There may be more than 251. There are at least two cases of the government choosing to honor someone with a school and then changing their mind. And there are at least three cases where a school was, or may have been, originally named for its neighborhood, only to later take on the namesake of the neighborhood without evidence that the name change was official. (For example the Greenleaf School was named for the Greenleaf neighborhood but many years later it was referred to as the James Greenleaf School in official school documents). There are also two cases where the person for whom a school was named erroneously changed or is in dispute. Finally there are two schools, a public school and a charter school, named for Thurgood Marshall, but he is only counted once.
Below is a list of every one of DC's named public schools grouped by present schools, charter schools and schools that are no longer open. In addition, since the original purpose of this list was to identify schools named for slave owners and members of the Confederacy, those have been highlighted. The reason this was the original purpose is that some places are renaming schools named for Confederate heroes and there has been at least one push to rename a DC school because it was named for a slave owner, so I wanted to identify how many schools this would constitute.
In the late 19th and early 20th Century, DC had a habit of naming schools for former chief executives of the District of Columbia as well as former Presidents - and these are the source of most of the slave-owner named schools. Chief executives include Mayors, Governors and Presidents of the Board of Commissioners. Every chief executive between Robert Brent (1802-1812) and C.H. Rudolph (1910-1913) had a school named for them except Daniel Rapine, John Douglass and John Wright. Every president between J. Adams* and Coolidge had a school named for them except for Benjamin Harrison and Warren G. Harding. [Harrison reportedly didn't get one to avoid confusion with his grandfather's]. In the early 20th century the school board changed its naming philosophy and began to name most schools for teachers, principals, superintendents and school board members. During both periods, occasional schools were named for "great men and women" of national importance - especially those schools meant for black students.
In the table below, for schools named after more than one person, the descriptions are separated by two hyphens. The types of schools are abbreviated (ES = Elementary School, JHS = Junior High School, MS= Middle school, HS = High School, EC = Education Campus, PCS = Public Charter School). The namesake's "most common" name as I found them was used, but with no titles (Dr., Col., Rev., etc...). Finally, when giving their job title I used the terminology of their time, so you might find some out-dated terms like "colored". I hope this will not offend anyone, and it is certainly not my intent.
The names of known slave owners are highlighted in red. Note that it's almost impossible to determine if someone living in a place where slavery was legal was never a slave owner. According to some reports, most wealthy people living in places where slavery was legal, probably owned or hired slaves (from their owners) at least once. Even being an abolitionist is no guarantee that they never owned slaves, as some came around later in life (and then there's the curious case of Lafayette who owned slaves, but only as an attempt to end the slavery - it's complicated). Such people might have been slave-owners, or have used slave labor, without it ever being recorded.
There are only two schools named for people with ties to the Confederacy. Tyler, named for former President John Tyler who led the Virginia Secession movement, signed the orders of Secession, negotiated that state's entry into the Confederacy, and served in the Provisional Confederate Congress; and Lenox, named for former Mayor Walter Lenox who joined the Confederate Army and served for part of the war in the office dealing with POW exchanges. He came back to DC in 1863 to settle affairs stemming from his sister's death where he was arrested and imprisoned (without trial) as "an agent of the Confederate government."
There are several oddities about DC's named schools. Because there were many named for commissioners and because 1 out of every 3 commissioners was an engineer (by design), DC has more schools named for engineers than most school systems do. DC is also the only school system I could find that had a policy of naming schools for every president, meaning it has more schools named for presidents than other schools do. Finally, DC has what appears to be a larger number of schools named for abolitionists and civil rights leaders than most do.
*A note about the Adamses. The first Adams School on R Street (now the Ross School) was named for John Adams, but people, including the School Board, started getting confused and calling it the John Quincy Adams School. The irony is that, like Benjamin Harrison, the younger Adams was intentionally skipped over specifically to avoid the confusion of two similarly named schools. Eventually, it seems, the error was repeated so often that it became fact. When the new Adams School was opened in 1930, the name "John Qunicy Adams School" was carved above the doors, removing all doubt as to who that school is named for. So the old Adams school was originally John Adams School and when it moved to 19th it became the John Quincy Adams School without anyone really deciding to remove John Adams' name from it. At least not until 1931 when it became "School Administration Annex No. 1" before later becoming the Ross School. So both presidents had a school named for them, but the son only due to what appears to be an error.
For further reading:
- History of the Public Schools of Washington, DC from 1805 to 1875
- 1891 Map of DC Schools, owned and rented
- Eighty Years of the Public Schools of Washington: 1805 to 1885
- 1911 Annual Report of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, Vol IV, Report of the Board of Education - Includes a section on the history of school naming in the District and a discussion of naming policy and tradition.
- Dabney, Lilian Gertrude. The History of Schools for Negroes in the District of Columbia 1807-1947 (Catholic University of America Press, 1949)
- Replace or Modernize (2001) - The future of the District of Columbia's Endangered Old and Historic Schools
- Haycock, R. L. Biographical Directory of the Public Schools of the District of Columbia, (Washington, DC, District of Columbia Office of the Statistician, 1953)
- Wormley, G. Smith. "Educators of the First Half Century of Public Schools of the District of Columbia." The Journal of Negro History 17, no. 2 (1932): 124-40. doi:10.2307/2714463.
- There have been many other attempts to list every school and who it was named for (such as this attempt in 1895 and another in 1899), almost all with errors. I have tried to correct those, however I suspect errors remain in part because buildings were normally referred to by one name and a good effort to remember who, or what, that name referenced didn't start until the early 20th Century, by which time oft-repeated errors had become fact.
- Hines, Marian E. 200 Years of Public Education in the Nation's Capitol (Washington, DC, Delta Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma International, 2004)
- What's in a Name (2010) - DC Community Heritage Project pamphlet
- What's in a Name (2011) - DC Community Heritage Project pamphlet. These have some glaring errors, but are still useful
Margaret M. Amidon-Anthony Bowen ES - Principal of Female Grammar School (1854-1869) --- Founder of a school for free black students and advocate for free education for blacks after the Civil War
Frank Washington Ballou HS - Superintendent of DC public schools (1920-1946)
George Bancroft ES - Secretary of the Navy (1845-1846)/noted historian instrumental in founding the Naval Academy
Job Barnard ES - Justice, US District Court of DC (1899-1914), Public Schools Trustee (1898-1900)
Benjamin Banneker HS - Surveyor of the District's south corner boundary stone, Astronomer
Anne Beers ES - Supervising Principal, 8th and 4th Division (1912-1926). More.
Alexander Graham Bell Multicultural HS - Inventor of the telephone, fiber optics and other inventions; first President of the American Association to Promote Teaching of Speech to the Deaf
Robert Brent ES - 1st Mayor of the City of Washington (1802-1812) and first Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of DC Public Schools
Ronald H. Brown College Preparatory HS - 30th Secretary of Commerce (1993-1996) (born in DC)
Hugh M. Browne EC - Washington-born educator and education innovator, teacher at the Colored Preparatory and M Street High School (1886-1898)
Blanche Bruce-James Monroe ES @ Park View - Public Schools Trustee (1892-1895) and only Senator born in to slavery --- 5th President of the United States (1817-1825)
John Burroughs ES - Naturalist and nature essayist
Francis L. Cardozo EC - Principal of Colored Preparatory School (1884-1896)
Grover Cleveland ES - 22nd and 24th President of the United States (1885-1889 and 1893-1897)
Henry D. Cooke ES - 1st Governor of the District of Columbia (1871-1873)
Calvin Coolidge HS - 30th President of the United States (1923-1929)
Alice Deal MS - Principal of Columbia Junior High School (1920-1928)
Charles Drew ES - Medical researcher in the field of blood transfusions
Paul Laurence Dunbar HS - Author and Poet
John Eaton ES - U.S. Commissioner of Education (1870-1886), helped organize DC's Board of Education
Charles William Eliot-Lemon G. Hine MS - President of Harvard University (1869-1909) - Civil Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1889-1890)
Duke Ellington School of the Arts - Jazz Musician
C.H.O.I.C.E. Academy @ Mattew G. Emery - 22nd Mayor of the City of Washington (1870-1871)
Millard Fillmore Arts Center - 13th President of the United States (1850-1853)
School Without Walls @ John R. Francis-Thaddeus Stevens - Public Schools Trustee (1887-1889) -- Senator who led the campaign to end slavery in the District of Columbia
James Garfield ES - 20th President of the United States (1881) (School might have been named for the Garfield neighborhood and then changed - officially or by error - later)
William Lloyd Garrison ES - Abolitionist publisher and leader, suffragist
School-Within-School @ Anne M. Goding - Principal of Wilson Normal School (1900-1926)
Rose Lees Hardy MS - Assistant superintendent of DC public schools (1925-1932)
Caroline Wilder Harris ES - Member of the DC Board of Education (1911-1914)
Charles Hart MS - Principal of Eastern High School (1918-1945)
Phoebe Apperson Hearst ES - Wealthy benefactor and proponent of kindergarten education in DC, co-founder of the all-girls National Cathedral School and co-founder of the PTA
Dorothy I. Height ES - School administrator, educator, civil rights leader and women's rights activist
Flora L. Hendley ES - Supervising Principal, 6th and 7th Divisions (1908-1924), leader in effort to get pensions for DC teachers
Charles Hamilton Houston ES - 20th century civil rights leader, "the Man Who Killed Jim Crow"
Anthony T. Hyde - Henry Addison ES - President of the Board of Trustees of Georgetown public schools (1871-1874) -- 19th and 21st Mayor of Georgetown (1845-1857, 1859-1869)
Bernard T. Janney ES - Supervisor of Georgetown Schools (1874-1916)
Thomas Jefferson MS - 3rd President of the United States (1801-1809) & 1st President of the Board of Trustees of DC Public Schools
Dr. John H. Johnson MS - Member of the DC Board of Education (1916-1937)
John H. Ketcham ES - Civil Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1874-1877)
Francis Scott Key ES - Author of the Star Spangled Banner
Ephraim Gardner Kimball ES - Supervising Principal, 7th Division (1909?-1925?) Assistant Superintendent?? (late 20's-30's) (see bio below)
Marin Luther King, Jr. ES - 20th century civil rights leader
Stephen Elliot Kramer MS - First Assistant Superintendent of DC Schools (1924-1936)
Marquis de Lafayette ES - Revolutionary War hero
Samuel P. Langley ES - Secretary of the Smithsonian (1887-1906)
Jessie LaSalle-Bertie Backus EC - Assistant Superintendent (1923?-1946?)-- Principal of Alice Deal (1931-1955)/education innovator (See LaSalle bio below)
Madeline Vaughn Leckie ES - School teacher in DC schools (1923-1963)
Abraham Lincoln Multicultural MS - 16th President of the United States (1861-1865)
Capitol Hill Montessori @ John A. Logan - Senator who penned legislation providing federal funding for local schools, and attempted to ensure that funds would be equally distributed among black and white schools.
William Ludlow-Zachary Taylor ES - Military Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1886-1888) -- 12th President of the United States (1849-1850)
Horace Mann ES - Father of the Common School Movement
John Walker Maury ES - 15th Mayor of the City of Washington (1852-1854)
William McKinley MS & HS - 25th President of the United States (1897-1901)
Kelly Miller MS - Civil rights intellectual and former DC schoolteacher (1889-1890)
Myrtilla Miner ES - Founder and 1st Principal of the Normal School for Colored Girls (1851-1857)
Luke C. Moore HS - D.C. Superior Court Judge (1972-1994), Chairman of the D.C. Street Academy Board of Directors (Luke C. Moore was previously the D.C. Street Academy).
Lucy E. Moten @ Garnet C. Wilkinson ES - Principal of the Miner School (1883-1920) -- Assistant Superintendent of Colored School (1924-1951)
Ben W. Murch ES - Supervising Principal, 1st and 2nd Divisions (1908-1927)
John C. Nalle ES - Supervising Principal, 10th and 11th Divisions (1902-1926)
Crosby Stuart Noyes ES - Trustee of the Reform School of DC (1886-1908) [President (1905-1908)]
Benjamin Grayson Orr ES - 4th Mayor of the City of Washington (1817-1819)
James F. Oyster-John Quincy Adams Bilingual School - Civil Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1920-1925) and President of the DC Board of Education (1910-1912). -- 6th President of the United States (1825-1829)
Walter B. Patterson ES - Supervising Principal, 9th Division (1907-1944)
Daniel A. Payne ES - A.M.E. Bishop and education advocate
George Peabody ES - the "Father of Modern Philanthropy" who's donation made the Peabody Library possible (This school was briefly named L'Enfant, but neighbors complained because they feared it would be called "the Infant School." The name was changed before the school opened, but not before the name L'Enfant was carved into the building. That engraving was covered with a marble slab reading "Peabody School")
Seth Ledyard Phelps HS - 1st President of the DC Board of Commissioners (1878-1879)
Mary H. Plummer ES - Principal of Francis JHS (1928-1947)
William B. Powell ES - Superintendent of DC Public Schools (1885-1900)
Charles W. Raymond Campus - Military Commissioner of the District of Columbia (1888-1890)
Marie H. Reed ES -1st chairman of the Morgan Community School Board (1967-1969)
Theodore Roosevelt HS @ Henry MacFarland - 26th President of the United States (1901-1909) -- 9th President of the DC Board of Commissioners (1900-1910)
John W. Ross ES - 7th President of the DC Board of Commissioners (1893-1898), President of the Board of Trustees of Public Schools of DC (1888-1892)
Alfred Kiger Savoy ES - Assistant Superintendent of Colored Elementary Schools (1932-1954)
William Winston Seaton ES - 13th Mayor of the City of Washington (1840-1850)
Alexander Robey Shepherd ES - 2nd Governor of the District of Columbia (1873-1874)
Abram Simon ES - President of the DC Board of Education (1919-1923)
Henry Smothers ES - Founder of one of the first, and longest operating, schools for black students. The Smothers School (a.k.a. Union Seminary, Columbian Institute) open 1822-1862.
John Phillip Sousa MS - Conductor and composer
Edwin L. Stanton ES - 2nd Secretary of the District of Columbia (1871-1873)
Benjamin Stoddert ES - 1st Secretary of the Navy (1798-1801) from Georgetown
Alexander Tait Stuart-Julius W. Hobson MS - Superintendent of DC Public Schools (1900-1906, 1908-1911) -- DC Councilmember (1975-1977)
Neval Thomas ES - Teacher and President of the DC local NAACP (1925-1930)
Strong John Thomspon ES - Principal of DC schools (1854-1897) but for 6 years at a private school because he didn't want to teach in integrated schools.
George Truesdell ES - Civil Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1894-1897)
Harriet Tubman ES - Abolitionist and suffragist
Anita J. Turner ES - DC Director of Physical Education (1924-1936)
John Tyler ES - 10th President of the United States (1841-1845)
John Peter Van Ness ES - 10th Mayor of the city of Washington (1830-1834)
James E. Walker - Alfred Jones EC - Supervising Principal, 13th Division (1909-1917) became the first officer from DC to die during World War I service -- First black Public Schools Trustee (1867-1870)
Catherine R. Watkins ES - Director of Kindergartens (1904?-1937) (Biography below)
Joseph Rodman West EC - 3rd President of the DC Board of Commissioners (1882-1883)
Samuel Edwin Wheatley EC - Civil Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1886-1889)
John Greenleaf Whittier EC - Abolitionist poet
James Ormond Wilson ES - Superintendent of DC Public Schools (1870-1885)
Woodrow Wilson HS - 28th President of the United States (1913-1921)
Howard Dilworth Woodson HS - Deanwood Community leader
Malcolm X MS @ Mildred Green - 20th century civil rights leader -- School Principal (1937-1956)
Former Schools (and their location) [underline means building is extant]
George J. Abbott School (6th and New York Ave., NW) - Public Schools Trustee (1845-1851) (see bio below)
John Adams School (1730 R Street, NW) - 2nd President of the United States (1787-1801)
Enoch Ambush School (L, between 6th and 7th St., SW) - Co-founder of an early school for free black students in DC (see bio below)
Chester A. Arthur School (Arthur Pl., between B and C, NW) - 21st President of the United States (1881-1885)
George Bell School (Originally 1st, between B and C St., SW, then 22nd and D St., SW in 1933) - Co-founder, in 1807, of the first school in the District for free black students
James G. Berret School (1408 Q St., NW) - 18th Mayor of the City of Washington (1858-1861)
Francis P. Blair, Sr School (635 I St., NE) - Editor of the Washington Globe and a founder of the Republican Party
James H. Blake School (North Capitol, between K and L St., NW) - 3rd Mayor of the City of Washington (1813-1817)
Sayles J. Bowen School (3rd and K St., SW) - 21st Mayor of the City of Washington (1868-1870)
Thea Bowman PCS (330 21st St., NE) - Catholic clergywoman and educator
William A. Bradley School (60 Linworth Place) - 11th Mayor of the City of Washington (1834-1836)
Martha Briggs ES (22nd and E St., NW) - Principal of Miner Normal School (1879-1883)
Thomas Barbour Bryan ES (1315 Independence Ave., SE) - Civil Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1875-1878)
James Buchanan School (1325 D St., SE) - 15th President of the United States (1857-1861)
James F. Bundy School (429 O St., NW) - Member of the DC Board of Education (1901-1907)
Anna Lalor Burdick Vocational HS (1300 Allison St., NW) - The U.S. Department of Education's Special Agent for Trade and Industrial Education for Girls and Women (1917-1939) and an advocate for vocational training for women
Thomas Carberry ES (410 5th St., NE) - 6th Mayor of the City of Washington (1822-1824)
George Washington Carver ES (1027 45th St., NE) - Botanist and inventor
Eliza Chamberlain School (2512 East Pl. NW) - Teacher and principal of Mount Zion Freedman's School (1864-1870) who died of tuberculosis from poor conditions in the school.
John F. Cook Sr. School (30 P St., NW) - Principal of Union Seminary, a school for free black students (1834-1855). Original building was at 429 O St, NW, site of the Bundy School.
Thomas Corcoran School (1219 28th St., NW) - 10th, 12th and 14th Mayor of Georgetown (1806, 1808-1810, 1812-1813)
William Cranch School (12th and G SE) - Member of the Board of Trustees of Public Schools of Washington (1805-1812)
Alexander Crummell School (1900 Gallaudet St., NE) - Founder of the American Negro Academy
W.W. Curtis School (O St, between 22nd and 23rd NW ) - Member and sometimes President of the Board of Trustees of Public Schools of DC (1865-1888)
Adelaide Davis ES (4430 H St., SE) - Supervising Principal, 6th Division (1923-1929)
William Dennison School (S St., between 13th and 14th, NW ) - Member of the Temporary Board of Commissioners of DC (1874-1878)
Josiah Dent School (210 South Carolina, SE) - 2nd President of the DC Board of Commissioners (1879-1882)
William E. Doar Jr. Wedj Edgewood PCS (705 Edgewood NE)- National Executive Director of Phi Beta Sigma (1949-1979) and father of one of the School's founders. Name changed to City Arts and Prep in 2016
Frederick Douglass School (1st and Pierce, NW) - 19th Century civil rights leader
Henry W. Draper ES (908 Wahler Place SE) - Supervising Principal, 1st Division (1927-1945)
James B. Edmonds School (901 D St., NE) - 4th President of the DC Board of Commissioners (1883-1886)
Isaac Fairbrother School (10th and E, SW) - Supervising Principal, 4th/8th Division (1884-1912)
Dorothy Celeste Boulding Ferebee - Marion Conover Hope ES (3999 8th St. SE) - Civil rights leader & first director of Southeast House (see below for Hope biography)
Evelyn B. Fletcher-Phillip T. Johnson MS (4650 Benning Rd SE) - Teacher - Member of the D.C. Board of Education (1949-1952) (see below for bios)
Peter Force School (1740 Massachusetts Ave NW) - 12th Mayor of the City of Washington (1836-1839)
Benjamin Franklin School (963 13th St., NW) - Founding Father of the United States
Benjamin Brown French Manual Training School (NW corner of 7th and G St, SE) - President of the Board of Alderman and the Board of Common Council (1840s-50's), Commissioner of Public Buildings (1853-1867)
Nathanial Parker Gage ES (2053 2nd Street NW) - Supervising Principal, 2nd Division (1874-1903)
Joseph Gales, Jr. School (65 Massachusetts Ave, NW) - 9th Mayor of the City of Washington (1827-1830)
Henry Highland Garnet School (2001 10th St., NW) - Abolitionist minister
Mildred E. Gibbs ES (500 19th Street, NE) - Principal of the Stevens School (1904-1935) (more)
Joshua R Giddings ES (315 G Street, SE) - Leader of effort to end slavery in DC
Ulysses S. Grant School (2130 G St., NW) - 18th President of the United States (1869-1877)
James Greenleaf School (4 1/2 St. between M and N, SW) - DC land speculator (school originally named for neighborhood but later attributed to person, possibly in error)
Archibald Grimke ES (1923 Vermont Ave NW) - Civil Rights leader
Alexander Hamilton School (Bladensburg Road between Q and R) - Founding father. Name was suggested due to its location at Mount Hamilton.
Julia West Hamilton JHS (6th and Brentwood Parkway, NE ) - Washington, DC civic leader
William Henry Harrison ES (2120 13th St. NE) - 9th President of the United States (1841)
Rutherford B. Hayes School (500 K St. NE) - 19th President of the United States (1877-1881)
Joseph Henry School (7th and P St. NW) - 1st Secretary of the Smithsonian (1846-1878) and leader of the "Columbian Teachers Association."
Charles E. Hilton School (212 6th St, NE) - Supervising Principal, 3rd Division (1873-1877) (see bio below)
Gardner G. Hubbard School (1100 block of Kenyon St, NW) - Founder and 1st President of Bell Telephone, founder of the journal Science, a founder and the first president of the National Geographic Society (1888-1897), trustee of GWU (1883-1897)
Andrew Jackson School (3050 R St, NW) - 7th President of the United States (1829-1837)
Andrew Johnson School (~3200 Hiatt Pl, NW) - 17th President of the United States (1865-1869)
Barbara Jordan PCS at Louis C. Rabaut JHS (100 Peabody Street, NW) - Political pioneer for black women -- Chair of the House Subcommittee on the District of Columbia (1955-1961)
Joseph R. Keene School (33 Riggs Road) - Supervising Principal, 6th and 8th Division (1876-1906) (see bio below)
John Mercer Langston ES (43 P St., NW) - 1st black congressman from Virginia; Founder and Dean of Howard Law School (1869-1875), the first black law school in America.
Mamie Dixon Lee School (100 Gallatin St., NE) - Early 1960's advocate for the education of intellectually disabled children.
Pierre L'Enfant School (425 C St., NE) - Original city planner for Washington, DC (School name was changed to Peabody before the school opened)
Walter Lenox ES (725 5th St., SE) - 14th Mayor of the City of Washington (1850-1852)
Katie C. Lewis ES (300 Bryant Street) - Principal (1896?-1927) (see bio below)
Elijah Parish Lovejoy School (440 12th St., NE) - Martyred abolitionist newspaperman
James Madison School (651 10th St., NE) - 4th President of the United States (1809-1817)
William Beans Magruder School (1625 M St., NW) - 17th Mayor of the City of Washington (1856-1858)
Thurgood Marshall ES (3100 Fort Lincoln Drive) - 1st black Supreme Court Justice (1967-1991)
Hugh McCormick School (1200 block of 3rd St., SE, East side) - Supervising Principal, 4th District (1845-1851) (see bio below) - There are other times when this was called the Alexander McCormick School, for Hugh's father. I can't find an original source to narrow it down, so I'd say it could have been either one. It was named the McCormick school a little before Hugh's death, but not sure if that makes it more or less likely.
Emma F. G. Merritt ES (5002 Hayes St, NW) - 1st kindergarten teacher for black students in the United States; supervising principal, 10th and 11th Divisions (1927-1930)
Eugene Meyer ES (2501 11th St. NW) - Owner and Publisher of the Washington Post
Winfield Scott Montgomery School (421 P St., NW) - Assistant Superintendent of Colored Schools (1900-1924)
Henry P. Montgomery School (940 27th St., NW)- Supervising Principal, 7th and 9th Divisions (1882-1889)
Thomas P. Morgan School (1430 V St., NW)- Civil Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1879-1883) - The Morgan of Adams Morgan.
Samuel Morse School (433 R St., NW) - Inventor of the telegraph
Lucretia Mott School (NW Corner of Bryant and 6th, NW) - Abolitionist, Women's rights activist, advocate for peace
James W. Patterson Elementary School (2001 U St., NW)- U.S. Senator who sponsored the legislation creating a public school system for black students in Washington, DC. [Patterson and Garnet were first adjacent but separate, then combined into one new school, then closed].
Leon L. Perry School (128 M St., NW) - Supervising Principal (~1929-1945?) (see bio below)
Wendell Phillips JHS (2735 Olive St., NW) - 19th century abolitionist and civil rights leader.
James K. Polk School - (SE corner of 7th and P NW) - 11th President of the United States (1845-1849)
Charles F. Powell School (3204 Hiatt Pl. NW) - Military Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1893-1897)
Eliza B. Randall JHS (65 I St., SW) - Principal of the Delaware Avenue School (1867-1874). School was renamed for her two days after her death.
Jesse Reno Rose School (4820 Howard St.,NW) - Civil War hero -- Rose Weintraub Alpher, founding principal of the school for children with special needs that became Rose School.
George Harris Richardson ES (5300 Blaine St. NE) - Public Schools Trustee (1897-1900)
Daniel C. Roper MS (4800 Meade St.,NE) - Member of the DC Board of Education (1931-1932)
Cuno H Rudolph ES (5200 2nd St NW) - 10th and 15th President of the DC Board of Commissioners (1910-1913, 1921-1926)
Marion P. Shadd ES (5601 E. Capitol St., SE) - Assistant Superintendent in charge of Elementary Schools and Chief Examiner for Divisions 10-13 (1924-1927)
Alice and Ernestine Shaed ES (301 Douglas St. NE) - Supervising Director of the DC Department of Supervision and Instruction (1957-1963) -- DC Teacher (1927-1970)
Robert Gould Shaw ES (128 M St., NW, 1616 Marion St., NW) - Commander of the first all-black regiment from the north. [Interestingly, when the name of the school was announced, the paper reported he was "colored" (he wasn't)].
Abby S. Simmons School (~148 Pierce St., NW) - Teacher. At time of her retirement, the last active white teacher from the "colored" school system.
John Fox Slater ES (45 P St., NW) - Philanthropist who funded the education of freed slaves
Samuel N. Smallwood School (I between 3rd and 41/2 SW) - 5th and 7th Mayor of the City of Washington (1819-22, 1824)
Joel Elias Spingarn HS (2500 Benning Road, NE) - Jewish-American Civil Rights leader and 2nd President of the NAACP (1930-1939)
Charles Sumner School (17 M Street, NE) - Anti-slavery Senator
William Syphax School (1360 Half Street, SW) - First President of the Board of Trustees of the Colored Public Schools of Washington, D.C (1868-1871)
John S. Hyde Leadership PCS at William Howard Taft JHS (1800 Perry St., NE) - Philanthropist whose donated the home that became the 1st Hyde School -- 27th President of the United States (1909-1913)
Mary Church Terrell ES (3301 Wheeler Road SE) - Member of the DC Board of Education (1895-1906), first black woman to ever serve on a US school board.
Robert H. Terrell JHS (155 L Street NW) - Principal of M Street High School (1899-1901), 1st African-American Justice of the Peace in Washington, DC
John Threlkeld School (1221 36th St., NW) - 4th Mayor of Georgetown (1793-1794)
Joseph Meredith Toner School (24th and F St., NW) - Philanthropist, Physician and City leader
John T. Towers School (SE corner of 8th and C, SE) - 16th Mayor of the City of Washington (1854-1856)
William Johnson Twining School (E side of 3rd btwn N and O, NW) - Military Commissioner for the District of Columbia (1878-1882)
Martin Van Buren School (1328 W St., SE) - 8th President of the United States (1837-1841)
Richard Wallach School (335 8th St. SE ) - 19th Mayor of the City of Washington (1861-1868)
Booker T. Washington PCS (1346 Florida Ave., NW) - Educator and Civil Rights leader
Margaret Murray Washington Career HS (27 O St., NW) - Educator and Civil Rights leader
Nelson E. Weatherless ES (4300 C Street, SE) - Teacher, Board of Examiner secretary and Grand Master of the District Masons.
Ruth K. Webb ES (1375 Mt. Olivet Rd, NE), Supervising Principal, 1st Division (19??-1948) (see bio below)
William Benning Webb School (603 15th St., NE) - 5th President of the DC Board of Commissioners (1886-1889)
Daniel Webster ES (729 10th St., NW) - 14th and 19th Secretary of State (1841-1843, 1850-1852)
Roger C. Weightman School (23rd and M, NW) - 8th Mayor of the City of Washington (1824-1827)
Henry Wilson School (2428 17th St, NW) - Sponsor of the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act that ended slavery in DC.
Martha Harris Winston EC (3100 Erie, SE) - Principal of Charles Young (1950's and 60's) (see bio below)
James Wormley School (3325 Prospect St, NW)- Chairman of the school construction board for what would become the Seward and Wormley schools, he died before the schools opened.
Charles Young School (820 26th St, NE) - 1st black colonel in the US Army
Maya Angelou PCS at Wilson Bruce Evans - Poet -- 1st Principal of the Armstrong School (1906-1918)
Friendship Samuel C. Armstrong Academy - Founder of Hampton University (DC may have accidentally named it Samuel G. Armstrong but the name was corrected)
DC Preparatory William Benning Campus - School was originally named for the neighborhood, but was changed in 1909 to be named for the farmer who owned the land the neighborhood is named for.
Mary McLead Bethune Academy at Lucy D. Slowe - 20th century civil rights leader and educator -- First Dean of Women at Howard University (1922-1937) and the first black dean of women anywhere
Friendship PCS at Henry Taylor Blow-Franklin Pierce - Member of the Temporary Board of Commissioners of DC (1874) -- 14th President of the United States (1853-1857)
Friendship PCS at John A. Chamberlain ES - Supervisor of manual training in Washington schools (1909-1930)(See bio below)
Cesar Chavez PCS - American labor leader and civil rights activist
Septima Clark PCS and Thurgood Marshall PCS at James G. Birney ES - American educator and civil rights activist --1st black Supreme Court Justice (1967-1991) -- Abolitionist politician, newspaperman and father of DC School Trustee William Birney.
Euphemia Lofton Haynes PCS at Eugene A. Clark - First woman to serve as President of the DC Board of Education (1966-1967) -- First President of Miner Teachers College (1930-1953)(more)
Richard Kingsman Academy PCS (1375 E St., NE) - Member and Vice-President of the DC Board of Education (1900-1906)
Carlos Rosario (at J. Holdsworth Gordon Adult Education Center/JHS) International PCS - Creator of the DC Public School Bilingual Education Program -- Member and President of the DC Board of Education (1901-1906) (See bio below)
Eagle Academy at Gladys K. McGogney - Pioneer of free lunches in the Columbia Heights area (see bio below)
Edward A. Paul PCS - 1st Principal of Washington High School (1877-1888); was killed at a young age in a bicycle crash
Bridges at C. Melvin Sharpe Health ES - President of the Board of Education (1948-1957) (see bio below)
St. Coletta PCS - Colette of Corbie was a Franciscan reformer. When Franciscan sisters in the US began creating schools for special needs children in the mid-19th Century, they named their schools after her.
Elsie Whitlow Stokes PCS - An Arkansas schoolteacher who was mother of the school's founder
Friendship PCS at Carter G. Woodson Collegiate Campus - "the father of black history"
Richard Wright PCS - Author of Native Son and other writings dealing with the black American experience
In 1889, the Commissioners voted to name the "new school on L Street, between 6th and 7th" after former Senator Benjamin Franklin Wade. Not only is there no evidence that a public school ever operated under that name, but there is also no evidence that there was ever a school on the 600 block of L in any quadrant of the city. It's unclear to this author what happened to that school.
Biographies not found online
George J. Abbott
George Jacob Abbott, was an educator, diplomat and the private secretary of Daniel Webster. Abbot, the son of the Rev. Jacob Abbot, a Unitarian minister, was born in either Wyndam or Hampton Falls, NH on July 14, 1812. He graduated from Harvard College in 1835 and from divinity school in 1839. He moved to Washington, DC in 1837 where he was a Unitarian minister, opened and taught at a school for boys, and worked as a clerk in the State Department. He married Ann Taylor Gilman Emery in 1841 (she died in 1861). He was a leader in the movement to transition the DC school system to the New England system that led to universal (white) eligibility paid for by a new tax and the 1845 reorganization of the system with one board overseeing 4 divisions. He was a member of the new DC Board of Trustees of Public Schools from 1845 to 1851. In 1850 he became the private secretary to Daniel Webster during Webster's second term (1850-1852) as Secretary of State and was with Webster at the time of his death. After Webster's death, he stayed with the State Department as chief of the Consular Bureau in Washington, DC (1852-1864) followed by six years as U. S. Consul at Bradford and Sheffield, England (1864-1870). He left the State Department to work for several years as a professor in the Theological School at Meadville, PA. In 1877, he was appointed U. S. Consul at Goderich and Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where he died on Jan. 21, 1879.
Maude E. Aiton
Maude E. Aiton was the principal of the Americanization School in Washington, DC from 1918 to 1945. She born in Iowa in 1876 to Robert and Sarah Aiton and moved to DC prior to 1888. There she went to school and by 1901 was teaching in the DC Schools, for some time as a kindergarten teacher. She was principal of the Americanization School from the day it opened in 1918 until her retirement in 1945. She also served as the president of the DC Grade School Teachers Union (1919-1920), testifying before Congress several times in search for higher wages and she helped write a book on teaching adults to read. She was for some time President of the NEA Department of Adult Education. She died on March 29, 1946 and was buried in Congressional Cemetery.
Dr. James Enoch Ambush
Enoch Ambush was an educator, church founder and physician in Washington, DC. He was born free in Maryland in 1807. Little of his childhood is known, but in 1833, he and George Bell co-founded Wesleyan Seminary, a boys school for free black children which became the only such school in the section of SW then known as the Island. Though he had no formal education himself, he taught there from its founding until 1865 when a public school system for black children was created and his school closed. The school started in the basement of Israel Bethel Church on Capitol Hill before moving to its own schoolhouse on E Street SW near 10th in 1843. He also assisted in opening a school for free black girls in 1850. With Anthony Bowen, he founded St. Paul AME Church in October 1856. Ambush studied botanic medicine and after closing his school became a practicing physician, while remaining active in local politics and the civil rights movement of the time. He died in July of 1876 and almost immediately people began suggesting that a school be named in his honor, though it would take many years for that to happen.
John A. Chamberlain was the supervisor of Manual Training in the DC School system for nearly 20 years. Chamberlain was born on October 22, 1864 in Petersham, MA and moved to Worcester when he was 7 years old. There he went to school and graduated with honors in 1883. He graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA (Now Worcester Polytechnic Institute) in 1887 with a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Following graduation he moved to DC to replace Walter G. Wesson as the DC School system's only instructor in Manual Training. Chamberlain rented shop space at 636 O Street and got the program running. In 1889 he was made the Director of Woodworking in the DC Schools, and the following year his title was changed to Director of Manual Training. In that role he also oversaw business courses for black students. He worked, along with other Worcester graduates he brought in, to establish the system of manual training in the schools and broadened the course to both high and elementary schools. In 1892, he was married to Annie Parston. Following her death, he married again, this time to Grace M. Odell in 1902. When Congress appropriated money for McKinley Manual Training School, Chamberlain became principal. When the Manual Training program expanded in 1909, Chamberlain was made Supervisor of Manual Training for the DC public school system, a position he held until his death. During that time he helped William J. Kaup write a book on Manual Shop Practice. During World War I, he served as a drill instructor. After a brief illness, he died of heart failure on the morning of June 10, 1930 and he was buried in Petersham, MA.
Evelyn B. Fletcher
Evelyn B. Fletcher was an educator in the D.C. public schools for almost half a century, and in Christiansburg, VA before that. She was born in 1875. A reading expert, she taught demonstration lessons for new teachers and for practice students in D.C. Teachers College. She was also an ardent civic and church worker and helped to establish a fund for teachers who were not entitled to an annuity upon retirement. She died in 1960.
James Holdsworth Gordon was a prominent DC lawyer, School Board President and community leader. He was born in Washington, DC on March 3, 1847 and lived his whole life in Georgetown. He went to school at Columbian College (George Washington University) and became a lawyer, forming a law firm with his brother William. During his 50 year career, he argued before the Supreme Court several times, most notably in Morris vs. the United States. He was first appointed to the DC Board of Education in 1901 and served as Vice-President from 1903-1905 and president from 1905-1906. He taught law at Georgetown and was for a time president of the District Bar Association. During his son's time at Princeton he became friends with the school's President, Woodrow Wilson and the two remained friends during Wilson's presidency. Wilson strongly considered him for appointment as Commissioner of the District of Columbia in 1913. He was active in the affairs of GWU, serving as president of the alumna association, and on the GWU Board of Trustees, once from 1916-17 and again from 1919-1920. He died on Oct 21, 1924 and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.
Caroline Wilder Harris
Caroline Wilder Harris was a member of the DC Board of Education (1911-1914). She was heavily involved with the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children, serving as a board member, secretary and treasurer from 1915 until at least 1923.
Charles E. Hilton
Charles E. Hilton was a principal and administrator in the Washington, DC school system. He was born in Maine in 1829. He moved to Washington and became the first principal of the Wallach School in 1871. In 1873, the principals of the male grammar schools were made Supervising Principals for their district and so Hilton became Supervising Principal of the Third District. In September 1877 he became too ill to work and was forced to retire early. The next year, his health improved and he took on private students up until his death on September 21, 1883.
Marion Conover Hope
Marion Grace Conover Hope was an Anacostia-based social worker, community activist, youth advocate, lawyer, author and poet. She was born in 1902. In the early 1920's she went to Simmons College to study social work, where she founded the Delta Jabberwock variety show, one of the signature fundraising events of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. As a young woman, she became a lawyer and social worker and was friends with Malcolm X. She married Dr. Edward Hope (son of the civil rights leader Dr. John Hope), an engineering professor. She moved to Washington, DC in 1930 where she taught social work at Howard University and became the first director of the Southeast House, a community center inspired by Capitol Hill's Friendship House. There she developed community projects, including home improvement contests, a community newsletter, summer schools and health education groups. She was a founding member of the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum and was instrumental in designing the Anacostia Community School Project, the first decentralized school in the District. She was also a leader of the Greater Anacostia Peoples Corporation. In 1944 she wrote the book Clothing Children in Foster Homes: An Administrative Problem. In the 1950's she and her husband moved to Lebanon to teach at the American University in Beirut, but they returned to Washington by the late 1960's. She died in 1974. She had written poetry her whole life, helping to found Boston's Saturday Evening Quill poetry club in the 1920's, and following her death, her husband had a book of her poetry, Glass Behind, published. In 1990, Washington Highland Elementary School was renamed Ferebee-Hope Elementary School, partly in her honor.
Phillip Thomas Johnson
Dr. Phillip Thomas Johnson was an orthopedic surgeon, author and community leader who served one term on the DC Board of Education. He was born in Washington, DC on Nov 2, 1899 where he lived almost his whole life. He graduated from Howard University undergraduate and medical school in 1921 and 1924 respectively, and then did his internship in Kansas City in 1924-25 before returning to DC to do clinical work at Children's Hospital. He became one of the city's leading doctors. In 1929, he established his own practice which he kept until 1966. He was also chief of orthopedic surgery (1930-1942) and director of the physical therapy department (1937-1942) at Freedmen's Hospital; head of the orthopedic division at the School of Medicine of Howard University (1930-1952), and in 1945 the founder of the Johnson-Robinson Clinic in Washington. He would serve as it's director from 1945 to 1966. He also worked with the Adams Private Hospital and the Howard University Health Service. As a result he became one of Washington's black leaders, serving as a consultant to the Anthony Bowen School for crippled children. He became a member of the District of Columbia Board of Education from 1949-1952. By then he'd limited his medical practice to focus on community work. He was an advocate for legal reform and ending juvenile delinquency. He started Civil Responsibility week and the Junior Civic Association. He was chairman of the DC Federation of Civic Associations. He was active in the Boy Scouts. He taught himself Braile and wrote the 1959 book "Blind Man's Bluff" about the experience. He died in Washington, DC on September 7, 1970.
Joseph R. Keene was a teacher and administrator in the schools of Washington County and Washington, DC. Keene was born in Clarke County, Virginia in 1828 to an old Virginia family with several family members who had served in the American Revolution and War of 1812, including his grandfather who had been a ranking captain in the Colonial Navy. He was educated in the common schools of Clarke and Loudoun counties in Virginia and went to the University of Virginia after working for a couple of years as a teacher. He taught in the private schools of Virginia and Maryland before moving to the District of Columbia in 1855 to teach in private schools there. In 1865, he became principal of the new Soldier's Home School and in 1875 was given additional duties as the assistant secretary to the County School Board. In 1876, when the school systems of the District were consolidated, Keene became Supervising Principal of the 6th Division which covered the area of former Washington County. In 1890 when the number of divisions was increased, the 6th was divided in half and Keene became supervising principal of the western half, then called the 7th Division. In 1904, the black and white systems were separated, and Keene became supervising principal of the 7th Division's white schools. He retired in February of 1906 and died on Tuesday, June 22, 1920 at his home in Brightwood . He was buried at Rock Creek Cemetery.
Ephraim Gardner Kimball
Dr. Ephraim G. Kimball was a teacher, principal and administrator in the DC Public School System in the early part of the 20th Century. He was born in Hillsborough County, NH on August 2, 1858 and graduated from high school in Nashua in 1877. He graduated from Dartmouth in 1881 with a B.A. and became a principal of the high school in Seymour, CT. He then studied medicine at the Columbian University (George Washington University), graduating in 1884. He was married to Ellen "Nellie" Florence Pumphrey in 1890 until she passed away 6 years later. He taught 8th grade for much of the 1890's. He was promoted to principal of the Wallach School prior to 1900 and remained in that job until at least 1907. By 1909 he'd become supervising principal of the 7th Division. He was married again in 1909, this time to Ada C. Hyam. He remained a supervising principal of the 7th until at least 1925. He may have become an Assistant Superintendent of schools after that. He died in Washington, DC on July 17, 1939 and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery.
Jessie LaSalle was a school administrator in Washington, DC. She started her career as a kindergarten teacher in Cleveland, OH in the 1910's. In 1922 she was the assistant superintendent in charge of Educational Research in the white schools of Washington, DC. In 1923 she was appointed supervising principal to install the psychological tests and educational research work in the local schools, and also was placed to be in charge of the Second division. She was the assistant superintendent of Divisions 1-10 by 1928 and until at least 1946.
Katie C. Lewis
Katie C. Lewis was a teacher and principal in the DC School system. She was born in Washington, DC, the daughter of Robert R. and Jane Lewis. She graduated from the High School for Colored Children in 1878 and was presented her diploma by then President Hayes. She began teaching in the same year. By 1896, she was elevated to principal, taking charge of the Alfred Jones School. By 1904 she was principal of the Garnet School. In 1909, she became the first principal of the Mott School. In 1916 she became the administrative principal of the Garnet-Patterson group, later the Garnet-Phelps-Patterson Group. In 1927 she became the first principal of the Bruce School. She was an advocate for the improvement of schools in the colored systems, pushing for lunch rooms, athletic programs and playgrounds.
Hugh McCormick was a teacher and principal in Washington in the first half of the 19th Century. He was born in Washington on June 15, 1801 to Irish immigrants. He was the nephew of Rev. Andrew T. McCormick, a member of the board of trustees for the Eastern Free School from 1802-1816 and president from 1816-1844. Hugh became the teacher at the Eastern Free School on Capitol Hill in 1825 and stayed until the school closed in 1844 for remodeling. It was the only school on Capitol Hill at the time. He then became supervising Principal of the 4th Division in 1845 and later the principal of the 3rd District School at Navy Yard. In 1851 he resigned as principal to take a job as a clerk in the Patent Office. He died in Prince George's County on December 10, 1873 and was buried in Congressional Cemetery.
Gladys K. McGogney
Gladys K. McGogney was a humanitarian who pioneered a free lunch program for schoolchildren in the Columbia Heights area. She born in South Wales in 1880 and immigrated to America at a young age. She was married to Charles Harold McGogney prior to 1920. Between 1915 and 1920 They moved to Washington, DC from Pittsburgh. They had three children Katheryn Pearl McGogney, Charles H. McGogney, Jr and David P. McGogney.
Leon L. Perry
Leon L. Perry was a principal, supervising principal and school board member of the District's black school system from 1914-1945. He was educated in Washington, DC and graduated from Washington Normal School in 1906. He first taught cobbling at the Colored Industrial Home School an "atypical school for incorrigible boys" starting in 1906. He was promoted to the Superintendent of the school in 1914 and a job he held until at least 1922. He was a supervising principal from 1924-1934.
C. Melvin Sharpe was a cartoonist, actor, Federal administrator, utilities executive and president of the D.C. Board of Education from 1949 to 1957, but he will forever be best known as the defendant in the landmark civil rights case Bolling v. Sharpe, one of the five cases bundled under the Brown v. Board of Education umbrella, and the case that ended segregation in the DC Schools. Sharpe was born on May 12, 1881 in Philadelphia, PA where he was also educated. He went to the Philadelphia School of Industrial Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art before becoming a newspaper cartoonist and portrait painter. He worked for the American Bank Note Co. designing bank notes which led to a job at the Bureau of Engraving doing the same and for which he moved to Washington, DC in 1905. During WWI he was the assistant secretary of the D. C. Liberty Loan Committee. He became a community leader and man about town serving in a wide array of civic organizations including the Masons, D.C. Republican Party, Interchurch World Movement, the Steel and Copper Plates Engravers Society and the Mount Pleasant Civic Association. He also became a voice for federal employees seeking retirement benefits achieving some notoriety as one of the key advocates responsible for passage of the Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 while also serving as treasurer of the U.S. Civil Service Retirement Association. After leaving the Bureau of Engraving he became a specialist in graphic production for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and then the field director for LaSalle Extension University. In 1923 he was hired by the Washington Railway and Electric Company as an executive assistant and then spent many years with WREC and its successor PEPCO as an executive and public relations adviser. In 1940, as he was approaching retirement with PEPCO, he was appointed a member of the D.C. Board of Education and was elevated to President of the Board in 1949 serving until his retirement in 1957. He was responsible for making DC Schools more accessible for handicapped children, for overseeing the transition to a desegregated (though not truly integrated) school system (even though he opposed it) and for obtaining the funding for the health school that would bear his name before his death. He died on December 27, 1958.
Catherine Rose Watkins was the director of kindergartens in DC and a leader of the emerging kindergarten movement at the start of the 20th century. She was born in 1866 in Washington, DC, where her father, Louis Watkins, was a postal clerk. She graduated from the Washington National and Froebel Kindergarten Normal Institute in 1894 and was hired as a kindergarten teacher in 1899. By 1904, she was the Director of Kindergartens in the District of Columbia and over the years became a leader in the American kindergarten movement, serving as president of the International Kindergarten Union from 1915 to 1917. Before retiring in 1937, she co-edited Pioneers of the Kindergarten in America, and following retirement, she co-edited a book on a similar subject: History of the Kindergarten Movement in the Southeastern States and Delaware, District of Columbia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. She continued to serve the District's school system as Director Emeritus of Kindergartens until her death in her home in Washington on July 18, 1948.
Ruth K. Webb
Alice Ruth Kincer Webb was a writer, lecturer and teacher of child education and psychology. She was supervising principal/director of the First Division of the Public Schools in Washington, D. C., in the late 1940's and served on the faculties of George Washington University and the University of Maryland. She was born in Virginia around 1900 to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Burton Kincer. She went to school in Washington, attending the John Eaton School and the Western High School, where she played the piano and performed in theater, before graduating from Wilson Normal School in 1919. She was married to William Thayer Webb, the grandson of Senator Thomas Sterling (R-SD) on September 9, 1922 and they had two children. By 1940 she had was made a principal and by 1947 the Supervising Principal of the 1st Division. She also penned books and articles on education and child psychology. She died in December, 1948 in Washington, D.C. after a brief illness.
Martha H. Winston
Martha Harris Winston, born in 1883, was a teacher and principal in D.C. public schools for 49 years, including as principal of Charles Young elementary school in the 1950's and 60's. She became a model teacher and member of the faculty of the first demonstration school established in the former Divisions 10-13. She was active in civic and religious affairs and was the first woman trustee of the 19th Street Baptist Church. She died in 1969.