A Brief History of Davidson County Schools
Public education in Davidson County began four years after the North Carolina state legislature passed its first public school law in 1839. Initially, the voters of Davidson County refused to tax themselves to support public schools, and Davidson County was one of only seven of the sixty-eight counties of North Carolina to do so at the time. After much debate, the voters of Davidson County agreed to a tax levy some four years after the state legislature's initial public school law was passed.
However, this was not the first attempt at organizing formal education for children in the county. Since the creation of Davidson County in 1822, there had been private academies, church-run schools, and boarding schools scattered across the area.
The entity known as Davidson County Schools began in 1843 when Davidson County commissioners identified approximately 5,259 school age children and allotted $1,400 to forty-four school districts. From an initial survey establishing twenty-eight white school districts and sixteen non-white (termed "colored" at the time) districts, the number grew in six years to fifty-nine school districts within Davidson County.
By the 1920s, a movement to consolidate these early school districts into larger units gained momentum and support out of economic necessity in order to offer a wider range of services and learning opportunities for students in schools with grades 1 - 11 (twelfth grade was added in 1942). In 1931, the last of the old community or "field and pasture" schools and private academies closed in Davidson County.
Following World War II, the consolidated schools housing grades 1 - 12 were rapidly becoming inadequate. The North area of the county was the first in the county to recognize and resolve the situation with the construction and opening of North Davidson High School in 1952 for grades 10 - 12. In 1967, the North area again led the county in a new direction with the opening of North Davidson Junior High School for grades 7 - 9.
A Brief History of North Davidson Middle School
The origin of North Davidson Middle School began in October 1963 when the Davidson County Board of Education voted to have a junior high school for students in the northern part of the county. The process of locating land on which to build the school began in 1964. The Board of Education was able to purchase approximately twenty-five acres of land adjacent to North Davidson Senior High School from Orville Zimmerman and G. L. Wood. On April 16, 1966, construction contracts were awarded totaling $1,100,927.20.
In little over a year, North Davidson Junior High opened its doors in August of 1967 to 767 students in grades seven, eight, and nine who came from Arcadia Elementary, Midway Elementary, Reedy Creek School, Thomas School, and Welcome Elementary School. The opening of the junior high was also significant for another reason: the closing of Thomas School, the only all-African American school in the county; thus officially ending racial segregation in Davidson County Schools.
North Davidson Junior High School opened under the leadership of Mr. Douglas Elmore as principal with one half-time assistant principal and one secretary, two custodians, and two aides. Twenty-seven teachers along with a half-time guidance counselor, a band director, a librarian, a reading teacher, an art teacher, three vocational teachers, and a part-time driver's education instructor reported to work in that first August in 1967.
While cafeteria staff reported to work, the cafeteria was not complete until March of 1968. During those first seven or eight months of school, all faculty, staff, and students brought their lunches and ate in their classrooms. When the cafeteria opened, the cost of a student lunch was thirty-five cents and the cafeteria manager earned a whopping $1.85 an hour. With a staff of fifty-one and a half personnel, North Davidson Junior High School was not only the first junior high school in Davidson County, it was also the largest school in Davidson County at the time.
In July of 1975, Mr. Glenn Compton became the principal and remained until his retirement in 1992. During Mr. Compton's tenure as principal, North Davidson Junior High continued to grow in terms of student population as well as academics and curriculum needs. In 1989 - 1990, eight new classrooms were added onto the existing structure and the school made the transition from housing grades seven through nine to educating grades six through eight. During this time, the school officially changed its name to North Davidson Middle School, the last junior high school in the county to move to the middle school model.
Since its rebirth in the early 1990s, North Davidson Middle School has experienced significant growth under the leadership of various principals since Mr. Compton's retirement in 1992. Mr. Stephen M. Teague, Mr. Buddy Kiger, Dr. Tony Peele, Mr. W. Bruce Johnson, and, currently, Dr. Denise Hedrick have all contributed to the growth and development of North Davidson Middle School.
The number of highly qualified teachers has risen to ninety-seven faculty and staff members to meet the academic and developmental needs of a growing community and a growing student body of over 1,240 students in grades six through eight. North Davidson Middle School is currently the largest middle school in the Davidson County Schools disctrict and is celebrating forty years of learning, teaching, and growing with the communities of northern Davidson County.
Historical information compiled from the section "North Davidson Middle School" written by Ms. Elizabeth S. Pickett and Ms. Linda B. Talbert and found in the book Davidson County Schools, A History 1843-1993.