Academy ISD History
Academy ISD: A Historical Perspective
The genesis of the Academy Independent School district can be traced back to a private school called the Little River Academy that began operations in 1872 with an enrollment of 60 to 70 students. The two-story frame building was located approximately two miles southwest of Heidenheimer near current day Burgess Road. Other local schools that would eventually consolidate with the Academy School were Knob Creek (1880’s), Sparks (1880’s), Wilson Valley (1880’s), Little River (1880’s), and Heidenheimer (1904).
In 1919, the Academy, Reed’s Lake, and Knob Creek schools consolidated to form the Common Academy School District; the first large consolidation of schools in the state of Texas and a consolidation model many other schools later followed. The second Academy school was located about three miles southeast of the first school, on current day Reed’s Lake Loop.
The consolidation was made possible in part by the efforts of J. B. and V. C. Marshall, who lobbied the Texas legislature for changes in state statute that made the consolidation feasible. V. C. Marshall envisioned the need for school-supported transportation before the days of school bus manufacturing. He campaigned for student transportation laws and funding with the state legislature and the Texas Education Agency. A true visionary, he purchased a Ford chassis and had a bus body built for it. The district duplicated the design and used these homemade buses to introduce school bus transportation in the state of Texas.
In 1925, the Sparks and Little River schools consolidated with Academy to form the Academy Consolidated High School. All three communities maintained their separate elementary schools until a new Academy Elementary School was built near the high school in 1940.
The first rural gymnasium in Bell County was built by Academy in 1934, partially with PWA funds. Other Academy firsts include the first rural school to teach vocational agriculture and home economics and one of the first rural schools to offer hot student meals.
The Academy School District is also unique in having only eight superintendents since the 1925 consolidation. The previous superintendents include W. E. Leverkuhon (1925-1927), J. A. Hendricks (1927-1929), J. M. Eads (1929-1970), Robert Hunt (1970-1980), Jim Holland (1980-1993), M. D. Fischer (1994-2001), Randy Hendricks (2001-2008), Kevin Sprinkles (2008- 2019), and Billy Harlan (2019- Present).
Another momentous date in the annals of Academy School history is May 3, 2003; the date school district voters approved (by a three to one margin) a $6.8 million dollar bond issue to finance the construction of a new middle school. The 1925 Academy Consolidated High School building, which served as the middle school, had served its students and community well. It was inevitable, however, that the building would someday be unable meet the needs of students and staff given the rapidly changing state of public education. But a school building is much more than bricks and mortar; it is the collection of memories, friendships made, and life lessons learned therein that are much more important. The new Academy Middle School was opened in 2004. We are very proud of this educational facility and we appreciate the community for making it possible.
It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since it was completed and students began their first day of classes in this facility. Now, we are preparing to construct our fourth campus, a new intermediate school. Our District has grown by over 200 students in the last three years and we needed additional academic space. Thanks to the voters of Academy Independent School District and their passage of a $17,200,000 bond election in May of 2013, a new intermediate school was built as well as having the high school and elementary school renovated.
These are exciting times in our District's history. STING 'EM BEES!