The History of

Gideon School District #37

To meet the needs of the company's families, in 1902 the Clarkton Lumber Company built and financed a school for one year. Ellen Gumm was the first teacher with approximately 23 students enrolled. Between 1902 and 1904 a school district was organized here and was officially called District Number 37 with M.V. Mumma as one of the first school board members.

In 1904 Otto Kochtitzky of Cape Girardeau donated seven acres of ground for a school park. Before the year had ended, the school district's second school had been built near the center of the park.

The Gideon School District was organized as a city school in 1915; the name of the school was officially changed from District 37 to Gideon School District of New Madrid County. The first board members were L.H. Sheehan, T.W. Cottrill, M.L. Mumma; L.M. Saraff, President; J.W. French, and W.J. Lynn. Because the population of Gideon had increased, making the school building then in use inadequate, in 1915 a three-story brick building was erected; by 1921 three new classrooms had been added. In 1916 L.B. Hoy was elected superintendent of the Gideon Schools. He would serve as superintendent until 1956. The first approved high school work of twelve units was offered in Gideon in 1916-1917. The 1917 graduates were Andy Stuckman, Carl Gum, Carl Hubbard, and Guy Johnson. The school was upgraded from second- to first-class rating in 1919-1920. In 1923 the enrollment, including eight ward schools, was 950 students with 25 teachers employed.

By 1935 the Gideon School District had 1,500 students enrolled and 30 teachers employed --20 in the central school and 10 in the ward schools. The 1936-37 total enrollment was 1,910 with 37 teachers. The present high school building was completed in 1937 at a cost of $99,000. At one time, according to Ripley, the School District of Gideon was the largest unconsolidated school district in the U.S. The school has been triple A since 1959.

Through the 1940's the enrollment of the Gideon School District was approximately 1,950 students, including students enrolled in the country schools such as Little Walnut, Peanut, Floodway, Tallapoosa, Jericho, Hartzell, Cottrill, Milburn, Morris Angelin, McBride, and Frailie. Later in the 1940's bus service was provided so that students from the country schools could come to Gideon. During this time, school lunches cost only 12 cents per day. Until the early 1960's school was out of session from about May 14 to about July 28 and again in October to about November 3 for cotton vacation.

The present elementary building was built in 1952; the wing was added in 1956. Our present-day gymnasium, one of the most impressive in the area, was constructed in 1958-59. After the cafeteria burned in 1962, a new cafetorium/band building was completed in 1963.

The Gideon School District is noted throughout the state and region as providing one of the best technologically rich environments for students and the community . Every high school classroom is equipped with multiple Internet connected computers. The high school houses two computer labs and an interactive television classroom capable of providing distance learning classes. A combined media center houses several networked computers and provides online access to the library collection and other resources. The elementary school provides computers in nearly classroom. Fourth through sixth grade classrooms are eMints classrooms with a goal of one computer for every two students. Wireless access points are located throughout the campus. All computers in the district are networked and provide patrons with full Internet access. For over a decade the district has attempted to stay on the leading edge of educational technology. We were one of the first distrists to host our own Gopeher site and moved to hosting our own web site as the World Wide Web was first developing. The district operates several web servers that offer portals for parents, teachers, employees, and students. We utilize many Internet applications to help enhance our operation and the educational process.

Down the corridors of the Gideon schools have walked future lawyers, doctors, nurses, major league ballplayers, ministers, musicians, homemakers, secretaries, politicians, teachers, law enforcement officers; and the list goes on. All of these students, in addition to the faculty and staff, have shared one common bond--they were to become a part of the history of the school.

Gideon School District Photo Gallery

Artist sketch of elementary school
Superintendents; Mr. Henry, Mr. McElwrath, Dr. Woods, Mr. Evans
Principals; Mrs. Holiman, Mr. Shelton
High school building (newspaper clipping from 1940)
Early school board
Aerial view of the campus 1957
Third grade class 1932
1925 Football team

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Keepers of this page are: Cheryl Jackson, Kyle Presson, and Sara Rackley

Last updated 11/6/2013