Skip to Content

State Commissioners of Education

The office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction was created in 1835. By Legislative Act in 1843, which went in effect in 1844, the office was abolished. The following Superintendents were elected by the Legislature:

Robert H. McEwen 1835-1840
Robert P. Currin 1840-1841
Scott Terry 1841-1844

From 1844 to 1867, the State Treasurer was ex-officio Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 1867, the office was again created. The following Superintendents were elected by the people and served for the respective periods shown below:

John Eaton, Jr. 1867-1869
A. J. Tipton 1869-1871

In 1870, the office was again abolished, and the duties devolved upon the State Treasurer, who was made ex-officio Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 1873, the office was recreated, and the following officers, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, have served the terms shown below:

J. B. Killebrew*  
John M. Flemings 1873-1875
Leon Trousdale 1875-1881
W. S. Doak 1881-1882**
Julia A. Doak 3 mos. ending July, 1882***
G. S. Crawford 1882-1883***
Thomas H. Paine 1883-1887
Frank M. Smith 1887-1891
W. R. Garrett 1891-1893
S. G. Gilbreath 1895-1897
Price Thomas 1897-1899
Morgan C. Fitzpatrick 1899-1903
Seymour A. Mynders 1903-1907
R. L. Jones 1907-1911
J. W. Brister 1911-1913
S. J. Thompson 1913-1915***
S. W. Sherrill 1915-1919
Albert Williams 1919-1921
J. B. Brown 1921-1923

Under the reorganization bill of 1923, the State Department of Public Instruction became the State Department of Education.

  • * Assistant State Superintendent, 1870-1873
  • ** Died in Office.
  • *** Filled unexpired term

The title of the chief state school officer was changed to Commissioner of Education.

P. L. Harned 1923-1933
Walter D. Cocking 1933-1937
W. A. Bass 1937-1938
J. M. Smith 1938
Halbert Harville 1938-1939
B. O. Duggan 1939-1945
Burgin E. Dossett 1945-1949
J. M. Smith 1949-1950
J. A. Barksdale 1950-1953
Quill E. Cope 1953-1958
Joe Morgan 1958-1963
J. H. Warf 1963-1971
E. C. Stimbert 1971-1972
Benjamin E. Carmichael 1972-1975
Sam H. Ingram 1975-1979
Otis L. Floyd 1979
E. A. Cox 1979-1980
Robert L. McElrath 1981-1987
Charles E. Smith 1987-1993
Wayne Qualls 1994-1995
Jane Walters 1995-1999
E. Vernon Coffey 1999-2001
Faye P. Taylor 2001-2003
Lana C. Seivers 2003-2008