• The City of Fort Worth, through its historic preservation ordinance, provides three levels of designation for historic properties: Demolition Delay (DD), Historic and Cultural Landmark (HC), and Highly Significant Endangered (HSE). Properties designated as DD must meet at least two out of ten criteria based on architectural, historical, or cultural significance. Under this designation, properties are subject to a delay in the issuance of a wrecking permit for a maximum of 180 days. The delay is intended to provide the opportunity to explore alternatives to demolition. Historic schools that have received this designation are Alice Carlson, Charles E. Nash Elementary School, North Fort Worth High School (now the J.P. Elder Middle School Annex), North Side Senior High School, and I.M. Terrell.

    Properties designated as HC must meet three out of ten criteria measuring historical, architectural, and cultural significance. Owners of HC properties must apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness with the City’s Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission before exterior changes can be made to a property. The following schools have this form of designation: Amon Carter-Riverside High School, E.M. Daggett Elementary School, North Hi Mount Elementary School, W.C. Stripling Middle School, and Trimble Tech High School. It should be noted that the designation applications for Stripling and Trimble were prepared by students of those schools. In addition, Daggett Middle School and De Zavala Elementary School are within a local historic district so this designation applies to them as well. One former school, the James E. Guinn School, also has the HC designation.

    To be designated as HSE, a property must meet five out of ten criteria measuring historic, architectural, and cultural significance and must be under some form of threat such as deterioration or demolition. The City’s Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission must also review proposed changes to the exterior of these buildings. Two former school buildings have received this designation. They are the old Fort Worth School on South Jennings Avenue and the Alexander Hogg School.

    The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of properties that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture. It is administered by the National Park Service through the various State Historic Preservation Offices under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act. Properties generally must be fifty years old, retain their historic and/or architectural integrity, and meet at least one of four established criteria. This level of designation places no restrictions on a property unless one receives federal grants or applies for federal tax credits when rehabilitating the property (the latter would only apply to former school buildings that are being adapted an income-producing property). National Register listing can provide some limited protection if a historic resource is threatened by a federally funded, licensed, or permitted activity.

    One functioning historic school in Fort Worth is individually listed on the National Register. The former North Fort Worth High School (J.P. Elder Annex) was listed on the National Register through the efforts of concerned citizens who feared the building would be demolished because the school had been closed. Fortunately, the Fort Worth ISD reversed it plans for demolition and shortly thereafter rehabilitated the building back to a functioning school. One other school that is listed on the National Register is the De Zavala Elementary School. It is listed as a contributing resource in the Fairmount-Southside Historic District. Another school, E.M. Daggett Middle School, is also within the boundaries of the district. However, it is counted as a noncontributing resource because it was constructed after the district’s period of significance. Five former school buildings are individually listed on the National Register. They are the Stephen F. Austin School, the James E. Guinn School, Riverside Public School, Fort Worth High School, and the Alexander Hogg School.

A Brief History of Fort Worth’s Public Schools

  • Fort Worth originated as a military outpost in 1849 at the confluence of the West and Clear Forks of the Trinity River. The fort was abandoned a few years later but the community that grew up around it survived and eventually thrived. Although the town received its charter 1873, public education was not officially organized until 1882. Prior to that time, the schools that existed in the village were all private schools.

    Fort Worth pioneer John Peter Smith established the first private school in the city in 1854. Tuition was five dollars per month with the parents providing room and board for the teacher. Smith taught school for three years and then closed it due to ill health. Various other schools or classes were taught by a variety of teachers in the years prior to the Civil War. Upon the outset of the war, educational activity virtually ceased in the community. Following the war, three local citizens raised $75, bought sacks of flour and traded them for lumber in order to repair dilapidated Masonic Hall so that it might be used as a school. A Confederate veteran stranded in Dallas was hired as the teacher. Other private schools were started, including the town’s first high school, which opened in 1878. Around this same time, the state government began paying the City Council $2.25 per pupil per year. This money was used as tuition for students who could not afford to attend these private schools.

    The establishment of public education in Fort Worth came with a struggle. Although public education had become more institutionalized in the Northern states between 1830 and 1860, Southern states held on to the belief that education was a family responsibility. After the Civil War, the concept of public education began to gain acceptance in the Southern states. As mentioned above, by the 1870s, the state government supported the concept of public education and had laws that provided for the creation of public schools. Communities of 10,000 or more residents could operate schools if two thirds of the residents voted for school tax.

    Fort Worth’s first school tax election occurred in 1877. Eight-five votes were cast in favor of the tax and five votes were cast in opposition. However, the opposition protested that two-thirds of the property owners had not voted. Another election was held that year with the proponents of public education prevailing. On August 20, 1878, the first city ordinance establishing public schools as passed. On September 1, 1879, six rented building were opened as schools. However, the opponents again raised objections and appealed to the state’s Attorney General. He ruled that due to errors in the election process, public funds could not be used for school purposes. A third election was held in 1880 with a vote of 425 to 45 in favor of public schools. The City Council appointed three individuals as a board of school trustees. In December 1881, Miss M. Sue Huffman was appointed “superintendent of the public free schools.” She was the first to be given that title by the Council. But opponents again tried to invalidate the election by claiming that the city’s population was less than 10,000. When the City Council could not provide the funds for a census, two individuals raised the money. The census was conducted in the summer of 1882. It revealed that the city had a population of over 11,000. With that, the citizens voted for a one percent school tax. The City Council appointed a new school board composed of Dr. Carroll M. Peak, president, J.M. Brown, secretary, John Peter Smith, R. E. Beckham, and S.M. Fry. The Council also approved the hiring of Alexander Hogg as superintendent of schools.

    Public schools were officially opened on October 2, 1882. Schools were established in rented or donated buildings. Because Texas schools were segregated by race, two black churches were rented as schools for the city’s black youth. The staff consisted of Hogg, 13 white teachers and four black teachers. Among the latter was Isaiah M. Terrell who would become principal of the Colored High School before moving on the Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College (now Prairie View A & M University) in 1915 to serve as president of that institution. Hogg served as superintendent until 1889, then returned to Fort Worth in 1891 as principal of the Fort Worth High School. He became superintendent again 1892, serving until 1896, and then again from 1902 to 1906.

    A first priority of the school board was to erect permanent facilities for the schools. The jewel among the early school buildings was the Fort Worth High School. This school, constructed in 1890 at Hemphill and West Daggett Street at a cost of $75,000, was designed by the firm of Haggert & Sanguinet and was a model of late-Victorian institutional architecture with its blending of Richardsonian Romanesque and Renaissance Revival styles. The 3-story building was a picturesque massing of richly texted stone and brick. It featured a projecting conical-roofed 2-story bay, arched and rectangular windows, gabled and hipped roofs of varying heights and a square tower at the roof’s pinnacle. The building was praised in the local press for its “most striking appearance… graceful proportions, elegance of detail, and superb modern arrangements.”

    Other early school buildings constructed during this time include the Fourth Ward School at Cherry and Texas, now the site of the Central Fire Station, and the Sixth Ward School, later referred to as Stephen F. Austin Elementary School. The latter school was constructed in 1892. It was designed by Messer, Sanguinet, and Messer. Although not as large or as highly ornamented as the Fort Worth High School, it also displays Richardsonian Romanesque influences with its use of rough-cut limestone around its base, as quoins, and for the arched openings. It is the oldest extant building constructed by the city’s public school system. Although the schools of this era had masonry exteriors, their interiors were largely of wood, thus making them susceptible to fire.

    At the time of the construction of the high school building in 1890, Fort Worth had a population of 23, 076 residents. By 1900, the population had increased to nearly 27,000. With the arrival of the Armour and Swift meat-packing plants in North Forth in 1902, the city’s population grew dramatically. By 1910, it had a population of nearly 75,000. This increase called for the erection of new schools to meet the educational needs of the community. With the help of a $450,000 bond issue, the city initiated a school building program in 1909 that provided the opportunity to construct modern, fireproof schools. According to the school system’s Annual Report for 1910, the modernization program incorporated three objectives: 

    1. The contraction of the upper grades at suitable centers where a better classification and departmental instruction is introduced, and where equipment for manual training, domestic science, agriculture, music and art is provided.
    2. The building of large elementary schools instead of small ones, so that a better gradation of pupils may be secured. 
    1. The raising of the standard of requirements for teachers in our schools along with the raising of salaries.

    Schools constructed during this period included E.M. Daggett Elementary School, the Alexander Hogg School, and an addition to the Stephen F. Austin School. All of these opened in 1909. Other schools and their opening dates included Sam Rosen, April 1910 (demolished); the Colored High School, May 1910; Walter Huffman (demolished), John Peter Smith (demolished), A.J. Chambers, and R. Vickery, all of which opened in September 1910. All were of masonry construction. The new (white) high school, located on South Jennings Avenue, opened for classes in September 1911 and was considered “a fitting climax to the other new school houses.” Ironically, as this school was being built, the 1890 high school was destroyed by fire in December 1909.

    The construction of the Colored High School, renamed I.M. Terrell High School in 1921, was a significant stride in the provision of modern school buildings for the black youth of the city. The 3-story brick structure was hailed as one of the finest such facilities in the Southwest. However, the school would be plagued by inadequate funding and second-rate equipment throughout its history. Other schools for black children, particularly elementary schools, were woefully substandard for the times. It was not until post-World War II building programs that efforts were made to provide adequate, although still segregated, educational facilities for all of the city’s African American pupils. Even after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the unconstitutionality of segregated schools in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education, the school district continued to build segregated schools.

    The Fort Worth High School was designed by Waller and Field [Marion L. Waller and E. Stanley Field] and built by Innis-Graham Construction Company. Waller, sometimes by himself and sometimes in partnership with Field (and sometimes another associate named Shaw), designed several schools for the Fort Worth school system, including the Alexander Hogg School, the Colored High School, the A.J. Chambers School, and R. Vickery School. These schools generally were influenced by the Classical Revival or Beaux Arts styles, although the design for the Sam Rosen School was influenced by the work of Louis Sullivan and Chicago School. Other designs by Waller included the campus and several buildings at Texas Christian University, of which Jarvis Hall (1911) is still extant, as well as the remodeling of Ann Waggoner Hall at Texas Wesleyan University (1905). Besides the numerous school buildings he designed in Fort Worth, Waller also designed buildings at North Texas State Teachers College in Denton and in the Rio Grande Valley where he lived from 1930 to 1940. His obituary referred to him as the “father of Texas schools’ because he had supervised construction of more than 300 such structures.

    These early schools reflected the trend to erect monumental buildings (typically at least two stories atop a raised basement) that expressed the community’s pride in its educational system. In the 1910s, several more schools were constructed in Fort Worth that followed in this pattern. The 1914 building for De Zavala Elementary featured Classical references with its symmetrical design and engaged Tuscan columns rising from a banded first floor base. However, the George C. Clarke Elementary School, designed by Muller and Pollard and also constructed that same year, was inspired by the Tudor Revival style with its use of cast stone ornamentation along the parapet and as tracery around window openings and portals. Similarly, Sanguinet and Staats chose a Tudor Revival-influenced design for the 1918 Central High School.

    In 1922, the City of Fort Worth annexed numerous adjacent communities that had their own independent school systems. Thus, the Fort Worth school district inherited the schools from those districts. Several of these schools are still extant and include Mistletoe Heights (now the greatly enlarged Lily B. Clayton Elementary School), Arlington Heights School (Boulevard Heights School), South Fort Worth School (Richard J. Wilson Elementary School), and the Riverside Public School (Corinth Baptist Church Youth Annex).

    The Sagamore Hill Negro School is probably another example of a school that had its origins in another district. This school was constructed in c. 1925 with funding from the Julius Rosenwald Foundation. Rosenwald, President of the Sears, Roebuck Company, established this foundation in 1918 to provide seed money for the construction of rural schools for African Americans throughout the South. More than 5,300 schools were erected according to standardized plans but few have survived. This school was built as a four-teacher type with wood siding, a gabled roof, and bands of multiple light windows. It was constructed at a cost of $6,400; the Rosenwald Fund provided $1,100, local African Americans provided $300, and the public provided $5,000. Considering its name, further research may reveal that it was part of the Sagamore Hill school district. The campus was eventually enlarged and the name was changed to Dunbar Elementary/Junior High School. Remarkably, the original Sagamore Hill School now serves an alternative school but unfortunately has been covered with metal siding.

    The public school system became divorced from Fort Worth’s municipal government in March 1925 under a bill signed by Governor Miriam Ferguson. The school board, formerly known as the Independent School District of Fort Worth, became trustees of the Fort Worth Independent School District (I.S.D.). The same legislation added the districts of Sagamore Hill and Oaklawn to the I.S.D. Shortly thereafter, the trustees begin a survey of all of the district’s school buildings. This was followed by the passage of a school bond for the construction of more schools. Schools constructed under this bond program included Alice E. Carlson Elementary School, James E. Guinn School (second permanent building on the campus), William James Junior High School, Charles E. Nash Elementary School, North Side Junior High School, Oakhurst Elementary School, Sam Rosen School (North Addition), and W.C. Stripling High School. It is notable that all of these buildings were designed by prominent Fort Worth architect Wiley G. Clarkson. Schools that received additions included George C. Clarke Elementary, Denver Avenue Elementary, Fort Worth Central High School, and the South Fort Worth School.

    Between 1920 and 1930, Fort Worth’s population had grown from 106,482 to 163,347. By 1930, the I.S.D. had 58 individual elementary, junior, and senior high school units and one vocational school under its system. For white students, there were 37 elementary schools, six junior high schools, five senior high schools, and one vocational school. According to the custom of the day, the one elementary school for children of Mexican descent was accounted among the white schools. The schools for African American students included one high school and nine elementary schools. Junior high school students attended classes at the high school.

    Two surveys conducted in 1930, one compiled by the school district under the direction of Superintendent M.H. Moore and the other conducted by George D. Strayer of Columbia University, pointed to the inadequacies of school facilities. However, with the deepening of the Great Depression, it became increasingly difficult for the I.S.D. to raise money to construct the needed school improvements.

    An answer to the dilemma was found among one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. The Public Works Administration (PWA) was organized in 1933. The purpose of the program was to provide employment through the construction of much needed public works projects. The PWA differed from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in that it employed skilled as opposed to unskilled laborers. Typically, PWA projects were designed by architects and built by construction firms that otherwise would have had little business during this time.

    The school surveys conducted by Superintendent Moore and George D. Strayer provided valuable guidance in planning a school building program. The school district called for a special school bond election on November 14, 1933. This election proposed a public works loan of $3,000,000 and a federal grant of $1,000,000. The voters approved the proposal by a vote of two to one. The I.S.D. applied to the PWA for $4,000,000. On January 17, 1934, the agency approved a loan of $4,198, 300.

    The I.S.D. awarded contracts to ten architects for plans and specifications for the first six projects. The architects chosen were Wyatt C. Hedrick, Wiley G. Clarkson, Joseph R. Pelich, Preston M. Geren, Elmer Withers, H.H. Crane, Earl T. Glasgow, E.W. Van Slyke, Clyde H. Woodruff, and James Davies. The projects included two new elementary schools, North Hi Mount and Morningside, and additions to Carlson, Clayton, Hubbard, and Oakhurst elementary schools. An addition to George C. Clarke Elementary was added to the list, bringing the total to seven projects. The first of these to be completed was the addition to Hubbard Elementary.

    Other PWA school projects that were later added to the list included a gymnasium building for the Jennings Avenue Junior High School (the former Fort Worth High School), Meadowbrook Elementary-Junior High School, S.S. Dillow Elementary School, Arlington Heights Senior High School, Carter-Riverside Senior High School, W. P. McLean Junior High, North Side Senior High School, Polytechnic Senior High School, and Rosemont Junior High School. Other schools receiving additions included E.M. Daggett Elementary, Denver Avenue Elementary, East McRae Elementary (demolished), Circle Park Elementary (demolished), Sam Rosen Elementary, and Washington Heights Elementary. In addition, the former A.J. Chambers School, which by the 1930s was known as the East Eighteenth Street Colored School, was significantly expanded and converted into the new home of I.M. Terrell High School.

    The schools constructed under the PWA program were of the highest quality and were representative of a variety of architectural styles. Perhaps taking the inspiration from the restoration program then being undertaken at Colonial Williamsburg, the designs of three schools, South Hi Mount Elementary and Arlington Heights and Polytechnic Senior High Schools, were influenced by the Georgian Revival style. Other schools were eclectic blends of Mediterranean or Spanish Colonial/Baroque styling. These included McLean Junior High, Carter-Riverside High School, Rosemont Junior High, and the addition to Lily B. Clayton Elementary. The designs of one school, North Side Senior High School, and the Jennings Avenue Junior High Gymnasium were influenced by the Moderne movement.

    The PWA schools received considerable public attention. The local newspapers were filled with stories about the construction of the schools ad their subsequent openings. In addition, postcards featuring the four new (white) high schools were published by a local new shop. North Side Senior High School and the addition to Lily B. Clayton Elementary were included in the book Public Buildings: Architecture Under the Public Works Administration, 1933-39, a work highlighting PWA projects throughout the nation. Four schools, Carter Riverside, Arlington Heights, and Polytechnic Senior High Schools and South Hi Mount Elementary School were included in the 1940 publication, Texas Architecture, edited by Henry Whitworth.

    The I.S.D. also took advantage of other New Deal programs for the benefit for the public schools. In 1933, the district hired Hare and Hare, a landscape architecture firm from Kansas City, Missouri, to design improvements to school grounds in conjunction with the Parks Department. The district received $500,000 from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration through the Texas Relief Commission. This work involved minor landscaping projects at nine schools. These projects were completed by September 1935. The district then used Hare and Hare to draft a complete landscaping program for the rest of the school system. It received funding under the WPA program. In all, 54 schools were landscaped under this program. Many schools still retain WPA landscape features. Among the most notable features are the stone or concrete retaining walls, examples of which can be found at the J.P. Elder Annex, North Hi Mount Elementary School, Morningside Elementary School, and Charles E. Nash Elementary School.

    One other significant WPA project was complete in 1939. Farrington Field is a monumental sports facility whose design has been attributed to A. George King and Everett L. Frazier, two designers in Preston M. Geren’s firm. The General Construction Company was the supervising contractor with the WPA providing the funding for the labor and materials. The design of the concrete structure evoked the stripped classicism associated with the style commonly referred to as PWA Moderne.

    From 1930 to 1940, Fort Worth’s population grew from 163,447 to 177,662. By 1950, it had increased to 278,778 residents. This dramatic increase was due to the influx of people who moved to Fort Worth seeking jobs with the defense industry, most of whom stayed after the war. Returning veterans and the post-war baby boom joined their ranks. Due to material shortages, only two permanent schools were constructing during the war years. Sagamore Hill Elementary School was constructed in 1941, replacing a school destroyed by fire, and Crestwood Elementary was constructed in 1944.

    Immediately after World War II, the continued material shortages and high building costs prevented the construction of new school projects. Overcrowded conditions at elementary schools were of particular concern. Due to the low birth rate during the Depression, the junior and senior high schools had fewer students and their need for expanded schools was not as great. Some relief was found through the use of temporary, prefabricated buildings on many school campuses.

    In 1948, residents of Fort Worth approved an $8,250,000 bond program for the construction of new schools and additions to existing schools. Schools receiving additions under this program included South Hi Mount, North Hi Mount, Sagamore Hill, B. H. Carroll, Tandy, and Morningside elementary schools, and Arlington Heights High School. New schools included Forest Hill (demolished), Bluebonnet, and W.J. Turner elementary schools and Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School. Three combination elementary-junior high schools were constructed for black students under this program. They included Como, M. L. Kirkpatrick , and Dunbar. A few years later their completion, the schools were converted to combined junior-senior high schools and the elementary students were transferred to new facilities.

    Other bond programs followed in 1952 ($14,990,000) and 1956 ($20,000,000). With these programs, new schools were being constructed in the new suburban neighborhoods on the edge of the city and the majority of existing schools received additions. Some schools, such as Arlington Heights High School, received additions in each of the three bond programs. More elementary schools for black students were also constructed. They included Amanda McCoy (demolished), Ninth Ward, Rosedale Park, Sunrise, Como, Dunbar, and Kirkpatrick The James E. Guinn School received a combination cafeteria/gymnasium/shop building. A new building for the Brooklyn Heights Elementary School accommodated a largely Mexican-American population.

    These post-war schools were designed by the city’s most prominent architects. They included Wyatt C. Hedrick (of Hedrick and Stanley), Joseph R. Pelich, and Preston M. Geren. Other rising architects or firms included A.C. McAdams, Herman G. Cox, William Lane, Robert Woltz, Easterwood and Easterwood, Harkrider, Clark and Jones, and Olin Boese and Associates.

    New school building practices, fueled by such reports as William Wayne Caudill’s Space for Teaching: An Approach to the Design of Elementary Schools for Texas in 1941, called for schools that were less monumental, not as ornate and with fewer stories than their early 20th-century counterparts. The designs of the new schools typically were influenced by the International Movement, a style that stressed linear composition, banding of windows, and flat roofs with overhangs. Other popular features included the incorporation of planter boxes near the entrances or in lobbies or hallways, and the use of flat metal canopies over entrances and along front walks or approaches. Although the buildings were not as highly detailed as earlier schools, wall surfaces could be enlivened by the use of different colors of brick around windows or entrances (such as E.M. Daggett Junior High School), stone around entrances (Rosedale Park, M.L. Phillips, and West Handley elementaries), and aggregate panels below windows (East Handley and Greenbriar elementaries). One of the last schools completed under these building programs, Wedgwood Junior High, used color and a variety of building materials for visual emphasis. These included an off-white brick for the main body of the school, a full-height cast frame around the main entrance, red glazed brick at entrances, and colored enameled panels between windows. Even the blue and yellow bench near the front entrance provided a colorful visual experience.


HISTORY OF FWISD from 1940-2018

  • Until 1941, students went to school for 11 years. In 1941 a twelfth grade was added. The reasoning for this move was that students were graduating too young to enter college and university. Until that year, the public school system was divided as follows: elementary school for six years, junior high school for two years, high school for three years. All students who were either entering 7th or below continued schooling through the 12th grade. Those entering 8th grade and above would complete 11 grades. The last group of 11-year students graduated in 1946. By 1947, all students were attending 12 grades. 

    Until 1944, if a female teacher married, she had to resign. Married applicants need not apply. Widows, however, were permitted to hold positions. In 1944, the Administrative Policy of the FWISD was amended to read, “In the selection of employees there shall be no discrimination against married women.”

    The next historic date in FWISD’s history came in 1954 with the Supreme Court ruling on integration. In the Brown vs the Topeka Board of Education, the Court ruled that separate was not equal and ordered the integration of schools all over the country. It was not until 1963 that FWISD began integrating its schools. For two decades, the FWISD initiated numerous programs in an effort to find an acceptable, efficient and equitable way to integrate the schools. Those efforts included a stair-step method starting with the first grade. Other efforts included busing, clustering of all-black schools with all-white schools, majority-to-minority transfers, redrawing of school boundary lines, creating magnet schools, the closing some schools such as I.M. Terrell HS, Como Jr./Sen. HS, Kirkpatrick HS, and numerous elementary schools. 

    The 1950s marked years of growth for the FWISD. Several outlying school districts were annexed. Among those annexed were Village Creek School District, John T. White School District, and Littles School District. The 1960s witnessed the annexation of Benbrook, Chapin and part of the White Settlement school districts. From the 1950s through 2015, many new schools were built and opened. 

    In 1963, Elden Busby replaced J.P. Moore as superintendent of FWISD. He was the 11th FWISD superintendent. Upon the retirement of Elden Busby in 1967, Julius Truelson became FWISD’s 12th superintendent.

    1968 marked the opening of the first middle schools in Fort Worth. J.P. Elder, W.A. Meacham, and Riverside converted to middle schools along with the new Leonard Middle School. As a result of the changeover, three high schools were converted to four-year schools. They were Amon Carter-Riverside, Diamond Hill-Jarvis, and North Side.

    FWISD has always endeavored to improve and find solutions to educational problems. Early efforts included, in the 1970s, team teaching, individualized instruction, and continuous progress. The 1980s and 1990s saw the opening of Ninth Grade schools and a move away from the team-teaching and open class concepts of the 1970s. FWISD began the 21st Century with the opening of Leadership Academies - - one for boys and one for girls. In 2015, the school board approved a plan to establish a Visual and Performing Arts School VPA and a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math School STEM in the I.M Terrell building. 

    Gerald Ward became FWISD superintendent in 1975 followed by I. Carl Candoli in 1980. In 1987, Don Roberts replaced Dr. Candoli as superintendent. In 1991, the FWISD administration building moved from 3210 W. Lancaster to 100 University Dr., and in 1994, Thomas Toco became superintendent. In 2003, Joe Ross was named superintendent, followed, in 2005 by Melody Johnson. In 2011, Walter Dansby became FWISD’s first African-American superintendent. With his resignation in 2014, Kent P. Scribner from Arizona was hired as superintendent.

    As of 2018, there are 143 FWISD schools serving 87,000+ students.