Denison schools have had several school superintendents, mostly since 1955 when long-time superintendent B. McDaniel, announced that he was going to retire. Before Mr. McDaniel took the reins of Denison Schools in 1937, the school system was led by a man named Frank B. Hughes. Both of these gentlemen had Denison schools named in their honor.

Denison schools have had several school superintendents, mostly since 1955 when long-time superintendent B. McDaniel, announced that he was going to retire. Before Mr. McDaniel took the reins of Denison Schools in 1937, the school system was led by a man named Frank B. Hughes. Both of these gentlemen had Denison schools named in their honor.


When I was a student at Denison High School in the old building in the 700 block of West Main Street, Mr. McDaniel officed in the high school building. I remember him as a quiet, courteous man who didn’t participate in high school events, but stayed in his corner office on the first floor most of the time. I remember that we were a little afraid of him, not really realizing his role in our school lives.


Professor Hughes came to Denison from Tennessee, where he was born Dec. 11, 1873, as the only son and youngest child of his parents, William J. Hughes and Addie Smith. He had three sisters. His father died in 1897 and three years later his mother, along with the four children, were living in Denison, where the mom operated a rooming house at 200 West Gandy.


After arriving in Denison, Hughes acquired a job teaching in the local schools and in just four short years, 1904, he was named the superintendent of schools. He retired in 1937 and by 1940 had become the postmaster of the local post office and was single and living alone.


Until 1951, the Denison schools were governed by a board appointed by vote of the Denison City Council, so Mr. Hughes operated under that arrangement. Between 1911 and 1913, Dr. Alexander W. Acheson, a leader in Denison’s founding in 1872, was mayor, but he lost his bid for reelection in 1913 when he was defeated by Charles McElvaney, another long-time resident. Mr. Hughes was still superintendent and by then B. McDaniel was high school principal.


On Oct. 28, 1912, The Denison Daily Herald quoted Superintendent Hughes’ lengthy argument that a planned new curriculum for all high school students in Denison needed a new structure. He said that only about 2 percent of students would go on to college and a profession and too much time was being relegated to the few and neglecting the many. He said to reach the 98 percent of Denison’s students, was the purpose of the new high school that when approved would open in two years.


He proposed that students should learn how to make a living as well as to work an algebra problem. He proposed erecting the new school and the course of study should be changed to meet the demands of organized labor. He proposed the addition of manual training be added to the courses in wood work, metal work and mechanical drawing, along with domestic science (cooking, food serving and nutrition), as well as domestic arts (sewing and dressmaking), business (bookkeeping, shorthand and typing) and agriculture be offered in the new school.


The next day the newspaper carried Professor McDaniel’s enthusiastic report of a tour of the industrial arts program at Sherman High School where 50 percent of students were enrolled in industrial arts courses.


The rest is history because the school bond election passed and Professor Hughes plan for the new curriculum came into being. Mostly the boys took wood work, metal work and mechanical drawing, although a few girl students found their way into one of the classes. Almost every girl found herself in a domestic science class learning how to cook and even eat the samples the classmates concocted. Normally students took a half year of cooking and a half year of sewing and dressmaking, using the new electric sewing machines. A few boys found themselves enrolled in these classes too, mostly because they thought they were taking easy subjects. Most liked the cooking classes except for wearing the aprons, but sewing was a big surprise to them.


Both boys and girls took the business classes, primarily typing, and boys and girls could enroll in the agriculture programs.


Superintendent Hughes and Principal B. McDaniel are responsible for all these classes being brought to Denison High School.


In February 1951, Denison voted by an 8-1 margin to separate the school system from city government and establish a new Denison Independent School District that would have taxing authority. In 1954 a new $1.15 million Denison High School opened on Mirick Avenue and the "old" high school became McDaniel Junior High School.


Then in June 1962, a new bond issue passed to build a new junior high school at the corner of Lillis Lane and West Crawford Street. Professor Hughes was honored with his name placed on that school.


In 1956, B. McDaniel was succeeded as superintendent by H.W. Goodgion. Several others held that position until about 22 years ago when a long-time Denison teacher and administrator, Henry Scott was named superintendent and still holds that post.


Donna Hunt is former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and can be contacted at d.hunt_903@yahoo.com.