History

Spartanburg County is located in the northwestern Piedmont Section of South Carolina. Spartanburg School District Three is located in the eastern part of Spartanburg County. District Three borders Cherokee County to the east and School District Two to the north. To the west of District Three are Districts Six and Seven and Union County is located to the south. District Three is approximately three and a half miles wide and fourteen miles long. The population of District Three residents is between 17,000 and 22,000 people.

The past economic history of this district has been predominately related to textile mills. The district had a low tax base until 1968. In the late 1960's, extensive industrial growth occurred in the district. The largest district industrial firms are Hoechst Celanese Corporation and R. R. Donnelley and Sons.

On May 6, 1950, the numerous small districts of Spartanburg County were consolidated into twelve districts by an act of the South Carolina Legislature. This consolidation resulted in Districts Eight and Nine. District Eight was comprised of the following schools: Mt. Oliveview, No. 35; Clifton, No. 38; Cowpens, No. 50; Lenoir, No. 53, Gold Mine, No. 90, and Cannons, No. 99. Schools encompassing District Nine were: Whitestone, No. 35; Glendale, No. 39; Pacolet Mills, No. 40; and Pacolet, No. 47. Before this consolidation in 1950, each school for white children was considered a district.
There was further consolidation on March 22, 1952, when the legislature merged the twelve districts into seven. Districts Eight and Nine were merged to form what is today Spartanburg District Three.

After the consolidation of Districts Eight and Nine, the construction of two new black schools began. In 1953, Ralph J. Bunche Elementary School was built in Cowpens. This school served elementary students in grades one through six in the Cowpens area. B. E. Mays High School was built in Pacolet shortly after the construction of Ralph J. Bunche. This school served black elementary students in Pacolet, grades one through six, and all district black students in grades seven through twelve.

Following integration in 1968, Ralph J. Bunche Elementary School became Cowpens Elementary School, Building II and B. F. Mays High School became Pacolet Middle School.
At the beginning of the 1974-75 school year, Spartanburg District Three started the process for accreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools of its elementary and middle schools. The district's two high schools (Pacolet and Cowpens) were already accredited by the SACS. All schools were also already accredited by the South Carolina Department of Education. The following elementary and middle schools were accredited by SACS in 1976:

School Grade Level
Cannon Elementary School K - 6
Cowpens Elementary School, Bldg. I 1 - 4
Cowpens Elementary School, Bldg. II 5 - 6
Clifton Elementary School 1 - 6
Glendale Elementary School 1 - 6
Pacolet Elementary School K - 3
Pacolet Middle School 4 - 8

The opening of Gettys D. Broome High School at the beginning of the 1976-77 school year consolidated Cowpens High School and Pacolet High School. The new school was named for a former superintendent, Gettys D. Broome, who served as superintendent of the district from 1943 until 1975. 
As a result of the opening of the new high school, the district's organizational plan was as follows:

School Grade Level
Broome High School 10 - 12
Cowpens Junior High School 7 - 9
Pacolet Junior High School 7 - 9
Cannon Elementary School K - 6
Cowpens Elementary School, Bldg. I 1 - 4
Cowpens Elementary School, Bldg. II 5 - 6
Clifton Elementary School 1 - 6
Glendale Elementary School 1 - 6
Pacolet Elementary School K - 2
Pacolet Middle School 3 - 6

A Citizen's Facility Study Committee, composed of citizens, teachers, and administrators of School District Three, visited, studied, and evaluated all district school buildings during the 1975-76 school year. 
The State Department Office of Technical Assistance and Surveys also visited and evaluated all school buildings in the district during 1975-76.

Each of these groups submitted comprehensive written reports concerning school building needs to the District Three Board of Trustees. Following their work, a committee, composed of teachers, support personnel, administrators and parents wrote educational specifications to be used in designing new elementary facilities.
In 1979 Clifdale Elementary School opened consolidating the former Clifton and Glendale Elementary Schools. That same year a new Cowpens Elementary School consolidated Cowpens Elementary, Buildings I and II.
At the beginning of the 1983-84 school year, a new Pacolet Elementary School opened its doors to students in K - 6. These students had previously been housed on two campuses (Pacolet Primary, K - 2) and (Pacolet Elementary, 3 - 6). In August of 1984, Pacolet Junior High students (Grades 7, 8 and 9) were moved from their campus on Highway 176 in Pacolet to a completely renovated building which had served as Pacolet Elementary, grades 3 - 6.
In 1983-84 the following organizational pattern existed in Spartanburg School District Three.

School Grade Level
Broome High School 10 - 12
Cowpens Junior High School 7 - 9
Pacolet Junior High School 7 - 9
Cannons Elementary School K - 6
Cowpens Elementary School K - 6
Clifdale Elementary School K - 6
Pacolet Elementary School K - 6

The above organizational pattern remained until the beginning of the 1993-94 school year. At that time the district changed to the middle school concept. Ninth graders were moved to Broome High School and the former junior highs (Cowpens and Pacolet) became middle schools serving grades six through eight. The following organizational pattern presently exists in the district:

School Grade Level
Broome High School 9 - 12
Cowpens Middle School 6 - 8
Middle School of Pacolet 6 - 8
Cannons Elementary School pre-K - 5
Cowpens Elementary School pre-K - 5
Clifdale Elementary School pre-K - 5
Pacolet Elementary School pre-K - 5

Cannons Elementary School students and staff moved to a new facility in January 1995. The completion of this school fulfilled the goals established by a Citizen's Facility Study Committee in 1976.In 1975, Dr. James A. Buie became superintendent of District Three and served in that capacity until February of 1990. Dr. Evalyn Jerkins became superintendent of School District Three in July of 1990. Dr. Jerkins announced her resignation from School District Three effective June 30, 1996, to become Superintendent of Schools in Pawling, New York. Dr. Hap Corley from Columbia was selected as Interim Superintendent beginning July 8, 1996, and Dr. Joe Gentry was hired to conduct the Superintendent Search. On September 19, 1996, the District Three Board of Trustees hired Dr. James O. Ray as District Three Superintendent effective October 14, 1996. Dr. Ray served until June, 1999 when he was named Deputy Superintendent with the State Department of Education. Dr. Robert Glenn was named Interim Superintendent in June, 1999. Dr. Ray returned to the district as superintendent on April 1, 2000. 

 
 
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