrollment at 1,206; 7 schools total (2 were African American schools)

1910                           Schools in Greater Birmingham Area Annexed; 40 schools (15 were African American schools)

1915                           Capital campaign to build schools

1921                           Charles Glenn, superintendent

1922                           Capital campaign to build schools

1922                           Enrollment at 15,692

1923                           Charles Glenn, superintendent

1922                            Capital campaign to build schools

1930                           Segregation ordinances for public places

1942                           L. Frasier Banks, superintendent

1952                           Seventy schools in the system; Board of Education Administration building built

1954                           Brown vs Board of Education

1959                           Theodore R. Wright, superintendent

1961                           Forty-one new school buildings

1963                           First school desegregated (Graymont Elem.) followed by Nat. Guard enforced enrollment at West End HS and Ramsay HS

1964                           Phillips HS desegregated

1969                           Raymond Christian, superintendent (led full dismantling of dual school system)

1970                           Enrollment at 70,000; 13 high schools, 77 elementary schools

1972                           Henry Sparks, acting superintendent

1973                           Wilmer Cody, superintendent

1977                           Thirteen high schools and 77 elementary schools in BCS

1983                           John Cantelow II, interim superintendent

1984                           Walter G. Harris, superintendent (first African American superintendent; contract not renewed by school board)

1988                           Cleveland Hammonds, superintendent

1988                           Enrollment at 42,927

1994                           Ed LaMonte, Interim superintendent),

1998                           Johnny E. Brown, superintendent

1998                           Enrollment at 39,831

2002                           Wayman Shiver Jr, superintendent

2002                           Board of Education becomes elected body: a nine-member board representing each City Council district

2004                           Enrollment at 34,099

2006                           Enrollment at 30,959

2006                           Stan Mims, superintendent

2008                           Barbara Allen, interim superintendent

2004                           School closings and consolidations

2010                           Enrollment at 26,721

2010                           Craig Witherspoon, superintendent

2011                           Enrollment at 25,091

2012                           School Board President Edward Maddox guilty of using political office for personal gain. Resigned from position.

2012                           Alabama Department of Education takeover operation of Birmingham City Schools

2015                           Spencer Horn, interim superintendent

2015                           Kelley Castlin-Gacutan, superintendent

2016                           Larry Contri, interim superintendent

2017                           Lisa Herring, superintendent

2017                           Enrollment at 24,070, 49 schools


More on the state of Birmingham City Schools

Making the Grade? How Birmingham City Schools Are Doing Depends on Which Measure You Choose.

Questions About Birmingham City Schools: Many Remain Unanswered after Efforts Over Three Months to Understand the State of Education